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This 35 message thread spans 2 pages: 35 ( [1] 2 > >     
Is it time that Google abandoned SmartPricing.
or made it a lot more transparent?
oddsod

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 1:20 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

The Google called me [webmasterworld.com] thread exposes some serious flaws with SmartPricing. Google hasn't confirmed or denied that these are true.

We must emphasise that CTR is not a very important metric from the point of view of SmartPricing. You could have a 100% CTR with 0% conversions in an industry where conversions normally run above 10%. And that will do you no good.

It's the conversions as reported by advertisers that plays a major part in SmartPricing. So, if conversion is the most important component of SmartPricing - and therefore earnings - how come that this is the one metric that is not disclosed to us? If you don't know which sites/pages/channels are underperforming for the advertiser you can't improve their performance or usefulness to advertisers.

For a long time Adsense was the only game in town so when Google took the completely preposterous stand of saying they'll discount our EPC by er, pretty much how much they want, hardly anyone batted an eyelid; they had no choice. So Google implemented SmartPricing, there were howls of protests and Earnings-have-Dropped threads, and Google makes a lot more money from Adsense according to their latest financial statements. (We can't tell for sure whether there is direct link between SmartPricing and the extra profits).

Adsense competitors are promising a fair payout and guaranteeing percentages (Chitika guarantees publishers 60%. No discouting that by some unknown, secretive, back-room shenanigans. 60% flat, no exceptions). If others can do it why can't Google? Was SmartPricing a band-aid over the fault lines caused by Google's allowing the SERPS to be overrun with scrapers? If it wasn't for the scraper sites would Google have introduced SmartPricing at all?

Isn't SmartPricing open to a lot of bias? Yes, we all trust Google but any large system can make a lot of mistakes. The less you tell people about what the deal is the less likely any of your mistakes will come to light. But, aren't publishers the ultimates losers? I've always argued that we should be fair to advertisers but it's looking increasingly like Google doesn't see any need to be fair to publishers or to be seen to be fair. Isn't that dangerous in a market that's getting very competitive?

Personally, I've replaced a lot of Adsense ads with Chitika ones and they are paying far more than Adsense did. EPC is higher, eCPM is higher. Is Google going to let publishers experiment with competitor products and drift away when they find the difference? Or do you think Google will get a bit more transparent, modify (or scrap) SmartPricing, or replace it with something that makes sense?

 

birdstuff

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 1:26 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

I personally know several publishers who have switched entirely to YPN because of smart pricing, and at least 8 of them were in the UPS club. I know several others who have switched to YPN on their best sites and left AdSense on the others. The ball has already started rolling and it's gonna pick up speed if things stay the way they are now.

ken_b

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 1:31 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Do away with Smart Priceing? What would you suggest as an alternative?

>> 60% flat...

Google discounts the cost of the click to for the adverizer. I haven't seen any evidence that they pay publishers a smaller percentage. It's just that 60% of 5 cents is less than 60% of 10 cents.

Like it or not, Smart Pricing is not likely to go away.

oddsod

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 1:53 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> I haven't seen any evidence that they pay publishers a smaller percentage

You'll never see evidence of anything Google doesn't want you to see evidence of. How will you ever get to know whether Google's SP discounting to advertisers exactly matches the SP discounting to publishers? (And what happens in-between)

If SP is a blatantly unfair system

- applies a conversion variable to a network of sites even when most of those sites send clicks for products that you can't track conversions for,
- penalises a whole network of sites when a single site performs badly (there is no evidence they round the SmartPricing weighting upwards),
- has a long 30 day setting that can claw back any monies Google wants to claw back (simply by lowering the SP score)

then the long term consequences will be an eroding of the publisher base. At the moment the only way publishers have of determining whether SP is being fair to them is the blunt tool of replacing ads with an Adsense competitors'. There is a high lethargy element here ... even for those using SSI, so that erosing may take a bit longer, but it may be the market which decides whether SP (in any shape or form) continues or dies.

Webwork has an excellent related thread [webmasterworld.com] in the Supporters' Forum. The business of witholding vital statistics is shadowy, SP relies too much on advertisers (quality of creative/ability to convert) and penalises publishers for inefficient advertisers in the market, and it represents a conflict of interest at Google's end where they are both appliers of the discrimination and benfitters from it.

dzcap

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 2:07 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

If they won't abandon it, at least make it per page or site, and ABSOLUTELY not per account!

oddsod

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 2:13 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

That would be an interesting change. But till they do it's in everybody's interest to open new Adsense accounts. One per website. It's easily done without violating TOS and has been discussed here before [webmasterworld.com].

novice

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 2:18 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Is it time that Google abandoned SmartPricing.

