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My advice would be that you compare your average earning per click (CPC) on a daily basis, rather than an hourly basis. Let the day finish, and then compare it with yesterdays CPC.
It would be nice to have robust reports as compared to the current ones that we have. I could even use a graphical view for hours/day and days/week.
It's hard to keep a big picture view of this when I'm checking my results every 15min! Yes... I'm obsessing.
I have gone from:
Google is paying my vacation this year and I am going to Vegas!
OMG! not only am I going to Vegas, but I am going first class!
Maybe first class is a stretch... Business class, but I am staying in the heart of the strip in a four star hotel. No more 3 star hotels for me.
Ok back to 3 star hotels and coach fare.
I am just going to chill and go to Vegas anyway, by the time the dust is settled, I am still getting more than selling ads through Fastclick or Burst.
I agree with an earlier poster: This is not like the Open Google I'm used to seeing, and frankly, I think it's not wise of them to behave like this. No reason to be secretive when you have such a good product (as they do).
>secretive when you have such a good product
All the ad brokers seem to be like that, I guess there are good non-Googlish reasons for this, it would be a heck of a lot easier to compete with the Adsense network if you had a good idea of the revenue flowing through it? In the same way SE's are secretive about their query stats (Zeitgeist may be informative but it could be a whole lot more informative).
Personally, I do not care. If they do not pay enough, I will just pull the ads down and either put up a competitor or put up affiliate links. It is really simple, really.
It may be that google is paying more to publishers to start and then will cut those payments down over the next few months as more publishers sign up.
It's equally possible that their revenue split isn't as simple as an ordinary ad network's 50-50 or 65-35. Google might determine the revenue split for each site with an algorithm that takes things like clickthrough rates, average payment per click, and total revenue into account. To put it another way, Google might choose to use a site's ratio of server overhead to revenue as a weighting factor when determining the revenue split.
IMHO, it would be foolish for Google to announce its revenue split, because that would just make it easier for competitors to (a) offer a better revenue split across the board or (b) offer better terms to selected Web sites. By encouraging trial and letting Webmasters judge the program on the bottom line (how much money they're earning, not what percentage they're being paid), Google avoids getting into a "who's got the best revenue split" battle with current and future competitors.
By requiring publishers to maintain secrecy, they can get away with it.
Even if we all compared clickthrough rates and effective CPMs, that wouldn't tell us what percentage Google was paying--or whether that percentage was being cut. With so many variables on each site, it would be nearly impossible to make an informed judgment.
Why should I compare what my site 'earns' against what sites in totally different genres and with absolutely different demographics earn?
Is a credit card comparison site going to earn the same as a model airplane site? Is a site targeted to teens going to earn the same as a site targeted targeted towards seniors?
And indeed, with campaigns paying hugely varied amounts (5 cents to $2 or more!), why would it even matter what percentage we're being paid?
There are only two things that matter, IMHO, and each just for INDIVIDUAL Webmasters:
1) How much is my site averaging per click?
2) How much is my site averaging per impression?
Frankly, I'd much rather see Google help Webmasters understand which areas of their sites are the best earners.