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Competitive Ad Filter Penalty?
With every MFA batch I add, my EPC drops a notch.
Hobbs

WebmasterWorld Senior Member hobbs us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 10:51 pm on Apr 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

In the last Google's "April 2007 Optimization Report" that most of us found in their AdSense reports page, those that block MFA received a friendly "You may be filtering ads that monetize well on your site". Which is not new coming from Google.

Now I know I only block best8crap and top9bull kind of 'sites', and for years blocking them has improved my site's performance as well as my personal satisfaction with what my visitors are exposed to.

But in the last few day I am observing an unusual anomaly:

With every MFA batch that I add, my EPC drops a notch.

I know there are other explanations too, but I'm curious if there is anyone else here blocking only MFA, nothing else is changing on their sites and observing the same.

 

Scurramunga

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 12:03 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think it's more to do with the unexplained drops some of us here have been reporting rather than anything to do specifically with blocking MFA's.

This week I have been trying to free up some much needed filter space by unblocking some old time MFA's in preperation for a neww cull. Yet despite the fact that my filter is now only filled up to about 50% of capacity with remaining MFA's, my ecpm is at an all time low.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 1:16 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've got only five domains in my competitive ad filter (domains of companies to whose affiliate programs I belong), and my numbers have been climbing lately.

I used to have a lot more domains in my filter, but I somehow deleted them--or maybe they got wiped at Google's end--and I never got around to rebuilding the complete list.

Maybe Google is right about the using the "competitive ad filter" for its intended purpose--or maybe not--but you might want to try clearing out the filter as a test. You can always save the list in a text file for possible re-use later on.

cmendla

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 2:35 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I just checked in looking for anything about epcm. Mine is dropping like a rock over the last week. I have about 14 sites and the drop is across the board.

I did some quick checking and it appears that the ads are showing OK.

One thing I was wondering about... Is it possible that one of the anti ad apps such as norton suddenly started blocking skyscrapers? Most of my ads are 120x600 or 160 x 600. If something started blocking them that could account for the drop.

I'm finally starting to get increased impressions (I know that seems to contradict a blocker but it is possible that google is sensing an impression and anti adware is blocking the display or the click. ) In the past I saw norton, I think, actually display the ads but remove the links.

Anyway, I have dropped to 1/4 the ecpm that I have historically had since the beginning of adsense.

cg

celgins

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 2:37 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Maybe Google is right about the using the "competitive ad filter" for its intended purpose--or maybe not--but you might want to try clearing out the filter as a test. You can always save the list in a text file for possible re-use later on.

Yes, but I feel that I'm truly blocking competitors or sites I don't want advertising on mine. Seems rather odd that Google would penalize (if indeed it is happening) a website for blocking too many sites, yet they give you a means to block them. *#&@%!

Anyway, I have noticed a huge decrease in EPC since the beginning of April and my filter list is full. Some of those listed are MFA's, while others are not. They're just sites I don't want advertising on mine.

This is shaping up to be my worst month in almost a year.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 2:44 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes, but I feel that I'm truly blocking competitors or sites I don't want advertising on mine. Seems rather odd that Google would penalize (if indeed it is happening) a website for blocking too many sites, yet they give you a means to block them.

I don't think they're penalizing you; it's more likely that you simply limit your options--and end up with cheaper ads--when you get picky.

I've got another legacy site that doesn't have AdSense on it simply because I'd have to play whack-a-mole (and eliminate most advertisers) to keep the riff-raff out. Fortunately, that isn't a problem with my main site, which is on a topic that mostly attracts legitimate advertisers.

creepychris

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 2:59 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

It could be coincidence in regards to the filter list. I've done nothing to my site but it dropped yet again in April. It's been a steady decline this year. January 2007 was the worst month ever until february 2007, which was the worst month until, march 2007, which was the worst month, until this month. ECPM has dropped again.

There have a been a rash of threads about declining payouts (much more than the usual). I'm pretty sure that something is afoot.

I don't want to waste any more money on voodoo dolls and shaman blessings so I'm going to try getting rid of custom channels and see . . . at this point I'll try about anything. But I won't get rid of my filter because I think I would be doing my visitors an injustice by letting those ads show.

farmboy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member farmboy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 3:05 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm repeating something that I wrote in another thread recently, but about a week ago I cleaned out my filter. Within hours I began noticing ads that I certainly didn't want displayed on my site as they would be frustrating for my site visitors.

