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Smart Pricing Penalty
on account or on domain?
kpop




msg:3073945
 7:27 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi,
I ran a site which has lots of page impressions (~7000 per day) compared to a very low CTR (less than 1.00%) and eCPM is even lower than 50 cents . Earning from this site is only enough for me to get a coke and doughnut everyday.
I think this site is being smart priced.

A few days ago, I built a seperate section in which I write each and every quality article for this section with totally different keywords (from those 7000 page views above). I found that the click through rate of these pages are really high (with way lower page impressions), but earning was the same as others. Maybe because this domain is being smart priced?

Now, I'm thinking of making a new domain for these articles. Am I gonna get out of the smart pricing box? Is smart pricing under account or under domain?

Thanks.

 

mrSEman




msg:3073949
 7:30 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

My experience is that smartpricing happens at the page level.

Chapman




msg:3073983
 7:52 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

The company line (Google's), I believe, is that it is done on a "by the account" basis.

Ihere have been no shortage of discussions as to what the REAL basis is and, as far as I know, nothing has been presented as concrete evidence to establish it one way or another.

Chapman

hunderdown




msg:3073989
 7:57 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Others say it's account-wide. Maybe there's an account-wide factor and possible page-level adjustments.

In your case, I wouldn't assume that smart pricing is involved. You say that these pages have different keywords, so it's possible that those keywords happen to earn you about the same.

A higher CTR alone should not be taken as an indication that you should earn more.

But you can test it. Since you're not earning much on the low CTR part of the site, take the ads off of it for at least two seeks. If the average EPC for the new section jumps up, then you can conclude that you are onto something.

ken_b




msg:3074034
 9:01 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Just looking at my own account, I'd say smart pricing is probably on a per page basis.

Others will no doubt disagree.

hunderdown




msg:3074038
 9:07 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

ken_b, would you mind explaining why you say that? I'm guessing that you are seeing the same ads on different pages, but the average click value on one page is very different from the average click value on another? Or?

ronburk




msg:3074042
 9:13 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

a) Google rarely comments on internals, and yet they have commented that SmartPricing is per-account.

b) The AdSense database schema that is visible is clearly built around per-account tables.

c) The AdSense database schema that is visible is incapable of doing anything on a per-URL basis.

d) 99.9% of the folks in this forum have 0 grasp of the variance in their own data, so they're highly unlikely to be successful at inferring what SmartPricing is doing by looking at their stats.

I'll assume SmartPricing is a per-account phenomenon until some more compelling evidence comes to light.

ken_b




msg:3074050
 9:23 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yes, I do see the same ads from the same merchants running on a variety of pages, sometimes in the hundreds of pages at a time and often one of these ads will be the only ad showing in a 250x300 adblock.

I also have a page dedicated to the subject of these ads and the closer the click is to that page, the more it seems to earn.

So that's at least part of it. But in general I haven't seen my earnings move up or down in lockstep across my site (channels help with seeing that of course).

I don't use a click tracker to see which ads are actually being clicked so most, maybe all, of this is speculation.

ken_b




msg:3074066
 9:27 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google rarely comments on internals, and yet they have commented that SmartPricing is per-account.

Where and when?

Chapman




msg:3074088
 9:50 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Touche ken_b!

I just revisited your posts in the June 4th version of this discussion... and it would appear that there may not have been a statement from Google regarding the basis on which Smart Pricing is implemented.

For those interested:

[webmasterworld.com...]

Chapman

kpop




msg:3074090
 9:51 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Where and when?

I really want to know this too. Waiting for ken_b response.

mrSEman




msg:3074164
 11:13 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Instead of info. from a blog... How about straight from the horse's mouth?

https://adwords.google.com/select/news/sa_mar04.html

We take into account many factors 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.

Yes I do see the "many factors" part, however, that is very vague. What is less vague is the example that mentions the difference between 2 pages... no mention of sites, domains nor accounts. So assuming for an instant that the keywords are the same the only other specific reference they make is to the page.

I would also suggest that account wide smartpricing does not make any business sense at all. Everyone of us has pages that suck in regards to converting a click to a sale. It makes sense to smartprice that page. However, we probably all also have pages that do very well. Even if the pages that convert out number the pages that suck by 10 to 1, it doesn't make sense to not smartprice the pages that suck as those could account for thousands of clicks that could easily discourage advertisers. Also, I don't see Google leaving money on the table on clicks from pages that convert well even if the pages that suck out number the pages that rock.

Someone find me a piece of Google literature that mentions a click being penalized at the publisher account level.

c) The AdSense database schema that is visible is incapable of doing anything on a per-URL basis.

Oh please... just because our publisher interface is limited that doesn't mean it reflects Google on a whole. Big G has some of the most intelligent and complex algorithms known to man when it comes to their SE, AW and AS. They probably take more variables into their algorithms than we will ever know and that only a very few could comprehend.

