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We've had to switch to USD cheques now, which is very inefficient. If there was greater transparency as to how the exchange rates are calculated (e.g. something like "Google shall use the interbank exchange rate at noon Pacific time on the 8th business day before the end of the month that payment is to be received") which everyone would be able to observe independently, that would be one way to alleviate the issue. For us in Canada, it made a 10% difference in the actual payout vs. what we expected, and I understand publishers in other non-US countries also raised the same concerns.
You must be the third or fourth ASA since I started visiting/reading at Webmasterworld. As the others mentioned, you're in for a tough ride, and I just hope that the previous person introduced you to the pitfalls of the job. Some of these, however, were self-inflicted and could have easily been avoided.
Type example: Feature requests.
The crowd here is absolutely passionate about Adsense, and when you ask them for ways to improve the program, you'll get more professional responses than you probably can digest. But this group here does expect the same professional treatment when it comes to feedback. Which is traditionally a big problem with Google. (The will may be there, but corporate rules prevent anything useful to get out of MV.)
To make matters worse, the previous ASA made the big mistake of being far too enthusiastic about his presence here. IIRC, he started out with a weekly collection of feature requests, which obviously was highly ineffective as so few new features actually get implemented. It's as useless for a publisher to ask every week for a bigger, better filter as it is useless for ASA to collect this feedback. Soon he went to bi-weekly, then to monthly feature requests. Even this was too much of a hazzle, and we're now at "twice a year". The result: shrugging publishers who have the constant feeling of being ignored.
All this was forseeable and could have been avoided.
I agree with the others that meaningful communication is key for this job. The more proactive and useful your information is, the better your experience will be. It could even resemble "fun".
Welcome aboard fresh ASA, tell us a little (or a lot) about yourself, where are you based, what were you doing before the GOOG invaded your village, how many ET aliens are working for the algo dept., is it true you guys communicate telepathically and that's why emails take long to be processed and you don't use phones?
Good luck, you'll be needing it.
I don't know about others on here, but I'm seeing this as a fresh faced, fresh start to allow the new ASA a chance to create his own reputation. There is nothing worse than starting a new job and carrying the baggage of those that went before.
Welcome and looking forward to hearing what' going on in the "plex" for Adsense :)
Hobbes, I'm based in Mountain View and I really don't remember much about my life before Google.
Google didn't do a complete re-format of your brain before installing their algo then?
Welcome aboard ASA. Quite frankly, what happens at Google I don't know (or care). I just want
... and a partridge in a money tree...
I do hope we all can forget the bad things from the past -while remembering the good- and look forward to a new start.
Do you have plans on what you want to achieve here that you can share ?
It might also be smart to get in touch inside the Goolgeplex with the AdwordsAdvisor, it seems (s)he is doing a good job at it over on the advertiser side of things.
Oh, and as Hobbs hinted should we call you "he" or "she" ? "(s)he" is slow to type ... till then, please don't get upset if we guess wrong ;)
What are you going to do better than all of the other ASA's in the past? Or is it just more of the same?
I'd really like to see a larger "Competitive Ad Filter". Currently I have to remove existing entries when adding new ones. Especially when you have several sites with Adsense, the current limit of 200 entries is far to low.
Also, please think about blocking by Adwords Advertiser ID, because advertisers often use several Adsense slots under different domain names. As a result, the Ad Filter gets full even sooner.
Another suggestion is blocking by webserver IP address of the landing page, or blocking on nameservers used (relevant for parked pages etc.)
Bottomline, give us more power to combat low quality and low paying ads.
In Adsense Review Center (for placement targeted ads) show which site was targeted. With several sites, this information is needed in decision making.