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This 79 message thread spans 3 pages: 79 ( [1] 2 3 > >     
It's after June 1st: User experience improved?
And what to do if it's not?
farmboy




msg:3358031
 2:58 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

There's another thread here asking about increased earnings after June 1st. That misses the point a bit, at least from my perspective.

What I have been wanting and I think what a lot of people were expecting/hoping for after June 1st was a significant user experience improvement for visitors to my site that click on an AdSense ad.

By that I mean fewer ads that...

1. Lead to pages full of ads & links

2. Advertise green widgets yet lead to a general shopping mall site where green widgets are not to be found

3. Are otherwise misleading

I haven't noticed any significant improvement post-June 1st. If someone has noticed a significant improvement, please post. As I posted in the first long "June 1st" thread, I was skeptical there was going to be a significant improvement.

And as I posted before that thread, I had already begun focusing my time and energy more on non-AdSense income for the long-term. I'm going to continue that.

One day this week, I'm going to remove AdSense and replace it with YPN on 5 of the best pages on my best site. Regardless of how ugly it is, I'm going to give Yahoo 7-10 days to see if they can begin delivering some decent ads.

I'm going to start contacting advertisers directly and offering ads on my pages to replace AdSense on those pages.

My goal is to move away from AdSense slowly and eventually be completely AdSense free if there aren't significant improvements.

I still have hope for AdSense. I certainly believe Google can change things, my doubts are about their willingness. It almost seems as if Google is comfortable being the Internet's equivalent of those magazine classified "Moneymaking Opportunities" ad sections. If that's their objective, that's fine, magazines make money off those type ads. Maybe that's necessary for Google to make the payments on that private jumbo jet. But it's not something I want to be associated with long-term.

Over the past few weeks, when I saw junk ads on other sites, I started taking the time to send a quick message to the owner of the business. A few responded and thanked me for my email while saying their hired webmaster was in charge of the site and they weren't aware the junk ads were being displayed. I had hopes if more people became aware and contacted Google to complain things might change.

But that was a silly belief on my part. They know the problem. Solutions are available. They simply aren't willing.

By the way, one last point. Hurricane season is approaching. If a local hardware store placed an ad in my local newspaper advertising emergency electric generators for sale yet didn't have any generators for sale, readers would eventually complain to the newspaper and I have little doubt the newspaper would stop carrying those ads and be very critical of future ads placed by the hardware store.

FarmBoy

 

europeforvisitors




msg:3358060
 3:30 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's possible that, there simple aren't enough good, relevant ads for certain topics, especially topics that attract large numbers of publishers. (FWIW, I've seen a big improvement in ad quality over the last year or two, thanks to a sharp reduction in ads for boilerplate affiliate booking sites.)

Maybe the supply of desirable ads will increase when advertisers have more confidence in the network, along with the new tracking tools that will arrive soon. Or maybe not. For publishers whose traffic converts, site-targeted contextual ads should be helpful. It's too early to do anything but speculate.

farmboy




msg:3358066
 3:40 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's possible that, there simple aren't enough good, relevant ads for certain topics...

I don't mean to be offensive here EFV, but that's basically just a tired old excuse relative to the subject of this thread. It's not a relevant reason.

A niche only has one good relevant ad and the publisher uses a leaderboard? Fine, show only the one relevant ad in the leaderboard.

A niche has no good relevant ads, just misleading junk ads? Fine, don't show any ads and instead default to the alternative ad.

FarmBoy

Forest Dweller




msg:3358102
 4:03 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

My site is in a very small niche, so I've always been very hesitant about putting anything in my filter because I was afraid there wouldn't be enough ads to show. Evidently, I was wrong about by the look of things now. The spam mfas are almost gone now. The few I've see aren't using Adsense anymore ... they're using other ads. I've been putting them in my filter as I catch them and there are enough ads still showing to populate my entire site all the time.

I'm seeing lots of new ads on all the pages of my site and that's very refreshing! My eCPM is up a bit, but my CTR is down. (So I guess MFA'ers really do know how to write ads as mentioned in other threads.) The trend is that I'm making more money with fewer clicks. The user experience is much better now, so, that should eventually lead to more return traffic.

I haven't lost any ground, maybe even gained a little. Additionally, this better user experience is a much firmer base to build on.

Eazygoin




msg:3358188
 4:54 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have noticed that some of my prime text ads are being taken up by major companies and instead of showing 4/5 ads the box is filled by one ad from a large corporation. This appears to be great news, but it's still early days! Then again, I never really suffered many MFA ads, if any, and my filter has almost always been empty apart from my own sites listed there.

europeforvisitors




msg:3358207
 5:12 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't mean to be offensive here EFV, but that's basically just a tired old excuse relative to the subject of this thread. It's not a relevant reason.

