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Think of it from Google's point of view ~ they don't want advertisers going directly to the publishers with the highest ROI or target audience, and cutting Google out of the $$ loop. So I doubt you will see any change with the referrals, even as Google launches new features.
Opera usually reports the last URl it visits as the referrer, irrespective of server redirects. However, for IE, the referrer is the last page with actual HTML content. As 90+% of people use IE, I would say the referer is the actual page the ad is on.
Does anyone who runs adsense as an advertiser know for sure? Intuitively, what you say makes some sense, but then the other side is equally valid. If all your referrals came from a pron site, and you sold bibles, you would want to know why!
Does anyone have proof either way?
(obviously I've hidden the details!)
but I doubt many (any?) AdSense users would risk their income by trying to cut a deal directly with the advertiser - Google manages everything for us this was and everybody is happy*.
(* except PolishGuy!)
I had a hit from one of my ads, then an inquiry from someone about a job through my online info form.
When I checked my logs I found what seaboy is describing and followed the link to a popular job search site with the google ads appearing at the top of the page. I'm not hiring, but my ad was there.
I pulled the ads from all pages but Google after that, who knows where else they are appearing. I may try it again though, now that AdSense has been running for a while now and I have some negative keywords in my listings.