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This 339 message thread spans 12 pages: < < 339 ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 [9] 10 11 12 > >     
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.



 1:49 pm on May 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

Also, not everyone is suffering.

Tiers. Lucky ones. People who chose wisely in what niche they chose.

But in reality you have to look at what types of comments are being made now and then compare that to what types of posts were being made a few years ago. Obviously the positive to negative ratio has changed legitimately. That is because it's the reality for more people. It's not fake and to suggest that everything is lovely is not accurate.

All you can do is compare. To suggest the whiners (like me) are NOT indicative of the reality? The saying has been around forever. If there is smoke, there is fire. If you see a place like this full of bad experiences compared to 5 years ago then OBVIOUSLY something is happening for the negative.

The way I see it, there will always be happy campers. It's far better to make a work environment really crappy and have people leave or take early retirement than to hand out pink slips to 50% of your employees. If you're a massive corporation, that might just affect public perception. The smart way is to just let it die a natural death and meanwhile keep certain tiers alive and well to counter the negativity.

I always come here because to me this is (was) the best place to measure where things are at. If it's negative, there must be something to it. If I'm the only one bickering, then obviously it's more to do with me than the Google.

Obviously what doesn't make sense is the facelift aspects of Adsense. The transparency, the online help workshops, the email support, etc. If I really wanted to be cynical I would suggest it counters what I see in the "live" ad testing which has trashed my earnings. It's like getting a hug and a punch to the stomach at the same time. It's confusing and it makes no sense. In my opinion the punch to the gut is more the reality of it. Oh, but then the argument will be it's not the ads, it's my site or my traffic source. Yes, I know how the thinking goes.

May is going to be as bad a April for myself. Obviously I'm not alone on that and really that is what this discussion is for or about. A comparison of where each of us is at and possible explanations. The situation is obvious to me.

The less reliance on publishers like me means tinkering with SERPS is now possible. Those become less important because sites like mine are less and less necessary. Traffic doesn't need to get fed to my sites like it once did. There is something much better, it just took a while for it to manifest. Meanwhile the Google owned properties have expanded and the middle man is just that. A pain and a leak in revenues streams. I get and understand being replaced and why.

And yes there will always be certain tiers out there singing praises and that there is nothing mysterious about anything and it's all good. I want to be that person so I won't give up either. However I see all this for what it is. It's all good until Siri, Cortana and Now are able to provide your information on their pages, and thus cutting out the hassle of the middle man.


 2:55 pm on May 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

Mr. Savage makes a good point about tiers. In light of Google's annual report, what may be happening is that the tiers are shrinking.

I will go back to being very busy doing my own thing. But I've been doing it for a long time. Lately, it doesn't seem to help.


 4:14 pm on May 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

Google is just keeping more and more of the best revenue for its own sites and less for the rest of us

Eventually you will have to pay to get results in search. No more free ride for anything except obscure topics no one is searching for.

Facebook does this if you have a businesses page. Your posts only show to a few followers unless you promote it $$$. Google is probably having a look at this right now and thinking we are missing out :)

Big publishers use AdWords for top position, medium and small publishers promote articles for results below ads, all other publisher page 2 and beyond.


 6:44 pm on May 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

If you see a place like this full of bad experiences compared to 5 years ago then OBVIOUSLY something is happening for the negative.

I don't know where you were five years ago, but I was here, and most of the people in this forum were bitching about AdSense then, too.


 4:47 am on May 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

I've seen lots of ups and downs with the programme since I started in 2006, but never as consistently poor as this. My gut feeling is that this is the beginning of the end for many publishers. For me, there was a huge plunge at the start of the year and apart from the odd decent day there has been no recovery since.

In the whole of 2013 I had three days when I earned less than a pound. In 2014 there have been 22 days like that already (5 in May). My monthly earnings exceeded the payment threshold for a long time prior to this year. This month will be the third month this year that this hasn't happened.

