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December 2007: Google Adsense income way down

Why is my Adsense down by 80%?

     
11:46 am on Dec 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I have a website and my income has reduced from around 50 USD per day (June '07) right down to less that 10 USD per day.

I would appreciate any help anyone can provide as I am at a loss as to what to do. The site is 4 years old and Adsense has served me well to date.

Look forward to any comments or suggestions.

[edited by: jatar_k at 12:27 pm (utc) on Dec. 22, 2007]
[edit reason] no urls thanks [/edit]

3:19 am on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Umm this topic starting to become like the others lately, The do gooders accusing those suffering of being deserving of their current problems :)

If you call making unfair characterizations getting back to business I say good luck to you. You'll need it.
3:38 am on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Atomic, I am sorry if I over characterizes I have that bad habit, and I really don't need help or luck I really done changes to survive pass adsense, it's just out of pure curiosity that I want to know what's going on.

Anyways I apologize I just want to know what the difference is between the sites that are doing good and the sites that are doing bad is.

My stats are as follows.
Traffic: Mostly US traffic
Site Category: Software Tech
Ads Layout: I use mostly 300x250 Color of link is different to that of my menu links, No borders, ads are right bellow the program description. One ad per page.
History: I being on adsense for almost 4 yrs and have experience many ups and downs, never this bad.

Anyways like I say I apologize but out of curiosity would love to see what is going on.

3:55 am on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I can appreciate that you're frustrated and want to get to the bottom of what's happened. I would consider looking at Jane_Doe's post for some excellent place to look first.
4:01 am on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Sometimes I just can't believe the unmitigated arrogance of some posters. And it isn't at all off-topic to say so, since it can be a very seriously toxic environmental pollutant. "Virtual toxicity," maybe, but toxic nevertheless.
4:17 am on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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There is one income source that guarantees a steady pay rate year in and year out -- it will usually increase a little, but never very much. Work there for 30 years and you can retire at 25% of the original pay.

It's called a JOB.

Want one, or do you prefer to be independent.

There is no way Google or anyone else can guarantee a business income.

If one source dries up, move to another.

5:07 am on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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makes me question the amount of work i put in tring to please Google...

Makes me wonder why you're trying to please Google at all because Google isn't your customers. You make your customers happy with content they need and you'll do well with or without Google.

AdSense is just one method of monetization and is not the end-all-be-all of making money on the web.

5:10 am on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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That's why performance marketing works and is a good do_also or in some cases an alternative. Sure, it's up to the individual to get the traffic, but when they send traffic that converts, at least they know what the reliable and predictable agreed-upon percentage of the sale is what they'll get paid.

If the same page, with the same content and getting the same traffic, has 2-3 different revenue sources on that page, if one is getting them $5 income for the page for a month and another source is getting them $500 (or even $100 or $50) income for the page for that same month, it's clear enough what they need to do.

It's silly to continue to send any visitors to that $5 source, but rather replace and put up another, different source more like the $500 one, and see if they do the same, maybe even better, or at least somewhat better than the $5 one they replace.

Habits die hard, but in some cases alternative choices can have a compounded, multiple effect when scaled overall. Some habits become bad ones worth shaking.

5:14 am on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm in the process of contacting Google and if the answer I get back is not satisfactory, then my traffic (many many many uniques/month) will be not available for Google to make money from

Good move as I already put a chunk of my traffic that wasn't working well with AdSense on YPN! and it did OK, but this was a small sample of pages just for Giggles. So far the CTR is about 1/4 of AdSense but the CPC tends to be high enough it almost balances out at the end of the day.

5:27 am on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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There is one income source that guarantees a steady pay rate year in and year out -- it will usually increase a little, but never very much. Work there for 30 years and you can retire at 25% of the original pay.

It's called a JOB.

Just don't choose a job similar to Adsense where you are paid a percentage or commission but are never told exactly what it is. ;-)

5:49 am on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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And there are people who get laid off from j*bs who wish they had some sites making income so they'd have something to fall back on in between, because it does happen and it isn't all that unusual. Unemployment offices send out plenty of checks a month.

Plus some people cannot go out and get j*bs. Either they're too old, they might be disabled, or they're bound to the home because of family responsibilities, either childrens or elderly or ill family members.

Some folks already have j*bs that pay lousy and need their sites as a supplement. Some are full time students with plenty of other responsibilities as well.

