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Issue of stats disclosure in the context of AdSense program integrity
Publishers want more stats, but should Google provide them?
ThatAdamGuy




msg:1343288
 2:11 am on Jul 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's been a repeated mantra throughout the forum here. We publishers want more stats. We want to know which pages are getting the most views, which ones are resulting in the most clicks, and which ones are bringing us the most lucrative clicks.

But, from the perspective of Google, its advertisers, and its general search-users, would giving publishers this knowledge be a good thing?

I'm not so sure.

Several folks here have expressed in interest in better understanding conversions so they could then go out and create "content" pages to attract the more profitable ads and ad-clicks.

Others have discussed literally deleting some of their site's content in order to maximize their click-thru ROIs.

While it can be debated whether these tactics would harm the other constituencies mentioned above, I certainly can't see it as helping them in any way.

It almost reminds me of some of the debates in educational testing. Teachers, parents, and students have insisted upon knowing EXACTLY what particular tests are going to teach... and then, voila, they end up getting what they wanted and a bit more besides.

Yep -- many instructors have ended up "teaching" with the sole goal of improving their students' standardized test scores... at the expense of actually teaching them how to independently think critically and creatively.

This clearly results in dumbed-down students, less useful test score metrics, as well as and frustrated teachers, admissions officers, and, ultimately, parents.

Am I, by implication, overstating parallels here? Is it possible (as I actually argued in another thread) that Google can ultimately sniff quality ("real") content, regardless of how publishers try to 'fix' the system?

What are your thoughts on this?

 

ThatAdamGuy




msg:1343289
 2:24 am on Jul 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hmm... I'm now realizing that it may not have been best for me to create this new topic when this one [webmasterworld.com] already exists. True, the intent (and focus) of my note is a bit broader, but...

WW mods, feel free to merge or delete my note if you like; I'll understand.

markus007




msg:1343290
 6:21 am on Jul 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Allow Publishers to add a tracking tag.

google_ad_client = 'pub-123145657545555555.page1';
google_ad_client = 'pub-123145657545555555.page2';
google_ad_client = 'pub-123145657545555555.page3';

Then have the reports brocken down by these tags...

ThatAdamGuy




msg:1343291
 6:34 am on Jul 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Markus, I had earlier recommended a variation of this, too, but I'd like to humbly suggest that you've missed my point :)

I'm asking for input on whether increased information for publishers is a GOOD thing in the overall scheme of things.

james007




msg:1343292
 11:32 am on Jul 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

My own view is that it depends what stats we're interested in.

I use two different sizes of Google ads (on different sites, in fact). If the big ads are working better for me, they'll work better for Google, therefore it makes sense for me to know that the big ads will earn more money and therefore change over to the big ads.

However, when it comes to deleting content or changing content to optimise the ads that are shown, I agree that's not really going to help anyone. At the end of the day, we are content producers, and not deliberately honing our content just to get better clickthroughs.

killroy




msg:1343293
 12:06 pm on Jul 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Let me bring in another analogy: Closed Source vs. Open Source

Basically I would suggest that obscurity does NOT help.

If teaching is based on hitting usfull topics "by accident" while It tries to stay more or less on and off the syllabus, that I don'T think that's a good theory of teaching, I'd say that's a bad syllabus.

Same with ad information. If more information is harmfull, then the solution is NOT to try to hide the information, but to improve the system.

It's like the google algorythm. As long as obscurity rules, it's going to beless then perfect. Only once a complete disclosure of the exact algorithm automatically results in SUPER DUPER pages for wisitors could you say the algorithm is really good.

Of course perfection is impossible, but that doesn't mean we should avod aiming for it.

Thus I vote that we should have more stats, while at the same time, Google should ensure that pages attracting higher CPC ads also produce higher ROI for the advertisers and better satisfaction for the consumer.

To argue that info sites will make less money then commercial sites is hardly a great and new idea... info sites by definition are made for a different reason, and commerce is not going to change that.

Just my couple of cents...

SN

europeforvisitors




msg:1343294
 9:11 pm on Jul 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Let me bring in another analogy: Closed Source vs. Open Source...

The analogy doesn't work in this case, because we're talking about proprietary business information--not computer code. Google would be foolish to do anything that:

1) Makes it easier for other PPC advertising networks to compete with AdWords and AdSense, or...

