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Major changes to AdSense

Pricing structure and ad relevance

     
8:04 pm on Apr 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Unless adsense is sending out a april fools joke, what do people think of the changes? Every site has a unique pricing model?

For example, a click on an ad for digital cameras on a web page about photography tips may be worth less than a click on the same ad appearing next to a review of digital cameras.

[edited by: markus007 at 8:08 pm (utc) on April 1, 2004]

9:54 pm on Apr 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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But their "Targeted Ads" were never all that targeted, except on key nav pages. You should see some of the crap their "intelligent placement" comes up with on a page who's primary content is a short story.

Some pages (and sites) just may not lend themselves to AdSense ads. A short story or novel would be a good case in point: How can you expect keywords in the story to translate into targeted ads that result in clicks and (just as important) in conversions for the advertiser? If the story is about Captain Ahab and the White Whale, what kinds of ads can you expect to see--ads for whale meat, whaleboats, and harpoons? And how many Melville readers are likely to be in the market for those products? There may be ways to earn revenues from fiction, but AdSense is unlikely to be the right tool for the job.

9:55 pm on Apr 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Today is quite dismal - everything is on a sharp downward spiral except for impressions which are at a normal level for this time of day. The ads being shown are somewhat related to my content, though they're very generic and the same ads are being shown repeatedly throughout my site. I'd previously had ads shown that were more closely targetted to my content and a wider variety of them.

Yesterday was strange. All the clicks that were recorded were prior to 2:30pm PST, absolutely none after that time. I'd only had 1/3 of the day's traffic by that time of day. Puzzled.

10:03 pm on Apr 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Edited.. I probably shouldn't talk about my EPC direction. Why can't we remove our posts on this forum?
10:14 pm on Apr 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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What I EXPECT is the kind of ads I get on my key nav pages. Ads to writer resources, other fiction sites, sites that sell e-books and regular print fiction.

And it just isn't too much to ask. All the info nedded for AdSense to figure that out is on every page, highlighted links, bold text, key phrases, decent titles in the html <title> section.

But NOOOO! Google just thinks I'm spamming them, because the Title of the story itself is "Full Service", so I get ads for fuel wholesalers.

Death to google. Until they figure out that 90%-99% of people do their meta tags according to what's really important about their page, and use their page scanning algorythms just to verify this, and not as the primary means of classification, Google will continue to blow goats.

IMHO

10:50 pm on Apr 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I have a bunch of "review" sites on various topics. So far, indications are that using the word review on every page (since the page contain reviews) isn't that great with the new setup. Both EPC and CTR are down some since yesterday on statistically significant numbers of impressions.

Of course, as an Adwords advertiser, I got an email today from Google emphasizing home much less I'd have to pay for content ads now, so I'm guessing that lower CPC to advertiser equals lower EPC for publisher. That was supposed to be offset by higher CTR for publisher, but the new targeting doesn't seem to be any better than the old, at least on my sites.

11:15 pm on Apr 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Curious if anyone with the word 'User' more than a few times on the page has noticed an increase in their EPC?
11:20 pm on Apr 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My last two Adsense days have completely sucked. I've been an Adsense user since almost day 1 -- June 23, 2003 -- and today marks a sad day.

It may be time for me to look for other alternatives.

11:36 pm on Apr 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yep, me also. Receiving around 6,000 impressions daily on many sites. My CPC has gone down to NIL. Almost 1/5 of what we are used to. This is gone on for 2 days straight now. Hopefully Google can get us back on track.

Has anyone emailed them about and and received a response back explaining?

