|sharing a site on Adsense |
can revenue from adsense on various pages be tracked separately?
bear with me, this is about adsense in the end ;)
one of the problems that i'm facing as an owner of a modestly popular website (not the one listed in my profile) is funding new content. over time an article can earn reasonable amount of cash to its author if you count ad revenue.
however, realistically, i'd have to front most of that money if i am to pay the author fairly. and recover revenue over time.
not only this is burdensome to my pocket, but also introduces level of uncertainty (what if article turns out unpopular?) which ultimately penalizes other authors and me.
so, what i'd like to do is pay authors based on the revenue their articles bring through adsense. for that to happen i'd need a way to figure out "adsense page performance".
and fundamentally thats my question, how can that be done?
there are couple of ways that i can see of doing it.
a) guesstimate $$ by looking at traffic report; probably simplest, but then not only inaccurate, but also somewhat unfair;
b) let authors create their own adsense accounts and timeshare adspece between their adsense and my adsense;
c) (ideally) let google manage subaccounts on a per-page basis. adsense currently can't do that, but may be some day.
i like the latter solution the best. but i don't think google has such functionality. may be i'm wrong? or maybe someone figured a better way to deal with this? i'd welcome any advice.
>>let authors create their own adsense accounts
Apart from anything else (the small point of whether you could do it), bear in mind that Google only pay when an account reaches $100.
My own view would be that Google would expect you do do your own internal accounting!
I think this is a really interesting idea. But first of all, all the authors will need to have a site approved to use their AdSense code, and AdSense might become suspicious if they begin receiving applications for various internal pages all from your domain name, with different payees.
Unfortunately, there is know way for you to know what pages generated clickthroughs.
All in all, I think this is a great idea, but unfortunately, it isn't too feasible :(
while its true that authors could pubblish their stuff on their own, chances are, ther amount of traffic they'd pull would be considerably less than what they would on an aggregated site. not to mention that in my case the site is well positioned and managed. why would an author want to get into web site management business if they don't have to? basically its a classic case of whole being worth more than parts.
adsense can help keep things honest, as well as hedge the risk of financing the content. there'd also be direct accountability for quality of content -> higher quality content -> higher quality site -> everybody wins.
i guess the only way to do it is internal accounting. for now anyways. but i'll keep thinking about it. if i come up with something, i'll let ya all know.
|while its true that authors could pubblish their stuff on their own, chances are, ther amount of traffic they'd pull would be considerably less than what they would on an aggregated site. |
As a former member of a "network of more than 500 sites," I can state categorically that an author-publisher who knows his stuff can do much better on his own.
|adsense can help keep things honest... |
That certainly would be a plus, and it would give authors more confidence.
I was thinking of something similar the other day. Although I have no interest in publishing other people's material, I can see how there might be an opportunity for a Web-savvy editor-publisher to add value to authors' content and split the proceeds with them. My idea was that, if AdSense offered tracking of individual pages, the publisher could easily determine how much each author had earned and pay an appropriate royalty.
Realistically, though, AdSense won't provide tracking of individual pages because it would add to the program's overhead and--perhaps more important--it would make it easier for commercial Webmasters with SEO skills to build ersatz "content sites" around pages with high-profit topics. So, if you want to get into the publish-and-pay-a-share-of-Adsense-revenue business, your best bet would be to determine total AdSense revenue, set aside a portion for the authors, and divvy up the kitty based on each author's percentage of total traffic. (This was how the Mining Co./About.com concept was supposed to work, interestingly enough, though it didn't work out that way.)
you are making a good point. but, i am not at all counting on adsense to provide the bulk of content for me. as i said, site is mine, i author majority of content (except for discussions, of course). what i am trying to do is give incentive for people to post tips and other auxillary info, and perhaps more actively participate in "please help me do this" types of forums. in other words, its not so much the foundation of business model as it is a supplement.
in such role, that adsense is a third party, is a great benefit.
i am not going to opt for collecting adsense revenue and then manually dividing it between authors. that would certainly make sense for a content warehouse, but my site isnt that. that would add to my accounting responsibilities, and i dont want that.
what i'm thinking (_very_ tentatively) is include in user registration optional adsense account name. then, each post/tip would show poster's adsense ad. i find that every little bit of incentive helps. there are numbers of overseas experts that would find $50/mo (or more, a realistic amount to earn via adsense) very helpful addition to family budget.
another thing i'm considering is giving folks the choice to either take the money (i.e. include their own adsense account) or donate to the site or to a charity of their (or my) choice. but this is kind of making things way too complicated, so i don't like that too much.
another idea is register accounts to my site, in the following fashion:
the software on my site pretty much automatically creates such emails. so i could create and manage adsense accounts for eligible users, but populate their address info instead of mine so that when time comes to receive dough, money goes to them, not me. is this even legal? can't see why not, but ToS can be complicated.
i dont know much about about.com (sorry for the pun ;) but know that google's own answer service is doing well enough.
