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AdSense Earnings Ceiling

I believe it's there...

     
7:06 pm on Sep 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Although the glass ceiling is a mythical being, I believe in it. I have the following observations to support this idea:

- On days that site 1 performs well eCPM-wise, site 2 performs poorly and vice versa.

- On days with high CTR, eCPM tends to be low.

And more of these obvious anticorrelations.

Ofcourse you might also interpret this as being a glass floor, but whatever it is, I want to break free. Google seems to think you're wrth X, so you're getting X every day, whatever it takes. It could ofcourse be some statistical effect, but I've been noticing above effects for a while now. Anybody have any experience with the mythical glass ceiling? If so, did you break free, and how?

7:30 pm on Sept 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Time seems to be the key. Or possibly the trust factor. Maybe both. Maybe both equate to the same thing if you keep the noses of your sites clean.
8:13 pm on Sept 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Evaluating an account at a paticular level and then not paying out any more than that no matter what the actual activity would be good business and consistent with Google's behavior by my observations.

But there will never be any proof either way, just advocates for each position.

Using new corporations or trusted relatives to open new AdSense accounts would be the only way around this but you'd have to be very careful not to leave any clues that the new accounts are connected in any way with the old.

And since the new accounts would have to use new websites that do not share characteristics of the old there can be no control to the experiment to prove the existence of a cap. The new sites may just be doing well on their own, a coincidence.

11:20 pm on Sept 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Evaluating an account at a paticular level and then not paying out any more than that no matter what the actual activity would be good business and consistent with Google's behavior by my observations.

How's that?

Let's say I generate $1 in revenue for AdWords by displaying an ad on my site that is clicked and the advertiser pays $1. Let's further assume Google gets 25 cents and I get 75 cents from that $1.

The next day I double that and generate $2 in revenue resulting in $1.50 for me and 50 cents for Google.

Are you saying that on the second day they decide I should still only make 75 cents and thus Google keeps the remaining $1.25?

Wouldn't it be in Google's best interest to keep me motivated and generating legitimate clicks since their income increases along with mine vs. me being discouraged and failing to work hard towards generating more clicks?

FarmBoy

11:53 pm on Sept 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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What I think some are seeing is a slow increase in traffic levels that doesn't result directly in more money at the end of the day.

This is partly to visitors developing blindness for ads. If you have no grand peaks in traffic it's possible to see the two canceling each other out and drawing a conclusion that there is a glass ceiling.

Form my peaks in traffic I can promise you a sudden tenfold increase in traffic (can I have that more often please) will result in a tenfold increase on the earnings side as well (but it'll use up the inventory of decent advertisrs unless they pick up "this is the time to advertise", diminishing the returns a bit if you dominate the niche.

So, in my opinion there is no glass ceiling, only trouble increasing popularity of your niche. Not so easy to achieve just using online tools (increasing the population, grabbing them in other media etc might be the way out [the tenfold peak ewas that for me: other media giving major attention] ).

12:35 am on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Wouldn't it be in Google's best interest to keep me motivated and generating legitimate clicks...

Under certain circumstances yes, others no. If all their interests were transparent, above board and rational perhaps yes. Just taking some of your money because they can is just as much a possibility as your assessment of their best interests. Account for all the internal politics of the labyrinthine organization and you've fathomed the black box. What is rational from one point of view may well be irrational from another.

How many internal lines of responsibilty affect your earnings?

The gyrations of my stats are not rational, something smells fishy to me. Yes, yes, I know already that I'm not smart enough to understand all this stuff, you may dismiss my conclusions on that ground.

12:48 am on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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LOL... I got scared when I saw the thread title.

define glass ceiling [google.com]

glass ceiling n. An unacknowledged discriminatory barrier that prevents women and minorities from rising to positions of power or responsibility

Earnings ceiling, maybe. Glass ceiling, no. There's nothing discriminatory, it's all done by an impartial algo.

12:57 am on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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heh, gave me pause too, Marcia.
1:15 am on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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>>>Anybody have any experience with the mythical glass ceiling? If so, did you break free, and how?

