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No way to make money on Adsense now, because of blank ads

Adsense doesnt show ads on older articles that aren't crawled

     
4:11 am on Apr 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It sucks why did they do this?

I have a lot of older articles and I was told that Adsense now doesn't show ads on articles that haven't been visited by someone, also if you put an article and it hasn't been visited in over a month apparently they removed the ads and leave blank spaces, then when you or someone else visits the adsense bot will start adding ads again

this hurts earnings, Ive had several visits to older articles and those visitors saw no ads, it hurts earnings

There is no more money in having adsense on blogs now with this new crawl to ad ratio going, before you could just visit any page even old ones that haven't been visited and ads show

now when you post a fresh article the ad spaces remain blank for 30 or so minutes before adding actual ads.

I doubt Adsense will go back to their old ways, the only issue is looking for an alternative, Im a blogger not an affiliate marketer so its harder to make money from blogging about a niche topic.
6:43 am on Apr 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Is this a new approval process by g? Confirming that new content (or old) meets specifications? If so, there's a one time hit, not an on going loss of revenue. Once. Then approved, then business as usual. If that's the case then no worries. If it is something else then further investigation is required.
7:35 am on Apr 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Hi Broaste

Agreed and I really can't figure out what advantage Google sees in this. If no one loads the page, there isn't any ad resources lost so what's the point?

Overall I haven't seen a loss of income since this empty ad space started, but it doesn't inspire any faith in the system.

On one page I have, it appears the ads have stopped displaying permanently. I tried using various IP addresses & UAs to load the page but after a week of trying, still no ads on desktop. However, the ads still display on mobile. Very strange.

All this odd behavior and Google hasn't even started applying the Ad Experience Filtering yet or maybe it is but the GSC report isn't saying so.
7:56 am on Apr 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This is was people referrer as "Brand Safety". I don't think there was an official statement, but it appeared around mid December and all the polemics about publishers creating sites stuffed with "fake news" and clickbait content. The monetarization of "fake news" content caused a lot of talks, and also advertisers were upset at taking part of it. Some even stopped advertising at Adsense' publisher network. So to address this issue, there is this kind of page-per-page pre-approval, before Adsense's ads are served. So, the first time a page is accessed, Adsense will serve third part ad network ads at best, or blank/backup ads. Then, "sometimes" later, the Adsense bot will come fetch the page, and if it's okay, then the next visitors will see Adsense' ads. It doesn't seem to be only a one time check. Some (like myself), noticed that the process seems to repeat every 2 weeks. (it's sure that the content of a page can change over the time).

So the consequences is that, for sites with lot of pages, which are not accessed often, this is a significant loss of impression and earnings.

You can observe it by looking at the "coverage" stats of Adsense. Which, should have decreased significantly since mid December. (in my case, for north american visitors, I was at 95+ coverage, and it went to ~60%, without ad balance on).

May be this is temporary measures decided in the hurry, until Adsense comes with better solution to address fake news content.
8:26 am on Apr 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thank for that explanation Travis
9:26 am on Apr 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I don't know if this is related, but, in the GSC > Web Tools (User experience / abusive...) , my sites are still labelled as unreviewed for both mobile and desktop. I wonder if, once "reviewed", this removes the "brand safety protection". These "reviewed" are not supposed to be about the content of the pages, but who knows.

Ad links, do not seem to be affected by the "brand safety protection". (which might be understandable, since advertisers are not directly showing at our site). So you can mix Display ads and Ad links to optimize a bit the "blank ads syndrome"
11:29 am on Apr 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Maybe a coincidence but this morning I suddenly noticed several blanks at my website while browsing. Is this something new or just a coincidence and not related to this topic?
2:34 pm on Apr 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What is described does appear to be the impacts of the "Brand-Safety" update as mentioned by Travis. However Travis' explanation is not entirely accurate. I believe that it is important to understand exactly what is happening, to best address the situation.

So, the first time a page is accessed, Adsense will serve third part ad network ads at best, or blank/backup ads. Then, "sometimes" later, the Adsense bot will come fetch the page, and if it's okay, then the next visitors will see Adsense' ads. It doesn't seem to be only a one time check. Some (like myself), noticed that the process seems to repeat every 2 weeks. (it's sure that the content of a page can change over the time).