The fact remains that some sites don't have a problem with the AdSense "user experience," for whatever reason. I'm inclined to think that topic is a factor, because--for example--freelance writing sites nearly always display ads for vanity presses, phony poetry contests, and other dreck. (The same is true of magazines that cater to real and aspiring freelance writers.) What's more, some topics probably are overpopulated with publishers, pages, and traffic. (Can there ever be enough quality advertisers to support the number of forum pages about Windows software or Web hosting?)

As for your intention to reduce your dependence on AdSense, that's probably a good idea. (The benefits of spreading one's eggs among different baskets have often been preached in this forum, and rightly so.)

jatar_k




msg:3358209
 5:17 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

it may be a tired old excuse but odds are it is quite true

there are as many markets as there are words, I would say that we could make an educated assumption that there isn't an advertiser for every word.

though that really has little to do with the topic

has the user experience improved? I doubt it, I would think it is exactly the same. I don't think it was a large enough cull, though we don't know enough about what happened nor do we know enough about why.

We are also assuming that the user experience needed to be improved. I don't believe that most end users even notice a need for improvement.

Hobbs




msg:3358234
 5:37 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

>has the user experience improved? I doubt it

> I don't believe that most end users even notice a need for improvement

Jatar,
Where is all that coming from?

Content_ed




msg:3358237
 5:46 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

I just had a look at the ads we're getting for the first time this month, had been avoiding it. Just as many MFA's as ever, most obvious from their "directory" oriented URL's. I'm not even going to bother trying to play musical chairs with the filter. I suspect we'll just write-off Adsense for the summer and spend that time on our real business. The great June 1st ban looks like a great bust from here.

jatar_k




msg:3358243
 5:56 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

>has the user experience improved? I doubt it

> I don't believe that most end users even notice a need for improvement

>> Where is all that coming from?

from what people have been saying there seem to be varying numbers of removed sites. I don't see it as being a massive culling of MFAs. They removed arbitrage sites and not even all of them from the looks of it. Do I think end users are now going to publisher sites saying "wow, these are ads are so much more relevant to what I'm looking for" and then clicking in higher percentages than they were before, no, I don't.

Do I think, or do you anyone fo you honestly think that regular old end users will notice a difference, no, they won't. Do you really think they were noticing a problem before? no, they weren't.

Is this a step in the right direction for AdSense, absoluetly but I don't think it is much of a change for Joe Surfer. In the long term for content network health G needs to do this on a continual basis. Any network such as this needs to be maintained for quality. I don't really think that any single publisher can assess network health based on their small slice. I also know that we are unaware of the stats in regards to the AdSense network as a whole. I imagine that this change did exactly what G meant it to.

Big Brother, I mean google, knows, but he sure isn't telling us. ;)

farmboy




msg:3358245
 6:00 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

it may be a tired old excuse but odds are it is quite true

Even if there is a lack of relevant ads available in the content network (and that's certainly not true in my niches), that's no excuse/reason for having misleading ads, junk ads, etc.

To repeat what I wrote above, if a niche only has one good relevant ad and the publisher uses a leaderboard, then show only the one relevant ad in the leaderboard.

If a niche has no good relevant ads, just misleading junk ads, then don't show any ads and instead default to the alternative ad.

I would say that we could make an educated assumption that there isn't an advertiser for every word.

though that really has little to do with the topic

I agree it has little to do with the topic. This is not a discussion about obscure context.

FarmBoy

martinibuster




msg:3358249
 6:02 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's not a relevant reason.

I also believe it's quite relevant to this discussion. User experience looks the same as before. Although despite the multitude of sites I operate, I've never been infested and infected as others tend to be. Is it the niches I go after? That's probably as good an explanation as any.

that's no excuse/reason for having misleading ads, junk ads, etc.

Those have nothing to do with the arbitrage crackdown.

[edited by: martinibuster at 6:04 pm (utc) on June 4, 2007]

farmboy




msg:3358255
 6:04 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Jatar,
Where is all that coming from?

I agree, where is that coming from? Every MFA thread on this forum has included a discussion of concern for user experience. Do you think all those publishers are wrong and junk ads don't create a poor user experience situation?

FarmBoy

jatar_k




msg:3358264
 6:08 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't think Joe surfer knows, or cares, about this stuff as much as every publisher does.

