|Prediction: May 2014 will be the worst month of all time|
| 9:38 pm on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)|
So, it appears as though AdSense has permanently replaced the smaller circle arrow in the text ads with the much larger square version. I've seen it consistently across all devices and I don't think I ever saw it before on smartphones. This will have huge negative consequences for publishers that are opted into text ads. I'm already seeing a huge CTR drop as a result.
Unless AdSense changes this "switch" I predict it will be every publishers worst CTR month ever, and as a result, your worst month as a publisher adjust for traffic.
Google - unbelievable.
| 12:48 am on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
Makes you wonder if handwashing is outlawed at Google...what with one hand barely willing to even acknowledge the other (let alone admit that the two are connected to the same organism).
I recommend a nice sharp cheddar with that Chardonnay. Me, I prefer "wasting away again in Margaritaville" when the cow is jumping over the moon like this.
| 1:37 am on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
They probably aimed for that but only achieved natural stupidity. That's why their SERPs suck. It is the classic conceit of relatively smart people with limited understanding of human nature -- the idea that they can anticipate what others are thinking. That's why they have Behaviour Based advertising that does not take into consideration whether the person has already made a purchase. It is a very broken system that is a far cry from the elegance of what it once was when it worked. Falling traffic is the result of this. Perhaps dropping Analytics might be an effective temporary solution? However until Google reverses the damage caused by these people or a viable alternative appears, sites will continue to be murdered.
|@Sally Stitts - It's the new very artificial intelligence from Google. |
| 4:25 am on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
|Things look pretty bleak for me, AdSense-wise. |
I'm going to drink some fine Chardonnay now, to combat my depression.
I just hope you didn't go out and buy a $2 million home with two Ferraris in the garage when you were pulling down $10-20K monthly with Adsense.
| 5:05 am on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
Nope. I stashed it, and bought a little bit of gold.
And had some savings.
Car-wise, I put $xxxx into my old Sports Car, which I bought in 1968 for $900. Now I have to have the body and paint done. If I were in a spending frenzy, I would have bought a 1974 Maserati Bora (about $100,000 for a nice one).
And I also discovered the fantastic advantages of a SEP IRA, into which I put some money. Its greatest advantage is that you can put more money into it, far more than a normal IRA.
So, as you can see, I am a pretty conservative person. I'm getting old, and need to save for the future. Especially since I had a combo heart attack/ stroke last year, which cost me over $110,000 for 5 days in hospital - $10,000 a DAY, just for the bed! But Medicare paid for most of that.
Double execution. The same day AdSense shot me in the back of the head, Safeway Pharmacy introduced me to the "donut hole", AKA "Medicare Gap". UnitedHealthCare shoved the shiv in deep. It is PURE fraud. I contracted with an AARP Medicare plan (UHC) to pay for my drugs for the year ($300/month). Then on my second refill, I was told about the "donut hole", which required that I pay an additional $2,600, before I could receive any more drugs. In spite of the fact that I had paid ALL my premiums up front ($900). For them to not be required to inform you of the coming screw job before you sign up, SHOULD BE ILLEGAL. I have an attitude. Eff 'em, they will never see another penny from me, just a lot of bad press. Since my doc retired, I now need a new doc, and a new prescription. The wonders of modern medicine. Pure extortion. Good thing I have some old stock, or I would be high and dry, with no drugs at all (amlodipine, taztia, warfarin). Screw the atorvastatin - BAD stuff. Anybody read Dr. Mercola? The truth about statins is not pretty. OK, I'm drunk now.
And how was YOUR week?
| 9:01 am on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
I have never had the big earnings like Sally, but I have done well in the past ($6000 a month).
Last month I received $800 and May is looking worse. Traffic is growing, 90%+ from the USA and most from Google search.
CPC just continues to go down and RPMs are 35% what they used to be. Often Google isn't serving relevant ads and there are many trashy flash ads I have had to ban.
They are no longer viable. I am at a loss as to what I should do.
| 10:14 am on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
|created my own list, marketed to channels outside Google - maybe even a member only gallery that you can charge a small subscription fee for, and that Google never sees (side benefit - cuts down on scrapers) |
Check 1, check 2, already done, tried a members' gallery, no one was interested plus it's not a good way to introduce new widget products to Joe Public if they can't see them out in the open.
No scraping problem ever since watermarks were introduced, I just should have listened to leosghost years ago about that!