OptiRex




msg:3074187
 11:34 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

My opinion for what it's worth.

AdSense haven't a clue themselves how it now works since they have so many algo variables that none of them actually understand the comprehensiveness of what has been created.

They dare not dismantle it since they haven't no idea what would happen consequently they tinker with it a bit more in the belief that they "know what they are doing"!

If they did, tell me why my contact page yesterday suddenly had a 500% increase in EPC...ah, I forgot, alogo's do not have logic:-)

ncw164x




msg:3074231
 12:31 am on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

for what its worth mrSEman it was straight from the horse's mouth, the blog you mention above is owned by an ex mod of this forum who has it on very good athority that smart pricing affects an entire adsense account and hence why she posted

"Smart pricing affects an entire account. It is not on a per page or per site basis"

ronburk




msg:3074236
 12:43 am on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Big G has some of the most intelligent and complex algorithms known to man when it comes to their SE, AW and AS.

Anybody who lumps the Google search engine in with Google's AdSense system design-wise clearly doesn't understand that they wrote their own distributed filesystem for one, while the other was built on top of MySQL. Let me know when AdSense goes a year without being "down for maintenance". :-)

tell me why my contact page yesterday suddenly had a 500% increase in EPC

Hard to say, but perhaps you've enlisted in an advertising system in which advertisers are free to come and go on a minute-by-minute basis, and different advertisers may pay vastly different prices per click?

Please join my protest of eBay for not suppying consistent returns on my auctions! :-)

ken_b




msg:3074255
 1:05 am on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

ncw164x
the blog you mention above is owned by an ex mod of this forum who has it on very good athority that smart pricing affects an entire adsense account and hence why she posted

"Smart pricing affects an entire account. It is not on a per page or per site basis"

Where does Jen say anywhere that she heard this from more than the one WW member who posted the original thread [webmasterworld.com] here at WW?

I haven't seen anyplace where Jen reports having been told this directly by anyone other than the WW member who posted it in the original thread. If you have, please tell us where.

I'd be glad to be wrong about this, but Google said nothing to confirm this when they addressed Smart Pricing on the Inside Adsense blog a couple days after the thread here at WW and Jens post on her blog.

ncw164x




msg:3075259
 7:12 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Where does Jen say anywhere that she heard this from

I am not sure as I did not ask her out right where the info came from but I assume she has had some internal confirmation from the adsense team on it since she said she'd bet her adsense check on it being true, now thats sounds good enough for me to be true

jomaxx




msg:3075280
 7:32 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

That thread that ken_b posted is where Jen originally got her info. I don't follow her blog so I don't know what other research she's done into the matter since, but IMO that was a miscommunication and that description of smart pricing being done at the account level is probably incorrect, or at the very least incomplete.

Over time Google could amass enough information to analyze the on-page and off-page factors at the domain level, the page level, or even the individual-advertiser-on-each-page level. I don't see why their analysis would stop at the account level, when many of accounts consist of a variety of diverse websites.

europeforvisitors




msg:3075303
 7:49 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

One thing to keep in mind is that smart pricing is only one factor in determining what Google pays you. The other factor is the payout percentage.

We have no way of knowing how Google calculates the payout percentage--i.e., whether it's a fixed number, a sliding scale based on earnings, a sliding scale that takes some kind of "quality score" into account, or something else altogether.

So, at least in theory, two sites with identical gross nominal revenues from AdSense could be earning different amounts because of:

- The same smart-pricing discount, but different payout percentages

- Different smart-pricing discounts, but the same payout percentages

- Different smart-pricing discounts and different payout percentages

mrSEman




msg:3075327
 8:04 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

ncw164x

for what its worth mrSEman it was straight from the horse's mouth, the blog you mention above is owned by an ex mod of this forum who has it on very good athority that smart pricing affects an entire adsense account and hence why she posted

I didn't mean any disrespect towards Jenstar at all. But information like this needs to be verified by G itself. For me, taking the ads off of one of my poorly performing 5 milion+ page site that has thousands of page views, a CTR that is so low it is barely calculable, and only earns between $25 and $50 a month, means that I take between $25 and $50 a month off of my bottom line....period. My other sites do just as well either way.

ronburk

Anybody who lumps the Google search engine in with Google's AdSense system design-wise clearly doesn't understand that they wrote their own distributed filesystem for one, while the other was built on top of MySQL.

Ok so AS is not as mature as their SE and it is ever mutating.... still, compared to the other PPC, its leagues ahead. It may be based on a MYSQL db, it might require maintenance once in a while, our stats do get sluggish sometimes.... oh well its not perfect... then again, what is? YPN and MSN sure aren't.

