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Latest Adsense Case Study
Is the Case Study Site Using Deceptive Methods?
yoyo8

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 2:58 pm on Feb 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

There's a new case study in the adsense blog. By blending ads in, and making them more visible, they increased their revenue substantially.

Now that's great, but when I checked out the site, I think it's really deceptive.

The title is a question, and right below this question is a 336x280 ad block.

I bet many people clicking on it may be thinking that by clicking on it they will get the answer to the question.

For example, one question is, "How to apply eyeliner?"

Right below that is an ad with the title, "Applying eye makeup", followed by "How to apply eyeliner"

Is this not deceptive? I guess not, since asense is touting this in their blog.

 

Idris

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 3:31 pm on Feb 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

It is but many websites use similar methods (e.g. placing ad blocks where a menu would normally be expected) and Google doesn't seem to mind. There are a few measures in place to dissuade from such ad implementation (smart pricing for example) and you have to decide what's best for your site visitors.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 4:05 pm on Feb 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why not ask this question in the AdWords forum? It would be interesting to hear what advertisers think of blended-in ads.

OptiRex



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 10:26 pm on Feb 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Is this not deceptive? I guess not, since asense is touting this in their blog.

Personally I think the block is blatantly and obviously Google ads...I don't see what the problem is and the ads are well-targeted.

An unusal positioning of the Adlinks halfway down the page though. It would be interesting to see those results.

digitalghost

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



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 11:09 pm on Feb 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yes, it is always a good idea to confuse your users. Makes them want to return to your site to see what other surprises you have in store for them.

Toss that permission marketing concept out the window, just send your users where YOU would like for them to go...

Rodney

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 4:38 am on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

doesn't the rectangle ad block on the site in question have a clear "ads by google" label?

If so, how is it a "trick" if the ads are clearly labeled?

Ads in the middle of content is nothing new. You can't just push them at the top of the page or bury them in the footer and expect results.

Offline ads don't do it (check your newspapers and magazines) and most online ads don't do it (look at the placment of good ol' graphical ads on larger sites). To me the case study site is downright classy compared to the over the top ad placement that you'll see on many major media sites.

Check the often-referred-to adsense heat map. The placement is spot on.

Advertisers want their ads to be seen. The ads are clearly labeled and targeted to the content.

Nobody wins if the ads are pushed out of the way.

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 4:49 am on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

I visited the How To Apply Eyeliner page and I didn't see the question as described by the OP. There's a header, "How To Apply Eyeliner" and the block of ads below it.

There is no question and answer component as described by the OP. Site looks fine to me.

The title is a question, and right below this question is a 336x280 ad block.

No, it is not a question. I checked archive.org for what that header looked like last year and it looks the same as it does right now.

yoyo what's up? Are we looking at the same page?

yoyo8

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 5:46 am on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

If so, how is it a "trick" if the ads are clearly labeled?

That's a good one! :) By making the ads the same color as the background, and not having a separator in between, they are not clearly labeled, and I will bet you anything if studies were done with regular web users, most would not know they were clicking on ads.

yoyo8

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 5:51 am on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

I could have sworn it was a question, and the ads were centered below. Now I check and there is no '?', and they are flush left. Google cache doesn't show a question mark either. Sorry about that. In that case it's not as bad as I thought.

It looks to be a fine site btw, I just think the way it is would still be confusing the most users because they would think they could get their answer by clicking on the ad. And for those with a small screen resolution, the real content wouldn't even be visible without paging down.

Rodney

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 6:20 am on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

That's a good one! :) By making the ads the same color as the background, and not having a separator in between, they are not clearly labeled

I don't think you have to have a separator before the ad for it to be clearly labeled as an ad.

The idea is to provide a clear label to the ad, which the "Ads By Google" "Advertise on this Site" text clearly does.

You don't want to make the user scan right over the ad by blocking it off as a non relevant piece of info on the page, you want them to see the relevant ad as well as the content.

There's no rule or ethics against putting ads right in the content. Happens in all mediums.

Blending ads is how ads get seen.

Case in point: A couple of weeks ago I was watching an episode of the NBC show "Las Vegas" on tivo in HDTV.