Apologies to the person who mentioned "chump change," but I have to take exception to the reference. To someone who might be stuck at home and have a little hobby site that they make $10 a month from that lets them take their kid to McDonald's once a month, if their income drops from $10 to $2, that means they can't. Is that chump change? Ask the kid.

6:15 am on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Apologies to the person who mentioned "chump change," but I have to take exception to the reference.

I meant chump change in the sense that it's statistically too small of a sample to be a significant indication. I often have daily fluctuations on both AdSense and YPN that dwarf those amounts and a couple of clicks on a single channel could account for $10 while a couple of clicks on a different channel are $0.05 which is why I said the OP didn't give us enough information to give an informed opinion about his problem.

Most people don't use enough channels to really know where their income came from in the first place so they don't know where it went when they lost it. I have a bunch of channels so that I know EXACTLY where any serious fluctuations happen, up or down. Can't stress the importance of channels nearly enough because you're running in the woods without a compass if you aren't using channels to the max.

Sometimes seeing a massive drop in income could be losing only a couple of your best paying advertisers if your site isn't providing ROI.

That's where I differ from many AdSense sites that post about their income swings as I'm all about providing ROI for the advertisers, bring them on target, on topic, premium visitors and you'll make top dollar. I also sell direct advertising outside of AdSense and most advertisers think the traffic I provide is top notch, assuming their product meets the needs of my traffic stream, which is how I know for sure the AdSense advertisers are also pleased.

Not trying to be condescending to anyone so don't take offense, but there is a huge difference between treating your site like being a real business with real customers as many of the better posters do vs. the other extreme that slap up a site and just do whatever it takes to get any old traffic that might click the ads. One is a sustainable business model as you know who your customers are and interact with them to become the best you can possibly be and the other is a lame grab for whatever online money you can get.

That doesn't make us "do-gooders" or whatever just because we've been online 10 years or more, have proven ourselves capable of being able to create a sustainable business model, and try to dole out common sense answers that actually work.

There are a couple of people from this very forum I've personally helped bump their income over 100% in just a couple of weeks. Then others that asked and ignored my help are still limping along. So it's not like I was never willing to tell anyone how to fix their problems, often it's SEO 101 problems, but it gets old when you see what's wrong and people ignore you so c'est la vie!

... and please don't sticky me ;)

I don't have that kind of free time at the moment.

6:45 am on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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To me it would be very unusual to have a site that made an average of $50 daily for extended period of time drop to $10 for an extended period of time. I see really big swings from day to day in small sites that make under $10 or so but to me a drop to $10 on a formerly $50 site would not be a normal variation, and something certainly worth investigating further.

[edited by: Jane_Doe at 6:46 am (utc) on Dec. 23, 2007]

6:53 am on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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"Adsense Rehabilitation Clinic is closed for the holidays and will not be open again until further notice." :)

Sure, some are professionals and some are part-timers or hobbyists, and all have their place in the overall scheme of things. But anybody can do themselves a big favor and try to diversify to see what works best for their particular site, regardless of their abilities or level of experience or intention and scope.

There can be a page with products (or about topics) running Adsense that gets 5 cents a click, for which there are merchants who pay 8-10% commission on sales that can be up to tens of dollars a pop, or hundreds or thousands. Adsense was never intended to be for sites put up just to run ads, it was meant to be for "publishers" whose sites provided some kind of value. That's why its called the content network.

For sites running Adsense that aren't making any money, in all honesty, it has to be asked (by oneself, realistically) whether the site has enough value and/or quality to be accepted into affiliate programs if the affiliate manager and/or network personally visit it and look it over before allowing into their programs.

If a site provides value, there's no reason why it shouldn't be able to convert for product sales, if it's got the traffic. And if it doesn't have the traffic, it simply can't make money no matter what else the virtues are or what kind of programs are being run.

7:28 am on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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If a site provides value, there's no reason why it shouldn't be able to convert for product sales, if it's got the traffic.

Bingo!

My wife has a site that does a small AdSense amount but the affiliate sales can pop for $30 or more per commission payout and she does a decent amount of affiliate sales per month. So you combine the 2 marketing models and she's doing quite well but if she did AdSense only it would be a complete bust just like you read about in this forum all the time.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 7:29 am (utc) on Dec. 23, 2007]

9:36 am on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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One of the first things I look for if revenue plummets is the regular advertisers. Are they still with the program?

If you have a big advertising account (Fortune 500/equivalent), and they quit, well, there may not be a replacement, and if that's the case, revenue pretty much has to dive.