I replaced the filter as it was before. The total down time for the filter was about 18 hours. For several days after that, my epc rocketed. But now, it's back down to about where it was prior to cleaning and replacing the filter.

FarmBoy

celgins

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 3:06 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't think they're penalizing you; it's more likely that you simply limit your options--and end up with cheaper ads--when you get picky.

Well, some folks (like Hobbs) seem to think they're penalizing us for blocking numerous sites... (
With every MFA batch that I add, my EPC drops a notch.
)

Whether you're adding a batch of MFA's or quality sites, could there be a penalty for having a filter list that's too large? Could Google determine an EPC decrease by looking at the types of sites you're blocking?

I can honestly say that I hardly ever get MFA's. However, I do block a lot of sites I choose not to be associated with.

For example: (No offense towards gays or lesbians), but one of my sites is targeted towards men... (i.e. health, dating, relationships, jobs, etc.) ... and I have to block more than 20 gay sites because I choose not show them. The sites aren't MFA and are actually great sites for gay men, but that isn't the image I want to portray.

loudspeaker

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 4:00 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I had the opposite experience - clearing out the filter raised my EPC by more than 50%, but I agree with the original poster - it feels as if it were done algorithmically, to "reward" me for the "good" action. (The reason I feel that way is that ads mentioned in the filter didn't show up after the filter was removed - I imagine, most of those MFA's are out of business anyway. Therefore, it wasn't really the contents of the filter, but the action of removing something from the filter that was "appreciated")

I also think that the "reward" has an expiration date, after which things will return to the previous (lower) levels.

alephh

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 5:32 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google certainly has placed more focus on the Competitive Ad Filter recently, so I can easily see them adding some sort of penalty for those who add sites to competitive Ad Filter.

I feel that everyone reporting some sort of "drop" should always mention their (overall sector. That way we could easily see if it's just a matter of big player stopping campaign/leaving adsense/flood of publishers in popular sector.

Powdork

WebmasterWorld Senior Member powdork us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 7:04 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

If anything, it is the sites in my filter that should be penalized. For the most part, these are sites that I would be embarrassed to link to from my site. These are sites that shouldnt have been allowed into adwords in the first place.

BTW- Trying to use an apostrophe in this post is causing my browser (firefox) to start its "find on this page" function

mzanzig

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 8:17 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ah - a new twist to the topic. Good!

It's good, because I checked my filter list, and yes, I feel I am penalized to the max already! Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Yes, Google, that hurts! Ouch. More. Ouch. ;-)

I also had a look at the current advertisers (per the preview tool) on my sites, and it sure is disgusting.

Next to the usual scum of useless "directories" (nothing but ads) there sat a link to what I thought to be a e-mail harvesting site. Nope. It was a real scam that I remotely remembered having seen on TV a few weeks ago. They offer an analysis of your life and by hitting the SEND button, you agree to pay 99 bucks for their service. Sure, it's a scam, and legally you could simply back out of the contract, but as they make it hard to contact them, soon they start sending you invoices...! A scam, yes, but I would not have expected them to advertise on Adsense, and on my sites.

Quality-wise, certainly a new all-time low.

@ Hobbs - What do you want? You signed up for Adsense, and you should be happy to be admitted to the program at all. If you don't like it, please leave. (Grinning, ducking, and running very very fast.)

JinxBoy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 10:09 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)


If anything, it is the sites in my filter that should be penalized. For the most part, these are sites that I would be embarrassed to link to from my site. These are sites that shouldnt have been allowed into adwords in the first place.

Ramen to that brother. Ramen!

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 11:07 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

If anything, it is the sites in my filter that should be penalized.

The filter is called the "competitive ad filter." It isn't a quality filter; it's purpose is to let publishers keep competitors' ads off their pages. In other words, if you've got a site called bobswidgets.com that sells widgets, the filter lets you filter out fredswidgets.com, budswidgets.com, and widgetsoftheworld.com--even if those are "best of breed" advertisers.