HELP

11:37 pm on Apr 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I also run adwords, i'm getting clicks from content ads for 4 cents now...
11:39 pm on Apr 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I've been doing 85,000 impressions across many sites with different areas of content (real content - not directory bs) and seen a 45% drop the past two days -- EPC and CTR both down.
11:39 pm on Apr 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I've been doing 85,000 impressions across many sites with different areas of content (real content - not directory bs) and seen a 45% drop the past two days -- EPC and CTR both down.
11:45 pm on Apr 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I think Google is asking for some circumvention. Most content sites will quit and go straight to the advertiser now.
11:52 pm on Apr 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Targeting is getting back on track. CTR is about the same. EPC is down a little bit but not enough to be statistically significant at this point.
11:59 pm on Apr 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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EPC is down close to 90% over previous days. And that on tens of thousands of impressions (not a small sample size). At this rate, it's Goodbye to Google within a few days if the stats burp doesn't iron itself out.
12:04 am on Apr 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I would be very interested to know the following data: have your earnings changed over the last few days, and if possible... the pagerank of your site.

I have a niche content site in a major category, earnings have been up almost 2 x normal while impressions were same as average. Toolbar pagerank is 6/10

12:06 am on Apr 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"It may be time for me to look for other alternatives."

Yep. My page impressions and clicks are the same but my earnings are down 50%. The revenue before this change made it worth having these ads cluttering up the page. This change will make the payout every two months instead of every month. Although this is probably small time to other users here and indeed Google, it's enough to make me drop adsense completely.

12:09 am on Apr 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'm in the same boat as Edwin an JohnKelly and others.

You know, the saddest thing about this is that I cannot really ever trust AdSense again. Even if revenues were to return to normal, my trust for the program is utterly destroyed.

If Kanoodle, Overture or Looksmart come out with competing products that produce similiar results, I would have to consider running those because Google has proven that you cannot trust AdSense as a reliable source of income.

Imagine people who quit their jobs and relied on AdSense revenue having the rug pulled out from under them like this. I am glad I am not in that camp, but a year from now I might have been and this would have been devastating.

Even the people who this is good for have to realize that it could have happened to them like this too.

I find this sad because I really liked the AdSense program and I like Google as a company and best as a search engine. But the reality is that I will have a hard time trusting them ever again in the future as an ad provider.

This means the minute their competition comes out with an AdSense competitor, I have to try it out. Before I probably just would have hung in there with Google because I like them as a company. But they aren't a stable source of revenue when they'll just change the rules on you like this. :(

I imagine others must feel the same way that I do and at this point there really isn't anything Google could do to repair that trust.

12:13 am on Apr 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I imagine others must feel the same way that I do and at this point there really isn't anything Google could do to repair that trust.

Google probably doesn't give rat's a**. There are thousands of new webmasters waiting to sign up.

But fear not, sooner or later Microsoft will decide they want to own this sector, and during the first few months they'll probably be giving money away to publishers. Then will come the "enhanced" ads that require MS servers ;)

12:21 am on Apr 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I have to agree with Ignatz and Onlineshrine, up to a point. I believe Google did this out of necessity to ensure the long-term feasibility of the AdSense program - and that is a good thing.

However, the AdSense program has matured enough that it is time for Google to provide something substantial to the *publisher*. We are, after all, the other half of the equation. This hopefully would mean an increase in the revenue share provided to publishers along with a more concrete explanation as to the share calculation. Creating channels and better reporting functions while helpful was done after many publishers had already added the equivalent code to their sites to perform these functions.

Google likely started the AdSense program to create more inventory. Their AdWords program was very popular and supply was drying up. So the logical step was to extend it out to a network of publishers.

If in fact Google continues to drop the EPC/revenue to publishers, they will be left with the "bottom of the barrel", as the higher quality content sites leave for other ad networks or go direct to the advertisers. This will in turn cause more and more advertisers to drop their content ads, and cause a vicious cycle of revenue decline.

12:27 am on Apr 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Think about it.. How bad would it look if Google sent out emails kicking out a bunch of sites?

I personally think it would have been much classier for Google to raise their standards during AdSense admission rather than pull some sleight of hand stunt later.

All of the advertisers that are paying Google a dollar/click will be more than happy to give it directly to me.. and I have no qualms, heck I'll even give them a discount, just not 78%.

