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Blocking "generic" ads

What is your advice on this?

     
9:00 am on Dec 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

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By "generic" ads I'm talking about advertisers like eBay.com, Shopping.com, and PriceGrabber.com. No matter the keyword is, they have an Adsense ad saying how you can "Buy ABCDEFG here" or "Compare prices of ABCDEFG here" or find "New and used ABCDEFG here", etc.

What is your opinion of these ads? Do you think they are given higher priority because of the volume they represent to AdSense?

I'm wondering if blocking them would allow more targeted advertising to be displayed. What do you think?

7:18 pm on Jan 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Keep in mind that the .05 rate is for "average" advertisers like us. If little guys like us can run ads for .05, then what kind of price do you think eBay or Amazon gets when they offer to run 100,000,000 impressions? They're going to negotiate a much better price, positioning and priority.

Big advertisers operate in a different world (I was a media buyer for a major computer company). The normal rules and rates don't even apply. They might buy millions of ads for .01 and still appear more frequently and in higher positions simply because that's what they negotiated.

Keep in mind that 100,000,000 impressions times .01 is $1 million dollars. No one turns their back on $1 million.

7:39 pm on Jan 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm going to have to disagree with Macro for once. As others have pointed out there is no way to know what the specific bid prices are, by the same token there is no way to prove that these bay-type-ads are NOT .05! WHY would the Bay want to pay $xx.xx just to turn around and send the reader to their customers? Bay makes money whether a particular item is sold or not, and if they don't sell item x, they'll probably sell item y instead, so why make any particular terms more valuable bid-wise? All they are interested in is CHEAP, GENERIC, VOLUME traffic. Likewise there is no proof that the highest price ads come up the highest positioned on your page. The phrase "these are generally the best ads" mentioned in various places could just as well imply they are the "best" because they are the most "applicable" and thus the most likely to be clicked on, NOT the highest priced. Which is G the most interested in these days, traffic volume, or relatively few highest priced bids? I don't know for sure. It could be they've figured out that enticing people to click MORE cheap ads makes them more money, a nickel at a time than at a dollar a click and makes more advertisers happy. Maybe they're just trying to increase their internet reach cheaply and decrease Y!s. All this would be accomplished with this method.

I DO know that as these ads have proliferated, in general and on our site, I've noticed a sharp rise in CTR with a corresponding drop in PPC. This follows that theory precisely. To me this also means I am referring MORE of my viewers, which I may be paying a higher PPC for, away at a LOWER price each and I don't like it. Which is why we've started tracking channels very closely and studying the ones with the lowest PPC. When there is no OBVIOUS cheap-ad to filter we simply revert them to other advertising options.

7:42 pm on Jan 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>>Keep in mind that 100,000,000 impressions times .01 is $1 million dollars.

And if Google makes 30% (for example) then 30% of $0.01 is still less than 30% of $0.10. It's still in Google's interest to serve you the $0.10 ad. And when there are no $0.10 ads the $0.01 is still better than PSAs.

It is not impossible that the company that proclaims to do no evil actually indulges in serving ads designed to maximise their reach even at the expense of losing them (and you) money....but we need to guard against taking long term inventory decisions based on this assumption. If it turns out to be false (which is also;) possible) we end up losing money in the long run.

>> Bay makes money whether a particular item is sold or not, and if they don't sell item x, they'll probably sell item y instead,
First, they make more money when they are charging a percentage of the sale - so the earnings are not fixed per auction. Secondly, it's not an either/or situation. They are big enough to sell both x and y. And, in fact, that's why they are trying to attract more punters.

>> I DO know that as these ads have proliferated, in general and on our site
Fair enough. But we have no way of knowing whether that is being caused by Google attempting to nobble Y! or whether a more mundane explanation - like advertisers' budgets - applies.

I don't believe they'd go for clicks at the expense of losing money. Behind the scenes of Google the emphasis is on acquiring more publishers rather than getting more advertisers i.e. if they have a shortage of anything it's inventory - not ad money. It would be reasonable to conclude that they'd want to maximise their revenue from existing inventory instead of going out of their way to pander to low paying advertisers. The 'Bay (and affiliates) don't have much of an option. There are more of them than there are of advertising networks with Google's reach.

