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Google AdWords Forum

This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 ( [1] 2 > >     
Giving the Content Network another try

 5:08 pm on Aug 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

They are offering a pretty decent rebate type thing for selected advertisers to try the content network again, so what the heck.



 8:48 pm on Aug 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yep, up to $1500.00. Is it based on a percentage of the overall spend or just spending on content ads?


 10:03 pm on Aug 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

I read it to be just the spend on content ads for the time period mentioned.

Google seems to be on a marketing push. I received the above offer in my email last night for my main site. This morning I received a flier in the mail from my test Adwords account inviting me to join Adsense.


 1:02 am on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

yeah I just got that message too. I might try it on a couple of my better converting campaigns. I turned it off for all of them when I started gettign ppounded by junk clickers on one particular campaign. It was just too much trouble to keep track of for the low conversions I was getting in the last several months. Most of the clicks were coming from junk sites that were only vaguely related.

I'll give the the two months, but I'm not holding my breath.


 1:15 am on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Be nice if they would just make it a 25% rebate instead of the tiered structure. Would be easier to sell and explain to everyone.


 1:23 am on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

you're probably already aware of this, but there's a huge thread in the adsense forum (somewhat heated too) regarding quality adsense sites verus junk sites. very interesting read re: how different people feel.


 4:00 am on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

AdSense started about a year ago, and in hindsight it’s apparent that Google made some mistakes. (Of course, mention that and people scream “have you seen how much money they make from AdSense?”, which is true, but bear with me).

Google put themselves in the middle between advertisers and publishers, but to thrive there, they had to strike a balance between ad buyers and sellers. Market makers of any type have to strike a balance. This is true for investment banks dealing in bonds, and for organizations that sell ads. If there are too many buyers or sellers, you have to adjust the price.

The problem with AdSense was that at the beginning it was too slanted in favor of the publishers. The system was set up so advertisers were in the content network unless they explicitly opted out and the bid prices were the same bids for the search network. These prices were too high given the lower conversion rates from content site traffic and there was all that fraud. Advertisers soon learned that ads on the content network were substantially less desirable than search network.

Go back and read the WebmasterWorld AdSense forum posts from the first few months of AdSense operation. People were amazed at how much money they were making. They couldn’t believe it. They were overjoyed. This is a sign of how far Google miscalculated in slanting toward the publishers.

Every month, they complain more and more about how AdSense isn’t as good as it used to be, how their checks are declining, how Google is screwing them. Google isn’t screwing them, of course, just flushing out the system partly in response to unenthusiastic advertisers.

Now go read the AdWords forum posts from the past 8 months or so. Advertisers keep advising each other to opt out of content match. Every week or so, someone starts a thread saying “Hey, I’m new to AdWords. Got any tips for me?” And the rest of us tell the newbie “opt out of the content network, at least until you have some experience with search ads.” And every couple weeks someone starts a thread complaining about low conversion rates, and we advise him or her to turn off the content network.

Only a very small percentage of AdWords advertisers participate at Webmasterworld, but it’s likely that this is indicative of the wider feeling throughout the Internet community.

So it seems that over the past few months Google has been trying to win back the hearts of advertisers to its content network.

So we had “smart pricing”, a euphemism for lower costs for AdSense ads than search ads. Now we have a rebate.

The best thing they could do to increase advertiser confidence it to make the system more transparent, so that everyone know who’s getting paid what. I don’t think they will do that, though.

I do think there’s a chance they will segment their publishers into quality sites and other sites, and allow advertisers to opt into the quality sites only. But it might be a year before that happens.


 4:05 am on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

They may claim "smart pricing" but I also think google is taking a bigger piece of the pie and still charging a higher amount and essentially screwing the publisher. It is insane that some clicks aer 100 times the price of other clicks on the exact same page (thank to channels).

I could understand smart pricing variances of like 3 to 4 tmies but the differences I see sometimes makes it so hard to set expectation in earnings and such. Google needs to become mroe transparant on how the work, it can't remain a secret forever or somethnig better will eventually come along.


 7:59 am on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> I do think there’s a chance they will segment their publishers into quality sites and other sites, and allow advertisers to opt into the quality sites only. But it might be a year before that happens.

This would be the number one thing Google could do, I think, to help restore much of the lost confidence in the whole AdSense system.


 12:33 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think a lot of it has todo with control.

If G made it easy to manage bids between content and search, more people would opt into content matching.

G makes it easy for AdSense publishers to block certain ads from showing on their sites, so it presumebly would not be that hard to allow advertisers (the ones actually spending the money) to be able to list sites they don't want their ads to appear on.

