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AdSense Referrals Program to End in August 2008

     
11:51 pm on Jun 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I saw this note inside my Adsense account "Note: Referrals is being retired during the last week of August 2008, so we recommend that you do not implement referral ad code on your site at this time." but I didn't see anyone talking about it here. They have a whole section inside their Help Center about the end of the Referrals program. Basically, it will end for both Google products and 3rd party products.
11:59 pm on June 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Yep. Probably at least in part because of the Doubleclick. Of course, wouldn't you know, I finally found one that was actually converting for me.

But overall, Google just never devoted the resources on either the AdWords or AdSense sides to do referrals right, so it's just as well.

Not sure why they're ending referrals for Google products, except maybe they feel they don't need it anymore.

12:12 am on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I find it interesting, as a publisher that converted > 5k Firefox users/m the implications are not trivial.
12:47 am on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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From the AdSense blog [adsense.blogspot.com]:
We're constantly looking for ways to improve AdSense by developing and supporting features which drive the best monetization results for our publishers. Sometimes, this requires retiring existing features so we can focus our efforts on the ones that will be most effective in the long term. For this reason, we will be retiring the AdSense Referrals program during the last week of August.

See also: Doubleclick Performics is now Google Affiliate Network [webmasterworld.com]

1:35 am on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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*sigh*
I'll have to rework some of my ads, but all in all no great loss. Maybe the Doubleclick service will actually turn some conversions for me. Although I gave the affiliate links prime placement, they never did convert. The clicks were not even measurable compared to regular AdSense units. Maybe it was just my site, but I found the referrals to be a waste of space overall. This was even after being careful to pick advertisers which matched well to my site's content.
1:42 am on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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No loss, as far as I am concerned. But will the Google Affiliate Network work any better, and be any more transparent?

Only time will tell.

1:55 am on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I found this line in the email amusing:

"Please take a moment to remove all referral code from your sites..."

That (to me) shows a major disconnect with webmasters who run adsense, referral code, etc.

Take a MOMENT to remove/change anything? HAHAHAHA

How about this:

"Please take the next several weeks of your life to remove..."

YM
(thank goodness I gave up on referrals long ago!)

2:02 am on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I am really glad I only dabbled in this, never liked it and I literally have maybe 5 pages of it (out of thousands with regular AS code). My heart skipped a beat when I saw the email though as I skimmed it fast while I was on the phone and thought something worse. "Thank you for participating in the AdSense..."
3:07 am on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Take a MOMENT to remove/change anything? HAHAHAHA

haha, I thought exactly the same.

Maybe Google can take a moment of their time and grant some of the publisher requests we post here.

3:16 am on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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No great loss for me. I'm currently in the midst of rebuilding my main site and referrals aren't being put on any of the new pages. I only have one Firefox referral on one other site so that will be a cinch to rework.
4:09 am on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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At first, I sat here drinking my wine, commiserating with those who were into referrals and then... I remembered that I have one site serving referrals AS WELL (not that they have made me cent one)!

I guess I've found something to do in August... I certainly won't be spending a lot of time at the bank!

Chapman

[edited by: Chapman at 4:19 am (utc) on July 1, 2008]

4:33 am on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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A pity about the firefox referrals, it was a thing I'd love to add to some secondary sites to help push people away from IE6 in a conditional comment.
[I kinda hate IE6 and the poor excuse just doesn't want to die on it's own]
4:56 am on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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i concur with you hobbs.

considering it has been my main source of income for the past year and a half i can say that this is not a good day for me.

well, i guess it's time for plan B...since I will still have lots of firefox traffic to montenize.

5:39 am on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Firefox referrals was my primary income for the last 2 years. when I discovered Firefox referrals on December 2005 I started playing with it but didn't really understand what I have in hand. One day in March 2006 I felt like I was digging in the ground finding gold... I never ever thought before about 5 figures income from the internet. And it was there, on a steady flow...
I learned a lot, and earned a lot.
Thank you Google for helping me make a lot of money and helping you make even more.
9:05 am on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Mozilla foundation is Google's Skunk Works designed to dilute IE marketshare. I was even wondering at some point whether it was a wise decision for Google to brand its browser "Firefox" rather than directly brand it as "Google browser".

from Wikipedia:

"In 2006 the Mozilla Foundation received US$66.8 million in revenues, of which 61.5 million is attributed to "search royalties".[2]

