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Related Searches
This feature will be suspended until publishers have more options

 8:13 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hey everyone, I just wanted to give you an update on the new features in AdSense. Last night we released a number of new features for Google AdSense publishers. We introduced color palettes to give the ability to customize the appearance of ads, daily averages on reports, more detailed feedback forms on 'Ads by Google', and related searches. Feedback on most of these features has been extremely positive.

A number of AdSense publishers did express concern about the related searches feature. As a result of this feedback, we decided to temporarily disable this feature. We will soon re-release this feature with greater flexibility for the publishers. I don't know if this will be opt-in or opt-out, but I believe publishers will be able to turn off the feature if they don't want to use it. I'm confident that this approach will effectively meet the needs of publishers that want to try this new feature and publishers who would rather not use it. I talked to an AdSense engineer a few minutes ago, and this change is scheduled to happen very soon (probably later today).

As always, we appreciate feedback, whether it shows up here or via direct emails to us. I'll be stopping by this thread off and on today to try to answer any questions that people have, and I'll post an update if I find out any more useful info.



 8:45 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Congrats for the rollback Google, i.e. no related searches forced.

I'm getting PSA instead of blanks. Even though the PSA are not very specific, they are better than blanks.

The other upgraded reports are good, averages, etc. Just getting better and better. Some geo info for impressions and click-throughs would be good.

[edited by: GrantNZ at 9:15 pm (utc) on Aug. 7, 2003]


 8:46 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think the "blank space is brought to you by Google" is also gone now too. I can't find it on any of my pages, even the new ones. I am showing all charity ads again. I last saw one when the related searches was still running.

Can anyone confirm that they still have the "blank space is brought to you by Google" on their site? Or did this (hopefully!) go the way of related searches?


 8:47 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Great! Wonderful :)

Thanks GoogleGuy... this update was very much required.. and I am sure you will have access to more detailed stats than us and those stats must have showed the same too.. as most publishere had seen drop in the income .... But I am sure removal of "related searches" will help a lot in restoring loyalty for google.

but I believe publishers will be able to turn off the feature if they don't want to use it.

I hope this won't be associated with any penalty or less payouts.. I am sure Google won't do anything like less payouts or penalty if suchs links are not there.. but am still little worried.

Again... thanks a lot for such quick action.. it is generally very rare to see a big company like Google to respond within such a short time frame... but well that is one of the reason behind Google's success..

Keep up the great work (both Google & GoogleGuy)



 8:49 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

"I just did the post--the AdSense folks did the hard work to make sure we responded quickly to the initial feedback. Our goal is to get everything right from the get-go every time, but I appreciate that our users and customers tell us when they think we could do better. Thanks to everyone for the feedback!"

They are off our sites -- thanks.

Everyone makes mistakes. It's how you handle them that makes all the difference. Bravo!

Suggestion: To avoid this in the future, why not have an advisory group of webmasters who beta test ideas like this before they get launched to everyone? I suspect this would have avoided this issue.

Audri Lanford

Alternative Future

 8:49 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Bravo to the GoogleTeam... :)

Optional sounds good! Even with a reward for actual clicks would be nice ;-)



 8:51 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

As one of the grumblers, I too say THANK YOU!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to put some code back ...


 8:53 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks Google, it's much appreciated.

I really believe the solution for this "related searches" is to cut the publishers in for a piece of the action. Think of it as an affiliate program, where we drive more traffic to Google searches and can share in the revenue when people click Adwords on your site. That would be the kind of win-win-win that Google has based its reputation on.

If you had gone that route, it would have totally changed the nature of everyone's opinion on it, and start all kinds of conversations about whether we'd prefer text ads or related searches as a way to make more revenue.


 8:55 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Great to see Google listens.

On the blank space issue, I think publishers should be given the ability to set a defualt ad or picture if no ads are returned. This would make publishers not have a blank space.

I would also like the ability to choose PSAs. I know what my audience would be interested in with a PSA or charity. I would like to help causes and target them.


 8:56 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Even with a reward for actual clicks would be nice ;-)

Oooh! Like earning clicks for one of those snazzy Google Bean Bag Chairs :) Or even one of those Make it a Double Latte Google mugs, I've been wanting one of those ;)


 8:57 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I applaud google for taking steps to correct this issue, but let's not let them off the hook so easily. Since when did disrespecting common ethical standards start to be such the norm? Just because everybody else screws us a little harder, does not mean Google did not try to screw us with their "enhancement."

This did not pass the smell test. An apology would be better than any excuses. I HATE it when companies( and people) do this sort of thing.


 9:00 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm not completely against have the 'related search' links on the ads - although it did have the potential for a major drop in CTR ...

My biggest concern is this:

I run a help/support site for a specialized software utility - and while the related search links were generally pretty content specific - they kept linking to "cracks" for that particular program. To me, that is very bad.

Perhaps we could have the option to filter certain keywords or search results - similar to filtering ads from certain sites.

"Cracks" - could be related to something like home foundation repair, skin care products, etc. So, I can't say that filtering that work altogether would be a good idea - but on a per-site basis it could be very useful ... any site that deals with software - "cracks" will only link to sites that promote pirated software (which is strictly against my site's terms of service).

That, and that alone, is my biggest concern about these search links - and could potentially be fatal for the success of my website (since linking to such content is against the TOS of my hosting provider as well).



 9:03 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

wow, Pookster... I did not even think of that. That would be REALLY bad. I am afraid to see what "related searches" they have come up with on my health web site.


 9:03 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)


You are wrong, Google has nothing to apologize for. They changed the way the ads were shown as it is their right. We did not like it. They changed it back.

I am amazed at the speed of the response. I have only been selling ads in my site since 3/15/03 and I would never have expected an ad-network to respond this fast.


