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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]

8:44 am on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Google has a difficult problem to solve - sorting out quality sites and visitor/click patterns from the low-quality ones.

Yes, and that's just the obvious problem on their product side. It's the tip of the iceberg.

The real question is - and it has been asked many times - WHY DOES GOOGLE NOT ENFORCE A HIGHER QUALITY STANDARD?

And the answer to this is - they are riding a bubble these days, trying to cope with analyst expectations to keep their stock price up. This requires a constant, dramatic increase in profit. *That* is probably the root of the problem. Google simply can not enforce higher quality standards (as demanded many times on this board) because they might lose revenue, which then will affect their stock price. The ghost is out of the bottle, and they can not get it back in.

I am amazed every single day why Google are allowing mediocre advertisers into the program. So far, Google have refused to implement any of the suggestions that appeared on this board for a bigger and/or better filter. My filter list contains several entries coming from the same businesses, who are clearly engaging in machine-created zero-value web sites, and everyone who has looked deeper into his list will know them. Given the size of the advertising budget involved, I do not believe technical reasons to prevent tracking these down and to eliminate them. If it's not a technical problem, there must be business reasons (or they are simply stupid, which they aren't).

For those business reasons, see above.

2:58 pm on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Google has a difficult problem to solve - sorting out quality sites and visitor/click patterns from the low-quality ones.

And, I meant to add, Google's attempted solutions (algo tweaks, smart pricing, or what-have-you) as well as their motivations (profit, earnings growth, etc.) should be considered when pondering what one sees.

Of course, one must also consider other factors, especially those you can control... unless you want to be tossed around like a leaf in the wind.

3:07 pm on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The real question is - and it has been asked many times - WHY DOES GOOGLE NOT ENFORCE A HIGHER QUALITY STANDARD?

1) We don't know what quality standard Google enforces, because Google has to catch offenders before it ejects them. Spammers are like cockroaches: They reproduce faster than you can find them and deal with them.

2) The only 100% effective ways for Google to enforce a quality standard would be for Google to (1) approve every page before it went online and (2) pull ads from any page that changed without Google's approval. That simply isn't practical, and you can bet that 99.9% of the members here would be screaming if Google demanded that level of editorial approval.

3) Quality is in the eye of the beholder. Heaven knows there are plenty of sites with AdSense ads that have absolutely no redeeming value (scraper sites, for example), but there are also plenty that fall into the "grey area" of sites that a publisher with an editorial background might consider to be useless Web clutter but someone who does SEO for a living might consider to be legitimate examples of Web entrepreneurship. Before asking why AdSense isn't an elite network of handpicked sites, ask yourself honestly whether your site would qualify if it were. Fact is, most "content" on the Web is junk, because the Web makes it easy for anyone--from the spammer to the illiterate wannabe author--to be published.

3:10 pm on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Fact is, most "content" on the Web is junk, because the Web makes it easy for anyone--from the spammer to the illiterate wannabe author--to be published.

As a semi-literate wannabe author, I have to agree with this. I'm sure most (if not all) of my sites would be viewed as amateur at best, and, truth be told, would not be accepted into advertising programs with high entry standards.

And yet, one such effort is making headway and receiving some recognition and 'props' from large manufacturers in the market space. Which was what we were after in the first place.

On man's trash is another man's treasure. Or so I've heard.

3:21 pm on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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We don't know what quality standard Google enforces, because Google has to catch offenders before it ejects them. Spammers are like cockroaches: They reproduce faster than you can find them and deal with them.

40% of my filter slots are now assigned to domains that point to providers of "parked pages". They are using domain name servers that are located at the parked pages' providers. I guess it would take a skilled intern (at their SW department) an afternoon to implement a routine that checks the physical location of a site as part of the acceptance of an ad. E.g., "IF (host of target domain) IS PART OF (list of parked providers) THEN (reject ad)".

That would immediately get rid of the most blatant and annoying spam.

4:00 pm on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Zett, I'd be delighted if Google AdSense and Google Search took a more draconian approach to quality enforcement. As far as I'm concerned, the Web would be a better place if Google's SERPs weren't cluttered with worthless keyword-driven, template-based "directory" and "user review" pages, and if producers of such junk were shown the door. Still, to use the phrase that Inactivist quoted, "one man's trash is another man's treasure," and let's face it: If Google started whacking AdSense accounts and search results that didn't meet a stiff editorial-quality requirement, Webmaster World members would be screaming about "monopoly" and "restraint of trade."
6:49 pm on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Webmaster World members would be screaming about "monopoly" and "restraint of trade."

Some would, even more would in other forums that allows insertion of links (eeek, most are trash), but they would be wrong, as Google is perfectly free to choose who to do business with. I agree, one man's trash, blah blah etc. But the matter is, Adsense being omnipresent on amateurish looking sites (if not at least redeemed by great content) cheapens the brand and affect us all. But oh well, it's their strategy and their choice, can't do much about it.

