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Google Tests Alternative Fonts

     
11:04 am on Jun 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Between refreshes on the same page, same adblocks, I'm seeing Times, plain serif, no serif, vanilla arial, big point, small point... what gives?
11:49 am on June 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I've been seeing this randomly for a few days.

>>>But my CTR is way up compared to this month average, so it seems to be working.

Hey, but guess what? Not all of us are willing to sacrifice the professionalism of our sites to get a half percentage higher on the click thru rates... I have a site that could easily triple click through rates (and Google knows it, thus they keep hounding me to let them "optimize" the site for me), but getting that higher CTR would put ads in the face of my consumers and lower the quality of my site. Not everyone is worried about squeezing every last penny possible out of their Adsense earnings at any cost. If you are, that's great... then you can opt into their beta testing and let their optimizers tell you where to place your ads.

>>> it will be alright if we can choose the fonts ourselves, to match our site

Exactly. The key thing Google needs to remember is that this is MY site. I'll do my own font changes and A/B testing if I *want* to do it, thanks.

>>> Good. Experiment.

Google, please get this guy a volunteer form. And while you're at it, remove my name from it.

>>>but as long they keep displaying crappy ads it wont make any difference

Yes, I'd much rather than *I* could stop doing arbitrage control via my competitive ad filter and that *they* start doing it instead of putting blush on my site like it's a two dollar whore so someone will click on that crap ad.

>>> As you have noticed, we are testing new text ad fonts for a limited number of publishers.

Again, I didn't sign up for it. I know my adsense accounts earn quite a bit, and that you Google believe they can earn even more, but after ten years in this business, I think I am capable of making my own decisions regarding the ads that appear on my sites.

>>>but rather they are testing fonts to see which gets more clicks

Again, that's great, but where did I agree to be a free guinea pig for them? If they want to use my site as a focus group, how about 1. getting my permission and 2. giving me an incentive (however, for me, they wouldn't have gotten even 1).

>>> I've seen some examples where multiple ad blocks on a page (three, to be exact) are showing three different font types.

Unfortunately, I'm seeing the same thing on my sites. So not only do two of my ad blocks have some horridly unprofessional looking font, but I can't even pick one horrid font.

>>>The comic sans usage is really, really silly

This is Google... anything that adds to their bottom line, at any cost. Webmasters have long been collateral damage in their whims.

12:05 pm on June 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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me no like

yes. but google like. google like it plenty lot.

12:13 pm on June 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I bet Google won't test or use the Trebuchet font! :)
12:21 pm on June 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for your feedback on this test our engineering teams are conducting. Please be assured that they're closely monitoring the results and, when required, modifying the test to ensure ad performance. As I mentioned on this thread [webmasterworld.com], at present we are testing these new text ad fonts for a limited number of publishers only.
1:13 pm on June 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hey AdSenseAdvisor - I'm sure you're a great guy personally and know you are saying what you're allowed to say (that message has PR written all over it) but you dodged every question and issue brought up that mattered and simply stated the obvious. Any chance we can get a real response from the big G that doesn't sound like an automated reply? And how do I opt OUT of your (meaning Google's) latest whim?

>>>Please be assured that they're closely monitoring the results and, when required, modifying the test to ensure ad performance.

That sounds to me like they don't want our input or care what effects it has on our individual sites - only what it does for their bottom line. Sigh. I figured it would take a BIT longer for Adsense to start taking advantage of the obvious lack of any real alternatives now that YPN is essentially dead.

I'm sure they are monitoring THEIR ad performance. It's that no one is monitoring nor cares about the effects your unwanted and unasked for test has on MY sites that worries me.

1:50 pm on June 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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WHY google WHY? Why comic sans? Of all fonts!
1:58 pm on June 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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AdsenseAdvisor, you and G$$gle just blew it. This is a violation of Publisher's TRUST. You know, the one you seem to be doing everything to loose almost every day now.

Seriously, folks. Time for someone to step up and build a better ad platform. BIG money in there. I mean B.I.G. money.

Mi-cro-soft! Mi-cro-soft! would never in a worst nightmare I could see myself cheering for Micro$oft

2:49 pm on June 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Geezopete, I must be ad blind myself, I haven't seen it on one single site, not my own nor anyone else's.

But I agree, I don't like being a guinea pig. I've been very vocal about having beta tests thrust on my AdWords campaigns, and would be equally pissed to see them on my AdSense as well.

If Google would give us the *option* to participate in these tests, I'm sure they would get plenty of takers - as I said in the AdWords forum, I'm interested in new ways to success, and I don't mind assigning a few pages or channels to trying new things, but you don't toss live, mission critical accounts (be they AdWords or AdSense) up the beta flagpole to see who salutes.

3:42 pm on June 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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We have been seeing these for several weeks now. I too thought it was a bug. We actually see it quite often, many times multiple fonts (3) a page.
3:50 pm on June 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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you don't toss live, mission critical accounts (be they AdWords or AdSense) up the beta flagpole

Exactly.

