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Those "Charity" ad's
Do they count as clicks?

 1:47 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm sure you've probably seen them...

They're like ad's for Red Cross and Cancer Society.

First off, do they show up because there are no other ad's to show?

And the tracking link looks more like...


So second, I suppose these don't count as clicks, and you get no money, and they are really "charity clicks"?

Just curious.



 2:09 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

This seems to be a rather disturbing trend. I noticed today that several busy pages in one of my sites have switched back to charity ads -- but they were targeted ads before. This included my home page, despite the fact that hundreds of other pages within the site are still displaying targeted ads.

Here's the interesting thing: I hit refresh about 10 times and finally got a targeted ad on one of those pages. So now I'm starting to think that either:

1. Pages that aren't performing well are no longer given targeted ads, or are getting them less frequently, or...

2. There simply aren't enough targeted ads to show.

What do you think?


 2:22 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am going to guess:

Since the advertiser puts a limit per day on a particular term, the software might do some calculation like... I already got 90% of the clicks filled, but according to my calculations I still have about the same amount of impressions left for the rest of the day so I am only going to show the ad 1 out of ten times for the rest of the day.

I would guess that the system is more sofisticated that way than a regular ad network that might stop showing paid ads alltogether.


 2:25 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I've noticed this too. Now every one of my pages is showing charity ads instead of the targeted ads that were there last week. It's been that way for at least two days and I've not made a red cent with Adsense since.


 2:28 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, it could be a technical glitch, or it could be that there aren't enough targeted ads to show for certain keywords.

Note that I said "certain keywords." You might have a bicycle site with pages about mountain bikes, BMX bikes, three-speed English racers, racing bikes, recumbent bikes, unicycles, and bicycle parts. And you might have targeted ads on all those pages except for the unicycle page because nobody's bidding on the keyword "unicycles" at the moment.

On my own site, it's very rare to see a public-service ad, probably because there are enough keywords in my navigation scheme to ensure some kind of targeted ad match. Of course, the downside is that ads are sometimes targeted to the wrong keyword. Every page of my site has links to sections on Venice, Austria, and Switzerland, and I sometimes find ads for hotels in Venice or Vienna on a page about Munich or some other topic that has absolutely no connection to Venice or Vienna. To tell you the truth, I'd rather see a public-service ad for the German Red Cross on that Munich page--at least it would be relevant. :-)


 2:30 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

What's interesting about all this is that it never, ever occurred to me that Google would run out of ads! I foolishly thought that if I had a quality page with traffic that there would always be a "paying" ad displayed. But considering the sudden popularity of AdSense, and the general reluctance of advertisers to spend much on Internet ads anyway, I'm afraid we'll be seeing this much more frequently.

However, maybe Amazon's advertising technology will catch on in a big way and the world will rush to fill the queue with high-priced ads. :)


 2:50 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>the general reluctance of advertisers to spend much on Internet ads anyway<<

Where did you get this idea from beggars? Look at the increase in online ad spending in the past few years with OV, Adwords, other PPC's and affiliate merchant sign ups? To me the market is expanding fast.

Some topics just do not attract advertisers or at very low CPC. Any area where there is not a lot of money to be made will have very limited inventory. e,g a page about poverty or government, many political or current affairs news pages, a page about cats (just guessing), pages mostly viewed by children or "poor" people, personal pages. Now pages about casinos, prescription drugs, travel/hotels/vacations, computer security, maybe even some software, cars, or pop music - watch that Adsense revenue soar!

PS Im hopeful that adsense wont turn the web even more into a massive shopping mall where most content that is newly developed is related to those high-spending areas...


 3:00 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google most likely isn't running out of ads; it seems to be a glitch. I had none of my pages being targeted, I simply added a "?rand=[some random 4 digit number]" to the end of the URL, and it targets just fine.

Why it does this, I have no idea, but I'd be interested in hearing if this "fix" works for anyone else. I actually rewrote my entire site to add on a rand tag. Grr.


 4:35 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

We've been talking about this on [webmasterworld.com...]

My theory is that Google last week tweaked the algorithm to cut down on poorly targeted ads, and therefore banished pages it read as dealing with multiple topics, or generic content, into the PSA dungeon. I've noticed that sharply niche pages on my discussion sites get appropriately targeted ads immediately, while wide-ranging discussions get tagged with the PSAs.


 4:44 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I checked my sites this morning and this is the worse it's ever been. My revenue has dropped to virtually nothing (and I publish 30+ sites). I have PSA's on sites and pages that once had amazing targeting. It's kinda hard to make any money if Google isn't going to serve ads.

And frankly, I am a little perturbed about running all these "public service" announcements for free. Many of these organizations have larger promotional budgets that Fortune 500 companies.


