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|I'm convinced there IS an earnings cap|
In August 2006, I moved up the serps to page #1 for a main key phrase. Traffic went up and eCPM rose to a high $3x.xx, then it was cut down to mid $1x.xx the following month.
January, I moved to page #1 for the most competitive key phrase in my category. Traffic up again and eCPM fell to $x.xx the next month.
Once may be a co-incidence. Twice, I'm convinced Google has decided I am to earn $$$.xx per month for this site and nothing more.
Just my personal observation. Care to add your view to my stew?
1. Could be increased supply caused weakened demand.
2. Search queries can determine what ads your visitors are seeing. Your pet phrase may not be triggering your higher paying ads.
Those are two possible reasons why your earnings went down. There are probably others.
Most probably the earning cap is for a period of time, before your site is somehow reviewed and then pushed to another level. Something like the sandbox.
One of my sites recently got 'upgraded' . I cannot find any reason, why the income doubled! ( with wild swings ofcourse).
I have read on the forum, that most posters donot accept this. BUT those with NEWER sites may be experiencing this phenomenon. Old established sites, donot seem to suffer from this cap.
|1. Could be increased supply caused weakened demand. |
I have been experiencing something similar to andrewshim in a niche market over several periods of time (my traffic is not on a permanent up and up, it also fluctuates seasonally) and I am convinced that the above is the reason for this happening. Not enough advertisers queuing up to pay good prices for clicks.
OK, sometimes I also get paranoid and think that 'Google has put a cap on me' but really it doesn't make sense: the more I earn the more they earn.
I also reckon there is an earnings cap, but someting happens after a period of time and if the site is good the cap goes higher. I have a site which stood at about $10 per day for a year or so, then it went $30 a day suddenly and for no apparent reason.
A few weeks ago when Google sent their email out to some of us about the 250 x 350 ad block promotion my eanings went up by 2.5 times to rougly $80. I had done nothing but slowly and consistently add content. It made $95 the other day so it's looking like the current cap, if there is one, may be around $100.
So, there may well be a cap but it's temporary and moveable after certain set periods of time.
Ain't no cap.
It is ad space dilution on the content network combined with advertisers continued distrust of the content network (for good reason).
People are buying literally millions of domain names and putting ads on them + expansion of the standard fake search results MFA sites. (they are even buying variations of my domain which is an odd ball name to begin with).
I stopped looking at where my visitors are coming from (via adwords) because it made me sick to my stomach.
I advertise my business services now on adwords but not on the content network. I do scarf up some long-tail visitors via content but I won't pay more than 1cent per visitor.
Adsense (this weekend) is the lowest I've ever seen.
Green_Grass and nomis5 : I'm with you. Contrary to what anyone says, I believe there is a cap and I also believe that there are "levels" as you said. Your traffic moves up, you trigger the spricing algo and it levels you off for a while but if you still consistenly perfom, they move you up one rung...
I really hope I'm like you nomis5 and will see my daily "cap" go up.
Jean : I'd like to think so too - that if we make more Google also makes more, but think about it. If you were in Goog's shoes and a site suddenly has a spike in traffic/earnings, wouldn't you start to keep tabs on it, keep it in check with spricing until you're sure it can be trusted, then move it up the ladder? The question is... what if they don't consider you site worthy?
SailorJWD : I respect your view. Your insights in this forum have offered me much enlightenment. You've probably been at this longer than I have and you probably have traffic and earnings that I would kill for. BUT I figure if you were in my shoes, you plotted a chart based on the figures, you would also feel strongly that there IS a cap.
I envy you "old hands" who have sites that Google considers to be "top rung" earners and you're allowed to fly your kites as high as you like! I'm sure you can understand the frustration some of us lesser adsense mortals feel.
Sigh... what should I do to please thee almigthy Goog...how long does it take oh great Goog Smartpricer?!
Many a times posters complain that they have seen a sudden drop in incomes after an algo change . Maybe it is the Cap algo which downgrades them ;-)
Posters keep giving the usual explanation of increased competition with more sites coming in, lack of advertisers, reduced budgets etc...