Now, when you're watching shows in HDTV, you can clearly see when the show stops and the commercials start since 90% of commercials aren't in HDTV (the screen gets square instead of widescreen)

So in the last 10 minutes of the show, they were booting this college kids out of their casino and the kids ran outside and got into these Chevy cars. I thought it was just blatent product placement (Chevy or GMC) until the action continued.

The kids went to a ski resort where they were going to watch the olympic trials and the last 7 minutes of the show was literally a commercial for Chevy and the Olympics. It wasn't the Las Vegas anymore, the show actually blended right into the ad (all in HDTV). At the end of the ad, they said what the ad was for, but I can bet you that less tivo users skipped over *that* ad than the commercials in between the shows. The advertiser probably paid a premium for that as well.

Blending is in.

The Adsense ads were much more clearly labeled than that commercial (which only revealed it was an ad after you watched it all thinking that the Las Vegas show was still wrapping up).

I'm probably not explaining how blended the ads were with the TV show, but maybe I still have the episode on tivo so I can explain it better. Anybody else remember the episode I'm talking about? :)

yoyo8

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 9:04 am on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, that's true about how brands pay for product placement without it being in commercials. Good point.

I think that's more reasonable in a CPM-type relationship as opposed to a CPC one.

percentages

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 9:27 am on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

>Yes, it is always a good idea to confuse your users. Makes them want to return to your site to see what other surprises you have in store for them.

digitalghost,

I sense a little sarcasm in this post? I'm wondering why?

If your post wasn't meant as sarcasm, then read no further. But, I actually think your comment has very significant value on its surface content!

Confusing users is now part of the Internet, most don't know what they are looking at anyways. Sure us "oldies" might hate it, but, we are the minority, not the money making majority.......just a thought!

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 2:45 pm on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think that's more reasonable in a CPM-type relationship as opposed to a CPC one.

I agree, and I suspect that most advertisers would feel the same way.

A Google employee told me that an (unnamed) site saw its CTR increase by 400% when ads were blended in. The obvious question is "Why did CTR go up 400%?" I find it difficult to believe that user confusion wasn't the major (or at least a major) reason.

digitalghost

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



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 3:01 pm on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Percentages, the sarcasm was real. I've run into more than one site in which the ads were presented as navigation or part of the site structure.

>>Blending ads is how ads get seen.

Perhaps, but tricking users into clicking ads is how you lose trust and permission. If the entire goal is to get users to click Adsense ads then I suppose it is a viable method.

But for destination sites, after you've gone to all the trouble to get someone's attention, and you can now market to them, why would you want to trick them as soon as possible?

Scruffy

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 3:58 pm on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Web pages may not include incentives of any kind for users to click on ads. This includes ... drawing any undue attention to the ads.

In fact, Google would seem to prefer you blend them in?

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 5:06 pm on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Scruffy, the key word is that clause is "undue."

Having ads that look like ads isn't drawing "undue" attention to the ads by any stretch of the imagination.

Rose_1171

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 5:14 pm on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think its not wrong. From the visitor's point of view, all that matters is the information. Its immaterial whether the info originates from the website itself or thru ads which take them to a new website.
As long as content is fine and visitors get what they want, google does not mind it either.
Even the advertisers at the back end want the product to be sold.

Imagine if publishers stop using such ways, then no one would even click on ads! Google does not want that of course!

Rosie

Key_Master

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 5:26 pm on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Where's the beef?

Scruffy

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 5:26 pm on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Oh, true.
I was being flippant, sorry ;-)

It's a fact though that G don't exactly forbid blending. They don't let you hide the 'ads by Google' (set color = page color) but they don't say you can't hide the border, set your text to the same font and color etc.

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 4:46 am on Feb 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>>It's a fact though that G don't exactly forbid blending.

Yup. The Google AdSense team encourages blending.

Long live blending!
:) Y

Blending ad colors into the background of your site can soften ad appearance and combat ad blindness, while the 'Ads by Goooooogle' branding distinguishes AdSense ad units from your site content.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 12327 posted 7:18 am on Feb 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yup. The Google AdSense team encourages blending.
Long live blending

I'm a single-malt guy myself.

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