Even the scrapers are having traffic issues now, the biggest scraper in my industry was almost 11% down on traffic last month, believe it or not he lets me have access to his stats after I confronted him at a trade fair!
| 3:13 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
Some have said that "He admits to his traffic having been cut in half."
That's true, but does this make sense?
Traffic went from 1,xxx,xxx, to 5xx,xxx per month.
Earnings went from $20,000 to $800 per month.
Another salient point that I didn't mention. My Google Webmaster Tools incoming links are now at an all-time high (8x,xxx), and have been rising steadily over time. The current rate of increase is approximately 1,000 per week. I have NEVER done anything to try to acquire links, or participated in any "link building". All are 100% "natural". This fact needs to be part of trying to figure out what is going on.
Site popularity has been dialed down, as an algo factor.
Google arbitrarily controls AdSense payout, AND they arbitrarily control the SERPs.
Anyone see a conflict-of-interest problem with this?
When they arbitrarily provide good targeting to some, and poor targeting to others?
The borg calls ALL the shots. Period.
Of course, I knew this going in. But I thought "Hey, maybe it will be OK." Well, it HAS been OK. Until now. My participation in the party is being rescinded, without explanation, notice or recourse. "You lose ... go fish."
Great while it lasted, right?
[edited by: Sally_Stitts at 3:54 pm (utc) on May 6, 2014]
| 3:46 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
Not sure if May is going to be worst of all time for myself. I say this because last month was that month.
For my area of the web, it seems like a perfect storm. Eradication of Google organic traffic (and hope) along with bizarre ad formats and irrelevance. Combine those two factors and you get what I got.
In general my feeling is this. When a car or piece of equipment is about to fail, there are indicators. If you are observant, you can see them. Sputtering, smoke, odd noises. With Adsense, I see that piece of equipment. I'm sure there will be a number of tiers that are kept around, but largely I think this is going to be dead or at least not worthwhile. The key is that profits are on the rise even with the sputtering failure of Adsense in the quarterly reports. Paying less out is always a good thing for business and that's what I see being the kiss of death. I speak for some and obviously not all. Just like some are immune. Certainly I hope I'm wrong, but to me when something goes wacky to this extent, it usually means something bad is on the horizon. Once these tests of ad formats are complete, I'm expecting a pink slip. I served my purpose.
So that is my feeling currently about where May end up for myself. One small webmaster speaking. I love the Adsense program and it's been incredible to me over the years. I hope it doesn't end of course, but this is a very discouraging situation because it's not just about Adsense, it's about the web as a whole.
| 3:58 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
I do not rely on search traffic and my earning are fairly good and fairly steady. Still, I am taking major steps to reduce my expenses - for example, I am selling my four bedroom home this month to move into something smaller - so that I can sock away a lot more money and get to a point where if Adsense goes belly up, I'll be okay with just a podunk job. Hoping for the best but planning for the worst.
| 4:18 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
Well, it looks like the arrows are gone from my site. Happened a couple days ago.
Makes me wonder if the Nessie Update [webmasterworld.com] has been updated or if it just quitely goes along striking additional sites from time to time, or what.
Impact on earnings is mixed at the moment.
| 4:51 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
Why is it that simply turning over to a new calendar day, ad RPM and CTR plummets -- from a few hours earlier when it was at an all-time high? It does seem that a new day starts up a whole new set of metrics (that sometimes eventually even out).
I also notice between the hours of 10pm and midnight, no matter what the traffic, clicks die off. I haven't tested that, but I sort of expect my real earnings for the day end at around 10pm.
| 4:54 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
If it were that bad, wouldn't have Google just reduced the publisher share a long time ago? It's amazing to me it's as high as it is, it's generous. So until that happens, I don't see doom.
| 4:56 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
I'm sorry to hear that, but you definitely made bank compared to most publishers. I think you said you squirreled some of that away. But with 500,000 hits a month, damn, it shouldn't be that low. What happened, CPC way down? CTR?
| 5:42 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
CPC is way down.
But nothing compared to CTR, which has bottomed at 0.x%, which previously had always been above 3%. This is because targeted ads are NO LONGER SERVED. For example, a highly focused medical page now gets ads for Rosetta Stone, Google Ad Words, etc.