>> Which is G the most interested in these days, traffic volume, or relatively few highest priced bids?
Based on my stats I would say it's the latter. Mileage, as they say, may vary.

8:53 pm on Jan 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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And if Google makes 30% (for example) then 30% of $0.01 is still less than 30% of $0.10. It's still in Google's interest to serve you the $0.10 ad. And when there are no $0.10 ads the $0.01 is still better than PSAs.

Macro, you're too hung up on the individual cost of a single ad transaction, and clearly mistaken about what is Google's "best interest". Forget the cost of individual ads, the business is about making money. Ad execs want to book big orders. If Google has a chance to get a wire transfer for $1,000,000 (even if the individual ad cost is .01) that deal will be given #1 priority. Everything will be done to ensure that an advertiser of that magnitude is made happy. It's money in the bank. That's the way business works.

Little guys that have $100 budgets get smothered even if they are bidding $10 per ad because the gross dollars aren't significant, and half the time their credit cards bounce anyway. :)

9:00 pm on Jan 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>>clearly mistaken about what is Google's "best interest"

I thought Google's best interest was to make more money :)

9:04 pm on Jan 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Whatever happened to quality control? Google's pretty quick to disallow an ad that might have a superlative in it, or any number of other reasons. Surely they can do something about finding dead pets on Ebay?
9:52 pm on Jan 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>I thought Google's best interest was to make more money :)

Not necessarily at all Macro. At least not at this point.

In the publishing business for example, total distribution is paramount to selling paid subscriptions, since it makes it look like you're the most popular newspaper/magazine/(SE) and thus advertisers HAVE to advertise with you or be left out. Why do you think you get all those free subscription offers from start-up computer/networking magazines? In the LONG TERM it makes them money for their bottom line, by attracting more (volume) advertisers, but they wind up GIVING AWAY a LOT of free issues in the process.

So I'm guessing, right now, they COULD be in the "giving away the farm" stage, in order to benefit the bottom line later when they dump all the less profitable publishers and just keep the cream of the crop.

Just one scenario.

> Behind the scenes of Google the emphasis is on
>acquiring more publishers rather than getting more
>advertisers i.e. if they have a shortage of anything
>it's inventory - not ad money.

Probably true, but just like when you open a new store or restaurant, you hire twice as many people as you really need, intending in the end to axe the ones who "don't work out" to your liking.

11:10 pm on Jan 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Actually those ones are targetted to the US only - I had to VPN through a US server of mine to see them. (The "dead {pets,people,bodies}" ads).
4:39 am on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Has it occured to anyone else that ebay doesn't necessarily *need* people to click on their ads - all they need to do is get you to see ebay, ebay, ebay, ebay, ebay, ebay on every darn page/site/search that you go to. Same thing for amazon, pricegrabber, etc. It's the big guys squeezing out the little guys in brand name recognition. You don't "auction" something on the internet, you "ebay it" (just like bandaid instead of bandage). I must be one of the handful of people that still browses Yahoo Auctions.

Any other advertiser would have had their adwords account killed a long time ago with that kind of abusive marketing but apparently ebay (and others) are "in bed" with Google somehow.

Again, I can't block these ads fast enough. If they want generic ads they can pay me directly with impression (instead of click) based fees

5:06 am on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Has it occured to anyone else that ebay doesn't necessarily *need* people to click on their ads - all they need to do is get you to see ebay, ebay, ebay, ebay, ebay, ebay on every darn page/site/search that you go to.

That is an excellent point.

9:30 am on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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amznVibe, I agree there is value in just being seen. But, AFAIK, Adwords advertisers' positions are gained not just on bid price but a combination of bid price and CTR. If people are only seeeing the ad and not clicking on it the ad keeps dropping to the point where it disappears on any competitive KW and only surfaces when no other ads are available. Which takes me back to my original point i.e. if 'Bay ads appear on your site it is for lack of suitable other ads.

$1 million is not a lot of dosh. It sounds like a lot till you compare it with the alternative. A million from a big advertiser is worth less than $50 million from a slew of smaller players (even when you take the $5 million extra admin costs into account).

Mike, I have no argument with your "expediency" argument and they may well weed out publishers later. But, I find your example contradictory. If their emphasis is on increasing their publisher base to gain a possible future monopolistic position in negotiations with advertisers - they'd need to pay the publishers more, not less.