There might be some value in renaming the "competitive ad filter" and having checkboxes next to each filtered domain that allowed the publisher to give a reason for filtering--e.g.:

[ ] Competitor
[ ] Unwanted advertiser

If enough publishers filtered Wallyswidgets.com as an "unwanted advertiser," Google could take a second look at Wally's Widgets, or the number could be factored into an advertising Quality Score.

Hobbs

WebmasterWorld Senior Member hobbs us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 11:24 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think somone that cares about publishers hacked into EFV's login.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 11:32 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think somone that cares about publishers hacked into EFV's login.

I think someone needs to improve his grammar and focus on the topic at hand.

Hobbs

WebmasterWorld Senior Member hobbs us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 11:58 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

The 'editorial' authority found a typo, congratulations.
moving on..

For many years, clearing the filter produced the jump farmboy is talking about, I call it shocking the system, also was the only way to survive when your filter is full. While I hate looking at hours not days, the past 24 hours is revealing the trend described in the original post, there could be an algorithmic change, if true it might be a catastrophe, it will be either running an empty filter or slowly dying away, I seriously hope I am wrong.

rogerd

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 12:30 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

If Google's optimization algorithm was perfect, adding ANY site to your competitive ad filter should reduce eCPM. I know that many have reported that blocking MFAs improved revenue, which probably reflects the fact that Google doesn't have an infinite supply of high value advertisers. Blocking MFAs may push them to other sites that aren't blocking them, and (maybe) force some better inventory to your site.

I doubt if this is a penalty - it's probably a reflection of Google's ad inventory. Maybe they don't have better inventory to send to your site. Or perhaps the MFAs actually are the highest revenue ads at the moment, and killing them depresses performance.

sem4u

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sem4u us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 12:49 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

With every MFA batch that I add, my EPC drops a notch.

Is this really a surprise? Google wants to show the highest paying ads possible on your site. If MFA type ads are showing then logic says that these pay more than ads that are not being shown.

Whether you want these type of ads to be displayed on your site is another story...

evensmart

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 12:49 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

There is also a strange story with me. I blocked all MFAs sites on my website at 2nd April and i got a real increase in revenue after this. Next 5 days, i got remarkable performance in terms of earnings. But then things started to go down quickly and at now i am earning less than the days without filter. Today i removed the whole filter after these annoying results, let see what happens now. But i am shocked that whether google penalized me for blocking MFAs sites. If it had then why it didn't start at 3rd or 4th April.

farmboy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member farmboy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 12:51 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Whether you're adding a batch of MFA's or quality sites, could there be a penalty for having a filter list that's too large? Could Google determine an EPC decrease by looking at the types of sites you're blocking?

Something else to consider in this mix is that AdSense discourages publishers from having more than one AdSense account.

People like me, who have several sites on diverse topics, may block sites of Type A because of my site A, may block sites of Type B because of my site B, etc.

That means I end up with different "types" of sites all in the same filter.

It also means that the more sites on which I use AdSense the more URL's I will have in my filter. If Google is penalizing for having too many URL's in the filter or the wrong type of URL's in the filter, they are in effect penalizing people, like me, who are showing a lot of their ads. It would seem counterproductive to their financial goals.

FarmBoy

mzanzig

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 12:52 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

there could be an algorithmic change, if true it might be a catastrophe, it will be either running an empty filter or slowly dying away, I seriously hope I am wrong.

I hope you are wrong, too.

My data does not confirm your findings, though. I am seeing the usual "swing" (variance) in EPC, earnings, and eCPM. I am still wondering why we all are seeing that variance, but I guess this is a different topic.

Looking at year-on-year comparisons, the most concerning trend I see is that visitors click less this year than same period last year. I am seeing a decrease in YoY CTR since August 2006. People are probably experiencing ad blindness, either for Google ads in general, or for specfic crap advertisers. - Probably the introduction of the new ad designs is a reaction to that.

As to penalties applied to publishers using the filter list - I doubt it. It's rather that there are no more quality advertisers available any longer. If only Google would start to get rid of MFAs and scum advertisers and -publishers. Then advertisers would have good faith in content network again.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 1:08 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

As to penalties applied to publishers using the filter list - I doubt it. It's rather that there are no more quality advertisers available any longer. If only Google would start to get rid of MFAs and scum advertisers and -publishers. Then advertisers would have good faith in content network again.

