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Seeing my Competitors Ads in Adsense
why i don't like adsense
webdevsf

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 5:57 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

As a publisher, adsense posts ads for "similar" websites. It should be posting ads for "complimentary" but different websites. Else we are all stuck seeing our competitors ads on our sites.

Ie, if I am a site that has info on classic automobiles, the ads that run should NOT be for sites that also have info on classic automobiles, but instead, should be on sites that people who are interested in classic automobiles would like, but in a different category.

For instance, it would show ads for parts for your classic automobiles, or a classic auto fair, etc.

Google's solution to this is that you can block certain domains. This is really bad because your competition will have a million domains (if its a particularly competitve field) and it will take forever to block those domains.

Further, your user base may not know that these other sites even exist. So even if you do block, you may lose loyal and lucrative users once they discover that there are other sites who do the exact same thing you do.

So the "after-the-fact" blocking is unsatisfactory to me, which is why I won't use adsense on my site.

 

Imaster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 6:01 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Perhaps you have been rejected by them. Is that why you hate them all the more?

As a publisher, adsense posts ads for "similar" websites. It should be posting ads for "complimentary" but different websites. Else we are all stuck seeing our competitors ads on our sites.

Perhaps, but the current targetting makes as much sense. Perhaps, you are losing more surfers to those sites, so I guess you want that feature.

Lastly, if you don't want to use Adsense you are losing out on a huge share of revenue :(

[edited by: Imaster at 6:06 pm (utc) on July 29, 2003]

korkus2000

WebmasterWorld Senior Member korkus2000 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 6:03 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

So what if they go to a competitor? Are you selling something? They are paying to leave. I am confused. If you are selling something then why do you have adsense at all?

webdevsf

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 6:03 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Nope, not rejected. Accepted actually, in a few hours. Great customer service! :) Poor product. :(

webdevsf

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 6:06 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Imagine webmasterworld started putting adsense on. Ads for other SE forums (that I will not mention) start appearing here. Users with posts of several hundreds and thousands click thru to those ads and finds a new resource to do exactly the same thing as ww does.

I'm sure Brett is a generous guy and all, but does he want to give his users to his competition?

Yes, we are selling stuff, but mostly, we are trying to make money. Many sites (such as Ebay) sell things, but also sell ads. The idea is not to sell directly competing ads, but complimentary ones.

Adsense is inadequate in this respect.

rcjordan

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



 
Msg#: 239 posted 6:07 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

BTW, I'm running adsense on my travel sites and bookings are holding steady or slightly up.

[webmasterworld.com...]

>we are trying to make money

I roughly doubled the income of those pages.

glengara

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 6:22 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

*I'm sure Brett is a generous guy and all, but does he want to give his users to his competition?*

If I were Brett, I'd be confident enough to show my competition ;-)

Jenstar

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



 
Msg#: 239 posted 6:33 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I said in another recent thread, if you are worried about AdSense sending people to your competitors, AdSense probably isn't the program for you.

Most commercial sites these days have some content that is not there specifically to sell to the customer. It is good customer service, it is good spider food, and it makes your visitors stick around longer.

I think once you try to show complimentary ads, it opens up a whole new can of worms. If your site is on Ford, AdSense might think GM is complimentary, while you think no cars at all are complimentary, but they should be showing ads for car parts or insurance instead. I sure wouldn't like to be doing AdSense support if they did this, because I am sure they would become overwhelmed with those who are complaining that their ads are not complimentary enough, or too complimentary.

Lastly, if you are providing everything your visitors need on your site, you shouldn't have to worry about them heading off to greener pastures. If competitors have something you are lacking, now might be a good time to introduce it :)

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 239 posted 7:00 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

If you're a publisher of an information site, you don't have "competitors" in the same way that an e-commerce marketer does, because a person who visits an information site and then visits another site doesn't represent a lost sale. What's more, you can't keep your users from discovering that your "competitors" exist, so why not take your money from your "competitors" if they're foolish enough to spend money on PPC ads?

In any case, smart publishers don't worry that other publishers will nibble at their piece of the pie. They help to create a bigger pie instead. For example, there are several very successful homegrown digital-photography sites that link to each other's reviews quite often--sometimes even from their home pages. In doing so, they've made their sites the leading destinations for people who want information on digital photography.

The Web was built on hypertext linking. Google knows that, and its PageRank algorithm is a reflection of the organic and interconnected nature of the Web. So why would you expect Google's AdSense networhk to be designed for publishers who are afraid or unwilling to respect the Web's fundamental principles?

