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Internet based side of our business basically wiped out as of March 28

.but no drops in traffic



4:11 am on Apr 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Who'd a thunk it. On or about March 28, our sales of our online "stuff" dropped by about 80%, and those sales were not unsubstantial. At the same time our adsense income completed the slow plummet by dropping again, so we're about 20% of our former hi's.

We don't do too many affiliates but our amazon commissions which were doing well, running about $100 a month also crashed after the 28th.

So, basically that about covers it. The ways of doing business that help us earn 6 figures a year now don't put food on the table. The fact that the drops were pretty abrupt brings the trail to...well, let's just guess.

So, we're going back to our roots, and actually will promote our consulting services by...well, believe it or not, snail mail, phones with a bit of email, and we'll not count on any money directly from our websites, which have modest traffic due to very specialized niches, but overall still in the 6 figures for visitors each month.

So, anyway, stuff happens. It sucks, and it's bye-bye retirement, but what the heck, I didn't like slippers anyway, but here's the thing that's really scary. The only explanation I have for all this leads to Google's door, either through changes in the search algos or changes in adsense. (We've tried adwords a fair amount, but haven't been able to make it work for us).

I never imagined that what has happened could actually take place.

Wow. Having to work for a living. Who'd a thought it would happen. Cripee, I'm even thinking of doing book signings and hitting the road to earn money.


4:25 am on Apr 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jane_doe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Sorry to hear that. But maybe it is too soon to throw in the towel.

If your total traffic didn't change perhaps you dropped on some important keywords and gained on less financially rewarding ones. Have you drilled down to find the specific cause?

[edited by: Jane_Doe at 4:41 am (utc) on Apr 12, 2011]


4:38 am on Apr 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Google Search and Adsense have been literally improved to death.


4:50 am on Apr 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sorry to hear this. But as much as it sucks try to keep the site p and work while trying to make a living.

Google is out to kill small sites, whatever business they don't get in for themselves, they will push the big brands in front. It's their only way to milk 'search' for a few more years. They are lost so they want to send people to Amazon.com and to cdc.gov and call it an algo. Time to look for Mexico like countries and work from there.


5:21 am on Apr 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the kind words. I'm not throwing in the towel, though if I could sell all my sites PLUS intellectual property for enough to retire, I'd do it in a finger snap.

It'll all be there, but I can't spend the next 6 months trying to figure out what to do with this by trial and error, because google is a black box. One of the biggest business problems is that while one is dependent on google in some degree, it's impossible to have any sense of control over one's destiny because you can't know what you need to do to fix their issues.

I never thought I'd see the day, ever since my Internet presence started generating business, that I could have it all wiped out. Google is like the earthquake. When it quivers, you have no choice but to do your best, knowing that whether you survive or not is probably not up to you.

It may be possible to do business under those constraints, but I'm a little too old to live that way. My business is 20 years old, most of which with an Internet presence.

One more thing. I did everything I could to diversify my revenues from the Internet. For example, adsense once made up about 80-90% of total income from internet, and I moved that over the years so it would be less than 50%.

The thing I didn't consider that ALL Internet revenue sources would keel over and die all at once, starting almost on the same day. I'm actually more astounded than dismayed.

Anyway, it all means working with more people face to face, which, for a writer, is a good thing, since the writing process is a little isolating. I'm well positioned to earn money off the net. And it's been a long time since I did that, so maybe this will all work out for the best.


2:07 pm on Apr 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Are you doing social? Facebook? I might take a look at that before I hit the road, if I were you.


3:07 pm on Apr 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

So you have basically the same traffic and income has dropped by that much? That's almost unbelievable.


7:21 pm on Apr 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Sorry to hear about your problems, Coach. It seems astonishing that all three revenue streams - sales, Adsense and affiliates - could go south all at once.

You mention that you used Adwords. If you use for it for sites that have ads/affiliates on them, is it possible that your Adsense account was penalized?
Is it a CTR or EPC drop in your Adsense revenue?


12:47 am on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thanks to y'all again. Netmeg, yes, I do social, mostly on twitter actually but have facebook and linkedin. I've been on for 1.5 years. Not impressed, or rather, perhaps I'm not skilled enough. I don't like the concept or quality of interactions, and I'm too old to spend time on something that is pretty bozoish.

Vivalasvegas. Yup. Constant traffic. March/April are typically big months. Earnings this month are so bad, I'm not even bothering to tabulate day by day. Compared to last year month on month, probably about 70% drop.

Thought perhaps it had to do with shift in where geographically traffic was coming from, like if 70% of traffic coming from foreign now as opposed to 70% from USA last year, but a quick look yielded little. That would explain complete collapse on all fronts as a result of Panda.

Just to give an idea, last month we sold $600 of a certain widget, which has been selling steadily for about 12 months at about that level. THIS month we're at $80 so we're looking at radical drop even from last month. And, that doesn't count Easter or any non-business days, where we do nothing.