The earning figures of G show that advertisers are increasing , higher budgets are being spent on online advertising and the payout percentage is consistent.
Maybe they use this Cap algo to conrol and reduce the earning potential of MFA sites, poor quality arbitraging sites etc. They don't mind MFA sites existing as long as they can Cap their earnings and drive clicks to advertisers. Just a thought ....
A few good quality sites may also get caught up in this Cap change and get hurt..
|Your pet phrase may not be triggering your higher paying ads. |
don't think so. Up till August last year, I was getting meaty clicks for my pet phrases. Checking the current rate, these phrases still rank high, although it could be that goog is not serving the higher paying ads on my site.
|Those are two possible reasons why your earnings went down. |
Thankfully, earnings have NOT gone down. In fact, earnings have gone up due to increase in traffic. It's just that if eCPM were not sliding south, I would theoretically be making 3 times more...
You need to ask yourself: Why would Google impose an eCPM cap on a website?
First off, it would be extremely difficult for Google to attempt to control eCPM for a wide variety of websites (I'm sure you're not suggesting that Google is singling you out) over an even wider array of webpages. The behind-the-scenes mathematics involved would be simply incredible. They'd be constantly scaling up and down your payment per click to try and hit a specific value. These computations would be well beyond a simple Smart Pricing initiative.
Second, - and even more importantly - there is no good business motivation for Google to do this. If we assume that their payout percentage to publishers is fairly constant (we've seen those numbers published elsewhere) from quarter-to-quarter then they don't have to rob from the rich to give to the poor.
Third, as a publisher you really do have a choice. If you believe you're being treated unfairly you can take your business elsewhere. Google knows this and therefore is MOTIVATED to retain their best earners on an eCPM basis. Competition levels the playing field between Google and publishers.
Finally, the folks over at Google are smart. They know good publishers are an asset to their company over the long haul. They've shown strong earnings and want to continue to grow. They might use such tactics or play games if they knew they were going out of bankrupt soon and were harvesting their business. But such a move would be an extremely short term proposition before all publishers fled.
Your arguments are good and accepted.
What we are saying is that Maybe , just maybe they put a cap on total earnings ( akin to smart pricing ) for certain sites depending upon their categorization as per their algo.
If they can smartprice, they can certainly CAP also.
The CAP moves slowly up as the site converts well, passes thier algo tests and then afer a while it is out of a Cap, FREE to fly as high as it can.
So most of you guys , who feel there is no cap are already out of it.. The newbies are still Capped... ;-)
I'm inclined to agree with sailorjwd's "dilution" hypothesis. Let's say that expenditures for high-paying ads on your keywords total $1,000,000 a month. Publishers with those keywords are delivering 5,000,000 impressions per month. Over time, the number of available impressions grows to 10,000,000 per month, but the ad expenditures haven't grown at the same rate. There will be fewer impressions (and therefore fewer high-paying clicks) for each publisher in the pool, so publishers will inevitably have lower earnings per click.
I have certainly noticed that my income increases in steps - unrelated to any changes on may site. It seems to support the theory that sites are allocated levels that are reviewed and increased from time to time.
Running out of advertising revenue or changes to my competitive ad filter would not explain what I see. I haven't made any changes to the ad filter and income does eventually increase despite not making and changes.
I have wondered whether at some point my site has qualified for some better paying ads - possibly just through being around longer.
The dilution hypothesis makes sense on a logical basis for sites experiencing decreasing EPC ;-) Good way to mollify webmasters.
But it does not explain UPWARD movement in EARNING CAP Levels.
Same advertisers, same site, almost same traffic level and I see ....
I just cannot accept that suddenly my site has started converting supremely well, so smart pricing has been removed, advertisers have doubled CPC and no. of publishers is decreasing in my niche.....Too many things going right suddenly for me.. Seems a bit farfetched.
|I have wondered whether at some point my site has qualified for some better paying ads - possibly just through being around longer. |
It's certainly possible that domain age or time in the AdSense program is one factor in a "quality score" that influences ad allocation and/or payout. We just don't know (and we probably never will).