Just one thought. Not sure if this was addressed to the TS; I skimmed the responses.

An 80% drop seems evil!

p/g

Request to mods: it looks like more people would appreciate you editing/deleting the repetitive condescending unhelpful responses in this forum which don't help anyone and just foul up the atmosphere.

6:14 pm on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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that you relied on accidental clicks.

I really do wish some people round here would write sense! After 4+ years of AdSense you presume I have relied on accidental clicks...come on Atomic.

Going from $1500/month to $300/month doesn't seem a normal fluctuation to me... But that's just me.

These numbers didn't come from the OP. HuskyPup threw them in there for reasons I don't understand.

Simple mathematics:

USD 50 per day x 30 days = USD 1500.00

USD 10 per day x 30 days = USD 300.00

are still surprised and shocked by the idea that AdSense earnings fluctuate.

You can write as much as you like MB however you are talking absolute balderdash therefore it is pointless even trying to have discussions here when you consider 80% drops are completely within normal parameters.

[/absolutely pointless here at times]

[edited by: HuskyPup at 6:15 pm (utc) on Dec. 23, 2007]

7:06 pm on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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...however you are talking absolute balderdash...

HuskyPup, that's not a rebuttal, it's a harumph. ;) You still have not made clear why you find it shocking that I would suggest AdSense stats are generally unstable.

Fact is, your signature issue in this forum is to decry the instability of the AdSense program so it's doubly surprising to find you in opposition to the notion that earnings fluctuate.

7:18 pm on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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You guys just scared away the OP.

Yes, $50 to $10 over long periods is not a normal drop.
I can think of 3 possibilities:

1- SmartPricing gone mad (as if it is ever sane)
2- Google forgot what your site is about (happened to me once), it should fix itself over time.
3- A razor sharp narrow niche site whose main advertisers are few and they all happen to be at a convention right now, taking the season off, or gone out of business.

7:42 pm on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I really do wish some people round here would write sense! After 4+ years of AdSense you presume I have relied on accidental clicks...come on Atomic.

The thing is, and this really was my point though I wasn;t nearly clear enough, I presume quite a bit less than you do.
2:34 am on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'll give you another documented example like Marcia's: how about $20K/month thru March 07 down to $6K in November 07? YOU figure out how many impressions and CTs it had to take to get there (which hasn't changed) and if it is statistically significant.

I've noticed two interesting trends:
1. Affiliate programs at CJ which FORBID affiliates from bidding on keywords associated with the affiliate program! I think G should disallow the affiliator from also bidding on these adwords! This is effectively limiting competition. We discovered this accidently when we realized the PPC for a page about this product had dropped by about 90%. The affiliator was the first and ONLY ad about the product still coming up while others which has previously been there, no longer were. We decided to signup as an affiliate and refer direct instead, and their site referred us to use CJ which we hadn't used in years. That is where we noticed the policy about no competing keyword bids by affiliates (which didn't affects us). We signed up and are now already making more than we ever were before from that page. The moral is, even if you ARE converting well (as we obviously are), you may be smart-priced simply because there are (for whatever reason) simply no other on topic bidders.
2. I don't think the overall problem is necessarily due to lack of advertisers or bids. An interesting thing happened to me the other day. We had a page with 2 adsense ads and a direct sell ad. The direct advertiser dropped the ad after almost a year on this particular average traffic page, so we added back the adsense script which had been in it's place over a year ago (before our earnings tanked.) I'm not saying the following can't be just coincidence, since we're only talking a few hundred impressions/day, but it has not happened in the last year. For the next 24 hours that one channel shot up to over $20 (where it had been a year ago), on almost the same traffic AND # CLICKTHRUS (i.e. PPC went up 10x), before it plunged back to about $1-$2 a day where it had been prior based on only the two ads. Did we somehow fake out Adsense and it took that long for it to re-smartpice? Coincidence?

3. I've had a suspicion smartpricing is reliant, at least in part, on the page's ranking on Google SE and other Google and other SE subsidiaries, which I won't mention, for the keyword being ad'ed. This could be a by-product of G tracking the source of a click to your page and preferring certain sources, or something else similar, but I'm sure there is some connection.

3:31 am on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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how about $20K/month thru March 07 down to $6K in November 07? YOU figure out how many impressions and CTs it had to take to get there (which hasn't changed) and if it is statistically significant.

