We really don't know exactly how Smart Pricing is applied.
I believe a former moderator of this forum was once told by someone at Google that Smart Pricing was account-wide, but that was a while ago--and even if Smart Pricing is account-wide, that doesn't necessarily mean that the same discount is applied to every page or type of content.
For example--and this is pure hypothesis--there could be an overall discount for the account, with additional discounts for certain types of content such as "a page of photo tips" as opposed to "a camera review" (to use examples that Google gave when Smart Pricing was introduced).
I don't spend any time worrying about smart pricing myself; it's an unknown, it's beyond my control, and I'd rather work on building my content and audience.
I think this is an interesting question. Personally I have not been hit by smartpricing - but you never know, one day it could be me. I'm wondering if any of the guys that have been hit by smartpricing could feedback as to whether it has hit all sites they advertise on, or just some. IE confirm or deny that this is an accountwide hit, or just on specific sites.
I have 3 sites all in the exact same niche. 2 are smartpriced, while one is not. Difference in Ecpm is the not smartpriced one makes about 100-150% more than the smart priced ones.
eljefe3, could be that your third website was also smartpriced but on a positive side? Nobody really knows or explains well what smartpricing is (except google)...I do think that it doesn't really necessarily mean shrinking epc alone. If your third website is converting for the advertiser then smart pricing also kicks in and you were given a better epc?
Nah, don't think so as the other two used to have the same epc, amd sometimes higher. Now it's way down for those two while the non-smartpriced site has remained about the same.
From my experience it looks like smartpricing "uses" channels.
If you have just one channel for all sites - all sites would have about the same average cpc if niche is the same (google sees them as a unit).
Setup channels for different websites/parts and it will help smartpricing algorithm to determine which channel exactly is not so good, and only that channel would be affected. This explains why removing/deactivating channels sometimes rise earnings for some (maybe short) period of time (google looses control of what should be payed more and what less).
It may still affect whole account, but the change should not be so significant. IMO.
I've always been pretty good about using channels, so I decided to bite the bullet and just move everything over to AdSense and see what happens.
I'll try to remember to post the results in here after a week or two.
So how exactly do we know that we're being "smartpriced"? I tend to think we probably all are, to some degree, but I don't know what figures or statistics I can point to in my account, or to one of my sites, that says "There - that's smartpricing right there!" My overall EPC is (for the most part) way up, compared to last year, but I still do get 3cent clicks every now and then. For that matter, on the AdWords side, I have a whole bunch of keywords at 1cent 2cents and 3cents - they mostly just show up in search, but occasionally I get a Content Network click - what's the publisher percentage on that 1 cent click? He's not being "smartpriced" - I'm just a cheapskate advertiser, is all.
I guess I just don't understand how it works or how people know.
>> I tend to think we probably all are
that's always been my thought
a weighting that is always there but it changes over time. Not smart priced would be a 0, it's there, it just doesn't do anything. It's always factored in.
Who invented the word "SmartPricing"? Why? I have searched these pages for a defintive answer to what SmartPricing is and have yet to find a definitive answer. It's a myth folks! Tell me I am wrong and point me to the thread that explains what it is. Otherwise why not forget about it and think of another more credible reason for the ups and downs. MarketForces seems a more likely explanation.
A lot of popular phrases that we hear or read have been coined by someone in a forum somewhere but not this one.
[edited by: walrus at 8:05 pm (utc) on April 25, 2007]
There you go
For what it's worth, last November at Pubcon Vegas I asked a Google AdSense rep this exact question. The guy responded with a smirk and basically said of course smartpricing wasn't per account.
I asked him if he was aware that on WebmasterWorld it was generally accepted that smartpricing was applied equally to all sites in an account. He then said that there were a lot of things that were generally accepted as fact that were not close to being accurate.
I have never been able to uncover the origin of this notion, but since that conversation in all the time that I've spent poring over my account, I believe the guy was telling the truth and I would have no idea what incentive he would have had for not being truthful.
Some notions die hard I guess.
|He then said that there were a lot of things that were generally accepted as fact that were not close to being accurate. |
Was he talking about things in general there or things about Google and Adsense?
Cause if he was reffering to Google or Adsense then I am glad he did'nt say "lots and lots", cause even if it is just "a lot" doesnt that mean that a lot of us are mistaken about a number of, or "a lot" of things?
No, it's all in the 'smirk'
Google wants it that way, the secret sauce approach to doing business.
|SmartPricing is put on an AdSense account, rather than on a specific URL |
Sorry, that is NOT how it works. I have several sites in the same genre and some kick it good, high search results, the whole thing. On those sites the eCPM is high.
On the lesser sites (same genre) the eCPM is about 1/2 of the bigger sites. Same account, same genre, different sites.