In the early days, the popular opinion was that G didn't want you to really know where you ad was showing as they didn't want publishers to bypass G and make deals directly with the publishers. For the majority of advertisers, it's too much of a hassle to make hundreds or thousands of deals like that, it's just too much work - that's really not an issue.

Now that AdSense has grown pass (IMO) everyone's expectations, reining in the entire program and allowing publishers control would help legitimize the system in many people's eyes.


 1:54 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I didn't receive an email notification of this program. Does anyone know if it applies to all adwords advertisers?

Also, anyone have a url where I can find the announcement/information on the google site?


 2:22 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree with ewhisper and like to ad that content traffic does work for about 20% of our customers. With more control I would use it more.

Rebates don't solve the actual control problem and only delay the "this does not work" moment.

My 2cts


 2:51 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Rbacal, there should be a line announcement in your main Adwords page after you log in. They made it sound like they aren't offering it to every advertiser, though.

Speaking of the control issue, I would like to be able to opt individual ads into the content network, rather than an entire campaign. Some ads are handled well, and cost less, but many others are just a lost cause, and I don't like having to then opt out the entire campaign.


 3:24 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I got that offer I think it sucks.

1) I hate "smart pricing." It is a black box - I have no idea how it works. Their explanation is horrible. They need a seperate bidding market for content ads - not fun and games.

2) I found the offer misleading. I consider a rebate cash in my pocket. They are only offering a credit that has certain restrictions like it has to be used in a certain timeframe.

3) I still find it objectionable that as I understand it Google considers parked domains as content sites.

4) The BIG problem, though, is the credit is not enough. It amounts to a 10-25% credit, but if there was a seperate bidding market for content ads, I would bid 40% less than for search ads.


 3:48 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Figment88 said:

4) The BIG problem, though, is the credit is not enough. It amounts to a 10-25% credit, but if there was a seperate bidding market for content ads, I would bid 40% less than for search ads.

I understand, but is there a reason why you can't set up separate campaigns, one for search and one for content, and simply make different bids?


 3:55 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

This goes back to a couple other entries in this thread, but I think what adsense/adwords is doing for a number of "quality" sites is this: it's letting them know EXACTLY who their potential advertisers are. And in cases where that quality site is a niche site that tends to see the same 20-30 advertisers over and over, they may conclude that it's better to just cut google out completely. If your site draws considerable on-target traffic and draws a very relevant advertiser base via adsense (as well as the same adsense advertisers consistently), why should you settle for a third of the total click? It's different for sites that spring out into a thousand different directions but for sites that serve very defined user populations, adsense is simply demonstrating to the publisher (via "smart pricing") that going it alone may make more "sense".


 4:06 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

When I got the email, my over-all reaction was the same as Robsp's - even with the rebate, it doesn't deliver what I need.

When I follow the traffic patterns of people clicking in from content ads, they are non-sensical and/or very short. My ads aren't misleading, but if they aren't showing up within the right context, it's hard to say exactly what the user was thinking they were going to see. There are simply so many sites designed around showing AdSense. They have no meaningful content and the visitors are clicking on anything to escape them. It is exactly what the site designers want, of course. When AdSense dies, they'll just move on to another parasitic, slimy way to make buck.

I understand, but is there a reason why you can't set up separate campaigns, one for search and one for content, and simply make different bids?

That would probably work for the most part. However, I don't think you can opt out of Google's primary search results. So your second campaign would be getting some impressions on there, in effect bidding against your 1st campaign. The lower bids would cause these impressions to start showing up on page 2, 3, etc. instead of the 1st page. So it would probably get the job done, but all-in-all it isn't as clean as having a separate system. Being able to opt out of the primary Google results would be just as good.


 4:07 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I run a content niche site like this and pretty much there are only a few advertisers. If I wanted I could easily contact them, but one, I don't know if they would trust me and two it is such a pain to run my own program and I don't have enough time.

I'm sticking for AdSense for now.


 6:20 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I deal in the market for the keyword “mesothelioma”. This is a disease that strikes at most (AT MOST) 3000 people in the United States each year. (More worldwide, but US-based law firms are not interested in clients outside the country.)

Yet, I estimate there are over 500 AdSense sites dedicated to mesothelioma. I guess that over 95% of the clicks from these sites are fraudulent or mistaken clicks.

Google is crazy if they think offering a refund or “smart pricing” is going to make me run ads on those sites.

And my experience in the mesothelioma market has colored my tendencies elsewhere. I don’t run ads on AdSense for any of my clients. Stay away from high crime areas and you’re less likely to have your pocket picked.


 8:28 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)


I disagree with your reasoning. I think expensive terms are the ones where running content ads make the most sense, albeit with different bids.

Let's say they are only 1/20th as good, as you state. Let's also say that the regular search carries a bid of $20 per click.