lastly, all you good folks are seasones saulted seawoves in this business. would you estimate that such move will be a positive development for community, or can it cause some unwanted negative consequences? please speak up even if you think chances of that are remote.
thank you very much in advance for any advice you might offer,
ps. sorry if this discussion digressed too far from topic.
|what i'm thinking (_very_ tentatively) is include in user registration optional adsense account name. then, each post/tip would show poster's adsense ad. |
That's an interesting and very clever idea. I can see only one very minor problem with it, and that's the question of what would happen if Google tightened up its rules on the use of AdSense code. Your users with AdSense accounts might then find that their code couldn't be used on sites other than their own approved sites, which would mean they'd no longer receive payment for their posts and tips on your site.
Currently the only realistic way I can see is to run adsesne only on one article for a day when it is published first, and fill all others with different ad systems. Then you have sort of performance statsfor that article which afterwards you use to calculate it's profit share.
It's very wobbly though due to the low traffic on a single page and teh inaccuracies involved.
|That's an interesting and very clever idea. I can see only one very minor problem with it, and that's the question of what would happen if Google tightened up its rules on the use of AdSense code. Your users with AdSense accounts might then find that their code couldn't be used on sites other than their own approved sites, which would mean they'd no longer receive payment for their posts and tips on your site. |
very good point. didnt think about that.
how about this. i can set up websites for each of eligible authors:
and fill them with their own info, resume, AND posts/tips from my main site. then they will have a site to be approved by adsense against their email@example.com email. it will take some tweaking to set up their mailbox such that its integrated with the discussion database, but it should be doable. such integrated solution might work. what am i missing?
thank you europeforvisitors for good ideas!
|so, what i'd like to do is pay authors based on the revenue their articles bring through adsense. for that to happen i'd need a way to figure out "adsense page performance". |
and fundamentally thats my question, how can that be done?
pardon me being blatant but this is totally unrealistic and almost naive to expect google to solve this problem. it is you, as the publisher, who needs to rewared authors on the individual basis and has to find ways to find out performance (simple stupid web stats could help). AdSense will never ever neither solve nor address this problem.
Also, I as AdSense user do not want that Google does it: it would slow down servers...
In the off line world - eg magazines, journals, newspapers, contributors are paid by negotiated contract. In that field its almost impossible to "pay by ad performance" but is a subjective call, based on author's reputation, number of words, quality criteria, and at a long stretch things like reader feedback, and other criteria which may impact on revenue - subscription or ad.
We have a very simple system for contributing columnists on our web site now. Basically they get 35% of average revenue for an Adsense page site wide by the number of hits to their column pages, from the access logs. We trust them not to continually reload their pages (we could check the IP's if things look suspicious) and clicking does not increases their payment. We will do this monthly.
Its very rough but to us has the right mix of admin simplicity and fairness. We are very sure that our best CPC comes from our travel pages (which we do in-house), not our business analysis/economic/research columns so its a way of giving something back to our contributors without breaking the budget.
|In the off line world - eg magazines, journals, newspapers, contributors are paid by negotiated contract. In that field its almost impossible to "pay by ad performance" but is a subjective call, based on author's reputation, number of words, quality criteria, and at a long stretch things like reader feedback, and other criteria which may impact on revenue - subscription or ad. |
True, but the Web offers the theoretical possibility of paying royalties on revenues generated by online articles and other short material, just as print publishers pay royalties on book sales. Of course, that doesn't mean it's Google's job to help publishers calculate royalties. (It obviously isn't, unless Google wants to supply such information as a value-added service to publishers who are willing to pay for it.)
yes. And a broader problem i have as one from a traditional publishing background who tries not to be bound by "old print models" but looks for both the unique new capabilities of this new media PLUS common principles that have guided publishing in any media (print, broadcast etc) for years, I wonder how far we can afford for editorial payments to be driven by ad revenue.
Of course there are different models. All media has a different mix of revenue from subscription to ad revenue to other methods. But never in my old publishing jobs have we paid contributors based on ad revenue, nor subscription revenue, nor overall contribution to revenue, though of course a magazine in the portfolio that is attracting more revenue than others may have a higher budget to pay authors/contributors.
One problem with tying payments too strictly to ad revenue is you may find authors becoming more commercial and in the most blatant terms writing about viagra, travel, disk recovery and so on. In the end your publication will lose all credibility.
The issue of how much your sponsors/advertisers affect your editorial decisions is always a big one in publishing. In some mags, such as bridal mags, photpgraphy mags, etc it is less of a concern as many buy these magazines to a large extent because of the ads! but lets say the guardian, Times, NYT or washington post go to great lengths to ensure editorial independence.
I'd also encourage you to run the idea .. (of compensating sub-authors/contributors bassed in part on adsense revenue) .. past the Adsense people .. This might be in the grey area of what they would consider "incentivized" application .. we all know how touchy they are about even the hint of impropriety in the ad-clicking department.