The foundation has an ongoing deal with Google to make Google search the default in the Firefox browser search bar and hence send it search referrals; a Firefox themed Google search site has also been made the default home page of Firefox. A footnote in Mozilla's 2006 financial report states "Mozilla has a contract with a search engine provider for royalties. The contract originally expired in November 2006 but was renewed for two years and expires in November 2008. Approximately 85% of Mozilla’s revenue for 2006 was derived from this contract."; this equates to approximately US$56.8 million.[2]"

Each Mozilla user drives Google's adWords revenue. I wonder why paying $1 for Firefox download suddenly stopped making financial sense for Google?

10:37 am on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This program was used as a no-cost branding tool for most of the advertisers. They never did crack down on the advertisers that sent them to "about us" pages and other nonsense.

In my opinion this was doomed to fail from the start as unless Google, the advertisers, and the publisher can all make money there is no-way for it to work.

[edited by: The_Contractor at 10:39 am (utc) on July 1, 2008]

10:58 am on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm one of the people who was making pretty decent money from the Firefox program. It was my primary source of income, actually, from Google.

My suspicion is that people were abusing it and the administrative headache to run it was worse than the $ that they could make from the referrals. And that it just wasn't getting enough downloads to warrant the effort put into it.

It's a shame, but I was not entirely surprised to see this. (Though I'd expected them to continue to run the Firefox referrals through the end of their contract with Mozilla.)

Edit to add that they could be planning on moving the Google referrals to GoogleClick. It does say on the web site FAQ that they're reviewing the Google referrals but also says they're suspended. So they might suspend them and then start a new program up later. One could hope.

-- Leva

[edited by: Leva at 11:26 am (utc) on July 1, 2008]

12:36 pm on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If I'm not mistaken, in the past if you signed up as a Performics affiliate for Merchant A and later decided you also wanted to be an affiliate for Merchant B, you had to apply again and create a new account.

If Google cleans that up and makes it possible to show affiliate ads and create your own affiliate links through the AdSense program, the potential is promising.

FarmBoy

12:40 pm on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The first thing I thought is that websters must have found a way to buck the referral system.

I'm really surprised Google are pulling out of this. I'm sure they will now loose a group of people to other advertisers - thats probably exactly what they want to do.

I expect at some point in the future Google will replace it with a another referral programme.

12:58 pm on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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farmboy: If I'm not mistaken, in the past if you signed up as a Performics affiliate for Merchant A and later decided you also wanted to be an affiliate for Merchant B, you had to apply again and create a new account.

Apply again - yes. Create new account - no. You probably remember good old ConnectCommerce days, when every merchant had a completely new affiliate signup page

1:40 pm on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I was doing pretty good with referrals.

Oh well...

2:11 pm on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I made some good money last July & August on a school ad but then it dropped dead in Sept. Looks like I'll just be able to sneak it in before it goes KaPut!
2:23 pm on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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41,534 Google Pack referrals in 2 years... should have known it was too good to last =)
3:31 pm on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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What's funny to me is that when I log into AdSense, here is my JUNE 2008 Optimization Report:
Referrals can add incremental revenue to your site.
You are not currently using Referrals on your sites.

I wonder how long they've been planning this move, maybe since last week?
4:44 pm on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This is really terrible for me. I was making 8 times more per click with referrals. I hope doubleclick will prove to be as good.
5:41 pm on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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What's funny to me is that when I log into AdSense, here is my JUNE 2008 Optimization Report:
Referrals can add incremental revenue to your site.
You are not currently using Referrals on your sites.

I wonder how long they've been planning this move, maybe since last week?


July's too. Nice personalized optimization report. :)
6:41 pm on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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JUNE 2008 Optimization Report

LOL. At least they stopped those sad optimization reports long time ago for me (dunno why though).

One more indication that the various folks at The Plex do not talk to each other over their cool lava lamps. Or that the part-time intern who acts as lead programmer AND product manager AND customer service rep AND receptionist made a mistake. Is anyone actually in control of the Adsense group?

11:58 pm on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I guess that advertiser fraud got the better of it.
4:37 am on July 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I think that Google Referrals will start in another form
11:15 am on July 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I hope firefox will also be available at doubleclick. I have been doing good with it lately, made more than 16k downloads :)
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