I just have a small site and my figures are nothing like those being bandied around here by other publishers. Adsense was never going to make me wealthy, but at the end of 2012 I was heading towards my goal of turning Adsense into a useful fourth income. I worked fairly hard to try to reach that goal.

After the success of 2012 there was a big drop at the start of 2013 (page views, clicks, revenue) but it then increased throughout the year. Another big drop happened at the start of 2014, but this time it has only gotten worse with every month that passes and shows no sign of improvement.

This month my earnings have started to plumb new depths. In a way I am quite pleased. Even when my earnings were relatively good, the time I spent on my site was way too much and my earnings didn't justify the time I spent. However, I carried on in the belief that it would all be worthwhile in the end.

My view now is that whatever I do personally is a complete waste of time because there are too many external factors over which I have no control. Instead of wasting time flogging a dead horse I've been doing jobs at home and spending more time with my kids. It's been a kind of epiphany and I am now trying to get my priorities in life right.

I too received the e-mail from Google about the Adsense optimisation tutorials and I am also surprised that they seem to imply that publishers can make changes that will turn things around. Will they explain how I can remove all the ads from my site that bear absolutely no relevance to my content, are written in a language that my readers can't understand, or only apply to people living in other continents? MrSavage was spot on with his analogy. In desperation I have tried so many things to recover the situation, but I honestly believe there is nothing I can do.

The world and the web have changed. Not only has Facebook changed the way people use the Internet, but its threat to Google has meant Google taking action to increase profits. When big corporations do this, it is always the little people that get hurt. Banks give virtually no interest to savers these days, and Google is just doing the same in its own way.

The world never recovered from the Global Financial Crisis of a few years ago and my own niche has been hit by ongoing political problems that show no sign of ending soon.

My Adsense earnings are still more than my website costs so there is no need yet to throw the towel in, but I don't feel at all motivated to add content or to continue trying to bring about a recovery by changing things. When it starts to cost me money to host my site, that will be the time I call it a day.

My affiliate earnings have also gone down the pan. I sell the occasional book on Amazon, but only for a few pence. There haven't been any big camera lens sales for a long time, and even if there are instead of the usual 4% on 1000 UK Pounds, Amazon UK limit their commissions to a lousy 7 UKP. With my hotel booking affiliate, plenty of people browse but not many book. It's a sad fact, but as bad as Adsense has gotten, it is still the best way to monetise my site.

I guess that eventually a lot of small sites will disappear and, as usual, the big players will take over. They will dominate with advertising, and with a monopoly they will be able to charge for content - as Murdoch-owned news sites do now. It was fun while it lasted, but nothing lasts forever.


 5:35 am on May 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

I just want to say a big thanks to Google that has been my main income for the last 10 years.


 6:55 am on May 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

Bato the subject, it seems that the prophecy is getting done.
Saturday was like holiday = my eCPM is 25% lower than usual, big problem :(


 10:00 am on May 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

If you see a place like this full of bad experiences compared to 5 years ago then OBVIOUSLY something is happening for the negative.

I don't know where you were five years ago, but I was here, and most of the people in this forum were bitching about AdSense then, too.

Just about to say the same thing. I was here from 2003 (with different username) and it's been the same thing since year dot. Few samples from this forum:

Falling falling EPC
Google won't tackle MFA problem

Scrapers killing my adsense
Clicks down 50%
Traffic quadrupled, $$ the same
Is it time to get confrontational with G?

I have proof of earnings cap now

and on and on and on. That's just from me randomly changing URL in address bar to jump around a few year period. I was reading as early as 2004 that AdSense is doomed, Google driving it into the ground, join me fellow rats in jumping off the ship before it's too late. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Adsense earnings continue to rise. Yes, there's probably be some re-arrangement of the furniture and some niches rising, others struggling. In my little group of rival/friendly webmasters, out of 7, 5 have seen earnings rise in last two years, one a slight fall, one off a cliff. And yes, the guy who's fallen calls G every name under the sun and wonders where the revenue he's "entitled to" has gone.