Leonardo0, the drop in CTR is drastic. We changed nothing but as an example, on one site (we have about 15 niche sites) let's say there's 1000 PAGE impressions. We've had days with ONE click. Overall average across all sites is dreadful, let's say <1% when peak average would have been about 3% (ok that's a while ago).

I haven't checked EPC but I know it's been trending upward up to last month.

And, of course the kicker is that for most relevant keywords via adwords, we'd be paying between $1-$2.50 per click just to get in the game. It simply doesn't work.

Started contacting potential customers via the mighty snail. Everyone needs a business shakeup and I'm kind of looking forward to not being chained to this computer.

Hey, how does one act when meeting with a real person in real life? I ferget.


1:05 am on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Hey, how does one act when meeting with a real person in real life? I ferget.

Note to self "Don't kick them in the nuts, Don't kick them in the nuts".
Client "Hi! How are you?"
Kicks them in the nuts.
"I'm so sorry!"


10:46 am on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Oh heck, sorry to hear this coachm, that's a triple whammy by any measure!

Hey, how does one act when meeting with a real person in real life? I ferget.

Whilst this may not apply to your position, since about 1995 when I decided that the Net was the way forward for our companies and I stopped door knocking, as a company we have continued to participate at international trade fairs and over the past 15 years been able to grow the business extremely well without having to resort to endless travel expenditures etc to the point whereby we have it narrowed down to four specific fairs per annum with the odd extra one thrown in as an experiment.

It was one heck of a leap of faith by me especially considering some of my other directors said "What the heck's the WWW?" The rest, as they say, is now history.

Good luck.


11:19 am on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

If traffic is the same but sales are down, could it be that your traffic now consists of different people (from a different source) who are not as inclined to buy as your previous visitors?

Hypothetical example:

Traffic has dropped from the countries where you sell well, and is now coming from other countries? Overall traffic numbers are the same, but it's not the same people. That could happen if your search engine rankings have fallen for searches originating in the U.S. but are now higher for searches originating from Asia or South America.


3:02 pm on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Well me, I'd give the Facebook thing another try, I'm seeing unexpected results even in B2B with some concerted effort, but it sounds like you don't really wanna go there, and that's perfectly legit.


3:19 pm on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My traffic and income dropped considerably on Feb. 24th. Less income, yes, but I could live with the amount.

Then two days ago, I think they call it Layer 2, my income and number of clicks dropped almost in half. Yesterdays traffic was the worst it has been in years.

With the cost of hosting, and the fact that I have to pay others to do sitework (I'm a site owner, not a web developer), I'm seriously considering throwing in the towel.

I've worked very hard on my site for seven years, putting in hours most days. A few years ago, AdSense reps got my site (and some others) featured in major media including TV, so I thought my site was at least decent.

Very discouraged!


3:44 pm on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lame_wolf is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Don't forget it is half-term in the UK this week. I don't know about other countries. This will have some bearing on things too.


8:25 pm on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

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We're seeing a huge drop in converting traffic the last two or three weeks. We're UK based too - I've put it down to the mini heatwave (for April) and Easter holidays kicking in.


8:31 pm on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I don't understand this coachm, traffic volumes the same but earnings decimated?

One previous suggestion was that you may have a different audience but that seems far-fetched. Maybe the factor influencing the drop in income is that the ads served on your pages have suddenly changed in nature.

But that doesn't match your remark about a similar drop in income from Amazon. Unless the Adsense ads driving traffic to Amazon have also detrimentally changed.

Even if the above was the case, I can't offer even a thought as to how to correct the situation.

Good luck though, same volumes in traffic but a massive drop in income seems very unfair.



12:15 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'm going to continue to update here as I work to try to unravel this. It's become personal. I MUST know what the heck is happening! :)

Well, one of our busiest and most important sites lost 20% of page views yesterday, and then another 20% today (hard to tell since day is not done).

Every day brings a bouquet of disaster, and oh, i backed into a ditch today and had to be towed out. THat one I can't blame on Google, but I'm working on it.

Nomis, I KNOW it doesn't make sense. I'm looking under every pebble to try to figure out whats going on.

However, volume of traffic is less important than WHY they found you, and what they are looking for. Again, if I'm only getting visitors from places people don't buy from, or click from, it would explain things.

But there's other possibilities, like weird server behavior (except we use two different hosts, and drops are on sites hosted on both), some weird coding errors that I made across all the sites.

There is some strange errors showing in the google adsense diagnosis area that I'm trying to figure out.

One good thing. It's forcing me to look very carefully at my sites and the result will be better pages. I'll be bankrupt but I'll have great pages.


12:37 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Have you chaps with none converting traffic been using
G analytics with the goals options set, for a long time ?