MFAs helped build the network so they obviously serve some purpose. If they didn't make G money then they wouldn't be there. If they didn't make the MFA money, then they wouldn't take the time to build them.

farmboy




msg:3358293
 6:33 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't think Joe surfer knows, or cares, about this stuff as much as every publisher does.

So Joe needs a replacement green gizmo for the widget making machine at his factory, clicks on an ad promising the 5 best sites for green gizmos and instead finds a page full of ads, not 5 sites for green gizmos.

Joe backs up and clicks another ad promising the best prices on green gizmos and ends up at another site that doesn't offer green gizmos.

You don't think Joe cares or will be less likely to click on AdSense ads in the future?

As for your intention to reduce your dependence on AdSense, that's probably a good idea. (The benefits of spreading one's eggs among different baskets have often been preached in this forum, and rightly so.)

I've written many times about the benefits of not having all your eggs in one basket. Either you're not aware of that or you're patronizing.

Regardless, my intention is not to reduce, it is to eliminate.

FarmBoy

farmboy




msg:3358304
 6:47 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

I also believe it's quite relevant to this discussion.

Again, this is not a discussion about obscure content. If it were, if someone had asked why there weren't ads available to go along with their obscure content, then it would be relevant to point out that there aren't ads for every topic.

This discussion is about user experience. More specifically, it's about Google allowing in junk ads that provide a poor user experience despite an adequate inventory of appropriate ads and despite being asked to correct this problem repeatedly by publishers.

FarmBoy

martinibuster




msg:3358313
 7:00 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

More specifically, it's about Google allowing in junk ads that provide a poor user experience...

And that has nothing to do with June 1st. So-called junk ads are not the same as arbitrage. Arbitrage AdSense sites were the target. Not so-called junk ads.

europeforvisitors




msg:3358316
 7:07 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

This discussion is about user experience. More specifically, it's about Google allowing in junk ads that provide a poor user experience despite an adequate inventory of appropriate ads and despite being asked to correct this problem repeatedly by publishers.

"Junk ads" covers a lot of territory. As Martinibuster suggests, the June 1 changes weren't about junk ads per se.

Whether the "user experience" has improved as a result of AdSense accounts being disabled on June 1 is hard to say, because the answer will vary from site to site. However, disabling "thin-content" arbitrageurs' accounts isn't going to solve the problem of ads that are deceptive, embarrassing, off-topic, etc. Fortunately, you've found a solution that works for you (as I did with my freelance writing site, which doesn't run AdSense ads because so many advertisers in that category are scumbags).

Hobbs




msg:3358318
 7:11 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Jatar,
I still don't understand why you say the user experience will not improve, you are confusing me when you say in the same post:

we are unaware of the stats in regards to the AdSense network as a whole.

and
from what people have been saying there seem to be varying numbers of removed sites. I don't see it as being a massive culling of MFAs.

we simply do not know that (yet)

IMHO the only way to assess user experience for us in via a long term improvement in CTR, accompanied by a reduction in SmartPricing.

Why do I get the feeling that you are saying that most visitors don't mind MFA, and that MFA play an important role in the AdSense network, please correct me if I am wrong.

potentialgeek




msg:3358363
 8:09 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Do you think all those publishers are wrong and junk ads don't create a poor user experience situation?

I never asked them, have you? I imagine much depends on the surfer's ability to separate the wheat from the chaff. When the font size of the one ad component that is most effective in guessing ad quality is so small (domain name), it's unlikely the average user easily knows a good ad from a bad ad. Then again, maybe they're not fussed like we are. Put up a poll on your site and ask them. It's the only easy way to find out, isn't it?

p/g

jatar_k




msg:3358380
 8:25 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't think most visitors have any idea what an MFA is nor do they care. Something like, well that site was no good, let's try the next one.

>> that MFA play an important role in the AdSense network

I am not saying I think they are important, they dilute quality but thinking from G's point of vue, how else are going to get traffic and sites and revenue into the network. You need buzz, you need people talking about the money they made. You need outside sources to show value so that others pick it up.

Do you honestly believe that if MFAs were hurting G's bottom line they would tolerate it?

They also have played the same game they have with search to make sure everyone tattles on each other as much as possible because their ability to algorithmically detect certain things is just not there.

>> I never asked them, have you?

exactly. I love watching people surf, I love new internet users, I have learned more about user behaviour watching people of various proficiency levels surf than in most of the tests I've run. All the testing in the world will teach you how people use your site, not how they use every other one. The newer the user, the more interesting things you see.