Given the above, if you can get clicks off of the content network for less than $1 a click, it would be just as profitable for them as for the search ads.

My experience as an advertiser is far better than 1/20th, but I'm not in an area like yours that has been publicized highly as an expensive click area. I bid lower when I run on the content network, and for areas where my regular bids are extremely inexpensive at break-even, I often cannot afford content ads.

But I find that the more expensive the search clicks, the more likely the content network will be profitable, assuming appropriate bids.


P.S. AWA--can we get a minimum bid of 2c on content? ;-)


 10:00 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Actually The_Ralph is doing the right thing, because all of those Adsense sites are most likely parasitic garbage. There was an article on that very subject recently in the Wall Street Journal, because the top mesothelioma advertisers (lawyers, because these are invariably recently diagnosed asbestos victims) are paying $50/click.

Because of this, there are non-lawyers with no stake or care for mesothelioma other than setting up mesothelioma "Information" sites solely to get the Adsense revenue for these $50 dollar clicks. They could still turn out to be valid leads for the lawyers, but it also could be prone to elaborate click fraud or parasitism.


 10:35 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Wow does Google have their share of problems these days or what?


 11:13 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I hate "smart pricing." It is a black box - I have no idea how it works. Their explanation is horrible. They need a seperate bidding market for content ads - not fun and games.

totally agree. everyone knows content targetting converts at a much lower rate than search-based traffic. Content targetting is maybe worth .02 / click for me - where seach based traffic is closer to .10

Could it be that much cheaper (I've never seen it actually go below .05)? AWA?

Google telling me "it might be cheaper" doesn't tell me anything. I tried to hunt down more info - but it's almost like they don't want to cough up the info.

I suspect the large majority of content traffic results in a negative ROI. Although, when factored in with the search based traffic in the same campaign - the user still typically has a positive ROI.

I suspect Google knows this - and that's why they don't want to let people bid on content traffic seperately.

Anything they do to let people break out content traffic from search traffic helps to point out how poor quality it is.

Seems like about half of all the really nasty spam-results in google are now sites running adsense.

Something ironic about google sending checks to websites they're presumably trying to ban from the SERPS.


 4:13 pm on Aug 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Perhaps instead of trying to brive people back, they should actually fix the problems with content.

Until I can manually cut out the junk sites and can bid on content separately from search, I'm just not interested in the headaches of:

* Having my brand associated with all sorts of shady sites
* Watching traffic come in and having a high degree of confidence that its mostly junk
* Wondering why the conversion data for content is poor compared to search.
* I don't trust proprietary algorithms that I don't understand and can't see to save me money. That takes out Smart pricing.

Adding free hosts as valid publishers just exacerbates the problem.

I love the adwords program - its been a tremendous boon to my business. I'd love to be able to use content. There are some fantastic sites out there that I'd love to receive traffic from. But, until I can cut out the sites that I don't want, its just not worth it yet.


 4:29 pm on Aug 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

P.S. AWA--can we get a minimum bid of 2c on content? ;-)

I'll get started on that right away!

Seriously, though, thanks for the many viewpoints expressed here. Lot's to think about. I'll be passing on the link to this entire thread this evening, so that the right folks will see it.



 4:43 pm on Aug 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

AWA thanks as always.

I hope one of the people who get a link to the thread is the marketing person who put the offer together.


 4:58 pm on Aug 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have a semi-related question that may have been answered before, but I cant' find any answers.

Why is Amazon considered part of the "search network"? It is obviously not a search engine.


 5:29 pm on Aug 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

I hope one of the people who get a link to the thread is the marketing person who put the offer together.


Why is Amazon considered part of the "search network"? It is obviously not a search engine.

At the risk of going off-topic for the thread, it is because your ads appear by virtue of a user doing a keyword search - whereas ads on Content partners are not placed on the basis of a keyword search.

For Content sites, ads are placed on the basis of an overview of all keywords in an Ad Group, taken together.



 7:27 pm on Aug 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

A lot of people are complaining about not being able to seperate campaigns for content vs. search but you can...

Create two duplicate campaigns and turn off search for one campaign and leave content on and do the opposite for the other campaign. Track them seperately...

I admit its a bit harder than it should be but no big deal really.


 7:36 pm on Aug 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

My client got the offer and it is not interesting at all. The rebate is too small, and the term for redemption fixed. Typical Google bullying - they keep "smart pricing" so they can flex it, but provide a fixed rebate. They shift things so traffic varies widely, but require a fixed redemption period.

Honestly, all that mailing did was open an opportunity to tell my clients about Overture sign up bonus credits, Kanoodle free trail spending dollars, etc.. Hey, if you're going after promtional offers, why not try the others?

This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 ( [1] 2 > >
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