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|Jenstar reveals data about Adsense Smart Pricing|
I just read Jenstar's blog about smart pricing. I want to be shocked, although I'm not. Let's just say disappointed.
How in the hell can Google be so stupid as to count Smart Pricing on an account basis rather than at worst domain basis. No wonder... That explains a lot.
It is really ridiculous.
I read the Jenstar blog. This looks like conflict of interest to me.
She has Adsense ads on the blog, and knows how Google does business, secretively, even quotes it:
"And since very little is publicly disclosed to publishers about how smart pricing specifically works, there are many questions surrounding .it. However, while AdSense was attempting to get a publisher back from YPN, one support team member disclosed more details than perhaps he or she should have."
Then, she outlines the secretive information, which is sure to irritate Google.
This can not be good. It is beyond hairy coconuts, more like steel.
What exaclty is conflict of interest? Are you saying someone did something wrong?
If people have insider information into the internal workings of Google and it's algorythms, and are still able to partake in the program - there is a conflict of interest.
I personally feel that Jen is not in the wrong. She doesn't manipulate her pages (as far as I know) to use her knowledge as an advantage. I'm happy that she is bold enough to exploit Google's arrogance.
I know what you mean, but I still don't see the conflict of interest. COI applies in cases where for example you are paid by one entity while having a financial interest in the opposing entity. Jen is only being paid by Google. No one else. So there is no COI. The only place where I see one is that she's a mod here. But it doesn't seem to be affecting her performance at all. She always does a superb job.
|(...) she outlines the secretive information (...) |
I don't think this matter is such a big thing. As other Google algorithms, surely smart pricing works in a much more complex way than that small detail.
Jenstar only commented a post about smart pricing affecting the whole account in some unmentioned measure. An account effect that according to publishers' experiences seems to be much smaller than the smart pricing effect on specific pages and sites.
Therefore, smart pricing is in fact as secretive as always. ;) It seems true what is sometimes said: only a few Google engineers really know how their constantly modified algorithms work.
On the other hand, it's true that some publishers have noticed a positive account effect after making extensive changes, like removing ads from an entire non-perfoming site. In the rest of cases, the account effect seems to be usually small, compared to smart pricing for page/site.
But it's always "seems to be". In reality, as before, now we don't know how smart pricing works.
Half the posts on forums like these are from people with a hidden agenda.
The original poster had previously complained about his site (and he repeatedly used the singular version of the word as in one site, not sites) getting dropped from Google with the Bourbon update. Then he said he was "going to do whatever it takes to get my Google ranks back where they were.... why? Because my equally as high ranks on Yahoo and MSN bring in 1/50th of the traffic that my google positions bring me.. that translates into money.. lots of money."
Later he complained of getting a threatening email from Google over "encouraging users to click the ads without knowing they were ads".
So now we are expected to believe that a Google rep has personally called to ask the OP to put Adsense back on his site. Maybe it happened, maybe it didn't, but to me it seems unlikely that someone with a penalized site and a warning from Google would not only be getting a call to come back into the program, but also being given some super secret smart pricing information not available to other publishers in good standing.
So you guys can assume anything you want, but based on my own testing, the OPs previous posts, and the obvious ax he has to grind with Google, I'd view this original tidbit on smart pricing from him with a healthy dose of skepticim.
Only Google can decide if she is in the wrong. It looks like a TOS violation to me, but I am not Google, and only they can decide.
The TOS violation would be outlining their methods. While it is second hand information, supposedly, from an Adsense team member, it was repeated by an Adsense publisher, first in this forum, then on the blog. The difference is that this board is not an Adsense publisher. She is. I wouldn't want my publishers hammering me in a blog, where what was in print was true or not.
All I know is this.
If I was Google, and doing my best to keep my methods under wraps...
If I was struggling to keep Adsense publishers from going to YPN ...
I would not would not want to see one of my Adsense publishers posting a blog that outlines my methods, in such a negative manner.
The summary of the blog is the publisher is getting nailed, and there is nothing they can do, unless they get another account, which is also very much a violation of Google TOS. Yet, there is a wiff of suggestion there, to do just that. While she doesn't suggest it outright, just "betting" on it is suggestion enough.
"This kind of unknown situation makes it very tempting for publishers to want a second AdSense account, especially for publishers that have quality sites as well as "less than quality" sites. While second accounts are hard to get, I bet there are publishers who will be working on getting a new company name for this purpose."
This is the part that really hurts...
"This raises the question about whether publishers should be removing AdSense from sites they suspect are converting poorly, in order to increase their smart pricing percentage. The loss of revenue could be more than made up with higher smart pricing across the rest of the account.But publishers do not have access to any of the data that would be used to determine which sites (if any) are converting better than others."
I promote Adsense during consulting. I have one large client with multiple sites, about to launch Adsense on his main site. If any of their team were to see that posting, they would ask me why should they bother, and not just go to YPN, when it appears the bottom line is shrinking at Adsense due to smart pricing, according to that blog.
At this point, I'm not sure what I will tell them. Is my own example going to be enough to convince them Adsense is still right for them? I hope so. I just convinced them to abandon the sale of products on their site for Adsense, since their product line was not selling well. It was a bold move on my part to suggest it.