For 11 years, the ads were always perfectly targeted. Now, 9 out of 10 ads served are NOT targeted, at all. I believe that the 1 in 10 ads shown that are still targeted, are simply there to avoid the accusation that "targeting has vanished".
| 6:21 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
Sally, Just curious, if you go into Adsense, and look at the Revenue Optimization Scorecard, does it indicate any crawling problems?
| 6:40 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
No crawling problems at all, except for one day in December, when my host went down for most of the day.
Once I convince myself that it is totally over for me AdSense-wise, I think I would like to go "fully open kimono". It would be fun to reveal EVERYTHING to everyone on this forum (subject to mod approval). I mean everything. I have so many Excel files with all kinds of data, from day 1.
Some would be utterly amazed what I have done, in terms of marching to a different drummer. Many things you simply would not believe, and I would be compelled to prove them. One giant good-bye post, revealing all. Of course, if I get banned from AdSense, I will do it right away. But I am going to maintain hope for a week or so.
Then, why not do it, since I would have nothing to lose? And I could help satisfy the hunger that many of you have for answers that are not forthcoming. AdSense would not work without the fanatical secrecy and deception involved.
1-Denial, 2-anger, 3-depression, 4-acceptance.
I've skipped anger, and am currently in step 3. But once I move to acceptance, the flood gates will open. Why not? My goose will have already been cooked. The AdSense admonitions against revealing stats will no longer be in effect, once the relationship is severed. And I will have nothing else to concentrate on.
[edited by: Sally_Stitts at 6:47 pm (utc) on May 6, 2014]
| 6:42 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
@rundhc I'm having the same problem with targeting recently (more so than usual) and I believe it to be at the core of many publishers woes. It's hard to say for certain with all the ad format changes but I'm seeing the exact type on nonsense Sally and others are reporting. I'm pretty convinced that CTR is fundamentally driven by targeting (or lack thereof) and is responsible for most of the roller-coaster ride most are on these days. One can block a certain number of dominating, irrelevant ads but there's only so far one can go with that. One ray of hope is that perhaps advertisers are just not yet familiar with the new ad formats enough to use them effectively. There might be an advertiser learning curve to all of this which could mean that it's just gonna take advertisers some time start producing better ads in general. Who knows? It's a theory anyway. Something for a rainy day.
| 7:23 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
'I also notice between the hours of 10pm and midnight, no matter what the traffic, clicks die off. I haven't tested that, but I sort of expect my real earnings for the day end at around 10pm. '
@littlecubpanda - isn't then when most publisher budgets for the day will have been exhausted? Therefore you are getting junk ads at that time?
| 8:19 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
Contrary to the thread title, last month broke all records in over 10 years with the programme and May 2014 looks like it may be our best month ever, beating last month.
In our case, it may be because of razor-sharp contextual targeting.
| 8:47 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
I'm done with Adsense, by the end of the month I'll be joining Yahoo Premium, IDGTech and others again, I am considering dropping Adsense on all sites to make sure Google never receives a penny again and I hope a lot of people do that as well so they realize they cant screw with us small business owners like that. They are creating a corporate only web, don't you see that? We need to stop that ASAP
I had 500,000 - 900,000 global hits per month for the past few years and the past few months my income went from 7-8k to now 4k. 50% down .. and I am not the only big publishers who's experiencing major traffic and revenue decline.
| 9:05 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
@Andem - so how do think you achieved "razor sharp contectual targeting"
| 9:36 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
|and I am not the only big publishers who's experiencing major traffic and revenue decline |
So is the problem primarily a loss of traffic, which obviously leads to a loss in Adsense income?
| 9:47 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
Yeah. The traffic is a major problem. Perhaps nobody told the twiddlers in Google that the Star Trek computer was just the voice of an actress. :) Guess they aren't as bright as their PR flacks would have us believe.
| 9:59 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
|In our case, it may be because of razor-sharp contextual targeting. |
Me too, up until May 1.
I see that you are British (Programme). Perhaps this particular adjustment has yet ćo reach the island.
Google learned years ago to do staggered rollouts, so as not to cause concerted negative comment, from those who get the same adjustment simultaneously. That's why everybody's story is slightly different, in terms of dates. First Tom, then Dick, and later Harry. This flattens the peak of negative comments.
| 10:55 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
@denisl: I'm not sure to be honest. I've just left things alone and stuck to one ad per page (as I always have.) I've also avoided each and every single suggestion by Google employees and always looked at ways to reduce ad implementation in places where they would not be effective and/or annoying to users.