Maybe, but then again, the publishers who get MFA ads now might get even fewer ads if Google reduced its inventory of ads to be served.

Just out of curiosity, how many of you who are "MFA victims" use more than one ad unit on your pages? Isn't it possible that reducing the number of ad units to one would result in fewer undesirable ads?

farmboy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member farmboy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 1:18 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

People are probably experiencing ad blindness, either for Google ads in general, or for specfic crap advertisers.

Personally, I've never bought into the idea of ad blindness except on pages that are very busy with links, ads, text, etc. In those cases, the blindness is probably not just for AdSense, but for anything on the page other than what the visitor came to the page to find.

My experience has been that people will click on a compelling/interesting ad if it relates to something of interest.

I tend to think the frustration from misleading ads is a factor in discouraging clicks, although I'll admit I believe that because it's what I want to believe.

Just out of curiosity, how many of you who are "MFA victims" use more than one ad unit on your pages? Isn't it possible that reducing the number of ad units to one would result in fewer undesirable ads?

I'm just about to the point where all my pages only have one ad unit - I'm following the "less is more" philosophy. The rare exceptions are when I have a link unit on a page along with an ad unit.

There are some pages where I have years of data and based on the usual epc for that sector, it amazes me how often the arbitrage-MFA ads seem to have outbid the legit advertisers.

FarmBoy

Hobbs

WebmasterWorld Senior Member hobbs us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 1:22 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

If MFA type ads are showing then logic says that these pay more than ads that are not being shown

If only it was that simple dear sem4u
Historically, off the brochure, Google inserts "the most likely ads to monetize" for your page. 2 things go terribly wrong here:

a) 1 cent clicks find their way based on a loop hole of keyword targeting and higher expected ctr.
b) Google's 'perception' of the worth of a page is a sliding factor and if you ever get smartpriced, you're very reachable in MFA land till your worth is proven again, some give it time, some shock the system, some reorganize, some remove ads from their pages..

Logic has nothing to do with it, this is AdSense :-)

2 schools of thought here:
a) Go for max ctr, don't block, max earnings, increase the number of ad units per page, even at lower epc, the total is what counts

b) And there is me, I'd rather control the quality, one ad unit per page max, less clicks is ok with me, but hopefully higher paying ads will find their way to my pages, it's the uphill battle way, but I've been navigating my way through it successfully for years.

What I meant by catastrophe is not the dip in earnings, it is the lack of control publishers with not many other alternatives would have on their own pages, you simply would not be able to say no anymore if you want to keep on running AdSense.

stormy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 1:24 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I also heeded the "optimization" warning and cleared my filter. The result were unbelievably mis-targeted ads and a huge eCPM drop.

I spent the next 5 days adding irrelevant or nasty advertisers to the list until I topped it at 200. Ads are now on target and my eCPM is on the rise, moving towards an all-time high (I hope!).

Scurramunga

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 1:27 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

If MFA type ads are showing then logic says that these pay more than ads that are not being shown.

On the assumption that MFA's perform well due to clever ad copy and not high bidding:

Google chooses to display an MFA in top spot because the MFA will achieve a high CTR so the publisher benifits from this, right? Well no; not if the MFA's broad targeting performs poorly on your or my particular site.

For example an MFA wordered something like "Top 5 Sites - Find Sexy Russian Brides Here" hits top spot because it is popular with an unsuspecting and lonely male audience. Yet because of it's stellar performance history this same MFA finds itself in top spots for similar keywords on brides' forums, online bridal fashion stores or all sites with the keyword Russia in them. The ctr on these particular sites for this MFA will be very low or non existant. Even if a few visitors were to click on these particular ads they would only be yielding a couple of clicks that pay peanuts.

Scurramunga

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 1:39 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I also heeded the "optimization" warning and cleared my filter. The result were unbelievably mis-targeted ads and a huge eCPM drop

An all too familiar story and the results of an increasing ecpm due to the repopulation of the filter to me sounds more plausible than a filter penalty.

maxgoldie

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3309844 posted 2:41 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

If anything, it is the sites in my filter that should be penalized. For the most part, these are sites that I would be embarrassed to link to from my site. These are sites that shouldnt have been allowed into adwords in the first place.

Best response ever! Spot-on.

This 71 message thread spans 3 pages: 71 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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