I don't think it is good PR for Google.
For the people doubting this story, the fact that G has not denied it speaks volumes. We've seen them deny things we know are happening. With such bad PR, they would certainly deny it if it wasn't happening.
Why would this be bad PR if it's true?
|the fact that G has not denied it speaks volumes. |
There are thousands of posts about Google, Adwords, Adsense, etc. posted on Webmasterworld alone each day, let alone all of the other SEO forums and blogs out there. I personally don't see Google staff confirming or denying very many of these posts.
isn't her blog entry just a summary of this WW thread:
As mentioned in that thread, I'm not sure any of it should automatically be taken as fact.
It quite possibly could be true, but we don't know the OP or what exactly happened via their phone conversation.
|Only Google can decide if she is in the wrong. It looks like a TOS violation to me, but I am not Google, and only they can decide. |
Jenstar is not a fool. She is a smart cookie, and is NOT going to doing anything that might be viewed as a TOS violation. She knows Adsense a lot better than anyone here does, and Google also know her very well.
There are a lot of "Why's" here, and you have to conclude that Google are very well aware of what's being said, and that it's mostly negative.
I think the next few weeks should be interesting. I doubt if G will hit the delete key on smart pricing, but clearly something has to happen, as this is going to damage Google rather more than they thought - especially with YPN up and running. A lot of bad publicity that may cause them to re-think a few things.
My hope is that they will cease to be so paranoid, and issue some long overdue information about the criteria it uses, and how to get round "Known issues" such as it hitting all sites on one account. Most people would regard this as a stupid policy anyway.
I'd also hope that they would now realise that they NEED quality publishers, and start treating them a bit better.
|I don't think it is good PR for Google. |
If it's true, who cares if it's good or bad PR as we're the one's taking it in the shorts for their short-sighted algorithms.
If you must pick someone to villify, start with the company shrouding AdSense in so much secrecy we have to guess about the revenue share.
I'm not suggesting Google spill all their beans, but it would certainly be nice to know a couple of things that really don't make AdSense vulnerable whatsoever and would stop all the conspiracy theories:
1. The percentage of AdSense revenue share
2. If smart pricing impacts individual sites or the entire account
3. General guidelines on what constitutes the best smart pricing value for an AdSense site
How much harm can those answers cause?
I mean really, this is just silly, and they'll ultimately lose the farm playing mind games with people as it appears to be causing an undue amount of stress for a lot of publishers that will ultimately seek alternatives with clearly spelled out revenue share models just to have peace of mind if nothing else.
Why would this hurt Google?
What's the likely result, a bunch of publishers dumping Adsense from low performing pages? Doesn't sound like much of a loss to me.
After all, this forum has seen it's share of threads moaning about low quality publishers. This way all Google has to do is let the posts stand, and rumors fly, and let some of the low performing pages eliminate themselves.
|How much harm can those answers cause? |
I believe the reason is that smart pricing and secrecy is an excuse to make more money without accountability. We've seen all this before from public companies. It reminds me of the mind games credit card companies have employed to get you in at low rates and before long you are paying 28% and can no longer declare bankruptcy.
Mind games are there to achieve a cash grab. It's harder to play for very long on the Internet. Even Microsoft is paying for theirs. G will find that out soon enough.
With YPN almost out of beta, Chitika coming on strong, and msn ads on the horizon, surely Google will be a little more open now with publishers regarding smart pricing.
The give us a click, and we'll pay you - something - policy, is getting tired with a growing number of webmasters.
I'd like to see webmasters given the choice to choose their own minimum price per click. Sending targeted leads for 3 cents a pop is ridiculous.
So what if the visitor I sent didn't buy a widget from advertiser A. Perhaps advertiser A's product sucked, perhaps it was too expensive? Perhaps the advertiser's product was great but the web site looked cheap, or crashed.
Granted, Google have the difficult task of keeping publishers, adword advertisers, and shareholders happy....but a growing number of folks are of the opinion that the pendulum has swung away from publishers and more towards adwords, and stockholders the last few months.
We had the minumum wage, now lets have a campaign for the minimum click.
What say you all to a minimum 3 bucks a click :)
|Sending targeted leads for 3 cents a pop is ridiculous |
With a 10% CTR on the right ads that's $3 CPM which is more than a lot of AdBrite publishers are getting paid.
"If you must pick someone to villify, start with the company shrouding AdSense in so much secrecy we have to guess about the revenue share"
Who is guessing? It is obvious what the percentage is. It takes about two minutes of real stat checking to figure it out. I thought everybody had already done that. The only reason it is not posted is Google TOS. It is not rocket science, and not really one of life's great mysteries. In the words once spoken by Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, "If you don't like it, leave".
Don't sit and complain about a trading partner publicly, it makes you look bad to other potential trading partners. If Google tosses you, and you go running to YPN, what makes you think they would want to do business with you?
Who would care if they only pay you 10% if you make 900% more bottom line than any other adserver? Are you going to walk away from that kind of bottom line to take a huge loss, just because the percentage is lower? The answer is, No. So why does it matter?