9:49 pm on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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"Quality" is fine but there really is something new under the sun. New media forms are emerging.

As one who has been in publishing professionally for more than 40 years, lots of the new stuff doesn't do much for me but let's face it, the readers are steadily taking control whether we like it or not.

Our primary site has some very professional, very expensive editorial content but it also has thousands of pages of reader reviews of everything under the sun. We mine the reviews for story ideas and, all things considered, the whole process generates a lot of information that would not have been available to consumers were it not for the wide-open Web.

Unlike a lot of sites, we preview reader comments before they're posted and clean up some of the more outrageous ones -- trying to maintain "quality" -- but I increasingly think this is probably something we not only don't need to do but probably shouldn't be doing. Consumers want unfiltered content and they raise hell if they don't get it.

When you look at it this way, Google is probably the single biggest liberating force to hit the media world in modern times. Its hands-off approach to SERPS and its laissez-faire approach to AdSense create a lot of smoke and ash but, if I'm not mistaken, Thomas Jefferson or someone of that ilk once said democracy was never intended to be pretty.

10:03 pm on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Point of distinction:

There's a big difference between user contributed content and scraped content, with tons of auto-generated pages spewing out the same RSS'd "search results" and/or plagiarized content, including entire pages (including graphics) and in some cases full websites being swiped.

6:24 am on Jan 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Point of realization:

It is what it is. AdSense strategy won't change; not until Google decides that a different direction is better.

3:25 pm on Jan 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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There's a big difference between user contributed content and scraped content, with tons of auto-generated pages spewing out the same RSS'd "search results" and/or plagiarized content,

From an advertiser's point of view, it doesn't matter where the content came from: What matters is what's on the page, what kind of audience the page attracts, and why readers click on the ads. The problem with user-generated content isn't that it's written by users; the problem is that many "Web 2.0" sites produce vast numbers of keyword-driven, computer-generated, template-based pages just like the scrapers do, with a significant number of "stub" pages that have little or no information for readers. (Unless you believe "Submit a review" is information.) The concept of user-generated content isn't necessarily bad (once the organizational issues are worked out), but--as with AdSense itself--that concept has been exploited by greedy scumbags, from mom-and-pop Webmasters to major corporations.

3:40 am on Jan 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

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as with AdSense itself--that concept has been exploited by greedy scumbags, from mom-and-pop Webmasters to major corporations.

Absolutely, and it's an across-the-board phenomenon, with not only Adsense but with AdWords and Search as well.

In addition, there's a lot that could be said about social media sites at this point in time also, even "respected" ones. For example, just recently someone very succintly described the whole "blog and comment" phenomenon as "one big circle jerk" and he might just have a point there.

5:55 am on Jan 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

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All this chatter, I decide to compare my apples to my apples to see what 'exactly' the trends are for me.

2005 is the base year. Using the base year, I compare how I have been doing in relation to the base year for traffic and Google earnings. This permits comparing any year to any year in traffic and/or earnings.

Jan 1 to Jan 9 2005
Traffic muliplier x1
Google earnings multiplier x1

Jan 1 to Jan 9 2006
Traffic multipler x1.17
Google earnings multipler x15.37
Traffic increase 17%, added a major site to Adsense, with earnings 15 times over the year before

Jan 1 to Jan 9 2007
Traffic multipler x0.75
Google earnings multipler x7.13
Slammed by google bot with only 3/4 of the traffic I had in the base year, and made about half of what I did in the year before, inspite of 25% traffic losses over base year.

Jan 1 to Jan 9 2008
Traffic multipler x1.16
Googler earnings multipler x11.88
Traffic closer to 2006 levels, earnings less than 2006, but more than 2007

No advertising for traffic, all organic traffic, my major sites on the web since 2002 with some in-house ads, all hand written content.

Traffic increase is partially due to new sites being launched in 2007 to help offset traffic loss to older sites, when Google bot was unkind.

I worked my fanny off in 2007 to increase traffic back to 2006 levels, which I did, but Google earnings down. Sites all updated this year, every single page with fresh new template, checked links, new sites added, I worked it hard.

Ads on new sites are paying higher cpc on average, than the older sites. I should be making more than 2006. As you can see, I am not when it comes to Adsense.

However, one site I added two years ago, with no Adsense, only in-house, has had a revenue increase of 15 times over the year before, though traffic is largely unchanged. I used my own bidding system for that site, and it worked out terrific.

As a note, the only reason I didn't put Adsense on it, was because in trials I couldn't get any targeted ads. Once I was able to hand pick my advertiser base and set some bidding minimums, revenues skyrocked.

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