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|Time to leave Adsense maybe approaching|
We have RMX network in 5% of our site, to monitor their ecpm.
Adsense's ecpm has been dropping ever since Oct 20 smartpricing algorithm change. RMX ecpm has been constant. By extrapolation, Adsense ecpm will cross RMX's ecpm in about 45 days, at which point we will switch all our medium-size site to RMX.
Is anybody else in this situation?
Or the olive in the martini. I like that one better.
wyweb, could not agree more.
I have cut costs but $20,000 per month in the last 3 months. Traffic probably only down 15% on those cuts. Mostly staff made redundant and suppliers cancelled.
Also many suppliers have given us huge discounts after being told they were to be cancelled.
Harsh lesson for me was how quickly things can change, not always a gradual process. Adsense, even at its max, was only 1/3 of our revenue but when that 1/3 drops to 50% or even 20% of what it was on the same traffic then quite a headache.
The upside is forced to cut back anything not making a real profit and set in motion new sites to spread risk.
Also got me talking to other context text ad suppliers and started testing them instead of Adsense.
Hard bit is just getting over the few months of change when contracts still running etc.
Other lesson was that reps and such just seem to ignore emails when things are not so good.
[edited by: FattyB at 6:24 pm (utc) on Jan. 18, 2008]
|Now it seems that you do need a commerce oriented topic (product reviews and such, at least according to EFV) to do well with adsense, and that's frustrating for many who weren't interested in having an pseudo-ecommerce site in the first place. |
I didn't say that, exactly--I've simply pointed out that some topics are easier to "monetize" than others, especially with pay-per-click direct-response advertising. To borrow an example from Google's smart-pricing announcement back in 2004, a camera review is likely to convert better for advertisers (and therefore to have greater value) than a page of photo tips. On the other hand, a site devoted to photo tips might be a great venue for camera manufacturers' display ads, because the camera manufacturer is trying to build awareness of its brand and products among people who take cameras. (The challenge, of course, is building enough traffic and being able to supply audience data to attract those camera manufacturers and their ad agencies.)
Also, I suspect that a lot of the complaints we see here aren't from publishers (in the traditional meaning of the word) who use AdSense ads on existing content sites; many are likely to be from Web entrepreneurs who have built "AdSense businesses" on a foundation of search-engine optimization techniques, in much the same way that many active WW members were building pure-play (A.k.a. "thin") affiliate sites a few years ago. Just as the easy-money affiliate bubble deflated, the easy-money AdSense bubble may be starting to leak air.
I've always believed that AdSense is a great way to "fill in the revenue gaps" on a site by helping to monetize subtopics that don't lend themselves to affiliate links, especially on sites that don't have enough qualified traffic to attract sponsorships or display ads. But direct-response advertising doesn't work for every topic, and in any case, depending on one revenue stream is likely to be a high-risk business strategy at the best of times.
|It makes sense in anybody's book to value clicks from this visitor higher than the time waster who's surfing with no real intent at all. |
I agree they should get higher priced clicks, what I meant is you used to be able to still get acceptable eCPM from a pure content site. Now it's often 2-3 cents clicks and low CTR and all that. Probably the big web 2.0, social sites are siphoning it all now in this sector, and it's harder for the little guy. Gradual concentration of power seems to happen in all emerging industries. The sadder part is the web wasn't supposed to go that way, being more democratic and all.
Well, it may be premature, but I am calling it fixed. Third Friday of the month today. Friday is my worst day of the week, not just sometimes, but always. Earnings at Friday noon are that of my 2pm third Monday.
Weak areas are performing well, better than in months, $1+ bids are back, my cornerstone areas that tanked after I yanked the second ad unit, are back again today doing well, after replacing those second units at 5am this morning.
I am going to say it was moldy content, fourth lesson, and a final lesson for me. I am on it now.
I don't think there is anything else I can contribute to this thread, so I am out. Others may say it is something else but from what I have seen, there are no other conclusions I can come to.