Confidentiality is what B2B relationships are about. It is what business relationships have always been about, and the web has not changed that. You don't grind your ax in public with current trading partners. You keep your negative opinions to yourself, or you cut the tie. Otherwise, they may cut the tie for you. It is bad business.
On the topic of Smart Pricing, I find it very smart. Works perfectly in my opinion, as a publisher, who is also an Adwords advertiser. I don't see the beef. Sounds more like a webmaster problem to me, than an Adsense problem. They are not going to come to your house or office and run your business for you. Yet, you blame them as if they had done that. It is misdirected energy. You have to be productive or be gone. That is business.
Calling G a trading partner is a joke. They are no partner. They are a dictator that you almost *have* to do business with if you have a content site and no product to sell.
Just curious, what kind of site(s) do you run? You seem pretty happy and one of the few that is.
As for the share, how did you figure that out?
Also, how long have you been an adsense publisher?
On a slight tangent, remember when smart pricing came in? How many people were saying they lost income? I sure was and the loss was HUGE. I saw lots of other people also complain. And only a few say their income went up. And only a little bit. It was naive of us who believed them in the first place that it was about smart pricing. There would have been more "winners" out of the deal. It was a clear reduction in ad share. We should be clear in our minds about that.
The only thing mind game that made it sound like they didn't really change percentages much is their quarterly reports.
Does anyone doubt that their accountants can't make the share look much much higher than reality? Hey, with what Enron and similar got away with, some creative accounting in this case would be a total breeze.
For those wondering about Jensense post I think you need to read the post on here that she references. Jen as always has summarized many pages of information into a great blog post. She reveals nothing that is not currently in the original post...references it and states the information came from that thread.
All this questioning of TOS etc, thinks people still upset about Visi not sharing his beer over at the green pasture site. Jen may know more than she has posted but nothing negative in the blog just some food for thought is all. If we were to get penalized every time we used Google's name in something other than a PR release then think WW would have been out of the serps long ago.
<looks for google ordered bolt of lightning in the sky> See told ya they don't own the internet....yet:)
|It is obvious what the percentage is. |
Yes, it's obvious what it is TODAY - but they never said it would stay there now did they?
Then they tossed in smart pricing and the basic amount that revenue share was based on now moves around faster than a fat boy on a water slide.
I mean really...
I don't think Jen would have posted it if she didn't believe it was true through other sources. I bet she's even sweating by how much this thread generated. Thanks and sorry JS!
Visi, you see all this trouble you caused. Next time share the beer heh heh.
|It was a clear reduction in ad share. We should be clear in our minds about that. |
analysis of google's SEC filings indicate that overall revenue share with publishers has remained constant. if i recall correctly, it is around 70%.
if you noticed many publishers complaining after smart pricing was introduced, it was probably because it was the smaller guys that were not delivering good conversions and therefore the number of publishers who took a hit was larger than the number of publishers that had an increase.
but from their financial filings, it remains clear that the overall percentage has remained stable.
Back to the thread title
I have done my own testing about 2 months ago and consequently dropped 4 of my poorly performing sites sacrificing about 10% of overall income from adsense , I left adsense on 2 other sites and made no changes and ECPM increased by 30% which provided me with a net gain , 2 of the poorly performing sites are now running YPN and performing about the same as adsense was so therefore gain of 20% overall income with same traffic.
This is not proof positive as there are so many variables with adsense but was enough proof for myself to no longer consider test as an experiment and now long term solution .
I suspect although publishers do not like this for G it provides a defence against YPN as many publishers will move poorly performing IE POORLY CONVERTING FOR ADVERTISER / GOOGLE to ypn and G may just be left with the cream
I am sure many here much smarter will have better ideas as to how it may pan out so just my 2 cents worth
For all those question Jenstar, I just don't see it.
There is no conflict. A blog like hers should not solely be a cheerleader for AS. As a reader, I want the good, the bad, and the ugly. I, for one, am glad that she calls it as she sees it.
Also, if you are a regular reader of her blog, you know that she never uses a post in a forum alone as a source for such an explosive revelation.
The member that initially posted this information in the previous thread did not reveal everything that was on Jen's blog. This means that she went further in getting the information.
Keep up the good work Jen.
OK, so if it's an account wide penalty then any idiot with a high traffic / low CTR scraper site could run your code on their site for a month just for giggles and tank your earnings.
Leaves some real gaping holes for abuse if it's true.
I thought of that but I'm saying I don't buy it. The publishers here for example are very small, small, medium , large and very large. And people from all groups talk. Quite a lot in fact. It's a stretch to claim that the winners were extremely silent. The winners have a vested interest in keeping the changes. They would speak up to shut down the talk which gives G bad PR, which might make G change things. I believe their silence is due to there not being many if any gainers.
Let's do a poll if you want. No numbers. Just "Did you make money or lose money when Smart Pricing came along". Mods, would that be ok?
Also, on the SEC filing, my point was, they knew that was the number one thing we'd all look at. SEC filings are just another way to lie. It is not reliable data.
When did smart pricing come along?
Don't remember the date but it's before you joined the program.
April (spring?) 2004? Not sure, but that sort of rings a bell.
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