"Brand Safety" took effect official December 15th, but most reports began to surface around December 18, 2017. The update is a policy change at AdWords (not AdSense), the change impacts AdSense publishers but its not AdSense directly. The AdWords policy is now that AdWords will not bid on impressions for page views for page that are not currently in the AdSense index. What this means is that when ever an indexed page goes to auction demand will be limited to 3rd party ad-networks (provided you have 3rd part networks enabled). Given that Adwords represents the bulk of the demand for AdSense publishers ads will either go unfilled (no 3rd party demand) or will be filled at a deep discount. This dynamic can make difficult to diagnose because not all impacted page view will go unfilled, but overall there will be steep drop in earnings.

The impact on publishers is variable and depends on how traffic flows to your site. For a given total number of page views, if you have a site where traffic goes to many pages but each page gets few page views the impact will be big and devastating, whereas if you have site where traffic goes to few pages but each page gets many views then the impact should be negligible. The impact any individual publisher will feel will depend on which end of the spectrum they land. The actual size of the website is directly relevant, but obviously it is unlikely to be in the first scenario if your site a few pages.

Some more important details. I stated above that this applies to pages not currently in the AdSense index. AdSense's crawls pages using "MediaPartnersGoogle" bot, this is not the same as "Googlebot" bot. Pages are added to the index whenever an ad is requested. When a page with ad code on it is requested, AdSense is sent a request, AdSense checks its index for the page, if it doesn't find the page it send its bot to get the page. This typically occurs a few minutes after the initial page request. So AdWords will not participate in the auction for that initial request. AdWords will participate for any subsequent requests for that page (once in the index). A page will remain in the index for a period of about 2 weeks, after which point it is deleted from the index (this the AdSense index not Google Search index). So if the page is requested again in that 2 week window, Adwords will treat page normally and the page's life will be extended. But if the page isn't accessed again, it falls out of the index and at the next request (2 weeks + 1 day) then Adwords will again abstain from the ad auction for that page impression and the cycle starts over. So this doesn't only impact new pages it impacts all in frequently accessed pages on an ongoing basis. The actual length of life of a page in the index is not defined some Adsense documentation suggest a time between 1 to 2 weeks, it is potentially longer and may in fact be variable due to several unknown factors. (Further obfuscating the impact and diagnosis of this issue)

What to do about it? There is plenty of information in this thread. I posted actions to take at the bottom of page 8.
[webmasterworld.com...]
4:23 pm on Apr 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for your detailed explanations.

I am sure some are running javascript-enabled bots on their own site, to maintain all their pages into the Adsense' index.
8:23 pm on Apr 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I am sure some are running javascript-enabled bots on their own site, to maintain all their pages into the Adsense' index.
I have an on-site search which reindexes every 72 hours & I see no helpful affect. I also manually load a couple dozen pages using Chrome. This did put the ads back after a few minutes, but no longer seems to have any affect either.
12:33 pm on Apr 19, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I have an on-site search which reindexes every 72 hours & I see no helpful affect.

Your indexer might not render your webpage, and interpret the javascript which calls Adsense. Or, if your indexer is really rendering page, executing javascript, it's possible the IP might be ignored by Adsense. For example, if the indexer works locally, an IP of 127.0.0.1 is clearly ignored by Adsense.

This did put the ads back after a few minutes, but no longer seems to have any affect either.

May be try from a different IP address or VPN. It's possible that Adsense ignores requests made by publisher themselves. I mean, with all it's technologies, Adsense can certainly tell if a publisher is visiting his own site.

It's also possible that the Adsense bot is too busy. The Adsense bot certainly doesn't have the same resources than the Search bot. It was certainly not designed to do mass crawling.
4:34 pm on Apr 19, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Keyplyr or anybody facing this issue. I recommend contacting AdSense support, they are able to fix the issue for specific cases.

I don't think that crawling your own pages is a solution (using an automated browser that executes JS, like Selenium). The issue being that the life of the index is relatively short. If the crawler runs to quickly the request from that crawler may be ignored. Now depending on the number of pages to crawl, you may not be able to crawl all the pages in the time required. Then one would need to repeat this every two weeks. The number of impressions resulting from this crawling will likely be very high, again resulting in the request being ignored (best case scenario) or your account being banned for artificially inflating impressions.
5:24 pm on Apr 19, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The number of impressions resulting from this crawling will likely be very high, again resulting in the request being ignored (best case scenario) or your account being banned for artificially inflating impressions.