I'm not sold on the idea that "moldy" content will lose rank and earnings. One of my sites has an article written years ago that brings in approximately 25% of site traffic and 20% of the site's earnings. It's held the #1 position for a wildly popular search term for some time and it's been in the top 3 for over 5 years. It was updated to add a paragraph at the end 3 years ago. That's it for changes. Earnings and traffic are relatively steady although a link or story regarding the article's subject in the national media brings in enormous trafic surges. There hasn't been anything new to add to the article but it's mentioned in the national media on an almost daily basis. People come to my page and link to it all the time.
I haven't updated the page in several years. Nor have I changed the layout. Does that make the content "moldy?" As I said, earnings and traffic are quite deliciously steady. This is only one example. I have many other pages bringing in steady income that are as much as 10 years old. At what point do these pages become "moldy"?
Well I think you do have to concentrate more on areas that are high value.
A story about Britney Spears or a Plane Crash might get a lot viewers but is not going to make a lot of CPC money. The former as low click value and the second because low CTR and sometimes inappropriate content...depending on how serious the news is.
Original hard news is very expensive to produce, unless you are just rewriting wire stories. Entertainment is easier and higher CTR but low CPC. Plus writing lieks of celeb stories has a legal overhead.
Plus in the news business you are competing with sites with print backup and economies of scale and big blogs who don't seem to pay for any photos etc. So quite hard to compete generally.
With reviews on a site like my own well... a DVD, movie or book review is not going to see high CPC.
The areas on our site with the highest CPC and eCPM are Lifestyle (Autos, Fashion, relatiosnhips), Tech and Science. Celeb has the highest CTR but lowest CPC. World News average CPC but low CTR and the rest in the middle. Music has a really low CPC for us.
Opening new sites is important I think to spread the risk and because, as I have learned, building a very alrge site covering too much ground can be risky...especially when things are not so good. Much harder to adjust.
I don't know fattyb... You're in a league considerably above mine. You probably make more in a day than I make in a month, or even more. I think the same standard should probably hold true though. Is this money we can count on? Will it be here tomorrow? That's where things get a little blurry.
I did pretty good with adsense in 2005. 3k a month. Small taters to a lot of you guys but hey, it worked for me. I was already making a living online so the ad money was pure profit. 3,000.00 a month extra really isn't that big of a deal to most people but to me it was. What did I do with it? I banked it. I bought some tech toys that I'd had my eye on. My office is totally laid out now. I saved and saved and bought a used motorhome so I could maybe one day do a little travelling. It's not that difficult to allocate funds when you only have a certain amount to allocate. At no point did I ever take this money for granted though. It was a gift. A freebie. I didn't elevate my lifestyle in any way, shape or form.
Guys that make big bucks with adsense.. guys like fattyb... they actually can go ahead and elevate their lifestyle. They can take things to the next level. When adsense tanks for them, well, they're STILL making big bucks. Just not as big as before. It's the little guys like me who need to be real, real careful. That extra money is just that - extra money. You can't build on it. You can't count on it.
|I have many other pages bringing in steady income that are as much as 10 years old. At what point do these pages become "moldy"? |
Likewise, many of mine are 13 years old and evergreen since the factual information was correct then and still is however, I have to say, that due to a new EU ruling that "ostensibly" all my technical specification data has to be updated to "their" new rules and regs.
Thanks EU, each test costs me Euro 700.00 or USD 1025.00 each, not bad when more than 1,000 data sets need doing.
It ain't going to happen!
|You can't build on it. You can't count on it. |
I agree that it's a gift you can't count on but why can't you build on it? There would be risk involved but it is certainly possible to build earnings.
|what I meant is you used to be able to still get acceptable eCPM from a pure content site |
Maybe those clicks were overvalued to begin with. I look at my 2005 EPC and ECPM and frankly I'm a little blown away by how much it was worth. I hate to say that but that's what it is. I wouldn't pay that much for a click on one of my sites. No way in hell.
re: You can't build on it. You can't count on it.
