Putting images next to AdSense has for quite some time been among the top tips given by many AdSense gurus, it increases the Click-Through-Rate (CTR) of the AdSense units significantly.
Opinions have been varied all this while. Some will say no problem, some says no, some says it’s ok as long as there are lines dividing images from the ads.
While it might be a little too late, after many publishers banned for “generating invalid click”, Google has officially put an end to the endless debate.
The verdict: Images placed next to AdSense ads is unacceptable.
Can I place small images next to my Google ads?
We ask that publishers not line up images and ads in a way that suggests a relationship between the images and the ads. If your visitors believe that the images and the ads are directly associated, or that the advertiser is offering the exact item found in the neighboring image, they may click the ad expecting to find something that isn’t actually being offered. That’s not a good experience for users or advertisers.
Publishers should also be careful to avoid similar implementations that people could find misleading. For instance, if your site contains a directory of Flash games, you should not format the ads to mimic the game descriptions.