2) Makes it easier for Website owners to identify topics and advertisers that prodce enough revenue to justify direct ad sales.

killroy




msg:1343295
 11:43 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

The point I'm trying to make is that if google (or anybody) relies on obfustication for the competitive edge, then I'd be VERY wary of trusting them with my business becaues they obviously have no solid foundation for their business. If on the other hand they are No1 in their industry despite giveing their competitors the heads up, then I trust they are truly ahead and in a position to inovate and advance ahead of the pack.

SN

<added>In other words, more of a principal/phylosophical stance, but I think it still applies.</added>

chiyo




msg:1343296
 12:24 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>if google (or anybody) relies on obfuscatication for the competitive edge, then I'd be VERY wary of trusting them with my business <<

Competitive intelligence is highly guarded by most organizations. Information IS power in the information age for both brick and mortar companies and info/IT companies. It gives a competitive edge. Go to any market research reports site and you will see what the going rate for objective recent market intelligence on an industry really is, and that's only the stuff you can buy!

If you say the above, well you can't really trust any company. Are you saying KFC can't be trusted because they keep their recipes secret? That's obfuscation for sure. Are you saying that any company that keeps their market intelligence like what they know about customers, engineering blueprints, market trends, their strategies, best products for ROI and their sales secret are not trustworthy?

I just think that's far too general a statement when "information" is the currency of the information age. From KFC to Google to Boeing to Amazon good information costs a lot, and they understandably dont want to give it away for free.
Most work on a "need-to-know" basis. Enough to allow them to trade or market their product to the public but little else. So we know KFC has 11 herbs and spices, but we dont know what they are and how they are combined.

woop01




msg:1343297
 1:06 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thus I vote that we should have more stats, while at the same time, Google should ensure that pages attracting higher CPC ads also produce higher ROI for the advertisers and better satisfaction for the consumer.

Isnít that was Commission Junction, BeFree, and Linkshare already do?

europeforvisitors




msg:1343298
 3:59 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thus I vote that we should have more stats, while at the same time, Google should ensure that pages attracting higher CPC ads also produce higher ROI for the advertisers and better satisfaction for the consumer.

I suspect that Google doesn't want the Web to become littered with third-rate content pages that were created solely with CPC revenues in mind. If the Google mantra is "Do no evil," then it wouldn't make sense for Google to promote the equivalent of affiliate-site clutter on the "information Web."

Marketing Guy




msg:1343299
 4:38 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I suspect that Google doesn't want the Web to become littered with third-rate content pages that were created solely with CPC revenues in mind.

Um....too late! ;)

I think perhaps they do not want to be responsible for more third-rate content pages created soley for Adsense.

Do you think that the "air of mystery" that surrounds Google's ranking algo, will perhaps transfer onto Adsense?

I would suggest that the Google algo hype went a long way to increasing the popularity of Google (more so in recent months / year). Perhaps their intent is the same for Adsense - brand re-inforcement by over-analysis?

Scott

europeforvisitors




msg:1343300
 5:21 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Um....too late! ;)

I'm sure you're right about that! Still, there's no need for them to open the floodgates all the way. :-)

universetoday




msg:1343301
 9:43 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

When I first signed up with Adsense, I was a little frustrated that I was flying blind, but the more I thought about it, the better I understood why Google has decided to keep us in the dark.

Frankly, as webmasters we really need to focus on the content, and generate pages that interest visitors. Google's job is going to be to figure out how best to merchandise the content on that page.

Obviously Google is going to be clumsy at that in the beginning, but hopefully over time they'll get better and better at matching content to advertising that they're able to optimize things better than I ever could. Let's see where they get to in 3-5 years of experimentation and experience doing this. And if they can't do it, I'm sure there are plenty of competitors happy to try and figure this out better - the stakes are pretty enormous when you think about it.

Match that with the point that everything is done automatically. Adsense makes more revenue for me today than any other advertising I do in my website... and it takes the least amount of effort.

If you don't like the way Adsense works, remove it from your website and go find your own advertisers. But I don't think it's in everyone's long-term interest for webmasters to have a hand in optimizing the content for the advertising - it's the advertising that needs to be optimized for the content, and Google's taken on that challenge.

Kick back, work on your website. Sell your own advertising if you can, and give Google the time and space they need to come up with a formula that really works.

europeforvisitors




msg:1343302
 10:49 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't think it's in everyone's long-term interest for webmasters to have a hand in optimizing the content for the advertising - it's the advertising that needs to be optimized for the content.

That's a great line! And a good philosophy, too.

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