You can build on it, sure. Just don't expect consistent returns.
|I agree they should get higher priced clicks, what I meant is you used to be able to still get acceptable eCPM from a pure content site. Now it's often 2-3 cents clicks and low CTR and all that. |
Depends on the topic, the audience, the type of content, and possibly other factors as well. If you're averaging 2- and 3-cent clicks, though, AdSense may simply not be a good fit for your site. Fact is, no revenue source is ideal for everyone: Amazon has always been a bust for me, but apparently there are people who make money from Amazon affiliate links. You've got to experiment and find what works best for you---and sometimes, what works best (or what works at all) changes over time.
High revenue does not equal high profit. As I said we probably concentrated on areas that interested us too much or areas that I thought were useful to cover...like more uncovered world news events.
But those things can end up with you losing money each month. I still make a decent wage but not fortunes. We might turnover hundreds of thousands of pounds per year but the costs are very high indeed. I reckon we lost $4000 last month and will lose $8000 this month...that is with massive cuts. But it should breakeven if Feb is simialr to Dec/Nov...Jan always being terrible.
No income in set in stone and you have to try and balance things out. My own mistake was not getting other sites up and running (bar the German language one) fast enough.
Also we had a double whammy as Google News made a change to their system where we are classed as a UK site and so now do not rank very well in the USA, where most of our users and staff are and the site is targeted. So not only did we have Adsense drop overnight but also lost 60-100K unique per day overnight...though since recovered a chunk of that from other places.
Tricky to cope with when you are annual contracts etc.
But I am positive for 2008, but Adsense will be with a pinch of salt and the reps with more.
[edited by: FattyB at 8:07 pm (utc) on Jan. 18, 2008]
|To borrow an example from Google's smart-pricing announcement back in 2004, a camera review is likely to convert better for advertisers (and therefore to have greater value) than a page of photo tips. |
Folks at G should then rather change the AS login screen with the Green Garden Tips site, which is set as an example :) With smart-pricing in effect this is like a real catch for poor noobies.
|Folks at G should then rather change the AS login screen with the Green Garden Tips site, which is set as an example :) With smart-pricing in effect this is like a real catch for poor noobies. |
A "Green Garden Tips" site might work well, depending on its demographics. (Gardening uses a lot more consumables than digital photography does!) And even if clicks on "Green Garden Tips" ads were smart-priced, that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing for advertisers. Also, don't forget that the basic pitch for AdSense is "put our ads on your site, and you'll earn money." The person who has created a "Green Garden Tips" site out of a love for gardening, and who has no existing source of revenue, is likely to be happier with smart-priced AdSense clicks than with the zero revenue that he or she had previously.
wyweb, banking your earnings was the way to go in my opinion. My AdSense income goes to pay the taxes and website expenses, then the rest is invested. It is a much safer, though slower, way to raise your standard of living. That $36k per year that you were making, nicely invested, would give you a couple thousand a year for the rest of your life, and getting smartpriced wouldn't take that income away from you.
At least that's the way I handle my adsense income. It's a trick I learned when I was working as a contract programmer and made obscene amounts of money for a few months then didn't know how soon I would work again. Of course it also helps to have frugal tastes.
|Gardening uses a lot more consumables than digital photography does! |
As a gardener, I can vouch for that! But I don't think that a simple "tips" site would do anywhere near as well as a site with some sort of authority. I also suspect that you would be targeting a large volume of low paying clicks, with an EPC somewhere south of 20 cents as it's a low margin industry.
|Also, I suspect that a lot of the complaints we see here aren't from publishers (in the traditional meaning of the word) who use AdSense ads on existing content sites; many are likely to be from Web entrepreneurs who have built "AdSense businesses" on a foundation of search-engine optimization techniques, in much the same way that many active WW members were building pure-play (A.k.a. "thin") affiliate sites a few years ago. Just as the easy-money affiliate bubble deflated, the easy-money AdSense bubble may be starting to leak air. |
EFV, I am not really complaining, but my CPM was cut in half over the past three months. I am pretty sure I am not on the "pure play" side of the fence, whatever that means - I am probably as clean as they come in terms of methods, tactics and work ethics.
