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Very bad two days
Anyone else noticing a decline in earnings and poor targeting?

 7:40 am on Feb 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

AdWords Related thread: [webmasterworld.com...]

Just wondering if Anyone else noticing a sharp decline in overhaul Adsense performance.

Jan was my record month with earnings well into three figures per day.
I am notice a sharp decline on all fronts since the beginning of Feb.

Page impressions are right on daily average target (+-5%) while CTR is down by approx 1.2% and “effective CPM” is down by almost 40%.

I have a network of sites (7 sites) on a wide range of topics. The traffic on the sites hasn’t changed much since the begining of Feb +- same number of daily viewers across the network , while earnings continue to slide daily (adsense alone, other aff products i have linked continue to sell well).

I did notice very poor ad targeting on a few pages recently. Pages which used to display very good targeted ads and this may explain the bad CTR and “effective CPM”.

Is there any major adsense update going on?….anyone else noticing this happening since the start of Feb?

I did not update any of my content recently to warrent such update.



 11:00 pm on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

This reply from Google might shed some light on what many are experiencing:

It's amazing what you can find out when you ask Google...


[edited by: Jenstar at 12:20 am (utc) on Feb. 5, 2005]
[edit reason] No email quotes as per TOS, thanks! [/edit]


 11:04 pm on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

As ever with these threads, I suspect the contributors are (as you might expect) the ones who have seen changes in earnings. Those who haven't are probably content to just sit and read the discussion. Also, as it's been observed already, some contributors have AdSense views and clicks which are low enough to be significantly affected by random fluctuations. So, as someone who's lucky enough to have sites getting thousands of AdSense clicks a day with absolute flatline graphs, I think it's my duty to report that this week has seen... another absolutely flat, as-predicted set of figures.

Sorry for the unexciting news. I just thought it might help those of you out there who are theorising. I don't know if those of us who've seen no changes this week are a minority or a vast silent majority. But we do exist.


 11:18 pm on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)


CherryHintonBlue - I understand your point.

I do not normally engage in my earnings are up/down in regards to Adsense.

The changes recentely have been so large from my averages over the last 18 months, comment has been warrented.



 11:39 pm on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Translation....... google is keeping bigger cut.

My EPC was rock solid for 5 months straight.

clicks ... same
EPC.......Down 30% starting Jan 21.... and again for 30 days have stayed rock solid at the lover level.

EPC From mid 20's to the Mid teens.

askjeaves how it feels. google did the same to them.


 11:47 pm on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

My earnings have noticably increased since the end of Jan/beginning of Feb. Traffic and CTR are the same, just higher earnings. I only mention this to let you guys know the drop isn't across the board.

(I should add that I have a number of sites on different categories, so it's probably not just a result of increased bids in one industry.)


 11:55 pm on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Clicks are unchanged
Earning down 30% the last two days, three days if I include today which is not looking to be a great day again.


 12:06 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

< such as what keywords or concepts triggered the ad as well as the type of site on which the ad was served. For example, a click on an ad for digital cameras on a web page about photography tips may be worth less than a click on the same ad appearing next to a review of digital cameras.

Seems a bit contradictory, and seems to use "site" and "page" interchangably.

I would agree with basing the pay out on the type of page that a lead is coming from. I would hesitate to try and categorize sites however - for example, my main site is a review site, but also an IYP, and also a forum / message board. How the site is classified could have a big impact on the payout, and trying to classify it will result in the misclassification of at least parts of the leads.

I wonder if this: "type of site on which the ad was served" - was what they meant, or if it was a mistake.


 12:43 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

dealing with tons of unhappy people who don't really make them all that much money

thats a lot of words to describe "bottom feeders" - which is what many adsense sites are


 1:16 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well...interestingly enough, now that I've complained about a big drop in earnings, I'm seeing a CPM that's three times what it was the first 3 days of Feb. I am now somewhat ashamed for even thinking that maybe the system was going bad...hopefully things continue at today's cpm.


 1:45 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Translation....... google is keeping bigger cut.

So how do you explain the fact that some publishers are making the same or more as they were in January?

When you can eliminate all the other variables that go into CTR, CPM, and total earnings, and when you're able to show that all publishers are experiencing the same reduction in earnings that you are, then you may be entitled to make allegations such as "Google is keeping a bigger cut."


 2:48 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Feb 1st - Normal
Feb 2nd - Awful - 25% of usual earnings
Feb 3rd - Normal
Feb 4th - Awful - 25% of usual earnings"

different figures, but similar pattern here:

2/1- better than good
2/2- bad
2/3- not as bad
2/4- back again to bad


 3:14 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

same pattern here:

feb 1 - normal
feb 2 - record low cpm
feb 3 - low end of normal (but record low ctr)
feb 4 - most likely a new record low in cpm and new record low ctr


 3:40 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

yes, it was the worst of all since last few days but today my earning are almost HALF of the previous.

