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I am not blaming the advertisers, after reading through the Adwords forum they too seem to be up in arms about what has happened.
This buck stops firmly at the Google Adsense desk, they introduced the new system seemingly without any consultation with anyone, they're the ones who have reduced my EPC by 13.5% since the introduction.
This morning I have removed EVERY Adsense and Adlink block from all 100+ sites except for the leaderboard.
If this fails to stop the financial rot then I shall have no alternative but to remove Adsense completely. Just as Google can terminate me at a moment's notice, likewise I can remove them completely for failing to perform which is what is happening.
I know there is no guaranteed income with this program however those supposedly in charge at Adsense ought to realise that their failure to give a reasonable ROI for the publisher's efforts will have serious repercussions unless they get it back under control.
Please, no posts about my earnings and EPC are way up:-)
Google has a big nut to crack every quarter and tries to squeeze publisher earnings when it thinks it can get away with it. Approaching holiday weekends are a good time to do this as most publishers will attribute the drop in EPC to the holiday weekend.
Google cleverly started AdSense at a time when it had the confidence of the Internet community and was thus able to get publishers to sign-up with an agreement that is totally unspecific as to what portion of revenues the publisher is to receive. (sort of like bying one of those rippoff mystery auctions on Ebay).
Just one possibilty of what could be the truth.
I've been on a downword trend for over a week now. What in the hell would cause the EPC of a semi-competitive niche to go up and down by 50% or more from day to day?!
I'm going to give it until Saturday the 10th of this month to reach a reasonable EPC, at which point I will be forced to drop AdSense if it's still performing poorly. It's getting tiring being in the dark all the time as well.
Hell, It would be worth a small loss in revenue for me to have at least relatively stable statistics. I mean, come on - why should my earnings vary by as much as 50% from one day to another while the traffic and clicks stay the same?
I realize things change... advertisers adjust their bids, etc - but I really doubt that the bottom falls out of my niche completely on any day - let alone for a week straight.
Where is this money going? The whole, "you don't need to know your publisher share of the click" is starting to wear thin. I am beginning to develop trust issues in regards to this. Even the most shady, low-down, bottom feeder affiliate programs give you SOMETHING to relate the value of your cliks to. With G it's more like - you'll get what we give you.
I have had good days with AdSense, and that is why I feel the need to vent my frustrations. I have seen the potential to earn great amounts of money, and I thought that I was about to get my hand deeper into the jar - but all of my hard work (increasing traffic, writing content) is being countered by decreasing EPC - on a monthly downword trend, and currently on a daily downword trend. I am officially making the SAME amount per day this month that I made June, and I have doubled my SE traffic since then, and quadroupled my average daily click amount. Treading water...
1) It's absolutely foolish to make decisions based on data from seasonal variation (good or bad), such as activity in and around holidays, summer, etc. Since we have no way of knowing what CAUSES the fluctuations, any kind of rash reaction is more likely to cost you money than to increase it.
2) It's pretty obvious to me that increasing traffic, while good for many other reasons, has diminishing returns for adsense. We could speculate as to why, but nobody really knows. Doubling traffic doesn't mean doubling income. In fact it might mean NO increase in income. If the only reason you make the effort to increase traffic is adsense, you're likely going to be disappointed.
3) One of my theories is that the diminishing return issue for traffic has multiple causes, and they are benign (not intended or engineered by google). My suspicion is that when you, let's say, double your traffic, you are increase the proportion of less targetted traffic (or traffic that is valuable and will convert for the advertisers). Hence smart pricing kicks in.
4) I said, the other day, to my wife, that the constant changes with google (search, adwords, adsense) were driving me nuts. I understand the need. BUT, one of my "prime business directives" is that I need a somewhat stable environment in which to function. It's the same for any business. The constant change IS going to affect the willingness of advertisers and publishers to stay with google, quite simply because for every change, there is a cost for us businesses, in time, and even money, to accomodate it.
I like the sitemaps feature, for example, but it took me a few hours to implement it, and use it. I think it's probably great. The new adwords system cost me time and energy to figure out, and plan a new strategy. Changes in adsense pricing and income as a result of algo changes, also push me to change ads, locations, inventory, etc.
That's the cost google pays for constant change, and perhaps it's worthwhile in the long run, but I bet the more they institute change, the faster they do it, the more likely advertisers, publishers will be willing to jump to competition, if only in the hope they don't have to spend all their time changing things every week.
I believe your observation about "increasing traffic" leading to little or no monetary gains is dead on. I just don't understand it.
My traffic is 90% SE traffic, provided by Google - I can't get anymore targeted than that. I question the reliability of the smart pricing algo. If these drops in revenue are a direct result of smart pricing - something is a miss. I mean, seriously - How can they track conversions properly when 50% of the network seems to be scraper sites?
If someone clicks through an AdSense advertisement on my site, and ends up on a scraper site that in turn passes them through one of their AdSense ads, is a conversion tracked for me?
Before someone gets the wrong idea about my relationship with Google and thinks I'm here to bash, hear me out.
I am as pro-Google as they come. I've got my hands in everything. I am an editor for my niche, and a couple others in the ODP. I've beta tested everything G let me get my hands on, and I've played the White-Hat ever since I had a hat to wear. I'm confused as to why my sites "worth" as far as AdSense is concerned, has deteriorated while I have done nothing but make improvements in visitor quality, and site quality overall.