Personally, I do feel disappointed, though, because when I started, I built a small site as an hobby/experiment and was encouraged by the results. Over the past five years, with a lot of hard work - almost all of it content generated by hand - I got to a point where I have over 20,000 uniques monthly. If I were monetizing at AdSense 2004/2005 levels, I wouldn't need to worry about getting a real job. The way it is in 2008, I do.
Now, the reasons for my disappointment: put simply, if I knew back in 2003/2004 that it was going to be *this* hard (and the results would be getting worse, not better, with more traffic), I would've chosen another topic or would've done something altogether different - probably something with no AdSense involved. I believe many others have traveled a similar path.
In retrospect, was it stupid to build a site that could only be monetized through contextual advertising? (I don't believe any cookie-cutter programs are going to work for me)... I've got to say yes, it was. But back then it seemed that if one could get a decent CPM from Google, why not give it a try?
|was it stupid to build a site that could only be monetized through contextual advertising? |
It was the novelty, wasn't it. Sites with high commercial interests can actually make more money with affiliate programs and probably get approached every day by interested sponsors. They don't even have to bother with adsense. They can even open a store if they feel like it and cut the middle men.
Adsense came and made it possible to monetize pure content sites where you actually enjoy writing about the topic. But now if you're not in the group that already have an easy time monetizing it, and doesn't even need adsense that much, you get smart priced to pennies a click.
I personally have a few sites of both types so I can see the difference between them is getting way bigger over time. I guess I know where I'm not going to invest much efforts anymore.
|Just as the easy-money affiliate bubble deflated, the easy-money AdSense bubble may be starting to leak air. |
I think that's exactly what we're seeing. Cyclical changes brought about by forces that govern the whole. The internet is still an infant. It's going through growing pains... stretching and expanding. That's a very broad explanation but it's as good as any.
I was just recently involved in a pretty spirited discussion on a private forum concerning web evolution. Where the internet's going, what we can expect to see in the future. There's alot of money flying around right now. Historically speaking, the ease with which that money flows starts getting restricted after a while. Things tighten up. The bubble may not burst but as EFV suggested it may well be leaking air.
I really don't know. I like facts and I don't have them. I like pure data and it's lacking. If you give me a set of numbers and tell me what you want me to do with them, I can do that. I don't have that here. Rather than sit here and beat my head against the wall, I'm taking a more zenlike approach to this. Once the weather warms up I'm going to load my dogs up in that motorhome that google bought for me and we're going to hit the road. I can't figure this out. My adsense income has fallen considerably but there is absolutely no way I can determine why that's happened.
>>Once the weather warms up I'm going to load my dogs up in that motorhome that google bought for me and we're going to hit the road. I can't figure this out. My adsense income has fallen considerably but there is absolutely no way I can determine why that's happened.<<
Try to think positively: Google has already bought you the motorhome; now you just need to earn enough for fuel and dog food! :-)
|Try to think positively: Google has already bought you the motorhome; now you just need to earn enough for fuel and dog food! :-) |
Oh I do EFV, think positively I mean. That hog only gets 6 MPG though... ha ha. 3 bucks a gallon for gas. We Americans bitch about the high price for gas but Europeans have been seeing that for years. Sort of puts things in prespective.
It's pretty obvious that something happened. What that something was I have no idea. The number of webmasters that have chimed in on this makes it hard to overlook. There's a lot of repetition here, people seeing the same thing and seeing it in a very consistent manner.
You see adjustments in the stock market from time to time. "Corrections". This is a multi-billion dollar enterprise (adsense). Would it not be fair to say that it might go through corrections of it's own?
I'm just speculating here....
|It's pretty obvious that something happened. What that something was I have no idea. The number of webmasters that have chimed in on this makes it hard to overlook. |
I agree. My site is a content site and I went through a major redesign early 2007 and worked hard all year to improve it.
I was being rewarded by a steady climb in ecpm then bamm... cut in half around the time when others saw the same thing.
You see adjustments in the stock market from time to time. "Corrections". This is a multi-billion dollar enterprise (adsense). Would it not be fair to say that it might go through corrections of it's own?
That was my hope. But if so then after the correction I should have seen a return of the upward climb in revenue since my traffic has almost doubled since then.