I could have easily convinced myself that there is an earnings cap, looking at some of my graphs which had show an almost flat line on earnings since October, compared to increasing traffic, but I think ultimately a whole series of other effects add up to a more reasonable explanation, not all of those effects being easily seen.
For example a large chunk of very duff traffic which was not there before :(
I seem to be coming out of the rut and as the graphs reestablish their lines, a clear blip of high earnings in September and October also becomes apparent, so again part of my "ceiling" was an illusion created by a period of doing too well!
So I believe if you look long and hard enough you will find reasons that are not complex conspiracies.
Most AdSensers feel they should live in total ignorance of their advertisers. So, if violent changes take place in their advertiser base, they have a great tendency to look for a pattern (if you look for a pattern in data, you will find it -- it's what the human brain does best) and assume some kind of Google capriciousness.
It's a lot like when Benjamin Franklin's peers pretty much all believed that lightning was literally the hand of God. He decided to try to pay attention to how it actually worked and formed a somewhat different theory that didn't require any mystical intervention by God at all to explain the results.
I don't think there's a cap. But I definitely noted some changes last year as my traffic increased.
My primary AdSense site is highly seasonal; for nine months of the year, it only generates a few hundred impressions a day, but for the other three months it climbs and climbs, last year reaching a peak of between 50,000 and 60,000 impressions per day. And then it drops off again rather sharply. I've no problem with this - the site serves its purpose, which is to impart information, and it's been up in some form or another for almost ten years - long before there was an AdSense program.
Last year was the first full year that I had AdSense on it. I also had some issues with ad targeting. When traffic was on the low side, my epc was running around .29 per click. As the traffic built, that dropped lower and lower and lower. And the ads got worse and worse.
Now in my current off season, I noticed that my ads are a lot more targeted where I would like them to be (specific to my state) and my epc is way up again - more than double that .29 figure.
My next busy season starts in May, and it will be interesting to see what happens. There are other variables as well - two years ago, I had major problems in the Google SERPs, but one algo change and now the site is #1 for all the major search phrases. Last year, I had hardly any Yahoo traffic at all for some reason, but it's climbed to the top there too. Will my nice targeted ads and epc disappear as traffic goes up, probably more than even last year? No idea. But with a seasonal site like this, it's easy to THINK you are spotting patterns. Of course, all you can ever do is guess.
I believe that we are looking at things based on differing experiences. There are many of you who are already what Goog considers "top rung earners" and you are free to fly as high as you can. I'm quite sure that if I were a "top rung earner" myself, I would find it hard to believe that there is an eCPM cap. But I'm not.
For those of you who have already achieved this status, I dare say you wake up every morning and see your earnings increase in tandem with traffic and upward movement in serps.
For me, the last year has seen a decline in eCPM corresponding to steady increase in traffic and serp rankings!
So as some of you are flying high, I keep hitting my head on a glass ceiling and it smarts!
|You need to ask yourself: Why would Google impose an eCPM cap on a website? |
BTW BillyS, I understand fully what you mean but wouldn't you consider an eCPM cap ( or smartpricing or whatever it's called ) to be an effective response to blatant MFA's?
|First off, it would be extremely difficult for Google to attempt to control eCPM for a wide variety of websites (I'm sure you're not suggesting that Google is singling you out) over an even wider array of webpages. |
I believe Goog could just as easily assign an "earnings RANK" pretty much like PageRank to every site... which might explain why some of us feel we have a glass ceiling over us. I appreciate your views but just for the sake of argument ;), have you considered that if you were in my shoes, seeing my metrics you would also strongly believe that there IS a cap?
|have you considered that if you were in my shoes, seeing my metrics you would also strongly believe that there IS a cap? |
If you're looking for a faith-based explanation, why not try predestination? Blame it on God. No one, with the possible exception of Google, can prove you wrong. :-)
I dont think there is a earnings cap, maybe they may re-review sites with sudden growth. If you have nothing to hide, then there is nothing to fear.
|If you're looking for a faith-based explanation, why not try predestination? Blame it on God. No one, with the possible exception of Google, can prove you wrong. :-) |
HAHAH! EFV... are you suggesting that there are even different levels in the divine world and Google ranks highest?!