Not likely to happen as ken_b pointed out.

However, myself and several other members have suggested an alternative that may work.

I named it "AdSense Professional", named after "AdWords Professional, others have named it AdSense Gold, Adsense Select... regardles of the name it could be a solution to "publisher flight"

Basically you would submit your site to Google for review. The review can be anything from just a look at your site to asking the publisher to fill ot a questionaire about their experience in that field, how long the site was online, where do you get your content from...

Once the publisher gets approved,advertisers can select to advertise on that site for a predetermined cpc. The publisher will receive 60% of the amount.

If you choose not to sign up for the AdSense Professional status you remain in Smart Price limbo.

ken_b

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 2:21 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Based only on my own single site, I can't see that Smart Pricing is even site-wide.

It appears to be on a per page basis as far as I can tell.

I have pages where SP has apparently reduced my income, and other pages where I've not seen any negative effect at all.

With only one site, I obviously can't speak to the account-wide aspect directly. But if the effects don't even seem to be site-wide accepting that they are account-wide seems pretty speculative.

ronburk

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 2:23 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

We must emphasise that CTR is not a very important metric from the point of view of SmartPricing.

Counter-argument: bandwidth is not so incredibly cheap that Google can afford to place no value on it (and ignore the cost of serving up ads to very poor CTR pages). Also, Google's direct information on conversions currently represents a very limited sample, due to too-small sample size, and the many AdWords advertisers who do not participate (is it even a majority who do participate?) Thus, one could make the equally pie-in-the-sky assertion that CTR is crucial in Smart Pricing -- a poor CTR is reasonably correlated with poor conversion, and that may be the only data Google has to go on to gueestimate conversion rate at any given moment for any given page.

I personally know several publishers who have switched entirely to YPN because of smart pricing,

If Google is successful in their goal of increasing payout for publishers who provide highly qualified traffic at the expense of publishers who provide poorly qualified traffic, then that would absolutely predict an exodus of publishers to programs like YPN -- an exodus of publishers that Google should be reasonably happy to see go.

It's the advertisers who make this world go 'round, not publishers, not Google, not YPN. Reports of publishers making more money at YPN than AdSense are not going to make YPN successful. It's the advertiser ROI that will decide whether YPN can make a dent in AdSense or not. If YPN has no equivalent plan to treat publishers differently based on the ROI they provide advertisers, that's not a plus for their long-term survival.

ken_b

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 2:29 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

If YPN has no equivalent plan to treat publishers differently based on the ROI they provide advertisers, that's not a plus for their long-term survival.

And it's hard to imagine that YPN won't develop a plan like Smart pricing if they don't already have one.

mzanzig

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 2:52 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

bandwidth is not so incredibly cheap that Google can afford to place no value on it (and ignore the cost of serving up ads to very poor CTR pages)

No, I don't think they care about bandwidth. Not if you run the largest Internet search engine.

Rather, I think they need to get good marketing statements to get new advertisers - e.g. "Google AdSense works for you. The average CTR for our campaigns is X.X%" Just imagine a new advertiser signs up (willing to spend money) and sees pageviews but (heaven help!) no click-throughs. This already seems to be a commonly reported problem over in the AW forum. This does not throw a good light on the program.

Erku

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 3:14 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

My problem with Smart Pricing is this.

Not all of the advertisers have the capability and the research team to create a very nice and efficient landing page so the visitor could possibly be attracted and could buy the product. Therefore, because of Advertiser's lack of creativity to create a nice landing page, people will not buy and the conversion will be very small. Therefore, advertisers lose money, and publishers don't earn much because of advertiser's "fault."

Here is an example:

Recently I was approached by a company (250 employees) and was asked to do a direct advertising. They were capable and had a research team and they gave me the landing page and all the info needed.

However, I was shocked to see so much extra info in the landing page. All text, and you had to scroll about 8 times to get to the bottom to leave your email. I told them you are not going to be successful with this. No one is going to read this info, make it short and sweet. They told me, our research team found that this is the best option.

After running the ad for one week, they asked to be removed because it did not work for them.

Of course it will not work for them. The landing page was very badly desigend.

The bottom line is that, some times it's not the publisher's fault that the conversion is law. Advertisers should be eqaully responsible for the conversions. Some may have very poorly designed Landing page and will not result in high conversion.