3:57 pm on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Ok, you need to look at your analytics to see WHICH sources of traffic may have changed patterns, and if it's search, then which keywords maybe have dropped. Do you get a lot of referral links from other sites? Is it possible that one of them has got a bad link to you?

This is like forensics, so approach it like it was a new CSI series.


5:22 pm on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I am in the same boat, today is looking like they put the nail in the coffin. I was expecting it after Feb 24th, I am not going to invest a bunch of funds to make a mega site as it would not pay off anyway.

The ROI is not there anymore.

I have one more thing to try it involves massive links, I have seen these spammy links push sites to the first page and stay there for over a year (and Panda did not effect them) going to give them a go and see what happens, these links still work if not better now.

I see page 1-5 on a big money term just with only sites that have nothing but these links.. If you cant beat them join them, nothing to lose at this point :)


6:49 pm on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

The thing I didn't consider that ALL Internet revenue sources would keel over and die all at once, starting almost on the same day. I'm actually more astounded than dismayed.

check the sites to see if your customer ID links (affiliate/adsense) are unchanged.


8:39 pm on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


My story is nearly identical to yours... 11 year old site with consistent visitors and CTR for years suddenly plummets now down to 30% of multi year normal levels.

And, all adwords advertising stopped 18 months ago. Significant # of twitter/facebook/cloudprofile posts now stopped and accounts delete


9:12 pm on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Hi coach, from my perspective there is a chance something changed on your websites.

Target issue perhaps? this would show a variation on your stats patterns. Yes it could be a change on traffic quality, bringing visitors that are not your target and thus, not clicking or buying, have you checked what happens after the visitors get to your site? a change on target (diff visitors profile) would also mean staying less time on your sites and definitely less page views. Visits would tend to bounce, to go away.

If those patterns haven't changed, there is no signal of people leaving right after getting there, then I would check the htmls, JS, IDS (adsense and affiliates) and even the server itself for htaccess issues or server side includes. A site can be hacked to work for other people changing your ids, so everything would be -ok- but no earnings. Compare your stats (adsense) to the pageviews you have on your regular stats reports.

I mentioned *sites* because even as you mentioned that you are seeing this on sites hosted on different servers, there could be a relation on technology, such as a CMS vulnerability or a door you left open by using the same technique on both sites (like permissions 777 to say something).

I once had a crypted JS injected on my HTML that replaced info on the page of a site, and also had a php problem showing random quotes of iran. Double check.


9:30 pm on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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There are many sources indicating that ad spending online and in traditional media started weakening a few months ago. So it's not just Web sites that have AdSense.

Ad spending is usually a pretty good indicator of where the economy is heading.


1:28 am on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

On my site with Adsense,I am getting a 98.9% bounce rate (year to date avg.). On the site without Adsense, the YTD avg. is 53.2% bounce. The site with Adsense is pretty vanilla, the one without adsense has a political edge to it.

They even share some of the same articles. (The political blog started life as a clone of the "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms" version with the less pertinent posts stripped out but, at first, nothing new added. Since then, the material has diverged and there is no fresh article sharing, although sometimes a theme will see dual use.)

Could Google have my garden sites confused with *.sex sites?



11:43 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Again, thanks for the comments. One problem I face is that I'm not in the business of selling ads or even building websites. My business is completely "different", and that means that I can't devote the time and energy to a) keep current with tech., and b) do a lot of log anaylsis. That would be the path to go.

The reason I'm so negative about adsense now is that they took a "put code on and forget" system, made it complicated, and then, made it so you have to nurse it, tweak it, study it and so forth. If it was my full time job to make it work, I'd put in the time. But it's not.

One area of concern I have about my sites is that it looks to me that over the years, generally, there's less page views per visitor. Again, a puzzle that is worthy of in depth study via logs, etc, IF I HAD the time.

That could be because of changes in search engine results, or it could have to do with the site designs, some of which are quite dated and below the bar for conveying the right image.

Anyway, now that the income is so low, I can take the risk of updating lots of stuff that I've left for years because I was worried about losing income.

Explorador, I will check ids and such for hacking. I think it's unlikely a source of problems, but it's something I should do regularly anyway.


12:34 pm on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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scottb, I do think part of the drop in revenue is the economy. And, for my site anyway, the months after the Christmas holiday season (Feb-May) have been the lowest paying. Still, the recent Google changes have caused a significant drop in traffic and, as a result, drop in clicks and income.

If the trend continues, I'll no longer have the money to tweak or make improvements to my site like I have since the inception.

I'll pay my hosting fees and continue to write occasional articles to keep the Google Bot happy.


10:44 pm on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

btw coachm. I feel your pain, literally. I'm looking for a grief support group and will let you know if I find something suitable. LOL! ;)


11:49 am on Apr 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

A little late, but my first suggestion would be to look to see if you've been hacked and your IDs carefully changed so someone else is credited with your sales.
Because thats what it sounds like :(
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