...except that there is not enough information there. I'd really suggest both you and other Huskypup learn some about variance and standard deviations. You can do a search on the web, OR of WW, where issues of chance findings and statistically signficant findings have been explained a number of times.

I don't know why some people's income have crashed, and neither does anyone here. I suspect something unusual is at play, BUT, I can imagine a perfect storm situation that effects some publisher. (in fact statistically SOME publishers are going to get trashed just by change).

Could "normal" operations result in huge drops? Sure, when things are COMBINED.

1) Changes in advertiser behavior can cause huge changes in the value of ALL clicks on a number of words and topics. If you don't know how bidding works this way, learn about adwords bidding, if you want to understand it. (and yes, bidding can be HUGELY volatile. We're small adwords players and our bids can and have ranged from .02 all the way up to .78 cents, and that can alter all other bids.

2) Hidden changes in traffic can make differences. Even if your traffic remains unchanged, their interest in clicking on ads can vary over time. People think that 100 people is a 100 people and any old 100 people is worth the same. Uhuh. Think about this a bit for the implications.

3) CTR changes (which many of us are seeing) is a factor, particularly since the clickable area.

4) Regression to the mean. (look it up if you want a full explanation). If you are running above "average" income for your area, there will be a tendency for you to revert back to the average for that niche, or whatever over time.

5) Higher advertiser variability in bids (similar to 1 but not the same). We're more sophisticated buyers in adwords now, and we have more choice and more control, and I gotta tell you that some of the sites people here have in their profiles, and are proclaimed as just wonderful, simply aren't. There's one that has about 14 different ads of various types on one page. As an advertiser I don't want to be there. Others don't.

There's other factor that TAKEN TOGETHER, can certainly cause huge drops. As I said if you take all of the sites in adsense, statistically there will be SOME that will show huge drops, just by chance, while there will also be some that will show huge increases, just by chance, at least for some periods of time.

Finally two points. Before some of you start btching out on other people, maybe consider that you don't know more than everyone, and two, consider:

There is an inverse relationship between the amount of time one spends posting to the adsense board here and income growth. Also a similar relationship exists between the amount of time worrying about adsense, and figuring out "why" and income.

3:35 am on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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For those of you who have had severe Adsense income drops, did all of your income come come from one site or one topic? Perhaps working towards spreading the income out over a variety of sites on different topics might be be a bit of a hedge against being smart priced in one area. It is kind of the Adsense equivalent of buying an index fund for an investment.
1:37 am on Dec 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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"I'd really suggest both you and other Huskypup learn some about variance and standard deviations."

Huh? Sorry but as a math/statistics minor in college (it hasn't changed that much in 25 years I'm sure) with a double science BS, I can assure you a few million degrees of freedom is more than sufficient to determine a damn narrow standard deviation, as well as positively identify a trend in excess of a couple of percent (i.e. 80%). Now the CAUSE is more subjective and can be in question, but the data itself doesn't lie (unless one truly wants it to ;).

"did all of your income come come from one site or one topic?"

Now there's an interesting question. Coincidently in March, just about the same time we started our decline, we sold one of our dozen or so domains. Yes we had adsense on it under the same account and it was totally unrelated in any way to all of our other domains (which was one reason for getting rid of it). The page impression traffic on it was probably about 3% of our account total (it was a popular type-in term we happend to buy before it was popular), but the income amounted to only barely .5% of our total monthly income. So what does that mean to algorithm conspiracy theorists? Did it lower our OVERALL CTR while we had it? Yes (high traffic, very low click thru). Did it de-diversify our account topics? yes. Did getting rid of it reduce the total number of different IPs visiting our overall account domains? Yes (1 page direct traffic vs search engine multipage visitors.) But is G supposed to be monitoring that as a factor for smart pricing? I would hope not. And, as far as overall objective stats we've more than made up that traffic on our other domains in the last 9 months.

[edited by: MikeNoLastName at 2:01 am (utc) on Dec. 28, 2007]

1:56 am on Dec 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Huh? Sorry but as a math/statistics minor in college (it hasn't changed that much in 25 years I'm sure) with a double science BS, I can assure you a few million degrees of freedom is more than sufficient to determine a damn narrow standard deviation, as well as positively identify a trend in excess of a couple of percent (i.e. 80%).

Thank you!

In some cases it not only isn't just a few percentage points or a fraction, what I'm seeing on a few sites is a deviation that FAR exceeds even 80%. And yes, they're somewhat diversified.