12:56 am on Apr 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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However, the AdSense program has matured enough that it is time for Google to provide something substantial to the *publisher*. We are, after all, the other half of the equation.

I wouldnt say half. While AdWords could exist without AdSense, the vice-versa is not true.

In the end, it will probably be just like any medium- you will have to decide if works for you and continues to do so.

12:56 am on Apr 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I don't believe in any kind of "entitlement" from Google - they don't owe me anything.

However, if the EPC drop sticks over time, there's something rather twisted about an algorithm that says "Hey, the traffic on your busy, popular, content-filled site was worth 10x on Thursday (and on all previous days stretching back 9 months) and the exact same traffic is worth x on Friday"

1:05 am on Apr 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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...AND considering that I've seen the same advertisers on my site for 6 months now, who have continued to happily pay the old rate month after month.

A system that pays less and performs worse is NOT an improvement.

1:30 am on Apr 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yes, that too - the ads are by and large exactly the same, only "worth" 90% less...
1:30 am on Apr 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Ok, it is a little early to call, but today it is back up to normal levels.

I am going to wait a month so I compare month to month. A few days is too little to really see how it will effect the bottom line.

BZ

1:56 am on Apr 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I've been averaging 80,000 impressions a day for the past 2 months across a variety of sites. The past two days my earnings per click are down 58%.

I'm extremely disappointed with the new Adsense.

2:02 am on Apr 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"Yes, that too - the ads are by and large exactly the same, only "worth" 90% less..."

In case anybody thinks Google doesn't use cover stories remember how October payments were held back for weeks because they "didn't anticipate" Thanksgiving.

I do not believe Google scaled back their revenue. My Adwords costs are the same. Notice there are no threads on the Adwords forum about seeing cost reductions. Not one. None.

Google has instead used another lame cover story to this time increase their revenue by taking a larger share of advertiser dollars. Until I see the shouts of joy from ots of advertisers about new rock bottom prices and increased ROI I'll know nothing has happened except a reduction in payout percentage to publishers.

2:09 am on Apr 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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An algo that is not able to differentiate between crap and quality (see google results) is not able to detect the quality of a click based on the content type of a site. Their recent claim (digital camera example) sounds pretty cool but the more i think about it the more i think it's just some pretty lame marketing yadda yadda. Should we all build kelkoo's now? Or another shopping directory? And who needs another review site? Google is after informational sites? Pah! This recent move is - in my eyes - just a way to prepare AS publishers to expect a cut in revenue. Nothing more. One reason why i think so is that the first notification went to the publishers and the second to the advertisers ... ya smell it? First get a nice publisher base to make the webmasters happy, then cut the webmasters payouts to make the advertisers happy and make a nice extra profit too. Sorry, this is MS'ish.

No, i'm not paranoid but i don't trust anybody on the net. Never ever.

Where's the competition? C'mon!

2:10 am on Apr 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It's early days yet, and there's no way to know what the net effect will be a month or two months or six months from now. My own EPC has dropped off today after holding steady yesterday, but that's to be expected since we're still in phase one of the change. (Phase one is when Google introduces variable pricing or discounts; phase two is when the market responds.)

We need to remember that a lower cost per click means less revenue for Google, too, not just for the publisher. It's unlikely that Google would have introduced the variable-pricing scheme unless the company believed that:

1) Variable pricing was necessary to keep content ads viable; and/or...

2) Variable pricing would lead to greater advertiser confidence, more competition for quality clicks, and higher revenues over the long term.

TIP: If you're relying on one source of advertising revenue, you need to look at other opportunities--not just to minimize your risk, but also to maximize your income. There's no reason why AdSense should be a sole source of revenue, even for a content site.

2:13 am on Apr 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I do not believe Google scaled back their revenue. My Adwords costs are the same. Notice there are no threads on the Adwords forum about seeing cost reductions. Not one. None.

The changes only went into effect about 36 hours ago, so it's a bit early to be making such assumptions. In a week, maybe. But not yet.

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