In this situation, I can even quit AdSense.


 4:41 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

For those experiencing large fluctuations do you have a lot of impressions or are you operating just a small site?

I have a fairly large amount of clicks per day on average and have seen my CPM pretty constant as some other people with a large amount of traffic and clicks have also stated.

If you're operating with a small number of clicks per day a single advertisers dropping out can significantly decrease earnings and vice versa.



 5:33 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hmm, I'm seeing almost the same pattern as the first two posters.

When I look at the main ads I'm seeing 'sunset screensaver' and 'sunset' ebay ads. So I'm not surprised CPM has tanked.

adsense for some reason decided to latch on to this text for whatever reason. I have noticed this happen off and on for over a year now. Weird.


 6:27 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm not an adsense guy, but I'm a major ppc advertiser and do a lot with adwords. I'm just wondering if maybe these drops you guys are noting are fallouts from the new affiliate policy? I'm big into affiliate marketing via ppc, and so far the new changes have actually been very good for me, but there's no doubt that things have been changing at adwords with this new policy and I've seen bids fall quite a bit (which for me is good but I would imagine for adsense publishers is not so good). Is it possible that since bids have been driven lower due to less competition that revenue for adsense publishers is lowered as well?

Btw, this isn't a forum I hang out in normally, the thread caught my eye. So this thought may have already been discussed-to-death before. If so, apologies. :)


 7:00 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Feb 1st - Normal
Feb 2nd - Awful - 25% of usual earnings
Feb 3rd - Normal
Feb 4th - Awful - 25% of usual earnings"
different figures, but similar pattern here:

2/1- better than good
2/2- bad
2/3- not as bad
2/4- back again to bad

I am also seeing the saem as the above.


 7:24 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

With similar or higher impressions and clicks

2/1- 25% lower
2/2- 40% lower
2/3- 20% lower
2/4- 40% lower
2/5 50% lower ( not completed yet)


 7:46 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

ditto valley.

I'm getting the same figures...ouch it hurts! but still thinks it is due to a major update that is going on.

Question asked, when it is all going to settle down. SERPs and adsense?

(and may i add, them geeks at google stop playing with the algo and cause such sharp ups and downs on all fronts. Stop fixing it! it ain't broken!). I started pulling out some google ads and replacing by a similar contextual system which is connected to an affiliate program. Sorry google, I’m not in the business of providing free ad space on my web sites.

[edited by: max_mm at 7:52 am (utc) on Feb. 5, 2005]


 7:52 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)


I started a thread with that exact hypothesis, and no one responded. It's as if this obvious cause (new affiliate policy = low earnings for some sectors) is being ignored.



 8:07 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

This may have somthing to do with it:


 10:50 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

My CTR and my EPC are much higher than before. :-)


 11:02 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

feb 1 - normal
feb 2 - record low cpm
feb 3 - low end of normal (but record low ctr)
feb 4 - most likely a new record low in cpm and new record low ctr

Put me in this camp as well.

I think it's interesting to note the absence of the Adsense_Advisor who I feel would have made a comment or two by now. The lack of any official word from Google leads me to think they are having technical difficulties and are under a radio silence until it's resolved.

Just an opinion.


 11:13 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

All normal for me. The first half of January was when I had my crash!


 12:10 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

still very bad for me too. Yesterday was an all time low in every respect...


 1:00 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

related thread:



 4:27 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Dipped to a new EVER low ,incredible, taken into account all we can take into account, something has drastically changed for the worse.What's up?


 4:56 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Did anyone notice that as soon as the adwords affilate policy was implemented that ebay raised their rates?

They may have done the same with the % to compensate for loss of revenue. Just a guess.

It is absolutely beyond me with the amount of money involved that Yahoo/Overture does not have a program similar. Hopefully MSN will.

I've already started my diversification to something totally different and am just counting the days until some other viable program is offered.

First the serps, then paid search now this. Dealing with them is like walking on quicksand.


 7:37 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think that new ctr fraud thing google is contending with is absolutely fascinating, but I can't see how it would impact adsense (like I said before, I'm an adwords expert but almost completely unacquainted with adsense from the end most of you deal with it, so I could be wrong). Search results have a minimum ctr, but content ctr doesn't count towards your ad getting disabled. So this new attack shouldn't have anything to do with content ads, just displacing search ads from their proper place.

On the other hand, I really think that what you guys are describing is due much more to the anti affiliate policy being implemented more and more. Ppc affliate marketers are the *very best* at producing relevant adcopy specifically targeted to the keyword. We have to be, to compete with merchants who have much higher profit margins and can spend much more per click. We want that nice high ctr so that we can get our lower-bid up there in competition with the merchants, and so a good affiliate ppc marketer split tests and split tests his adcopy, tying it directly to specific keywords (not just using a lame-ass dynamic insertion method). Our ctr rates soar, and we bid much more creatively and intensively than the merchants.