Exactly, also, I guess that it can be abused to increase active view visibility.
11:47 pm on Apr 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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thanks for the explanation Travis and NickMNS

I had to dig deep and apparently Google is mad at the election, I don't follow politics or vote, but from what I read they started doing this because of the election.

I don't even have any political topics on my sports blog.

this sucks and this is affecting my sports blog, I have over 4 thousand articles, before Id see a few dollars from it now I don't even make a penny the last 5 days it says zero earnings

It makes it hard to motivate yourself when no money is coming in, back in 2010-2012 I was able to make steady income at least 30 dollars a day on average from adsense, now the last 5 days it says ZERO.

They keep changing the algorithm and ruining search, all because the people in that department don't want to be laid off so they create algo changes to make it look like they are still useful, this why they keep doing this and it hurts the website earners.

All they had to do was get rid of spam sites which are easy as hell to spot. but smaller websites like myself are hurt by these changes, and now the Brand safety thing for adsense, Ive had a lot of my older articles visited but no money coming in, its tough, I tried looking at other ad networks but most of them you need at least 20 to 50 thousand traffic a month to be approved.

Youtubers are still able to make steady income, on Reddit some youtuber who doesn't even report original news but just rehashes articles for 10minutes said he stopped blogging because he wasn't making money off adsense writing articles but his youtube gets steady traffic and a lot of adsense clicks, he said he makes over 70 thousand a year! while his website only made 500 dollars a year from adsense.

But now its hard to get approved on youtube so now im screwed, broke, paying a server, not getting any adsense money like before and putting in hours a day of work only for no pay off

there has to be a way to earn money through an alternative.
1:37 am on Apr 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I want to point out something new that I have noticed (new to me, other may already have experienced this). I am seeing many blanks ads, that is ad are served with nothing in them only the ad-choices logo appears in the top right corner. This is different from what I described above. With the "brand safety" no ad is served and this shows in your reports by reducing coverage and if you use backup ads, those backups appear in their place. In the present situation that ad code is served but no creative appears, just a blank space.
8:33 am on Apr 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I had to dig deep and apparently Google is mad at the election, I don't follow politics or vote, but from what I read they started doing this because of the election.

This is not it exactly. Google doesn't mind fake news, even if they influence elections. But medias and public opinion do, and as a consequence, advertisers do too. And advertisers didn't want to be shown on this kind of sites, or on clickbait sites. They do not want their brand associated to this, and they do not want to contribute to the financing of these behaviors. So, Google had to propose something to please advertisers, so they do not go away.

They keep changing the algorithm and ruining search, all because the people in that department don't want to be laid off /.../ all they had to do was get rid of spam sites which are easy as hell to spot.

With billions and billions of sites, and pages, I don't think this is that simple. And this is because too many publishers are abusing and trying to artificially improve their ranking, that Google has to constantly "adjust" its algorithms , which of course has side effects all the time.
9:18 pm on Apr 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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NICKMNS Ive seen those too, when you say back up ads is that when you enable Thirdparty ads? I currently have that disabled should I enable third party
9:50 pm on Apr 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Backup ads, are the ads you are serving from a different URL . For each ad slot, you can enter an URL to use as "backup" ads.
1:43 am on Apr 24, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Broaster if your issue is a drop in coverage, then yes definitely enable backup ads. As Travis described above, you place the ad code on a page with its own URL and then in your ad-unit setup in your AdSense account enter the URL. Then when there is no ad to show, the content of the URL will appear instead. You can place anything there, third party ad (eg: media.net ad-code, affiliate link, or links to other area of your own site or another site). This is setup up at the ad-unit level, so if you use multiple ad-units you will need to set the URL for each. Take note that ad will appear in the format of the AdSense ad unit, so an ad appearing in 300 x 250 ad-unit will be 300 x250 so be sure that the backup ad fits it's container. If the ad-units are responsive the backup ad must be too.

If your issue is "empty" ads (my new term to differentiate the two situations) then the AdSense ad-code is loaded with no ad and your backup will not appear in its place, so the backup will be useless.