Your garden may be a mess. Climb up the apple tree and look over the fence a little. See something similar? Fine, get up on the roof and look at the neighbourhood or better still, go up in a hot air balloon.

And I return to the point I first made a few pages back: if G is doing all this evil to you with their heinous arrows, why are you giving them the time of day? I would (and did five years ago) dedicate every waking moment I had at my disposition to weaning myself off the AdSense teat. Are you?

(we need an AdSense equivalent to SPAM: Sites Positioned Above Mine. How about SCRAPER: Sites Cheating Revenue from Adsense by Perfecting Every Ruse. ? Catchy?)


 11:28 am on May 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

I don't know where you were five years ago, but I was here, and most of the people in this forum were bitching about AdSense then, too.

But nothing, absolutely NOTHING like they are now. There were ups and downs for sure but the seeming decimation of many quality sites with many people openly admitting as to what had happened to their sites and openly revealing their statistics, that was definitely not happening.

Some of you are still doing ok, fine, just do not imagine you are immune to the Gorg.


 8:57 pm on May 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

I must admit I am quite relieved when I'm not the only person that has noticed a drop in earnings. Up until a couple of months ago, my money was increasing each month, I was beginning to wonder if it would ever stop. April's earnings were little less than I had been experiencing, but they certainly weren't worryingly low. This month however is not good at all, now I know why. I know quite a few people use my website from their mobile device, I've also seen that many of the clicks come from mobile devices, so maybe this is why this has happened to me. Anyway, let's just hope that this decline in earnings isn't ongoing


 2:13 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

Here is an update from Google's first quarter 2014 financial statements.

Percentage of total ad revenue for Google sites in the first quarter of this year versus the first quarter of last year:

2013 - 67%
2014 - 68%

Percentage of total ad revenue for partners:

2013 - 25%
2014 - 22%

Google's own numbers continue to show that the company is shifting money away from the partner network.


 2:21 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

Google's own numbers continue to show that the company is shifting money away from the partner network.

The information in your post does not support your conclusion. Perhaps Google's financial statement does but not the information in your post.

You're talking percentages of a pie without mentioning the size of the pie. 22% of a 10 pound pie is more than 25% of a five pound pie. So without knowing the size of the pie (and no, I'm not going off to find G's financial reports) the percentages alone are pretty useless. Just saying if you want to present a logical argument, you need to properly support your conclusion.


 3:03 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

The failure of someone to agree with or understand the facts or the conclusion does not make the facts useless or the conclusion unsupported.

The size of the pie is irrelevant if my share is declining and someone else's share is growing.

If I don't get a pay raise every year and everyone else does while the company is growing, they are gaining and I am losing. How is that illogical?


 3:10 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

You're assuming that *Google* is robbing Peter to pay Paul, when there could well be other forces at work. Something about correlation and causation comes to mind.

Nevertheless, people will believe what they want to believe.


 3:14 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

scottb, one thing you seem to be overlooking is that the size of the pie is not a constant.

Think about it.


 3:21 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm astonished that people who are still doing well with AdSense are refusing to acknowledge Google's own financial statements.

Yes, people will believe what they want to believe -- even in the face of facts.


 3:23 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

Icedowl, I am doing no such thing. I'm probably the only person on this thread who has looked up Google's annual ad revenue and read their financials. I know exactly how large their pie is, how fast it is growing and how much that growth is moderating.


 3:36 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

I know exactly how large their pie is

I think what they are saying is they would like to see the size of the pie numbers as well. If you know them, post them.

I myself do not really care how much of the pie Google is sharing with publishers. I only care how much they share with me. If or when that share gets to be low enough that other advertising options are competitive, I will move on to them. And there will be no feelings hurt on either side, I am sure.

Google is a business. My site is a business. We owe each other nothing. It seems like too many people want to make this personal. No one owes anyone anything.