@Sally Stitts: I am not from the island, nor do I live there. Our site, account, company and all of us are American, but one employee who's from Hong Kong and may or may not posses a British passport. I do prefer the British spelling of programme, though.
edit: My employee from Hong Kong does agree that "programme" is the British spelling, but he doesn't spell it that way himself, even though he considers it "more correct."
| 11:34 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)|
The old jumping to conclusions trick. Sorry. But the bit about staggered rollout still applies.
On second thought, after I experience doom, I will just put up a page on my site, "How I made $1,000,000 with AdSense, and Then Got Shot". This has several advantages -
1- edit time is not limited
2- I can post tables - lots of them
3- I can fix any errors, forever without limitation
4- No worries about controversial subjects that might step on toes at WebmasterWorld, such as eHow, Google "consults", Google disingenuous "suggestions", Google's many attempts to get me to do arbitrage, Daniel Brandt, my "Florida update" analysis, a 2003 email from M.C., Google's LOVE for scrapers (they all run AdSense), Google employees' private websites, etc., etc.
5- I have taken up too much real estate in this thread already
6- I can release the data at my leisure, fully proof-read.
Of course, Google may choose not to index the page.
But, Bing will. And duckduckgo.
I suspect that it will have a life of its own.
If Google is unhappy with my past sterling, legitimate performance and wants a divorce, I will give it to them. But not quietly.
My next post here may very well be, "Can't log in".
Which I will find incredibly inspirational. I've already grabbed all the data I want.
"Old F@rt Calls Out the Gorg".
It is the perceived betrayal that cuts to the bone.
I worked like heck, and got paid.
Now, I work like heck, and don't get paid.
|wa desert rat|
| 12:45 am on May 7, 2014 (gmt 0)|
It's worth pointing out that the Adsense/Adwords program is not showing much growth in the quarterly reports to shareholders. However, the ads on Google's own websites are showing pretty good revenue growth.
That may - or may not - be significant but there is at least one Silicon Valley journalist who is convinced that the Adsense/Adwords program is in trouble.
[edited by: wa_desert_rat at 1:30 am (utc) on May 7, 2014]
|wa desert rat|
| 1:29 am on May 7, 2014 (gmt 0)|
Just tried to find more recent data on Adsense revenue. But there is a paucity of data; although there is an overabundance of whining. Worse yet, many web site publishers do not date their articles so sifting through 2008 complaints about declining revnue to find 2014 complaints is quite a lot of work.
However it does appear that something happened in the Adsense community beginning about the middle of February and continuing through April and into May. The acquisition of a click-fraud detection company early in 2014 may have something to do with this (along with the infamous March click shaving and revenue take-backs).
As in earlier upheavals, this appears to affect some sites significantly, some sites barely, and some sites not at all.
Remarks by Google on its own forums in response to publishers complaining about sharply declining revenue are laughable, literally. Yet the media at learge seems very slow to pick up on this and Google's revenues continue to increase despite a sharp decline in Adsense; which was a significant factor in Google's successful IPO.
I have scaled back my optimistic forecasts of retirement income over the past six months.
| 2:32 am on May 7, 2014 (gmt 0)|
Our AdSense CTR is unchanged this month (compared to last month), but CPC is up slightly, resulting in a slight increase in average RPM.
For us, the sky isn't raining manna, but it isn't falling, either.
| 3:22 am on May 7, 2014 (gmt 0)|
Hi Sally. I'm also a high earner. My earnings started to suddenly go down beginning in March about 40% less. Yours is quite extreme from 20k to 800, that's just not normal. How many sites do you have? Are all those sites have similar extreme downward trend or only a few were affected?
| 3:40 am on May 7, 2014 (gmt 0)|
|Hi Sally. I'm also a high earner. My earnings started to suddenly go down beginning in March about 40% less. Yours is quite extreme from 20k to 800, that's just not normal. How many sites do you have? Are all those sites have similar extreme downward trend or only a few were affected? |
My earnings started to suddenly go down beginning in APRIL about 40% less. Then on May 1, a total collapse.
I am working feverishly on my new page, which gives ALL the data that everyone would like to see. I will hold this in abeyance, until I receive confirmation of my execution, or until AdSense locks me out. Just the outline has taken me 5 hours. It will be exhaustive. It looks like anger will be MY fourth step of grieving. Quickly turning into rage. Yeah, yeah, I know, Google owes me nothing. But I have a lot to say about it. There are a lot of things that folks don't understand, and don't think enough about. I intend to warn others that may suffer the same fate as I.