Instead my ecpm is still going down and as clicks go up my revenue is staying static.
As a result I have reevaluated my strategy in this new year.
I have 3 very niche sites that will go completely non-google. I already have a affiliate that is a natural tie-in to them so they are easy.
The main site is a little tougher... In general I'll have to hand pick affiliate products or ads.
That's what is disappointing. Last year it seemed that if I kept growing my site my revenues would naturally grow with it.
Now I am having to spend as much time working on monetizing my site as I am improving it for my visitors.
|With smart-pricing in effect this is like a real catch for poor noobies |
"like" has no place in that sentence.
Now that I've gotten through this thread, my opinion:
Adsense has never been great for me, but it did supply some additional income which wasn't there beforehand. I use a combination of AS and CPM ads, no pop-ups or pop-unders.
The fluctuations in AS income are troubling, especially since hard work on new pages generally yields only a fraction more revenue (i.e., you build 10% more new pages, but revenue only rises 2%). With a stright CPM model, you get a better return, closer to 1:1, if your traffic rises by the number of new pages.
What's going on with declining earnings, is, IMO (I'm not humble), is a combination of oversaturation (too many publishers), a slowdown in the US economy (directly affecting ad spending), and Google taking a larger percentage of revenue per click from SOME publishers.
What's troubling is that anything concerning Google is at best a guess, but they have to satisfy Wall Street, and that's not good for end users (publishers), much like eBay constantly adding options and pushing up their prices until now, they have to run specials nearly every month to get sellers to list more.
Competition is beginning to appear and people are leaveing both AdSense and AdWords. Google's silence (not answering emails from relatively good-sized publishers) is hurting them.
In response to the OP, it is very close to the time to leave AdSense for some. For some, that time has already come and I expect the trend to continue.
To me, the biggst complaint I have with Google is lack of transparency. I want to know how much I make and they make on each click, period, and that's why I haven't switched to YPN. They're the same way.
Bottom line, the CPC model is going to be scrapped by many in favor of CPM advertising. Page view = revenue, no matter how miniscule. It's the only fair way. If I display your ad, I should get paid. If they click through, fine. If they then buy something from you, even better, but publishers need some bottom line guaranteed revenue, not some "if come" based on secret calculations.
Good luck to all.
I don't know of any ad network that offers guaranteed income. As for CPC vs. CPM, it's like affiliate programs vs. AdSense, or like commissioned sales vs. an hourly wage: by accepting greater risk, you have the possibility of greater rewards if you're able to deliver the serious prospects that Google's direct-response advertisers need.
In any case, AdSense isn't a CPM ad network, and advertiser resistance (meaning fear of throwing money away on junk traffic) is a good enough reason for AdSense to limit CPM to site-targeted, as opposed to run-of-network contextual, ads. Why get mad at Google because it won't change its AdSense business model to suit your preferences? AdSense is what it is, and unless you're a premium partner, you're welcome to tell Google "You're fired!" at any time.
|I really don't know. I like facts and I don't have them. I like pure data and it's lacking. If you give me a set of numbers and tell me what you want me to do with them, I can do that. I don't have that here. |
|To me, the biggst complaint I have with Google is lack of transparency. I want to know how much I make and they make on each click, period |
Absolutely second this (even though this is not a new complaint). I have given up on trying to understand or improve on Adsense. Recently I have begun creating content pages without Adsense on it. Why give Google access to pages they can monetize (without telling me how much they make)?
I rather build traffic and sell direct advertising. Go &$%! *+&%$&%§, Google.
|To me, the biggst complaint I have with Google is lack of transparency. I want to know how much I make and they make on each click, period, and that's why I haven't switched to YPN. They're the same way. |
Amen! I wish that there was legislation so that businesses couldn't operate like this.
|Amen! I wish that there was legislation so that businesses couldn't operate like this. |
Absolutely. Why not have a law that requires Google to publicly reveal the names, URLs, earnings, "smart pricing" discount, etc. for every publisher in the AdSense network? For that matter, why not have a law against anonymity on the Internet? Both laws might go a long way toward encouraging accountability and personal responsibility at all levels.
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