 3:46 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

I think what they are saying is they would like to see the size of the pie numbers as well.

Exactly! The initial statement only shows part of an equation, or ratio if you will. The facts outlined in the post do not support the conclusion in and of themselves. The conclusion may be right and it may be wrong. My only point is that the information provided is insufficient to support the conclusion.


 3:56 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

No, they would rather attack because Google's shift is threatening to their livelihood. You're the first person simply to ask for more information. Thank you for that.

The most recent SEC filing on Yahoo finance shows quarterly partner revenue at $3.1 billion versus $3.1 billion for the prior year. No change.

Google site revenue jumped to $9.4 billion versus $7.7 billion the prior year.

As I've mentioned previously, this is a strategic change because in prior years the partner site revenue had been growing at about the same pace as Google site revenue.

They are doing so because the growth rate in advertising is slowing and they need to keep a greater relative percentage of ad revenue for themselves to protect their profit and stock price.


 4:06 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

Does anyone know if this is going to improve, or is it just may?


 4:19 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

shows quarterly partner revenue at $3.1 billion versus $3.1 billion for the prior year

Google's own numbers continue to show that the company is shifting money away from the partner network.

How is this shifting money away from the partner network?

Google site revenue jumped to $9.4 billion versus $7.7 billion the prior year.

And why is this simply not Google doing a better job with it's own properties? Perhaps the partner network is limited in it's capacity for growth whereas G is not. Adsense rules (such as three ads per page) and the efficacy of certain products (link-units don't work well in responsive design which is on the rise) probably have a significant effect on the rate of growth of the partner network and it's earnings (even with new sites coming online every day). Put that into the perspective that new sites coming online means new content for the SERPS. The growth rate of the two may be related but I think G has the upper hand. Always has, always will. I'm still not convinced that the numbers support your argument (which is the argument of many publishers these days). This isn't an attack on you personally. Statistics can be manipulated to support virtually any side of an argument (usually by leaving out other relevant statistics).

The real question is why isn't the partner network growing in revenue over the last year? I wonder if new ad formats have anything to do with that?


 4:23 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

I am seeing a version of this text ad format where the "dark square box" actually gets smaller and then bigger. It is expanding and contracting ever so slightly. Anyone else seeing this?


 8:25 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

Let's try to reconcile and combine the various hypotheses and conspiracy theories, just to find agreement:

Google is shifting good ads from the content network to its own properties, such as Google Search. To discourage users from clicking on content partners' ads, it's using square arrows. (This ploy isn't altogether successful, since users on some sites love to click on square arrows, so Google will have to monitor square-arrow clicking patterns and use personalization to serve up another arrow shape, such as trapezoidal arrows, as needed.)

One problem for Google is that it doesn't run display ads on its SERPs, so what will happen to all those display ads that aren't being served on rank-and-file content partners' sites? That's easy: They're all being sent to premium partners' sites (which means targeting on premium partners' sites is worse than ever, but that problem should take care of itself when advertisers and premium partners realize that a display ad for Croesus Cruises on a tech-news site is probably a waste of space and money).

As a practical matter, what do these conspiracy theories and suppositions mean to us? Not much. Guessing Google's motives, or speculating on the reasons behind square arrows, isn't going to put any money in our bank accounts.

For publishers who simply regard AdSense ads as a source of revenue, there's a more productive approach: Keep just enough AdSense ad units to monitor RPM and adjust inventory when earnings justify the screen real estate devoted to AdSense. (On our site, affiliate earnings have been far higher than AdSense earnings for years, so giving AdSense less space isn't much of a sacrifice.)


 10:35 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

You guys do realize that the advertisers decide where their ads show up, right?


 10:36 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

Well thanks to EditorialGuy for writing that - an injection of common sense.

I spent half an hour carefully crafting a response to those who blame square arrows and such like on their falling earnings. I felt whole better for doing it and then deleted the post!