Dang... if I'm predestined to live under a glass ceiling, I hope at least that everyone above me (except the guys) is wearing mini skirts ;)
I don't know if there is an earnings cap, but my experience is that I need to keep constantly increasing my traffic to hold my earnings constant.
Don't know if it's competition from other sites, smart-pricing, bad luck or the evil Google capping my earnings, but I'm 110% sure the effect is real (for me).
|...these phrases still rank high, although it could be that goog is not serving the higher paying ads on my site. |
That is the connection I am suggesting, between your phrases and the lower paying ads.
Search queries trigger specific ads. If the higher paying ads are not being triggered, then it may be logical to presume a possibility that your pet keywords are what are not triggering the higher paying phrases.
OR it could be a total coincidence that your pet keywords and lower eCPM arrived at the same time and there is no connection between them whatsoever.
Ok, why the hell would Google cap. It would mean less money for them!
And how would they know to do it? To price cap, they would have to know the kind of traffic you will get in advance.
Which brings me to another very obvious question. Everyone looks at these 24-hour Google periods as if they are some universal measure. They are not, a lot goes on within the 24 hours, but unless you log in every hour, you will have no record. The periods are arbitrary.
Price cap summary:
No evidence for it, only wild baseless speculation (evidence: cause->effect). Most believers ignore Occam's Razor, seem more in tune with time-wasting Conspiracy theories. In other words, there are so many simpler explanations that actually make sense.
Not to mention, a price cap:
-would serve no purpose to publishers, Google or advertisers.
-would be technically difficult to implement. May require a time machine to predict future traffic.
|Ok, why the hell would Google cap. It would mean less money for them! |
Actually not less money for GA, it's just less money for what so call 'poor' quality publishers which has been allocated to what so call 'good' publishers.
After reading this thread, it's kind of make sense why there is some kind of virtual barrier on the earning ceiling, but at the same time there is also some virtual base that keep holding the earning bottom limit.
|And how would they know to do it? To price cap, they would have to know the kind of traffic you will get in advance. |
I think it's more of based on previous periods of traffic to our site.
Google might know it as simple as they know what kind of ads to display in our site or what results should be display on the first search result page. It's maybe not as complicated as we thought. They have all the raw data to process.
I don't think there's an actual earnings "cap", however I do have to comment that earnings do tend to be eerily flat and even for me, where I can almost guarantee a day's earnings to within 10%, even if impressions and clicks vary by a LOT more than that.
I can easily buy into the theory of there being a cap. My highest earnings day ever was in April 2005. Then the bourbon update shattered my site in the SERPs. Since then I have approached that day in April, but never exceeded it, though traffic, number of pages, etc., all have increased.
There have also been days in which my site was mentioned on a news site or some other event which trriggered massive traffic spikes. I can count on EPC going into a nosedive on those days. Huge # of clicks, but below average EPC, resulting in serious skepticism, mostly about how a traffic spike should benefit ME but ends up being of more benefit to GOOGLE.
I'm a little tired of it. When my site spikes because I write an article that's newsworthy and is picked up elsewhere, it has little to do with Google, yet they seem to benefit more than I do. Either that or they're serving ads for less than .02. It's occured more than once. Really BS, but I've decided to take action to restore not only my income, but my sanity.
I believe Google has devalued my site by a factor of as much as 10X because my own ad sales - with much greater return for me (and nothing for Google) - have been met with ZERO resistance. If you're in sales and there is no resistance, you either have a product that everyone wants (or must have) or your price is too low, or a combination of those two. Apparently, even though my price is much higher than Google's, it's still too low.
I'm glad Google is out there, however. They provide a dandy baseline comparison model.
| This 36 message thread spans 2 pages: 36 (  2 ) > > |