 4:58 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I checked my sites this morning and this is the worse it's ever been. My revenue has dropped to virtually nothing (and I publish 30+ sites).

Thirty-plus sites? Maybe that's part of your problem. Are the sites relatively small? It may be that Google needs a certain critical mass of pages before it can determine appropriate defaults for pages that don't match a specific AdWords keyword. (Mind you, that's just speculation; it's impossible to know for certain if Google takes "site factors" as well as "page factors" into consideration.)

Also, have you checked Google's SERPs for keywords and keyphrases on which your pages rank high in search? Take a look and see how many AdWords are displaying on those search results. If you don't see many, that could explain why you aren't finding more targeted ads on your pages.


 5:06 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing the same thing today. On many pages for which I had lots of perfectly good ads yesterday -- suddenly there's nothing but public service ads today.

On other pages which had very well-targeted ads yesterday, I'm seeing wildly off-base ads today. I don't think Google has run out of ads. It looks to me like a glitch.


 6:53 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think its a technical problem why?
I'm seeing this on my site (see profile) for example

go to
www.website.com - you will see charity ads

go to
www.website.com/index.php (same page) - you will see a set of "proper" ads

this has only happened in the last 24 hours

so it looks like there is almost certainly something technically incorrect. I have e-mailed Google am waiting a response ..

[edited by: ct2000 at 7:17 pm (utc) on July 16, 2003]


 7:08 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Same thing here.
If I type in www.mysite.com/WIDGET.asp instead of www.mysite.com/widget.asp, it shows correct ads.

On google, I have about a lot of advertisers for may targeted keywords. So it is not a problem of low inventory but a technical glitch.


 7:11 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

may be worth checking your sites again because my "proper" ads have returned (.... is Google Guy watching the forum lol!) .. this is definitely one to keep an eye on...


 7:35 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I noticed a significant decrease in my earnings today, almost down by 60%, though the CTR and impressions remain the same.

As some mentioned above, I noticed PSA's on pages that displayed targeted ads before.


 8:05 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

We are noticing the same decline in revenue today. Ratio and clicks are the same, just less money. Someone at Google is tweaking something. Hope they cut it out and turn the system back to normal soon.


 3:25 pm on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

If I were Google, I might run a quality control test by switching to a "neutral" ad for a day. Sites where the clicks plunge would be considered quality sites while sites where the clicks are not affected would be considered low quality sites, or even sites where clickbots or frauds of some sort are at work.


 4:08 pm on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am not showing PSA's, but I still have major problems!

Many of the ads on my site I can tell are targeted at pages (or sites) of mine other than the one being viewed. Most of my pages are very "isolated" topic wise, and it's easy to see that the targeting is intended for other pages.

I have been seeing this for a while (over a week or two), but today the problem is much much worse.

My click-thru is next to nothing this morning.



 4:11 pm on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sites where the clicks plunge would be considered quality sites

Well, for better or worse, by that definition, I have a very high quality site.



 5:40 pm on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Peter, I've noticed the same. Ads that would be extremely appropriate on one page appear on other, far less appropriate pages. Whereas the "appropriate" page has inappropriate ads, or no ad at all.

Must say, I am surprised by all these ad-targeting problems I am seeing. I expected a lot more from Google. It makes me wonder if their search technology is also not all that it's cracked up to be.

(Not that I don't still adore Google. I just feel this has exposed a few previously unseen cracks in its pedestal.)


 7:49 pm on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just to add my own observations, after 22 days of very consistent returns, yesterday's earnings per clickthrough figure suddenly dropped by 50% (impressions and CTR were normal). I wasn't aware of a higher incidence of Those "Charity" Ads than normal, but it's quite possible this was what was happening.

Today it's gone back to the previous, higher, earnings per clickthrough level. Hooray!

I think mayor's ingenious theory above may well be correct. And if so, the Google Police will now have a list of suspects.


 9:38 pm on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)


My revenues were down quite a bit yesterday, too, despite normal levels of traffic and clickthroughs. And, like you, I'm doing better today for whatever reason.


 7:41 am on Jul 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

I did e-mail Google RE: the Public service Ads and they did seem to do/tweak something as my site is ok again now ... they did ask for a screen shot of any problem pages so if you need to contact Google it may be worth while doing a screen shot along with an e-mail ....

The Contractor

 12:39 pm on Jul 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Fairla: Peter, I've noticed the same. Ads that would be extremely appropriate on one page appear on other, far less appropriate pages. Whereas the "appropriate" page has inappropriate ads, or no ad at all.

Be careful of repeated text, titles, etc on every page or you will water-down the ability to target each page.

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