On one of our sites it seem like a random occurrence, I see different font on several pages, then all goes away and looks as usual. Not across-the-board new fonts.

5:55 pm on June 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Google knows better than ANY of us. It's that simple. They just do not care about steting up a beta group. Why should they? A few webmasters at WebmasterWorld complain, so what?

Time for a change, don't you think?

6:42 pm on June 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Time for a change, don't you think?

Not for me. Despite the imperfections, I'm pretty satisfied with AdSense and AdWords. I'd like Google to do better, but it's still head, shoulders, knees and toes above anything else I've tried.

That doesn't mean they shouldn't continue to improve, because eventually someone will come along who *does* do it better - someone always does, eventually.

11:06 pm on June 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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WHY google WHY? Why comic sans? Of all fonts!

because (believe it or not) it's a popular font...

or

they needed a font to test extremes...

or

one of the engineers' girlfriends likes comic sans?

12:17 am on June 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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adrewshim, you're probably right.

I agree that the site admin should be able to pick adsense fonts.

Hey, how about a .adsense class in the stylesheet!

4:47 am on June 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hey, how about a .adsense class in the stylesheet!

I'm asking for that since ever. Maybe my grandkids will see it in place.

edit: I do not get all this hate for Comic Sans: If I have to design a website about comics, that's the font I would use. But maybe I'm the stupid, below average webmaster.

[edited by: Guido at 4:52 am (utc) on June 21, 2008]

5:38 am on June 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I do not get all this hate for Comic Sans: If I have to design a website about comics, that's the font I would use.

well said.

But maybe I'm the stupid, below average webmaster.

no you are not a stupid below average webmaster... just realistic.

3:53 pm on June 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm asking for that since ever. Maybe my grandkids will see it in place.

Premium accounts already have this as far as I can work, have access to one via a network I am in - though not currently running Adsense via that. Same with font size, clickable area, etc....it would be no surprise they got lion's share.

But font type should be a no-brainer.

5:09 pm on June 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I am sure they are just betaing the fonts ultimately to give us a selection of what what works.

Looking forward to size control and number of ads per adblock.

6:00 pm on June 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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i want to see 'trebuchet ms', the best font, i'm using it on (almost) all my sites

also when we'll see ads which are not underlined, or ads with hover effect, i hate those underlined no-hover effect links :(

sorry for my engleesh ;)

7:41 pm on June 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Slightly OT but might be of interest to some:

Since AdSense text ads are, well, text, if G specifies a font that is not available on a target computer, the system is probably going to do a 'best guess' match - Windows, for example, matches on size, 'family', fixed width vs proportional, and other criteria. So, if G specifies 'comic sans' and that's not on the target computer, the actual font will be different but should match general target 'family' characteristics.

(I'm a Windows application developer, so I do know what I'm talking about for once...)

7:42 pm on June 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I have an idea... let advertisers chose the font for themselves.

I think publishers would be in a better place to know what fonts fit best with their sites.

Agreed. IMO, the webmaster / adsense account holder should be allowed to choose the text ad's default font, size, and other stuff to allow blending in to the target site, unless the advertiser specifies a non-default style for the ad. And the webmaster should be able to block ads that don't use the default layout (thus allowing the webmaster to say: "No ads that don't fit my site's theme".)

But then, I'm a dreamer.

10:04 pm on June 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Seen them too. I was so surprised that I even have checked the source code of the page with an ad in Comic Sans to see if there were any secret variables:)
10:35 am on June 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

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>>surely even G wouldn't sink that low... next thing we'll be seeing ads in Mistral...

We can only hope! ;)

I use Mistral in a logo on a site, and Pristina on another.

7:33 pm on June 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

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finally i saw today trebuchet ms :)
2:28 pm on June 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I don't know if it;s due to this font changes but my earnings from last week have improved, and yes I see these new fonts on my sites on a few pages.

BTW I checked the CTR not much of a difference, but overall earnings have improved!

3:05 pm on June 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I finally saw one ad with Times New Roman on one of my pages. Since the page used arial, it didn't look too great.
3:13 pm on June 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Times New Roman never looks great IMHO.
3:45 pm on June 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Times New Roman never looks great

Right on, icedowl!

Hey, how about a .adsense class in the stylesheet!

Sounds ingenious at first, but I now realize why they don't do this. You could set
display: none;
in the .adsense class, and make money while no ads show up!

But they should offer at control to the webmaster. And I definitely agree that they should ask before putting someone in their font-testing program.

I finally saw one of these comic-sans ads with my own eyes today - hideous!

4:05 pm on June 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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hahaha, you must be new to SpamSense. Welcome!

No, I actually don't use it. Just giving my opinion.
7:38 pm on June 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Here is an idea, why not do the font testing on google.com and then give us the option to chose the best performing fonts.
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