The only thing I have faith in is my bottom line. I do what G tells me and I make money. I also believe that G is a business first and foremost and a business exists to make money. If they lose their advertisers because ads arent converting, then yes they would make less money... thats bad. But what would happen if every AS publisher dropped AS on their pages that have a poor CTR, CPC, CPM and so on? That would mean milions and bilions in ads lost for G, the publishers as well as the advertisers. VERY BAD! Ever hear the saying "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water"? Until I hear it from them, I can't bring myself to believe that G is that stupid.

jomaxx




msg:3075335
 8:09 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Just to add one more point about the smart pricing... It doesn't exist in order to reward or punish publishers, it exists to make sure that advertisers get fair value for their money.

Looked at from the advertiser's point of view, the publisher account is of little if any significance. The domain, yes. The particulars of a specific page, yes. But the overall account, not so much.

hunderdown




msg:3075349
 8:23 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

mrSEman, I don't think you can draw this conclusion from that snippet that you posted:
Yes I do see the "many factors" part, however, that is very vague. What is less vague is the example that mentions the difference between 2 pages... no mention of sites, domains nor accounts. So assuming for an instant that the keywords are the same the only other specific reference they make is to the page.

They refer to pages in the context of what they take into account. Of course they take into account the conversion rates for different pages. But that doesn't mean that they then rate those pages differently, especially on the fly. What they take into account and how the apply smart pricing are two different things.

Re the source of the account-wide assertion, it's not just Jenstar's blog. We've had people post responses from AdSense to emails in which they confirmed that Smart Pricing is account wide.

In the end, I think that smart pricing must be applied at the account level (though possibly at the page level also). That way, Google has a method to reward publishers who consistently produce effective sites.

But let's assume that it really is only applied to individual pages. For those of you who believe that smart pricing is done only at the page level, what practical difference does that make? What should a publisher do differently if that is so?

europeforvisitors




msg:3075355
 8:26 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Looked at from the advertiser's point of view, the publisher account is of little if any significance. The domain, yes. The particulars of a specific page, yes. But the overall account, not so much.

I'm not so sure. If account-wide smart pricing were to discourage publishers from creating junk pages or to experiment with optimizing for CTR at the expense of conversions, wouldn't that benefit advertisers?

frox




msg:3075382
 8:45 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think Adsense is currently NOT handling almost anything at a per-domain basis, at least that is my impression.

Think of places where having a per-domain approach would be VERY sensible:

Competitive filter. If I have two sites about two different subjects, wouldn't it be reasonable to have two different filters?

Adsense Referrals. As often noticed, having two VERY different sites that send to the same referral page is often bad for your image. Until someone noticed that you can leave the site's URL empty, you often read hear people that took referrals down because through the referral page people could discover links between sites that should have been separate.

Whitelist. The 'whitelist' concept (yuor ads are only paying you if they appear on a certain set of sites that you authorize) would be trivial to implement it their algos were including the site containing the ad. This would also be a good measure against click attacks, making them a little biut more complex. The fact that this whitelist is not activated is, IMHO another clue in the same direction: Adsense algos are not per-domain.

mrSEman




msg:3075483
 10:13 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

The fact that this whitelist is not activated is, IMHO another clue in the same direction: Adsense algos are not per-domain.

I respectfully don't agree. The 200 filter list is just to tame the publisher. It is capped for the same reason they don't ban MFAs, as well as why they don't use the whitelist approach, as well as why they don't tell us our individual click values, as well as why they dont allow more than 200 channels, as well as why they don't even calculate the average cpc in our reports, as well as why they dont divulge alot more info which we would find useful... the almighty DOLLAR!

If we had 32768 filters and 32768 channels and all the info we ever wished for, Google would probably get stuck with alot of ads on the shelves because we would fill up all our filters with anything that doesn't convert for us. The interface is limited at what it is because of Money and not because of technological limitations. Who knows what the algos are doin... however you can bet the farm that it is geared to increase profitability.... and whatever our share is, that still means more money for us.

Back to the original post for a sec... I still think that if the original poster is trying to turn $100 a month into $125... if he was makin $10K a month, he wouldn't be so eager to drop 30% of his revenue ($3000) to try and turn it into $12K or $15K to run a little test on something that is not confirmed by G themselves.

I don't believe I have been smartpriced account wide even though according to many posts here I should of definitely have been... I challenge anyone here who earns more than $4k a month to contact Google and get a straight answer on the question that if they remove their ads from what they believe to be poorly performing pages, that they will be un-smartpriced accross their whole account and that their earnings will or could go up on other pages.

kpop




msg:3075498
 10:27 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Back to the original post for a sec... I still think that if the original poster is trying to turn $100 a month into $125... if he was makin $10K a month, he wouldn't be so eager to drop 30% of his revenue ($3000) to try and turn it into $12K or $15K to run a little test on something that is not confirmed by G themselves.

True.

Last night, I took off ads from low performing pages. I'm making $100 in 2 months, so why not. We'll see what happen after one week.

Who knows, Google might use an algo that can calculate (or guess ^^) and assign different smart pricing level for different account.. ..

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