Imaster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 7:06 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

*I'm sure Brett is a generous guy and all, but does he want to give his users to his competition?*

I think the little slogan "Thanks for keeping
us banner free" on the top-right gives the game away ;)

martinibuster

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



 
Msg#: 239 posted 7:17 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think webdevsf brings up an interesting point.

I have been studying the adsense algo, as an advertiser looking for new places to slip my ads into, and I have noticed some strange behaviour from the Applied Semantics algo.

I have seen cases where it correctly analyzed it's environment, but incorrectly pinpointed the "environment" as the context- instead of pinpointing the "topic" within the environment.

What I understand webdevsf to be complaining about is, instead of identifying the topic of his site and serving mutually compatible ads, the algo is identifying the context, and serving ads for contextually similar sites- instead of topically similar ads.

So, if you have a web site about cookies, a relevant ad would be for a Milk web site. But the algo is serving up ads for other cookies web sites.

I used a freebie email service the other day. AdSense was serving ads within their email interface- which contained banner ads. Guess what AdSense displayed? Ads for banner ad rotation software.

The algo identified the context in which it was being shown (a banner ad delivery user interface), but incorrectly identified the topic.

What webdevsf is pointing to may be a genuine flaw in the system.

glengara

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 7:33 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

G doesn't do themes yet ;-)

martinibuster

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



 
Msg#: 239 posted 7:36 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

G doesn't do themes yet ;-)

Tongue in cheek. Yup. Ok. Got it.

OTHOH, AdSense isn't G. It's Applied Semantics. A different system.

AS uses a system it calls Conceptual Information Retrieval and Communication Architecture (CIRCA).

"At the heart of the strategy behind CIRCA rests the idea of finding connections between things that are related to one another."

There's a Technology Whitepaper [appliedsemantics.com] (pdf) available, too. It's a good read.

cramalot

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 7:56 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

europe - Percisely right I think. Usually what happens with these informational sites such as mine is:

When a page is viewed the visitor like/dislikes what he or she sees and reads. If the visitor wishes to leave, I may as well make some money if they do. If it is to a compeditor so be it.

Not everyone who comes to my site, especially through a search engines, finds exactly what they were looking for. By offering them alternitives, it just make us all the more valuable.

Only a small percentage of visitors click through anyway. This is a small ammount of traffic really compared to the huge percentage that is left to browse and buy from our commercial areas. The larger percentage who come to our site and find what they were looking for and more. They hang around and tell friends about us, purchased goods from us and so on. The small percentage who left our site probably wasn't finding what they were looking for anyway, but at least I had the chance to make some money in the meantime giving us more financial strength at the cost of my compeditors.

If you think that a vistor only knows that your site is the only one, think again. All someone has to do is go to google and do a search. That is it. If your visitors do not find what they are looking for our your site, guess what, they will search out other sites (your compeditors) until they do. They don't care about you unless you have something of value and when they extract the value from your site, they move on to somebody else that will fill their needs.

We see more and more compeditors linking to content on our site. Why? Because they believe that the content to be of great value to their visitors. Whether it be a link or they show a complete article, our compeditors know that there is two basic rules that outweighs the negative side of telling a visitor about their compeditor. That the rule of click/view percentage, and the rule of valued recomendation.

The rule of click/view percentage states: Not every visitor will click over to the compeditors site. The average is about 15% on most articles. The other 85% can be retainedand directed into other parts of the site.

The rule of valued recomendation: Who is of greater value, the compeditor or the one who recommended them?

Here is something else to think about. Where would Coke be without Pepsi. Having competition really creates more awareness of brand. If Coke had no compeditors, people would probably drink something else like juice, milk, water, and so on. So if Pepsi advertises on TV, it creates awareness of the soft drink industry and when a consumer goes to buy they actually see a choice right in front of them! Coke on one side of the cooler or Pepsi on the other. Pepsi's advertisements help Coke, Coke's ads help Pepsi.

[edited by: cramalot at 10:02 pm (utc) on July 29, 2003]

glengara

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 8:00 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Reads awfully like theming to me ;-)

cornwall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 10:09 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>you may lose loyal and lucrative users once they discover that there are other sites who do the exact same thing you do <<

May seem a silly question, but have you considered improving your site so that it offers more than your competitors.

In the rough and tumble of the market place, it is competition that has improved products down the ages.