DamonHD




msg:3358394
 8:39 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

A senior G exec that I was talking to very recently did not know what "MFA" was. He was clear about Web SPAM, for example, but not MFA.

And this guy is from a technical background and is on the business side of G.

Just because MFAs *are* terrible, and we *do* obsess about them here, doesn't mean that 99% of surfers know or care. It turns out that a fair chunk of SE execs may not either! B^>

I hope G has nipped this in the bud quick enough that 98% of surfers will never find out or realise what they missed...

Rgds

Damon

jomaxx




msg:3358398
 8:47 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Surely the exec is familiar with the concept of putting a page with little content online in order to show ads. I mean, the person does USE the Internet, right? If you're just saying the exec didn't know the term "MFA", I don't think that's significant.

As for farmboy, there's no need to portray it like it's some kind of "last straw". If YPN works out to be a better match for your site use it (in fact you should have been using it all along). If it doesn't, don't. Simple.

Hobbs




msg:3358404
 8:54 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Jatar
>I don't think most visitors have any idea what an MFA is nor do they care

Damon
>doesn't mean that 99% of surfers know or care

Guys,
Do you realize you are contradicting everything known to contribute towards a good user experience? Unless the target market is people looking for nothing but ads, MFA are simply ad spam.

Damon,
The way Google operates, unless your executive friend works in the AdSense team, he is not likely to be aware of MFA implications, Google prides itself in this internal way of operating and consider it part of being ethical.

timwestla




msg:3358424
 9:11 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

What I have been wanting and I think what a lot of people were expecting/hoping for after June 1st was a significant user experience improvement for visitors to my site that click on an AdSense ad.

We don't know that Google's intent was to improve the website user experience. My guess is that they were more likely concerned about advertisers, or possibly publishers.

We do know that some publishers have benefited. Many publishers, including myself, experienced a noticeable increase in earnings immediately after the emails were sent mid-May.

Advertisers might be happier that their ads aren't showing up on junk websites. Personally I wouldn't care if my ad appears on an MFA, but others might be concerned. However, I rarely pay more than 50 cents a click. I guess if I was paying $4 to $5 a click and saw my ad on an MFA, I might not be very happy about that.

DamonHD




msg:3358440
 9:33 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hobbs,

Even if 99% don't know or care, we should still squash MFAs and other Web SPAM before Jo User does notice and get angry.

The current effect will be more subtle and diffuse I suspect: more like "the Web is full of c**p" and "these little ad boxes are full of c**p" rather than, "hmm, Google is full of c**p".

Rgds

Damon

europeforvisitors




msg:3358441
 9:34 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't think Joe surfer knows, or cares, about this stuff as much as every publisher does.

Joe Surfer doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about AdSense ad quality--but then, he doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about AdWords ad quality, either. That hasn't keep Google from implementing landing-page quality scores on the AdWords side.

The Google/AdWords/AdSense "user experience" isn't about what users think; it's about how users react when they see a Google SERP, an AdWord, or an AdSense ad. In other words, it's about learned behavior, and Google has a vested interest in making sure that bad experiences don't make users learn to ignore ads.

jatar_k




msg:3358443
 9:37 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

>> you are contradicting everything known to contribute towards a good user experience?

I would be impressed if you could show me any ads at all that actually add something to the user experience. Ads are of 0 benefit to the user. That doesn't mean that I think ads are of no value.

If a user sees an ad that interests them, they'll click, or they'll go to the store and look at/buy the product. Ads are solely of benefit to the person making money from the ads.

A user could care less what the ads are generally, unless one catches their eye. They don't look at the ads served and say to themselves "well that ad has nothing to do with this site, I'm never coming back". I also don't think what ads are served has an impact on G's image as far as Joe Surfer is concerned.

The quality and relevance of the ad is primarily of concern to the publisher to get clicks and make money, it is also of concern to G but on a network wide scale as opposed to every little site in the network.

DamonHD




msg:3358449
 9:43 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)


I would be impressed if you could show me any ads at all that actually add something to the user experience.

That was one of the features/benefits touted for AS: ads that would be helpful for the visitor, rather than an irritation.

And sometimes it really works: today I've been looking for advanced LED lighting for my solar PV project, and while I did most of my research with Google's organic search results, I got several helpful links from the right-hand column (ie sponsored links) in search, and a few more from content-network ads on sites that I visited.

So yes, those ads positively improved my experience today.

Rgds

Damon

jatar_k




msg:3358451
 9:46 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

but if they had a better algo those most useful of sites would have shown up higher in the serps ;)

This 79 message thread spans 3 pages: 79 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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