Get a grip on reality, forget the shape of the arrow and get back to basics. Only then will you improve the situation. With the size of G, nothing is personal as far as the likes of you or me are concerned, it's just business.

G have their own battles to fight and it's with spammers, scammers and those who are looking to make a quick buck out of them whilst contributing nothing to the web.


 10:50 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

You guys do realize that the advertisers decide where their ads show up, right?

Yes and it's just one more point in opposition to the notion that Google is intentionally "shifting money away from the partner network." There are market forces at work here outside the direct control of Google (believe it or not).


 3:38 am on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Sweating over things that are not in our control helps no-one. As nomis5 suggested let's get back to basics.

A lot of the people mentioned page views declined for their site. What helps here is to try to find out why page views declined and see if there is anything we can do about it. Blaming Google doesn't improve the bottom line.

After reverting a design change to one of my sites, page views per user returned to March levels. Bounce rate and time on site have improved but slightly lower than March. I don't know if the new Universal Google Analytics tracks those data points differently.

I have to admit, RPM is 60% of March. I am working to improve the quality of my site and hopefully get more traffic. I run one ad per page. And I don't want to inundate my visitors with even more ads as I feel that is not the best way to improve earnings.


 4:14 am on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

I can attest to that. The past two years had been my best years, consistently earning at least 10k a month. Everything went downhill starting this March, losing 40-50% of my income. In my 9 years with Adsense, I had never experienced this severe income lost. Sometimes I wonder that the ones who are not affected are low earners who don't have a big data to compare.


 7:18 am on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

There is an irony in suggesting and advising more investment of time in improving a website, adding content, etc for an apparent and "out of my hands" source of customers (people who click) which is paying less than ever.

I'm not trying to be negative, but let's be real. If I'm making less I have less incentive to do anything. I can switch to something new, yes, but spending time on something that "was doing quite well" up until the past six months or year? I need an injection of hope like I have some control over getting more or reasonable levels of organic traffic.

It's contradictory. On one hand people are saying it's out of your control (these income loses) but then on the other hand people suggest to get on with the business at hand. A failing business model is one that is likely best left to die. I've spent more than enough time on doing the right thing to regain former traffic. All for what? As people are saying, all that's out of your hands. If that's true, then it's time to find a new niche or new hobby. It's not like reading a manual, tweaking this page and adding this mobile friendly design and then bingo, traffic comes back, people click and it's good times again. What it generally means is a lot of wasted time for an apparent downhill sliding business model. I think that's what people are really getting to here. Is it worth it. I can say I've shut down a fair number of sites and let some other ideas die on the vine. It's a fallacy to think there is some magic formula that is going to bring back a dead site or idea. Might happen, but at the end of the day, are your resources best spent on that? Life if short.

Sorry, it's late here but I had to point out the contradictory aspect of suggestions here. I respect that people are far far better and smarter than I am. The idea of wasting more time in hopes of something good happening when all the evidence is CONTRARY TO THAT? That's a fact jack. Less, not more in the future. Either that or perhaps more astute folks can suggest that we're going to see some upward trends on traffic and or click earnings. I'm all ears but I won't budge from my belief. Business is business and Adsense publishers are a middle man who take money from the bottom line.


 10:37 am on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Jbayabas, I manage about 20 sites for clients and my own company with access to AdSense stats for most of them. They range in size from large to small and cut across various categories of content.

The largest one and one of the smallest both plunged around March as yours did. They are in two completely different categories, more than seven years old, have strong Adsense scorecards, strong authority, etc. Nothing changed about either site. They just dropped.

Adsense for the others hasn't changed at all. The size of the site doesn't seem to be a factor.

FYI, only the most sophisticated Adwords advertisers decide where their ads appear.

[edited by: scottb at 10:43 am (utc) on May 20, 2014]

This 339 message thread spans 12 pages: < < 339 ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 [9] 10 11 12 > >
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