What do you think about this folks?

I wish Adsense paid attention to this factor.

Thank you.

oddsod

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 3:31 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Not all of the advertisers have the capability and the research team to create a very nice and efficient landing page

Yes, strange how advertisers compete just on CTR and click price and not on the conversions themselves.

>> But if the effects don't even seem to be site-wide accepting that they are account-wide seems pretty speculative.
It's reproduced as truth on Jenstar's blog; it's something several of us publishers have seen. Like me there are other publishers here with several accounts and with several sites on each account and you do get a much bigger picture with that larger sample.

>> It's the advertisers who make this world go 'round, not publishers
Actually, I've long been arguing against this quite unusual notion. Publishers are core, more important than advertisers, more important than Google. If there's a shortage of anything there's a shortage of publishers, not advertisers. As an Adwords advertiser myself I can tell you I'll pay Google 1000x what I'm paying now if they can send me 1000x more traffic. They can't because the commodity that is in limited supply is publishers. Some may believe that the guy with the money has the upper hand; conventional supply and demand suggests that publishers collectively will always be the ones calling the shots (in the longer term).

newkid2005

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 3:39 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Smart Pricing is the most ridiculous thing ever introduced to advertising.

There is only one person responsible for turning a visitor into a "conversion" and that is the ADVERTISER - no one else. Period!

CPC is bad enough - why in the world am I (the publisher) responsible for the success of an ad copy the advertiser wrote?

Adsense/Adwords works extremely well (and cheap) if the advertiser makes his homework and produces ads in compliance with the medium.

Visi

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 4:20 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

The basis of this discussion is that "smart pricing" exists. Call me the sceptic here but simply another name for a publishers discount system. As I have noted before came at a time when google couldn't get publishers a decent ROI on content pages and publishers were turning of the option. Offered discounts and "smart pricing" to lure them back. Nothing more in my opinion than 2 tiered pricing, for search pages and content sites. Have said that from the beginning and nothing I have seen or read indicates anything different. Interesting it is called smart "pricing" not smart payout?

OptiRex



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 4:33 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Are we deliberatelly being fed misleading information by Google to keep us all occupied wondering what is going on?

The general consensus of opinion is that the larger the site, the higher the quantity of visitors and page impressions...then CTR and eCPM both drop. It's been posted around enough times.

I see that on my two biggest sites in comparison to the satellite sites which have much higher CTRs and eCPMs.

If I were to drop the pages/sites with the lowest CTR and eCPM then my main money earners would be the first for the chop...or am I being a bit too simplistic?

After all, I'm only a country bumpkin who still hasn't gotten used to not counting in bushels:-))

OptiRex



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 4:36 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ooops...sorry, I meant to post that here:

[webmasterworld.com...]

It may be pertinent here too!

birdstuff

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 5:05 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

If Google is successful in their goal of increasing payout for publishers who provide highly qualified traffic at the expense of publishers who provide poorly qualified traffic, then that would absolutely predict an exodus of publishers to programs like YPN -- an exodus of publishers that Google should be reasonably happy to see go.

A reasonable, yet incorrect assumption. Many of the sites that Google has already lost to YPN are large, well-established content-rich sites that have sold tons of advertising directly to advertisers at premium prices for years before AdSense came along.

And it's hard to imagine that YPN won't develop a plan like Smart pricing if they don't already have one.

It's not hard to imagine at all. Yahoo has had over a year to study Google's bumbling attempts at smart-pricing. I doubt if they'll take a similar route. And even if they do they will have learned from Google's mistakes so most likely they'll get it right where Google obviously has not.

Clark

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 5:27 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Visi,

I agree.

Regarding adsense being happy to be rid of them, as the above post states, no way. If they were, they wouldn't be calling them asking them to switch back.

oddsod

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 5:36 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

birdstuff, how do manage to put what I'm thinking into words better than I could?

ken_b

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 5:43 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

they wouldn't be calling them asking them to switch back.

There is no real evidence that they were "asking them to switch back", at least not in this thread, or in the "Google Called Me Today" [webmasterworld.com] thread.

In fact, the OP in that thread specifically says..

When the Adsense guy called me today, he was calling to get me to "try out" adsense.. He wasn't even aware that I had been an Adsense publisher. But I still wouldn't be suprised if I got in his to-call list because I used to be an Adsense publisher and since switched to Yahoo ads. It seemed his primary reason for calling was to get me to switch from YPN ads to Adsense ads.. which is understandable.

