shazam - 8:32 pm on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)
Out of your list, B is by far the most honest straight forward and ethical approach. Not that I agree with your assumptions, but from the options you pointed out, B is by far the best.
I've spent a lot of money through the years advertising both on search and content networks and know many others with similar experience. By far, the most common complaint about the content network is getting ads to show. Most content network advertisers will happily take all the volume they can get. Sure they will pick and choose the quality sites and weed out the others once their ads finally start flowing, but they all want volume.
Google should stop playing these games with both the advertisers and the publishers. At the same time publishers are being 'smart priced' into .01 clicks, there are advertisers that cannot get google to run their ads. They clearly 'work' both sides. If you believe the 68% number, I got some ocean front property Nebraska you would love. They can SAY 90% if they want, it's irrelevant, nobody will ever know because it's once again the typical google black box. "Trust us, we're google."
Once again, you can simply watch the ads. The same exact ads show up regardless of the number of clicks/traffic/ctr smart pricing etc.. The advertiser's budgets aren't being depleted. These same ads are always showing 24/7 on other good sites in any given niche. You can see the same ads showing at the top of the serps (much more expensive) day in and day out 24 hours a day. Clearly no budget caps being hit. They want traffic, an extra 1000 or 10,000 impressions from one site is not pushing them over the edge.
This whole 'smart pricing' is a 100% google creation, not at all the result of natural market forces. It is an added layer in the black box between the advertisers and the pubs. This is why they refuse to be transparent about it.