But if you strip the direct-to-affiliate ppc marketers out of the mix, than not only does this have a huge impact on bid price (due to the dynamic bid system even if only 10% of bidders are ppc marketers, but they have the highest ctrs, percieved bids can fall by huge amounts, much more than just 10%) but your also stripping out the most relevant adcopy ads, and you'll see ctr fall through the floor. I think this is exactly the double whammy you guys are describing.

I'm not ruling out Google just changing the rates on you guys, in fact that's likely too. Here's a conspiracy theory crackpot idea of what the order of events are:

First Google decides they just aren't making enough money off adwords. Hmmm, how to get more advertisers? I know, disrupt/block/prevent natural seo attempts. That'll force a lot of websites that are used to natural results into the adwords pool, artificially driving up bid prices.

Wow, working great... but wait, now our search results aren't as relevant. Everybody knows that Google got where it is delivering relevant results, and all it would take for a downward slide is for users to start realizing they aren't getting the most relevant search results... What should we do? Well, the *right* thing to do would be to make natural search results relevant again, but then all those folks with the most relevant websites who've spent their time building something of value wouldn't need to advertise on adwords... I know, we'll *force* the advertisers to be more relevant! It's a tail-wags-the-dog kinda approach.

Wait a minute, don't we already do that with our nifty ctr system? Advertisers that aren't as relevant don't get clicked on as often, and their ads fall to the bottom of the pile, or they have to bid super exhorbitant rates to stay at the top. Hmmm... wait, a lot of these guys are affiliates promoting the same websites. How relevant a result is that, if four of the eight ads on a results page lead to the same basic landing page. Well, if we're not going to allow natural search results, and we're going to try to make paid results as content heavy as possible, let's get rid of the affiliates!

I'm sure all of this sounded good on paper, by the way. The end result is that bid prices drop through the floor, ctr rates are lowered because adcopy isn't as good, search results still haven't been fixed for relevance, and adsense publishers are hit in the pocketbook. Since the exact profit split of adsense is a super secret anyway, the bright boys in the accounting room at Google who started this whole mess in the first place, instead of just admitting that relevant natural search results are the best way to go are probably instead saying 'boy, we're getting clobbered in the pocketbook. How can we get our earnings back up? Well, we could take a higher share of profits from the adsense publishers. They'll never know the difference anyway'...

Someone tell me if I'm way off the mark here, like I said I'm not an adsense expert.

I've seen a couple of you guys mention that if things continue you'll start looking for other content networks to be publishers for. Are there any that compare to adsense for sheer profit?


 8:21 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Since the exact profit split of adsense is a super secret anyway, the bright boys in the accounting room at Google who started this whole mess in the first place, instead of just admitting that relevant natural search results are the best way to go are probably instead saying 'boy, we're getting clobbered in the pocketbook. How can we get our earnings back up? Well, we could take a higher share of profits from the adsense publishers. They'll never know the difference anyway'...

1) Since when has Google been "clobbered in the pocketbook?"

2) The most "relevant natural search results" will exclude boilerplate affiliate pages and other SERP clutter, so forget any conspiracy scenarios involving "the bright boys in the accounting room." All Google has to do is live up to its corporate mission statement--"to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful"--and ad sales will fall into place.

3) The "profit split" between Google and publishers isn't a "super secret." See Google's most recent financial statement.

4) As usual, too many WW members are making universal assumptions based on their own personal experience. Fact is, not all AdSense publishers are seeing a drop in CTR, CPM, or total earnings. Some are continuing to do quite well, and some have seen increases.

As for whether the reduction in direct-to-merchant affiliate ads is hurting some publishers, that may be a possibility in some sectors--but definitely not in all.

Bottom line: As usual, some publishers are up, some are down, some aren't seeing any change, and some of the ones who are hurting need to vent their frustration by putting the blame on Google instead of accepting the realities of an auction-based marketplace.


 8:46 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't know EFV - maybe it's just normal fluctuations, but it certainly doesn't look like it.

We deliver 100K+ impressions per day to Google, and have been doing so for a while. Our site covers just about every vertical you can imagine, so we're pretty well diversified.

Because of this diversification, since launching Adsense, our CPM and CTR have stayed within a fairly tight range - about 30%.

I guess it's possible that starting on February 2, leads from our site began converting at about 1/2 the value that they had in the 8 months previously, and that visitors to the site suddenly began clicking through at a much less frequent rate (about 12% under the low end of average).

So your opinion that this is just more of the same normal fluctuation is certainly not impossible.

But I guess statistically, from where I'm sitting, it's pretty farfetched.

When I look at this data, it looks to me that something has changed beyond the normal fluctuations.

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