Thinking it sounded like a call to get the publisher to switch back is apparently only the posters opinion. He may be right, but his statements {quoted in bold above) don't seem to support the opinion.

oddsod

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 5:54 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have pages where SP has apparently reduced my income, and other pages where I've not seen any negative effect at all.

What makes you suspect that it's SP?

Clark

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 5:57 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ken,

I read about the calls elsewhere. But I can't say for sure where they got their info from. It might be a case of "telephone".

elsewhen

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 6:02 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

there is a constant discussion of who is more important, advertisers and publishers. i think that discussion is academic. the fact is that PPC advertising requires advertisers, publishers AND visitors. google is the intermediary between this parties, and it is their role to keep everyone happy (including their own bottom line).

advertisers want ROI, publishers want good eCPM and visitors want quality results and sites.

smart pricing has to exist to keep the system operating. imagine if there is no smart pricing:

a made for adsense site with no navigation and no exits except the ads might have a very high CTR and send lots of visitors to the advertiser's landing pages. a majority of those visitors won't convert since they were just trying to escape the worthless page.

compare this to a site that primes its visitors for a sale. the conversion rate would likely be significantly higher. do the opponents of smart pricing advocate that both of these sites get paid the same amount per click? the made for adsense guy would be thrilled but the premium site would pack up and set up an affiliate marketing campaign or contact advertisers directly. this is exactly the opposite of what google wants to achieve.

if YPN hasn't already instituted something similar to SP, i am pretty confident that they will have to. of course they could design it differently, and it could be more transparent, but at the end of the day, i think it is a requirement.

ken_b

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 6:10 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have pages where SP has apparently reduced my income, and other pages where I've not seen any negative effect at all.

What makes you suspect that it's SP?

Good catch, I should have worded that differently.

.....I have pages where SP may have reduced my income, and other pages where I've not seen any negative effect at all....

For all I know advertizers appearing on those pages may have simply lowered their bids, or it could have been Smart Pricing. :)

oddsod

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 6:14 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

elsewhen, scrapers exist because for a long time Google was either incapable or unwilling to keep them out of SERPs. As my original post said SP may be a penalty on you and me to pay for Google being unable/unwilling to guard it's own house. It may really be as simple as that. Should it have some potential to take a PR spin before being presented to advertisers is a bonus.

NoLimits

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 6:23 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

I agree that it is a requirement to have some sort of pricing algorythm - but it should never take CTR into account on the publisher end of things.

If anything, a high CTR on the publisher end should raise a red flag for Google. They should be looking into things like "did the visitor know they were clicking on an advertisement, or were they deceived in one way or another into clicking"

The current algo is piss poor at best. On a sidenote, Google has been getting a lot of bad press lately, with the G-Mail renaming, their stupid autolink BS, and overall their apparent lust for internet domination and total control over everything. On top of that, their secretive nature has forced me to no longer trust them.

Sure I agreed to the TOS, Google can pay me as little or as much as they want - but they can't stop me from putting up other ads, which is precisely what I have done.

I have been re-investing a large percentage of my AS revenue back into Google stocks for 2 years now. Today I cashed them out, and I will re-invest with someone else. I'm tired of being in the dark.

In summary - Google, stop "gaming" everyone else and perhaps your PR won't go to s#it. Keep tampering with all that is sacred - and soon, your name will fit nicely into the ranks of Go,Excite,AllTheWeb,DogPile... get the point?

You (Google) aren't our only option anymore, and people are going to start to demand more courtesy, and honesty from you.

Sierra_Dad

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 6:25 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

It would be good if Google made it easier to bid differently on the content network than on the search network, and/or make it an option to have a campaign only on the content network.

They could also allow you to do some site targetted or site group targetted CPC - allow you to bid more on particular sites.

This could achieve some of what they are trying to with SmartPricing.

I've heard it quoted (don't know source) that the content network converts at 20% of the rate of the search network. Smart Pricing seems to spread it aroudn instead of making an 80% discount on everything.

With that statistic, it is mind boggling that Google doesn't allow bidding differently on the content network.

Clark

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 6:57 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Only rarely do I check on adwords threads. Any threads in that section we should be following talking about this from their pov?

newkid2005

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10062 posted 11:04 pm on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Something is wrong if direct advertisers are happily paying 5 to 10 times what I get from Adsense (year after year).

Smart Pricing?

This 35 message thread spans 2 pages: 35 ( [1] 2 > >
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