Never experienced any kind of ceiling with the sites I own. There are limits to what each earns, limits imposed by traffic, search queries used, seasons, economic mood, holidays, and more. So I added more content, created more sites, redesigned some old sites, attracted more links, increased quality traffic (not crap social media traffic or crap traffic looking for freebies) and now doing significantly better than last year. Easy.

1:57 am on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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it's all done by an impartial algo

I've always appreciated your postings however this observation is totally incorrect:-(

The algo/system is clearly biased...I shall write no more!

2:50 am on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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HuskyPup, the bias remark you quoted was specifically directed to the "glass ceiling" reference, which is related to gender in common usage: as in Hillary's recent 16K cracks in the glass ceiling.

Regarding bias in the Adsense algos, algos are just computer programs, which are written by human beings who have likes, dislikes and preferences; but the important part is that there are guidelines they have to go by. Some of them are very clear in patents and patent applications, but there's nothing personal in any of that, either implicit or implied.

There may be financial bias in algos or shifts in favor of either Google or publishers, but there's no bias related to people in any way shape or form, either for gender or national origins or political persuasion, etc., etc.

And speaking of patents, it can never hurt to read through them, both for the Adsense and the Adwords side of things - or even those for organic search.

3:43 am on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Sure, there is a ceiling and it is guarded by Elvis :-)

Get back to work and stop discouraging yourself.

5:27 am on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The algo/system is clearly biased...

How could it not be biased?! Just listen to Google employees talk about their algorythm. Everything they say gives hints about the biases built into the system. Hell, biases against this or that, favoring this or that are their system.

[edited by: Atomic at 5:30 am (utc) on Sep. 18, 2008]

5:51 am on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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>>hints about the biases built into the system

And what all the biases point to is that all of Google is obsessed with providing a successful user experience. Sometimes I wonder if they give them injections at employee orientation, or pipe "user friendly" into the air filtration system or with white sound.

That kind of bias couldn't possibly financially manipulate individual sites in publisher accounts to the level of granularity being suggested here, which would also be counter-intuitive to their commendably blatant bias toward sites being user friendly and providing a positive user experience.

6:10 am on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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There is definitely a kind of a ceiling. Varies from site to site, by publisher type, age of site etc.. I firmly believe in it.

To test it, once I bought lots of adWords tarffic for competitive terms at a high price ( high quality traffic). The ceiling ensured that I consistently lost money, even though the traffic and CTR was up. I just could not break through the USD YYY level. The eCPM just fell...and stayed at a low level.

On the other hand we have people like Savage (home page discussion) who could make USD 115,000 and above per month from this kind of a strategy.. So thing are not what they seem.. There is clearly different standards for diff, publishers..

As an anti arb kind of a strategy, I am all for it..but when this acts as a disincentive to increase content and traffic, then it hurts..

9:46 am on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The best way to deal with any perceived ceiling is to test ads from other networks and serve them to the maximum limit you can while staying at what you believe is your Adsense ceiling.

Winners all around.

I appreciate that this is easier done on some sites than others.

12:31 pm on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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...couldn't possibly financially manipulate individual sites in publisher accounts to the level of granularity being suggested here...

It could be done with an algorithm, but what does Google know about algorithms?

Actually, if it were done with a greater granularity we wouldn't notice it, would we?

[edited by: OnlyToday at 12:34 pm (utc) on Sep. 18, 2008]

3:11 pm on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Ceiling or not, shortly after breaking my first thousand bucks in one month barrier, ECPM went down the road and never came up.
3:27 pm on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Yea, well, I'm up every year since I started (which was the second year AdSense was in business) Not for every site - I've added new sites, and retired old sites in that time, and in some cases reduced AdSense in favor of affiliate ads, but all my *core* sites are way up.

There's no ceiling, because there's no advantage to Google in having one.

3:45 pm on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The great advantage to the ceiling idea is that it makes Google responsible for our inability to increase our earnings.

If there's no ceiling, then we have to look at what we are doing and ask ourselves why it isn't working....

3:51 pm on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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...because there's no advantage to Google in having one.