I'm personally really hopeful that they'd OK it .. as I've been thunking up some sites along similar lines ever since my first "woo hoo" day with adsense.
Just worrysome that there might be a perceived "incentive" by adsense team .. for example a site with say 10 sub-authors who each share in revenue .. with their share based on traffic to their pages .. might set off alarm bells at adsense central.
All it takes is one enthusiastic sub-author to start clicking away on ads in the belief that "ooh it's makin' me money" .. and we all know how predicatable human nature can be .. given a large enough sample size ;)
>>one enthusiastic sub-author to start clicking away on ads<<
Our answer to this was to email all authors and staff prohibiting them from clicking on any ads site-wide, and letting them know gently that these things can be much easily tracked than they may think!) the moment we started using Adsense.
Pro-activity IS important.
|One problem with tying payments too strictly to ad revenue is you may find authors becoming more commercial and in the most blatant terms writing about viagra, travel, disk recovery and so on. In the end your publication will lose all credibility. |
Well, your publication deserves to lose credibility if it doesn't have any editors to make editorial decisions. :-) How many publications let their freelance authors plan the editorial calendar?
|The issue of how much your sponsors/advertisers affect your editorial decisions is always a big one in publishing. In some mags, such as bridal mags, photpgraphy mags, etc it is less of a concern as many buy these magazines to a large extent because of the ads! but lets say the guardian, Times, NYT or washington post go to great lengths to ensure editorial independence. |
Yes and no. The travel editor of THE NEW YORK TIMES or THE WASHINGTON POST might not decide to run an article on Seabourn Cruises because Seabourn has bought an ad, but he or she will run articles on cruises because the newspaper's travel section has an annual cruise issue that's supported by ads from cruise lines. So commercial considerations do come into play, at least in the feature sections.
In any case, paying authors royalties on their articles' revenues wouldn't have to mean compromising editorial integrity. Why? Because the authors wouldn't be making the editorial decisions. A greater risk, IMHO, is that the editor might start assigning articles based on advertising considerations. Even without detailed page-by-page reporting by AdSense, it doesn't take a genius to realize that a travel article about Paris, France will generate higher clickthrough payments than a travel article about Imboden, Arkansas...or that an article about impotence or hair loss will earn more revenue than an article about poison ivy.
Disclaimer: I'm not advocating revenue-based royalties for freelance contributors. But I can see how they might be appealing for both Web publications and authors, since they'd reduce the upfront risk for the publication while giving the authors a chance to collect residuals for the life of their work.
wait a tick, folks. all of a sudden we are talking big media, but my site is anything but that. its a niche site with info on and around a particular technology. with discussions and tips and some articles.
let me re-iterate: i am not planning to make adsense the primary or the only method for compensating authors. that would be too ambitious, i think.
all i'm trying to do is incentivize active forums members and active tips posters for sharing their knowledge. even more i hope to get more ppl participate on the answering end of "help me" forums. i cant see conflict of interest in this scenario, especially with adsense being a third party.
think of it this way, wouldnt it be nice if you'd be compensated for posting on WW?
thank you all for sharing you opinions, clearly there are issues to overcome. not the least of them is adsense's concent to be used in such a way.
i disagree with PolishGuy:
|...this is totally unrealistic and almost naive to expect google to solve this problem. it is you, as the publisher, who needs to rewared authors on the individual basis and has to find ways to find out performance (simple stupid web stats could help). AdSense will never ever neither solve nor address this problem. |
that may be so, but why is it unrealistic for me to expect that google would solve this problem? they sell search, why can't they sell accounting services?!
I think it would be great if we could have several sub-codes to integrate into our pages or sites. It would help figure out the sub-topic of the site that brings in the most revenue.
I think it is funny that one click can give you twenty times as much as a $0.03 click. Eventually, as the program matures, I am sure we will see improvements in reporting. As a last result, you can use the logs and find out, the number of times that page was visited and give the authors a percentage of that.
Your site makes $300.00 in revenue during July. You decide to split the revenue 50/50 with the authors.
Article 1 by John received 2,500 hits or 2.5% of pageviews
Article 2 by Mike received 5,000 hits or 5% of pageviews
Articles 3,4,5...20 by you and the rest of the site received 92.5% of the pageviews.
John gets $300 X 50% X 2.5% = $3.75
Mike gets $300 X 50% X 5% = $7.50
|that may be so, but why is it unrealistic for me to expect that google would solve this problem? they sell search, why can't they sell accounting services?! |
Well, Starbucks sells coffee, but it doesn't sell brokerage services, and I doubt if it wants to. The same thing may apply here. Just because Google could provide page-by-page accounting to publishers doesn't mean it wants to be (or should be) in that business.
yes thats exactly how we are doing it loanuniverse.
i am not disagreeing with you, i just didn't particulary agree with a strong "it will never happen" statement by PolishGuy. it may not, but it might.