Perhaps AdSense will do that to web sites now. Adapt to survive!

webdevsf

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 10:15 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

It strikes me that cramalot and europeforvisitors are trying to turn a bug into a feature here.

It may be great for you to have your competitors ads on your site. But not all of us want that. And we are not all "pure" informational sites. And you can't find everything in the world on google, despite the hype. If you could, ww wouldn't be so popular. :)

Overture is supposed to be launching a similar product soon - a friend of mine in the know tells me it is more promising than adsense (and hopefully addresses this issue).

Adsense was supposed to make it easy for me to host ads on my site. I don't have to negotiate contracts, guarantee traffic, etc. But in order to do that, it has to be able to support most of the features i would require if i did this manually. And no way would i be putting my competitors ads on my site. Or even letting my users know they exist.

webdevsf

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 10:17 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

cornwall - it is a silly question. Of course i improve my site all the time. But that takes time and money. And I can't do everything at once. And even if i did, and had the most perfect site out there, I still wouldn't put my competitors ads on my site.

Visit Thailand

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 10:36 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

And you can't find everything in the world on google, despite the hype. If you could, ww wouldn't be so popular.

Most things can be found on Google eventually, and ww cannot be compared as it is a community which brings together all those things we are each trying to share and learn from.

I agree with what is stated above in that one should have confidence in ones site and that Adsense can even make your site look more attractive but can also understand why some people do not want it or see it as a threat.

We have added it to one of our sites and are v pleased with the results we may have lost one or two sales but I do not really think so.

killroy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 11:00 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, sounds like adsense might not be for you.

In my case, I have a large local informational site with strong international SERP presence. As a result I get a huge percentage of visitors whom I cannot serve, simply because they are from a different locallity. Thanks to AdSense I can now Point them to a valuable resource (thanks to geo targeting) and perhaps make some money form these out-of-market visitors.

SN

cramalot

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 11:10 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>you may lose loyal and lucrative users once they discover that there are other sites who do the exact same thing you do <<

If they are 'loyal' why worry.

I really think that is kinda stupid to think that all your visitors don't know of other kinds of sites besides yours.

'other sites who do the exact same thing you do'

If you are doing the exact same thing as your compeditors, what advantage do you have above them? None. This is probably your biggest mistake. If you are not unique against your compeditors then you have much more to worry about than an ad on your site.

You see, I need not worry about my compeditors since that I have created my business and brand in a different Category than others. Even if it is the same industry, I created a new category which automatically gives me the advantage because of the uniqueness. Even if they try to move into my category they will saturate their own brand (spanning across their own and mine) and also find it hard to overtake my business because I can alway claim title as the first and the original. Call it smart business if you will. I call it eliminating the competition immediately!

chiyo

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



 
Msg#: 239 posted 11:18 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Any product or service will "suck" if it is used for a purpose it was not designed for.

Coke is great for refreshing you, but "sucks" as a way to get drunk...

Just because you were accepted as a publisher does not necessarilly mean google is sayig it will work. I guess they are just saying thats it's OK to "suck it and see" as even we are not sure exactly what synergies there are with diff pages and sites.

Some other ad servers use other methods of selecting ads for your pages. Sprinks is one, which i think is based on a system of choosing various "keywords" of ads to be displayed. Would OV Content match have this facility as well? And i know that with some banner exchange systems i used over 8 years ago you could choose categories of ads.

To me adsense seems designed to quickly, cheaply and efficiently serve related ads to a broad mass of "clients". Thats what makes it administratively cheap with good returns for advertiser, publisher, and server.

If you want further control there are other solutions, but for that control there are costs - reflected in high min page view requirements, and things like less commissions etc.

RobbieD

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 11:31 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

If it sucks don't use it. We don't think it sucks so we use it.

Jenstar

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



 
Msg#: 239 posted 11:42 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think that sums it up quite nicely RobbieD :)

Everything needs to be put into perspective. What is more important - keeping your visitors from knowing there are alternatives? Or earning an income by serving AdSense? The vast majority of sites that are purely content without a commercial aspect to it will choose AdSense. This will help pay for hosting, bandwidth, and hopefully, a nice tidy income as well.

I agree, I am sure your visitors are aware of other sites out there, but if they are repeat visitors, they have already chosen your site for a reason, and unless you do something to royally tick them off, or one of your competitor's is that much more superior, they will continue to come back to your site. End of story.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 239 posted 12:39 am on Jul 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

It strikes me that cramalot and europeforvisitors are trying to turn a bug into a feature here.