9:56 am on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If people are only seeeing the ad and not clicking on it the ad keeps dropping to the point where it disappears on any competitive KW and only surfaces when no other ads are available. Which takes me back to my original point i.e. if 'Bay ads appear on your site it is for lack of suitable other ads.

You really think that ebay is under the same adwords agreement handling as the small webmaster spending $100-$1000 a month? Ha, I think not. I think their ads show no matter what and more agressively to the point where you'd be paying for constant re-activations.

Also remember that Google rotates certain slots on adsense blocks at times. If you don't block them, they will sneak into the ad block and waste space for an already producing ad. I see this happen all the time.

By the way, the adsense sandbox tool will not show you ALL potential ads - by blocking the "junk" ads you have a better chance to get a new or unexpectedly better ad. Since I started to do direct adsense click monitoring I can see ads/url creeping in that Google does not show you with their preview tool, even at 20 ads previewed.

So block away I say. Try it for a week or two and see what happens.
Do I know what I'm talking about? Well I don't claim to be an "expert" but Adsense *is* my primary income at this point.

10:09 am on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I hear your conspiracy ;) theory but no argument as to why it's in Google's self interest to run lower paying ads at the expense of higher paying ones.
10:55 am on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi Y'all,

This is an interesting thread...

I noticed that almost all the toxic eBay (aff) ads seem to be served by three adURLs, two of which seem to carry other useful traffic so I'm not blocking them.

But one URL, that looks like a typing error, and is used by CJ I think, does just carry, IMHO, dross, and I've blocked it, and some of the sillier "89 Jsp" ads that were irritating me have gone.

So I have just 2 URLs in my filter list, one of which is my own site URL!

All our milages vary...

Rgds

DamonHD

11:41 am on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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why it's in Google's self interest to run lower paying ads at the expense of higher paying ones

The people who seem to say that, have forgetten its a computer algorithm picking the ads and the amount paid per ad. That algorithm is about as good as the several searches I do each day that end up with spam results in the top ten slots. We don't know all the factors - an ebay ad worth a few pennies per click might seem more viable to the algorithm if there are a million sites it can be shown on for potential clicks vs. the ad that is worth ten times that but only potentially shown on 10,000 sites with matching keywords.

That kind of computerized behavior I can predict and understand. The behavior I *can't* understand why is why the exact same ad on one of my pages is worth ten times the amount as on another. I literaly have to re-order my pages/links to make the visitor flow to the higher paying page when they see it for the 2nd time than click on the lower paying page where they see the ad for the 1st time! But that is a whole other topic/thread I guess.

12:25 pm on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The algo used for SERPS is complex, uses many, many variables, and is subject to a lot of spamming from webmasters. Relatively speaking the algo for Adsense is a walk in the park - which ad pays more, ad A or ad B? Mistakes by the SERPS algo don't have a considerable, immediate impact on Google's earnings, mistakes in the Adsense algo do. So, these are more likely to be fixed pronto.

My viewpoint unfortunately is being largely dictated by the stats I'm seeing on my sites. EPC for December has increased by 4% on November and by 2% over my average for the last six months. This is based on more than a couple of thousand clicks per day. I don't see this 'bay/Hoo! problem. It's unlikely there is a different algo serving ads to you. Neither of us can prove anything. I'll keep a closer eye on my stats. My suggestion to you would be to consider that there is something on your site that needs to change to get the better ads.

>>Surely they can do something about finding dead pets on Ebay?
That's maybe where the concession is i.e. in allowing premium advertisers to self-regulate copy to a certain extent.

2:12 pm on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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You really think that ebay is under the same adwords agreement handling as the small webmaster spending $100-$1000 a month? Ha, I think not.

What people seem to forget (although it's been said before in this thread) is that these ads aren't coming from Ebay but from affiliates of Ebay.

I don't buy into any of these consipiracy theories. Google shows the ad that generates the best CPM. (That's effectively what you get when you multiple CPC by CTR.) It doesn't matter whether the advertiser spends $5 or $5 million.

3:24 pm on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Most of the "dead pet" ads I am seeing do NOT say afflilate (or aff, or any variation thereof), overstock, yahoo etc.
3:34 pm on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Relatively speaking the algo for Adsense is a walk in the park - which ad pays more, ad A or ad B?

