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Interview with Google's New Head of Publisher Outreach

John Brown - Promises More Transparency

     
12:03 pm on Oct 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Brent Csutoras interviewed John Brown of Google for SEJ [searchenginejournal.com]. Brent caught up with Google's new Head of Publisher Policy Communications.

I started off by asking Brown what are some of the exact steps the company is taking to provide greater transparency to publishers.


You can watch the video [youtube.com] and/or read the highlights on SEJ [searchenginejournal.com].
1:33 pm on Oct 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Well that told me absolutely nothing. If that's what we can expect from 'policy communications' then I doubt anything will change.
2:47 pm on Oct 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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That's good feedback.

John Brown's going to have to up his game if he's going to please publishers. It's like performing at The Apollo in Harlem. Screw up and you'll be booed off stage. WebmasterWorld is the true test of how successful he's going to be or if he's simply yet another failure in the what's turned into a revolving door for Google's AdSense Publisher Outreach.
2:58 pm on Oct 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld is the true test of how successful he's going to be or if he's simply yet another failure in the what's turned into a revolving door for Google's AdSense Publisher Outreach.

You think WW might be John Brown's Harpers Ferry?

The highlight of the interview was JB declaring that "2016 will be awesome" - then completely failing at explaining why.
11:08 pm on Oct 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I watched the video. My take is this. Too much too late. For me it's becoming a dried out prune. I've never cared less to be honest about Adsense. The less I make, the less I care and oddly enough I don't think I'm alone on that. When something is in decline it's time to start communicating? (here is where the supporters come in to say there is no indicators that Adsense earnings are declining and that it's me and not the program as a whole, that it's just the ranters and complainers, or that they are doing fine so there must be tons of people doing just fine...)

I know one thing, whatever his role is, it has nothing to do with increasing Google organic traffic or getting more relevant ads or better paying ads on my site. If this guy came out 2 years ago, I would be thrilled and encouraged to know Google cared about being transparent. Great, show great communication and help now that the party is over. Like speeding up the Adsense approval process. Like rolling out a new and terrific stats tracker and dashboard. That's great, but it does nothing to increase the declining earnings or lessen the number of adblockers being used against Google ads. The sh!ttier my earnings, the kinder, more caring, more transparent (more unusual) the Google seems to behave. That to me is fishy.
12:43 am on Oct 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Head of Publisher Policy Communications


That says Policy, not Performance. Expectations should be managed accordingly.
4:18 am on Oct 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It's like a gold necklace. I'm always careful with it because losing it would be costly. However, the one made of silver? That's how concerned I am about policy. I care, but this is not keeping me up at night any more. The program to me once had value like the gold necklace. Fearing the loss of my account because of some policy oversight on my part would spell my demise. Not the case anymore. I'm sure there are some people who fret about policy and shutter at the thought of their account being shut. I care about my account, but the concern I have is nowhere like it was. This policy guy could have been nice to see a few years ago from my perspective. The last 2 Adsense announcements make me really wonder.
2:30 pm on Oct 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Wow, awesome dude ... after taking 90% of my traffic away and reducing my earnings from $300+ per day to $5, you NOW want to talk "nice" to me?

Yeah, right ... what's that nibbling feeling coming up my arm?
2:40 pm on Oct 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I take back some of my initial skepticism expressed in this thread.
I was just given some interesting information about changes. Some of the policy changes really will be unprecedented and welcome. And from what I understand, John Brown will have more power to interface with publishers than any previous spokesperson. So I'm optimistic and hopeful though still a little wary.
3:05 pm on Oct 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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How do the interactions help me make more money? If I'm not making money because I've run into policy issues without my knowing it (LOL), then terrific. If his role makes no difference in terms of making this more profitable (and it's pretty obvious he's not in a position to help me make more money) then I can't associate the word meaningful with this announcement. Whether he exists or not, it's not going to affect my earnings one bit. I will be happy to take back my words if there is some amazing communication that puts back pennies in my pocket. Aside from that, I'm having an absolutely fabulous and happy day today!
3:12 pm on Oct 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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How do the interactions help me make more money?


That is precisely the question to ask. Those are the coals we'll have the opportunity to hold under his feet.
5:23 pm on Oct 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I hope so too. I love my Adsense although it may not seem like it. I would love nothing more than to see things turn around even if it's just slightly. A bit of hope, that all I'm hoping for...
5:35 pm on Oct 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I appreciate all of your feedback, and look forward to disclosing more about the "several' projects we are working on which are all to the benefit of our publishers. Hopefully you can appreciate that until these projects are ready for launch that there is very little that I can disclose, thus the appearance of generic answers. Publishers will truly enjoy these upcoming changes/enhancements.

To be certain, I will be providing communications that will keep in mind our publishers needs to increase revenue, as well as help articulate how policy and our network quality can be viewed as valuable. Additionally, through working with our publishers, I will take your needs back to Google so that we can balance our role in the ecosystem with publishers needs to increase revenue.

Beyond my hire, and the large team of publisher advocates on staff, we have invested in hosting publisher events at Google offices in every global region, created online feedback tools for publishers, created a publishing partner program and send Googlers to every conference where publishers may attend. There is and will continue to be invested in the success of publishers, because we only benefit if publishers are growing, happy and working with us.
9:48 pm on Oct 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for communicating Google's commitment to helping publishers earn more revenue.
3:18 am on Oct 29, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I for one am grateful hearing from you here. Showing up and speaking openly here says a lot to me. I will mind my words and maintain the highest level of respect possible. As frustrated as I've been over the past year or so, I still value Adsense and hope that I can return to more significant earnings that I once enjoyed.
3:10 pm on Oct 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'll be nice to start with unless I find out you were the person responsible for the image grab debacle!
12:45 pm on Nov 5, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Just to follow up on this a little.

To be certain, I will be providing communications that will keep in mind our publishers needs to increase revenue,

I am certain that the revenue issues are foremost in many publishers minds, and that has to be welcomed, along with welcoming you to WebmasterWorld, pubpolicycomms. I'm keen to earn more, no matter what challenges we're faced with, especially in today's mobile environment.
2:39 pm on Nov 5, 2015 (gmt 0)

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This could be interesting, but will it be?
 

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