That assumes that Google exercises absolute control, it does not. Every employee, every manager, has their own agenda which may or may not coincide with the best interest of the company as a whole. And that's assuming that your premise is correct. There may well be advantages we can't see from the outside looking in. Unless you're privy to all their spreadsheets you can't assert that simply because it appears to you to be true.
4:37 pm on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Us trying to figure out Google is like rats trying to figure out a maze that moves it's walls each day.

Mike

5:15 pm on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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And what all the biases point to is that all of Google is obsessed with providing a successful user experience. Sometimes I wonder if they give them injections at employee orientation, or pipe "user friendly" into the air filtration system or with white sound.

In my opinion, they like to promote themselves as being obsessed with the user experience and may even drink their own kool aid but looking around at some of the problems with Adwords and AdSense I have to question whether their justified in their belief.

Their ad system has led to:

Pollution in the internet - MFA's, parked domains, etc.
Scammy ads
Some of the world's worst ever customer service

I could probably go on, but those are pretty massive problems right off the top of my head.

Sorry about going off topic like this.

5:54 pm on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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AdSense Earnings Ceilings. Natural limit caused by
  • amount of advertisers in your niche,
  • quality of advertisers in your niche,
  • the limitations on the quality of your site visitors,
  • limitations caused by the kind of content on your site...

Or is it easier to ignore real and measurable limits inherent in your site and suspect Google places an algorithmic limit for some vague reason?

6:24 pm on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Martini, That's the best explanation I've heard for a long time and so thriftily expressed.

And if you're right, then when I change something on a site, possibly insignificant, it may just open up a new market of advertisers. Hence the earnings suddenly jump. Maybe the changes needed to open up new markets are cumulative and the one that causes the earnings to jump is the one that "broke the camel's back".

You've convinced me!

7:29 pm on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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...is it easier to ignore real and measurable limits inherent in your site and suspect Google...

The limits you list are real but not mutually exclusive with a suspicion. A suspicion is healthy, it is easier to deny the possibility of malfeasance than to face it. I'm not obsessed with Google's guilt or innocence in the matter. I'm simply not sure and do look askance at those who doggedly defend the mysterious giant.
7:45 pm on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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>>>look askance at those who doggedly defend the mysterious giant.

I don't "doggedly defend" anything more "giant" than common sense in an objective manner. I would prefer to see you post something more substantial like a coherent explanation of what you believe in and what the foundations of those beliefs are.

10:18 pm on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I would prefer to see you post something more substantial like a coherent explanation of what you believe in and what the foundations of those beliefs are.

That seems a bit too grand and philosophical, let's stick to Google. I can't get specific with my statistical analyses because of WebmasterWorld and Google TOS and besides I don't want to get into arcane discussions about my methodology. Let's just say I think there are unexplainable deviations in my earnings that won't be smoothed over by a blind faith in the "not-evil one." Explanations by outsiders whose actual knowledge of the inner workings of Google is just as speculative as mine come off as advocacy no matter how objective they claim to be. I appreciate your efforts to bring common sense to the explanation of the unexplainable but I reserve the right to remain suspicious if I can't see the books myself.

Granted, some of my irritation with Google stems from their treatment of me on the search side, but in the end it's the same cryptic beast.

12:47 pm on Sept 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Income increase is not directly related to traffic increase (not 1:1). I use to see how clicks revenue are going down as quick as traffic is going up; so I increased traffic x2 and adsense income just increased a little. It could be related to Smart Pricing, I don't know.

Taking a look at adsense stats for this month, both eCPM and CTR has increased; so I can't say G is controlling my earnings. eCPM earnings can vary a lot depending on advertisers; everyday there are new (and deleted) campaigns.

2:49 am on Sept 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Ohhhhhhh...Marcia!

Regarding bias in the Adsense algos, algos are just computer programs, which are written by human beings who have likes, dislikes and preferences; but the important part is that there are guidelines they have to go by. Some of them are very clear in patents and patent applications, but there's nothing personal in any of that, either implicit or implied.

You have been brainwashed into believing the "GOOGLE ALGO" has NO preferences nor xenophobia...yeah, yeah yeah...check ANY decent proxy server for your keyword phrases etc...

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