What I am noting on a couple of the affected sites, which granted may or may not be a factor, is that over an extended period of time, there are a significant daily percentage of visitors to those sites that have got a certain BHO in their browser. That could indicate either a propensity toward accepting apps for download that they shouldn't, or possibly an open door of some kind for exploits, as has been indicated by reports of some Trojan making the rounds in the wild.

No definitive answer, but yes - statistics are relevant, and methodologies for gathering stats have remained as constant and reliable as it gets.

2:07 am on Dec 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Wouldn't that just probably affect their CTR? Rather than the PPC as in our case. Our CTR is the same or actually higher.

If your CTR is way down, you might want to check your server for hacks as well. There was a couple of days early this month where our CTR dropped way down, and I noticed when accessing a page that it tried to load a Microsoft app. Turns out there was a serious server software exploit weakness added in the last server update and we'd been hacked, and people were either being hung up when they tried to access our site (after tripping an Adsense impression) or got the warning and did not agree to the download and left.

3:01 am on Dec 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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...as well as positively identify a trend in excess of a couple of percent (i.e. 80%).

As I mentioned earlier, discussions centered around percentages are misleading. A drop of $40 is a paltry amount. Disguising the small amount of the drop by calling it 80% muddies the discussion. The 80% number is meaningless and misleading because the real variance is a small amount. The smaller the income the greater the variances appear when disguised as percentages.

Almost invariably when members discuss gigantic percentages the actual drop in dollars proves to be less than an evenings bar tab, and sometimes not much more than a couple beers.

The discussion becomes even less meaningful if the drop is from a peak that ocurred in a single month (June 2007 according to the OP). If that's the case then it's disingenuous to even call it a $40 drop in income, since that was a peak, not it's so-called normal rate of earning.

1:00 pm on Dec 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I know very little about Adsense, but this discussion was an eye opener. Nice thread!
3:46 pm on Dec 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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MB,

The 80% number is meaningless and misleading because the real variance is a small amount. The smaller the income the greater the variances appear when disguised as percentages.

OMG. Where do I start?

First, the OP never intended to mislead the forum members. He stated very clearly that his revenue went "from around 50 USD per day (June '07)" to "10 USD per day" recently. From this data we can not judge the quality of the whole data set, however, I'd assume that "50 USD per day" describes an average over a longer period; same applies to the statement "10 USD per day". - Thus, I'd assume that indeed an absolute reduction of 40 USD per day on average has occured to the OP. This is a 80%, and it =is= meaningful, at least to the OP and some other forum members (including me).

Second, when looking at the quality of a giiven data set, I strongly recommend not to look at the variance (which may be misleading as you describe, because often we do not know the complete data set), but instead look at the variance coefficient which normalizes the data level and just looks at the variance in relation to the overall data set.

Now, I have been tracking the variance coefficient for a long time now, and I can tell you - Adsense does not look good in this regard. At least not for my sites. The daily revenue data, for example, looks almost random. Yes, that's the ugly truth. I see for 2007 values between 24% and 41%. Any statistician will tell you that this means that the data set is not good. To put this into perspective - the exchange rate USD-EUR had a variance coefficient of 0.6% to 1.2% over the same period. (And yes, once again, the variance coefficient ignores the absolute variance, but puts it into perspective of the complete data set.)

Third, to say "the 80% number is [...] misleading" is misleading (and I wonder why you are taking such a strong position in favor of Google). An 80% drop is almost ALWAYS signifiicant, even more so when the OP put it into perspective by mentioning the levels involved. We are not talking about $5 to $1 per month, but we are talking about $1500 to $300 per month. THIS IS SIGNIFICANT, even if there are some publishers out there who make $1500 a day. Still, the data set must be of high quality as it takes a lot of clicks (and even more pageviews) to get to $1500 in the first place.

So, for the sake of the argument, I suggest that the OP tells us more about his data set (when did it drop, how did it drop, was there a significant peak at some point in time, etc.) and we try to analyse this information unbiased. If that is possible at all.

4:09 pm on Dec 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Number 9 from this thread?

[webmasterworld.com...]

4:30 pm on Dec 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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zett, I do agree with the general point that the OP is experiencing something real. OTOH, MartiniBuster also has an excellent point when he says that $50 was probably the OP's all-time highest earning day.

Anyway, all these attempts at analysis are wasted guesswork because he only gave his total earnings and no other information whatsoever. There are at least a dozen reasons or combinations of reasons that could be at work.

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