 9:06 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

My opinion (using skyscrapers):

- related searches in the small line below: I can live with it, actually gave me an idea of the keywords the spider picked up on the site (which the reporting shoudl do IMHO). OTOH, if I wanted to send traffic to google on those subjects the URL isn't that hard to construct.

- related searches instead of missing ads: no way I'll ever like it.

Thanks for turning it off till it can be deployed in a more controlled fashion!



 9:06 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

sorry if it's a stupid question, but anyway:

- what's a PSA?



 9:08 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

PSA = Public Service Announcement [webmasterworld.com]


 9:08 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I hope this won't be associated with any penalty or less payouts.. I am sure Google won't do anything like less payouts or penalty if suchs links are not there.. but am still little worried.

little worried is good, but worrit a lot is better.

I am a lot worried that this switching off decision to be taken by publishers will be penalized somehow by Google.....


 9:09 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I said it in the other forums and I will say it again...

GG will see that this is a huge issue and will let the others know and they will listen to the webmasters and publishers.

Remember, Google is a different kind of company. :)

I'd like to see Y! or MSN do this kind of thing after some feedback!

Very Impressed. Not surprised.


 9:13 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well done Google! You really are a class act.

Setting new standards in the industry, not only in your technology, but in your business relationships too.

Karma works.


 9:15 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am a lot worried that this switching off decision to be taken by publishers will be penalized somehow by Google.....

lol.. Na I don't think google will give out less payout or penalty for opting out for those "related searches".. after all they want to maintain their reputation and doing so won't be the right road.. Remember what I said earlier... Google People are smart and want to keep good relations with webmaster & publishers community



 9:16 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks Korkus.. i still don't get it though... is it like "don't drink and drive" and "cigarette smoking is dangerous"?

I did see the empty space thing, thought it was an alternative Google commercial until i saw the threads. Well, nice that it's changed though, such ads makes me think that the webmaster should put up some content in stead.


Added: I'll just add another "me too" that this is some level of responsiveness. I don't use AdSense yet but i do watch the threads just-in-case. You don't really see such responiveness anywhere these days. Nice :)

[edited by: claus at 9:21 pm (utc) on Aug. 7, 2003]


 9:18 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

By the way: could GoogleGuy fix by the way the issue of fraudulant clicks? They should be not possible technically: a technical solution should not charge/award clicks clicked more than once from the same IP. It is not fair that Google drops/dumps people who did nothing (but whose competition caused fradulant clicks)...


 9:19 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

PSA's in this case are more like links to the American Cancer Society or habitat for humanity. Goodwill type organizations.

Denis at eVR

 9:22 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Wow - what a result! Google, you're amazing!


 9:24 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I hope this won't be associated with any penalty or less payouts..

I have the same wish. Glad to see Google is listening our voice and took the positive move. Though it hurt the feeling a little bit in the past 12 hours and it would make us have the second thought, hope today's quick action could help us to re-establish confidence and loyalty to Google.

Still some pending issues there:

1) Any other option to those PSAs? I would recommend that Google could load our own designed default banners/ads with the required size if no targeted ads would be found/matched. It should be difficult to do so.

2) Any future guidance to avoid the "fraudulent clicks/impressions"? Some of us felt a little confusion to Google's fraudulent detecting system.

3) Any proposed payout rate change?

4) It looks the second Google's pay day is coming. Any schedule to collect tax ID? When would the alternative payment method be available?

Thanks for your time and consideration.


 9:25 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

By the way: I don't mind the blank page by Google instead of PSAs. Please let me have this possibility as an option!

(I found it funny)

but "Related Searches" are big no of course.


 9:25 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well said Polishguy.


 9:26 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have no further qualm with google and have reinstated all the links and ads I had removed.

Suggestions (none are deal makers or breakers):

Make the opt in/out a variable in the javascript, not a sitewide setting. That way on some pages in which the related searches are relevant they can be used.

This is not the case in any of my sites but is still something others will like.

The option to serve default text ads (in a way that is obviously not Google's ads so Google doesn't have to worry about quality control) would make this Ad Service almost perfect (and I have high standards for the use of that word).

In any case, thank you for reconsidering. I love AdSense and am redesigning my biggest site around them.


 9:28 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well said Polishguy.

you mean proposition to solve the problem of fraudulant clicks by a technical solution, don't you?


 9:31 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hey, just to give a quick update, I'll run down a few points that people have mentioned. PolishGuy and NeedScripts, I really can't even imagine there would be any penalties if people don't want to use it--publishers should be able to choose whether or not it's right for their site without worrying about outside reasons. And just to make sure I say it, AdSense has no effect (positive or negative) on Google rankings.

I think the "blank space" is also disabled, and that we're showing the public service announcement (PSA) ads now. I'm guessing that we'll show the charity ads instead of the blank space, at least until we can give more options to publishers. Just to set expectations, giving those options may take a little while. I think we'll want to do lots of extra testing on the next iteration to make sure it's just right. :)

dougb and Audri, I know that a few sites were beta testing the newer ads with related searches. The related searches officially started last night.

And nealw (and cdkrg, and others), thank you for the good suggestions--I'll pass them on. Part of the goal of this release was to make the advertising space more valuable by helping users notice the slot more. But rest assured that we also want to provide a product that works well for publishers and gives them the choices and flexibility that they want.

[edited by: GoogleGuy at 9:37 pm (utc) on Aug. 7, 2003]


 9:34 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

you mean proposition to solve the problem of fraudulant clicks by a technical solution, don't you?

Yes, very much so. It's not nice to be more or less accused of being some kind of scum sucking thief, especially when you know that you've done nothing wrong.

A technological solution exists and should be employed.

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