What bug? Except for goofy targeting now and then (e.g., ads for ATM equipment and supplies in a consumer article on ATMs), AdSense does exactly what it was designed to do: It delivers ads for commercial businesses on content publishers' sites. If you're in the business of selling goods or services and don't want competitors' ads on your site, then you shouldn't be using AdSense. It wasn't designed for you.

Overture is supposed to be launching a similar product soon - a friend of mine in the know tells me it is more promising than adsense (and hopefully addresses this issue).

I doubt very much that Overture has the ability to compete with AdSense at the "page-targeted" level. (At least, not yet, although it should be able to play catch-up if enough FAST and AltaVista programmers are put to work.) Overture's recently announced Content Match program is quite different from AdSense, and it's geared toward large corporate publishers rather than niche publishers. For more on the program, see Danny Sullivan's SEARCH ENGINE WATCH article at:

[searchenginewatch.com...]

kpaul

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 1:41 am on Jul 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

cornwall - it is a silly question. Of course i improve my site all the time. But that takes time and money. And I can't do everything at once. And even if i did, and had the most perfect site out there, I still wouldn't put my competitors ads on my site

a lot of old school business people are also appalled by the concept. on my blogs, i link to competitors in the text of copy as a value added resource for my visitors. my thinking is that they'll come to know my site about widgets as the authoritative place (jumping off point) for the greater web. Then (if all goes well) a community of widget minded people is formed around that resource.

The web is about linking. They're gonna most likely find the other sites anyway, so why not be that resource for them? Just make sure you have the better product.

In the longrun, imho, the sites that embrace (relevant) linking (if even to a competitor) are the ones who will survive.

In the states we have an insurance company (WidgetInsurance) that prides itself on offering the rates to all their competitors before you sign-up. They're not always the lowest, but a lot of people go to them first if they're looking to save money. Brand loyalty.

I don't know. I'm ramblin'... Been a very long day/week/year...

I'm sure adsense will improve as other 'similar products' hit the market.

That's my two widgets, anyway...

cyberprosper

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 1:43 pm on Jul 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

nobody use Adsense! They "suck"!

I think if fewer webmasters use it, I will make more money! I love adsense. I just hope this windfall continues.

ssjxxx

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 9:21 am on Jul 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google's solution to this is that you can block certain domains. This is really bad because your competition will have a million domains (if its a particularly competitve field) and it will take forever to block those domains.

I put the AdSense ads on my girlfriend's web site. She is a Realtor. The first thing that we noticed was that most of the ads that appeared were for other Realtors. This was bad. So I filtered them out. After entering about 40 domains, I've almost gotten all of them out.

But this is definitely not a good solution. I have no way of knowing if the filtered domains are stale. In other words, that particular advertiser might have left AdWords altogether, but I'll never know.

Also, we are limited to 200 filtered domains. I'm already 20% of the way through my 200. What will I do when I hit that brick wall?

Denis at eVR

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 11:02 am on Jul 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

Why is it bad that the ads are for other realtors? If I search for a real estate site and land on yours, why would you expect me to click on an ad for a competitor's site and move off your site before I had seen what you have to offer?

This goes back to what others have said - linking between competitors is not in itself a no-no. If you have the content and the presentation to provide what your visitor is looking for, he will 'stick'.

I'm in a completely different sector (travel industry), but the competitiveness is broadly similar. I don't have any hesitation in offering my site visitors the chance to see what my competitors can provide, hopefully after they have done the business on my site.

After a month of Adsense, and with my main competitors' ads on top of all my frontline pages, I don't see any deterioration at all in business off my websites, but I do see an immense increase in my bank balance.

Think positive!

cornwall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 239 posted 11:21 am on Jul 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>I'm in a completely different sector (travel industry), but the competitiveness is broadly similar. I don't have any hesitation in offering my site visitors the chance to see what my competitors can provide, hopefully after they have done the business on my site.

I'll run with you on that one, Denis. Assuming that it is villa rentals that you are in, I checked out your site, and see what you are doing and what ads are served.

If you have a good product, competition never harms you. It makes you improve your own product and keeps you ahead of the game.

With my own sites over the years, I have set up sites that compete with my other of my own sites. Gives the customer choice, and if you are offering the best value for money (note I do not say lowest price) then they will buy the product or service from you.

This 45 message thread spans 2 pages: 45 ( [1] 2 > >
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