This should be good news to you, since it is pretty much proven it is not account wide, only "per site"
|Was he talking about things in general there or things about Google and Adsense? |
He was definately talking about Google AdSense, though we didn't talk about that any further. I will say though, that the 15 minute converstation I had with him was well worth the cost of going to Pubcon for a few days.
|In any case, whether the "sauce" is secret or not doesn't seem to make much difference to what people think. Even when Google states something, there's always a contingent of people who refuse to believe it |
Yup. This is why, when I post anything here about conversations I've had with Google employees I couch my words so cautiously. Almost always, these posts are scoffed at and it is inferred that I am naive if I believe anything they say.
They (the Googlers) usually speak quite candidly about what they are working on, like one geek to another, proud of their latest discoveries. They are a bunch of computer-scientists and statisticians. They hate bad data, and they don't want to present bad data. I personally don't believe that any of them that I've ever spoken to have it in them to lie. You'd be surprised what you learn if you just listen ;)
In my experience I would guess that smart pricing isn't by account. I have added and deleted various sites to my account over the years and it doesn't seem to have much of an impact on the earnings on the sites that have consistently stayed in the account.
|They are a bunch of computer-scientists and statisticians. They hate bad data, and they don't want to present bad data. |
I doubt if those computer scientists and math wizards are willing to take orders from ad salespeople or Wall Street MBAs, either. Especially when they could get jobs elsewhere at the drop of a hat.
|I will say though, that the 15 minute converstation I had with him was well worth the cost of going to Pubcon for a few days. |
Hmmm. If the rest of us chip in to send you back to the next Pubcon, do you think you could find & corner this geek again and get a straightforward explanation of the whole MFA thing? :)
"From my experience it looks like smartpricing "uses" channels. "
In my experience, as it applies to my websites, leads me to the same conclusions. I am seeing channels in my main site that go down, too far down to explain easily, while other channels shoot up, which can't be explained easily either.
Personally speaking, I'm not seeing evidence that smart pricing effects an entire account, unless that entire account is just "bad." I have a mix of GREAT sites (with super power links) to it that reacts differently then my sites that are of "lesser quality" with lesser quality incoming links.
By super power links, I mean sites like: Non profit organizations, .gov, .edu, and .org sites, hospitals and medical associations, some of the top newspapers and magazines in the country, etc.
|Hmmm. If the rest of us chip in to send you back to the next Pubcon, do you think you could find & corner this geek again and get a straightforward explanation of the whole MFA thing? :) |
I already have. You wouldn't believe me if I told you about it. :)
Try us ....
What would be the logic of smartpricing by account instead of by site or page?
On a related note, I think seasonal spikes could get you smartpriced. At least it seems that way to me. I've had about 1/3 more clicks/day lately, but total revenue is unchanged. No changes to site design/ads/colors, etc. "All other things equal." Just plain traffic surge.
Oh, sorry, did I say this was smartpricing? I meant Murphy's Law! lol! Get your traffic way up, so your income will go way up... or not.
Actually, I think it's a new level of smartpricing--I already was smartpriced--now it's worse. I've been smartpriced, IMO, for over a year. It feels like a ripoff getting a penny or two cents for a click, until I see the total at the end of the day.
I wish I could hire an Adsense Expert who could un-smartprice my site. But I guess we're all in the dark.
My two cents,
|I already have. You wouldn't believe me if I told you about it. :) |
Please do tell. Don't leave us hanging.
Since I am on the up side of my smartpricing cycle, today I believe my metrics are fine because of my hard work and genius ;-)
On dark days, it has to be SmartPricing no doubt!
I previously wrote about the possibility of a dampening algo, one that keeps the network stable against traffic and clicks spikes & fluctuations, this could explain what you observe with traffic spikes, along with uncountable other factors discussed here already.
On the original topic, I agree it would be unfair for SmartPricing to be per account, but perhaps it is Google's way to keep publishers honest and force them to place ads only on pages and sites that consistently perform best, kind of a self regulation enticement.. Who knows.
I also think "joelgreen" smartpricing per channel theory makes sense, because it is logical for Google to try to benefit from our own logical organization of our own sites and in the process squeeze the highest returns from it by not penalizing well performing channels, this one needs a deeper look at past site statistics before confirmation, also Ann's thread on removal of channels.
|What would be the logic of smartpricing by account instead of by site or page? |
It doesn't have to be "either/or." It could be a combination of both.
Also, there's a tendency here for people to obsess about smart pricing when another factor--the compensation formula--could also be at work. A combination of smart pricing (per site or page) and a sliding compensation scale (per account) would protect advertisers' interests while at the same time helping to starve out publishers who pollute the Web--and Google's SERPs--with content or pseudo-content that was created solely as a platform for AdSense ads. If a sliding compensation scale tied to a "quality score" were in effect, even MFAs that converted well for advertisers would find it increasingly difficult to make a killing with junk sites.
What I experienced a month ago certainly doesn't speak in favor of "Smartpricing per-site". I have 3 websites, two of them having around 2000 pageloads and one around 1000. All of them had a pretty good eCPM in March (and earlier too). Wham! April arrived and as I look at the stats I can easily see that the eCPM is more or less 50% of what it used to be.
Of course, this proves nearly nothing... IMHO Smartpricing can work both account- and site-wide.
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