Why do people think that is the main function of the adsense algo and it's that simple?
The same content with a slightly different URL = different ads, different payout.
There's alot more going on in that algorithm, it's far from perfect and it's subject to "spamming" just like the serp algorithm.

However I have noticed that these generic ads always pay out low no matter what page they are on. I still say block them and make your site look better while having a chance for higher payout.

Oh, last but not least - the ads you see when you check your site - they are not always what the user sees. Google knows your IP, knows if you've been there recently. I've learned alot from watching my adsense click log.

3:54 pm on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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What are you using for tracking clicks?
9:04 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>> I hear your conspiracy ;) >>

We are just a handful of intelligent people who are trying figure out how the big marketing companies make their money and what should be done to get a piece of the pie. On that note - such conspiracy is a plot to get more people to invest time to promote their business rules as word to mouth advertising its the best way, always was and soon we will see the talking ads and the person will be speaking will look like your neighbor. technology evolves whether we want to block it or not, more is better and more often is even better... adjusting advertised content to your sites color scheme is a perfect example of visual manipulation, adding 'dead pet' to the soup makes it more 'clickable'. Will people comeback to your site next time they look for 'dead pet'? - i think its totally up to them...

10:04 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>>We are just a handful of intelligent people

Count me out! That's the last thing I want to be accused of. People start having expectations of you if they think you are intelligent ;)

2:18 am on Jan 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I think you ussually get a discount and special treatment for buying in volume AND signing contracts. Kinda like lobbying and supporting a candidate. So it is very, very possible ebay ads are lower per click. Probable even.

Think about it, wouldn't you bust your hump and throw money, gifts whatever it takes to get in bed with G if you were ebay? Common sense tells you that when someone PROMISES you millions, you WILL expect some finacial VIP treatment.

What I would LOVE to read in this thread is some real life before and afters.

Bottom line, did you make more money after wacking ebay like sites, and did it revert when you restored them. An experiment of sorts. Anyone able to prove this (at least in your sector, I know results will vary, just looking for a trend).

Anyone done this experiment?

Mike

2:40 am on Jan 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I don't know of this. But can tell you that its all about latest data mining program scripts to the click; to my knowledge. try diabling third party cookies, see how far will that get you.
2:26 pm on Jan 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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How many times does this need to be said?

THESE ADS ARE FROM EBAY AFFILIATES.... NOT EBAY!

All of these consipiracy theories rely on Ebay throwing a ton of money Google's way. That's just not happening. It's Ebay affiliates who doing the bidding.

3:20 pm on Jan 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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To block or not to block, that is the question:
whether tis' nobler in the pocketbook to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageously low fortune:
Or to take arms against a sea of theories,
And by opposing blocking, end them?
....I think not!
3:20 pm on Jan 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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MOU, I hear your emphasis. The 'bay is just being used as an example. Other merchants don't necessarily use affiliates to do their dead cat ads, they do them themselves.

The new Adwords scheme will largely eliminate these affiliate problems.

LOL, Shakespeare.

5:41 pm on Jan 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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All of these consipiracy theories rely on Ebay throwing a ton of money Google's way. That's just not happening. It's Ebay affiliates who doing the bidding.

The spamming effect is the same, regardless.

5:43 pm on Jan 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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MOU, I hear your emphasis. The 'bay is just being used as an example. Other merchants don't necessarily use affiliates to do their dead cat ads, they do them themselves.

That is true, and don't you believe for one single second that they are ALL ebay affiliates either. Ebay does this "Find {AnyKeywordVariable} on Ebay". I don't think affiliates have that power... Not and have google allow them to remain anyway.

THESE ADS ARE FROM EBAY AFFILIATES.... NOT EBAY!

I think you should give up on the theory that these are affiliates. It aint happening, affiliates cannot do what ebay ads do without getting wacked. Also the volume of them is very high. There may be *some* ads under high paying keywords that are affiliates, but the global word blankets (like dead cats) are not affiliates.

Anyone try the experiment I asked about above? Before and after?

6:05 pm on Jan 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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One good thing has come out of this thread. It's coined a term. In other threads people are now referring to dead_cats as a catchall term for the autogenerated ads ;)
This 72 message thread spans 3 pages: 72