The whole, "you don't need to know your publisher share of the click" is starting to wear thin. I am beginning to develop trust issues in regards to this. Even the most shady, low-down, bottom feeder affiliate programs give you SOMETHING to relate the value of your cliks to.
1) You agreed to the AdSense TOS when you joined the program. Why complain now?
2) Google's quarterly earnings report tells the percentage of revenues that partners receive (about 70% overall--if you can find an ad network that pays a higher percentage, please let us know).
3) Google would be stupid to tell publishers exactly what share they're getting individually, because that would make it easy for competitors to cherry-pick the most desirable publishers.
4) The exact percentage that an individual publisher receives may vary, depending on a lot of factors. (Google is a company that was built on algorithms, so it's unlikely that the revenue share is a straight, fixed percentage split.)
Here's the conspiracy theory. Google has a big nut to crack every quarter and tries to squeeze publisher earnings when it thinks it can get away with it....Just one possibilty of what could be the truth.
Sure, and another "possibility of what could be the truth" is that Larry and Sergey have a direct line to God, and God is dictating what they should pay to publishers. (Think of it as the ad network's version of "intelligent design.") But I won't believe that--or your own conspiracy theory--without supporting evidence.
I must say that the HUGE changes in EPC from day to day are very stressful.
Not all of us have huge changes in EPC from day to day, and some of us have seen steady increases in EPC in the last few months. It may be that editorial diversity (i.e., a wide range of topics and advertisers) helps to smooth variations, or that attempts to maximize CTR (something that's often discussed in this forum) can backfire if the resulting increase in clicks leads to lower conversion rates for advertisers. Or it may simply be that the supply of ad inventory is outstripping demand by advertisers in some sectors. But it's a mistake to assume (as some people here do) that
EPC is dropping across the board or that Google is keeping a bigger share of the revenues.
Finally, I think a lot of publishers would do well to read Ronburk's excellent post on "How AdSense will change":
I have 15 or so sites on different topics. Total clicks and revenue across all never changed much in 2 years. All sites combined gives me about 350 to 600 clicks per day, (extremes over 2 years) average about 425.
Individually, well that shows huge changes over time with some sites getting huge click / traffic epc variations. I f I was to only look at one or two sites I would see these huge swings as many do.
And then there is the sample size. If you owned a corner shop that sold all sorts of things, your income would be very varied. 10 customers a day may only buy a newspaper. Next day same. Another day 3 might buy new TV or something, then the day after the 10 (or 3 or 15) customers may buy nothing.
If you looked at its income it varies enormously! As would click through (purchases) and page views (your visitors.
If you had an Identical shop in ever villiage or town in the country the AVERAGE income would likely be extremely stable - so real trends can be seen.
I suggest that less than say 5 to 10 thousand page views per day, or say an average of 3 to 6 hundred clicks is not a large enough sample to really tell you very much statistically.
thanks for posting that efv, it's a shot in the arm for my morale.
i would be careful about that ronburk post tho... as ann pointed out, he's advocating that we contact past and current adsense advertisers, which could easily end up being a violation of the t.o.s.... in particular, i don't think that we are in a position to determine the status of what an adwords advertiser really is; they might just have their campaign on hold for a short period.
i would be careful about that ronburk post tho... as ann pointed out, he's advocating that we contact past and current adsense advertisers, which could easily end up being a violation of the t.o.s....
I agree, but I think his analysis of where AdSense is heading--and where many AdSense publishers go wrong--hould be essential reading for every publisher in this forum.
You agreed to the AdSense TOS when you joined the program. Why complain now?
Why are any contracts renegotiate? Why are college coaches contracts only for a few years at a time? Because things change and agreements need to change with changing times. Less than a year ago I was earning 10 times the EPC that I am now. Do you think advertiser costs per click have declined to one tenth of their cost last year? Absolutely not!
Google's quarterly earnings report tells the percentage of revenues that partners receive (about 70% overall--if you can find an ad network that pays a higher percentage, please let us know).
You will never convince me that Google is paying 70% to the average joe AdSense member. I think it is more likely that super sites have separate agreements with Google and are receiving possibly a 90% or more payout. Us small potatoes publishers are earning more like 20% to 40%. Of that I'm pretty certain after comparing some AdSense revenues with AdWords costs.
I'm not trying to bash Google. Just noting some realizations after working on improving my sites and traffic for a year only to see LESS income.
Yes, things do change, which is why I mentioned Ronburk's excellent post at:
If you're seeing a dramatic reduction in AdSense earnings, that doesn't mean Google is keeping a bigger cut of the take. It's more likely to mean that you're being affected by supply and demand in your niche and/or by "smart pricing" discounts for advertisers. It's worth noting that some publishers are seeing increased earnings (including higher EPC), and that wouldn't be the case if Google were taking a bigger share of ad revenues across the board.
Remember, too, that AdWords/AdSense is an auction-based system, which means that pricing and publisher earnings are subject to the kind of fluctations that you might see in securities or commodities markets. (Back when Sprinks was still around, one of the Sprinks executives told me that many Sprinks advertisers were like day traders, sitting at their computers and changing bids throughout the day.)