I like to use backups regardless of the situation. Like this something shows if for some reason the ad doesn't. I use my backups to promote other websites and I use the ad-balancer so with everything running correctly I usually have about 80% coverage, so 20% backups.
6:43 pm on May 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Im currently using Auto Ads where they place random ads without having to go into code.
7:46 pm on May 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I just put up an article 40 minutes ago, and no adsense ads are showing, but my traffic reader on jetpack shows Im getting a large spike int traffic,

I just checked again to see if adsense was showing on my new article and its still blank, this sucks more lost revenue, I checked my adsense it says 400 visits with only 3 ad clicks

This sucks. when you get an article the first visits are very important why is it take so long for ads to appear.
7:50 pm on May 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This sucks. when you get an article the first visits are very important why is it take so long for ads to appear.

Say thank you to fellow publishers who abused clickbait and fake news...
8:40 pm on May 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I just checked again still no adverts, and my article is getting some good traffic, It was about a local tennis event took me 3 days to write up, I posted pictures I took from the event and some interviews now all that work down the drain.

Last week I noticed some spammer stole my entire article, I did a title search he stole it and just spun a couple of words it wasnt even coherent and outranked me, how do you guys keep going, its like a losing battler when the bad guys keep winning and the honest bloggers suffer.

Is media.net any good as an option because Adsense is lacking
11:20 pm on May 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Im currently using Auto Ads where they place random ads without having to go into code

With what effect/results?
9:01 am on May 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I just checked again still no adverts, and my article is getting some good traffic, It was about a local tennis event took me 3 days to write up, I posted pictures I took from the event and some interviews now all that work down the drain.

This sucks, I am sorry for you Broaster.

Last week I noticed some spammer stole my entire article, I did a title search he stole it and just spun a couple of words it wasnt even coherent and outranked me, how do you guys keep going, its like a losing battler when the bad guys keep winning and the honest bloggers suffer.

Lot deny this, and claim that the original content will always outrank a copied version, but I do see scrappers often outranking the original page. May be the scrap so much content so fast, that Google believes their site(s) are authoritative and actively maintained... But at the time where Google appraises IA, this is not surprising that it rewards bots which are scraping content ... between bots, you know...

Is media.net any good as an option because Adsense is lacking

Hard to say, you can always try, and set up media.net as backup ads (there is nothing in their policy preventing adding their code into a page, which is then included as an iframe).
7:29 am on May 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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IanCP
The auto ads suck for some reason they get very few clicks its strange. The ones I place on my site get more clicks.

Travis
Its weird, Im in google news and get very little traffic dont appear in the top stories at all.

Those spammers do dish out tons of content they spin peoples articles many of them post like 100 articles a day its crazy

Sometimes after a few months google seems to catch them and derank them

These delayed ads hurt websites, because older articles are not crawled so if someone finds your article online through a search that person will not see an ad hurting your chance they click on an ad, once that person sees the article it signals google bot to craw it and then put up ads like an hour later

this severely hurts websites.
12:01 am on May 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I wondered why neither account had moved for hours. I took a look at my site and saw alternative adverts instead (I make these when an advert cannot be shown)

They were present yesterday for sure, but nothing now. I'm getting really pissed off with adverts on pages disappearing time and time again. This has been going on for months now and has gone well past being a joke.
11:06 pm on July 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I have same issue on my all sites. Initially, it started with an old site which had a lot contents but now it's affecting all of my sites. I emailed adsense and got this reply:


After review, unfortunately we are currently unable to ensure ad serving to all of your pages.


Relying on Adsense is killing yourself these days. I am looking for an alternative.
12:14 am on July 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I no longer see blank ad spaces on any of the sites I manage. It took almost 2 months, but all ads are back. The Mediapartners-Google bot has crawled all of the pages and verified that Brand Safety is supported.

What I did was, every time I saw a blank ad space, I used Chrome desktop browser, then Chrome mobile browser to load the page a couple times. That would attract the Mediapartners-Google bot (verified in my logs.) It would sometimes take a week for Adsense reindexing after that, but sometimes it only took a day or two. Eventually all the pages were indexed by Adsense to be in compliance with the new policies.

This by no means brings back higher earnings. That has been declining for years.
12:20 am on July 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I tried that with little success. It works but then I see blank ads again. I have this issue now for almost 5 months.
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