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Google Updates AdSense Rules, Still Working on Radio 66

Posted by Zonk
from the your-love-won't-pay-my-bills dept.
Photocritic writes "The practice of placing images above or next to adsense banners has been around for a while — the idea is to trick visitors into thinking that the Googe Ads are clickable image captions. Unsuspecting visitors click on the ads, and the webmasters make money. Now, Google has officially announced that the practice is no longer allowed. Meanwhile, the Marketwatch site is reporting that the company's previously discussed move into radio advertising is getting a mediocre reaction. Google, as yet, does not have enough access to airtime for the project to be profitable. The company plans on purchasing more airtime to expand the program, and is reportedly also looking to begin selling television ads as well." From the article: "Until Google can strike a deal with CBS, or some other radio giant, 'there will be no significant impact until mid-2007' on Google's bottom line, or the radio industry in general, [analyst Jordan] Rohan said in his research note. 'We believe a critical mass of advertisers is interested in testing the platform,' Rohan said, based on his interviews with his own sources. 'However, there is simply not enough radio inventory in the Google Audio system (yet) to enable buyers to run campaigns.'"
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Google Updates AdSense Rules, Still Working on Radio

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  • by ZahnRosen (1040004) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @10:02AM (#17299420) Homepage
    I think these rules are good, there's no point in tricking people into clicking. They have to see a value then the ads serve their purpose. Go Go Google!
  • Just how do they plan on enforcing this? Take away the adsense from a webmaster if they find a site that is violating this new procedure? I mean, sure, its a bit of an unscrupulous business practice, but in the end, doesn't make more money for Google too?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Not necessarily, because people who click on an ad accidentally don't tend to buy from the site they visit, so it lowers the value of google's adverts. So they get money in the short term, but less advertisers in the long run.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by onepoint (301486)
        what you say is absolutely true. Quality of the click is what counts. As an AdSense publisher, I tuned my site and made it attractive for some advertisers. over the long run I don't have as many clicks for them, but they are getting quality visitors ( maybe 2 to 3 a day ).

        one advertiser call me directly and told me that my visitors that I have sent convert 50% of the time and that he was going to become a long term advertiser on my site. ( his ad's shows up on my site just about every day on the top).

        my sit
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Beached (52204)
      I don't think that Google would make more money. They make more when advertisers believe that the click through's are from prospective/interested buyers. If there is a perception that the clicks are generally not legit or that enough of them are illegitimate, the advertisers will buy and pay less.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ubergenius (918325)
        I know that I don't fully trust AdSense. I used to use AdSense, but stopped when I kept paying lots of money for ads continuously clicked from a select number of website (don't remember the URLs off the top of my head, and I don't feel like scouring my logs right now) that never went anywhere after the initial click. It was a click, then leave, over and over and over again, hundreds of times. It was obvious someone was clicking just to get their sites money from AdWords, but I still had to pay every click.
        • by Joe Decker (3806)
          Did you consider reporting the problem? It's my understanding (from both Adwords and Adsense customers, not just Google itself) that Google will attempt to "undo the damage" of that sort of click fraud.

          I both place ads (for my photographic services) and run them on my web site. I've been happy with the results I've gotten from running my own ads, and haven't had false click-throughs as an advertiser. (I have seen something like that once as a publisher, which I reported back to Google, etc.)

          • I did report the problem, and they said they would investigate. Nothing came of it, and I determined it was much easier to just cancel my campaigns, especially considering that even the clicks that did seem legitimate still did not return a profit, with about 1 pay sign-up per 40 clicks, which, at $9.99 per pay signup and $1.00 (average) per click, it wasn't worth it in the long run.
            • by Joe Decker (3806)
              *nods* I found AdSense works a lot better for me for some products than others. The real winner for me is the art fair panels I rent out, I get $125 for renting them out for a weekend, probably end up paying 25-50 cents for a click-through and I'd guess that about a third of click-throughs end up as a rental--and sometimes those folks become repeat customers. But I gave up trying to market photographic prints that way, it might be possible, but I haven't figured out how to make it work for me.
            • by Alascom (95042)
              >with about 1 pay sign-up per 40 clicks, which, at $9.99 per pay signup
              > and $1.00 (average) per click, it wasn't worth it in the long run.

              Two things here.
              1. If 40 people visit your site and only 1 person signs up, then your ads were probably too generic or not relevant. If your ad claims 'free pictures of Britany' and then links to a porn signup page, well.. no surprise that people don't sign up.

              2. If the ad was relevant, but your conversion rate is low (40 to 1), then you should lower the price pai
              • The SECOND argument I made, and the one you are referring to, was not claiming Google had any fault in the financial aspect of the decision to stop using them, but merely explaining in more detail my decision. The primary motivator was the frustration over the evident click fraud, but another contributing factor, which was in no way Google's fault, was that the return wasn't large enough to warrant continued use. The problem was, about 90% resulted in sign-ups for the free version of my service, which is su
        • Re:Good idea, but... (Score:4, Informative)

          by Electrum (94638) <david@acz.org> on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @11:50AM (#17300412) Homepage
          I know that I don't fully trust AdSense. ... It was obvious someone was clicking just to get their sites money from AdWords ... I payed what was owed and cancelled all my campaigns, and haven't been back since.

          AdWords is for advertisers, AdSense is for webmasters. As an advertiser, you have the option of only paying for Google search traffic (plus optionally partner search like AOL). If you don't like AdSense traffic at all, disable it for your campaigns. AdWords now allows you to block poor converting AdSense domains through the web interface.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by ubergenius (918325)
            That wouldn't work financially, however, because the cost to just ENABLE search ads (much less have them appear high on the list) is generally ridiculous (except for very obscure search terms), usually on the order of $5-$25 per click, which wouldn't even be worth it if 1 out of every 2 clicks resulted in a pay sign-up. Basically, what I learned from this is: Google advertising is not really for start-ups. You need to have a certain amount of cash to spend on advertising before launching a campaign, because
            • by aclarke (307017)
              It depends on the services you're advertising. I do ColdFusion consulting, and mostly to test out AdWords I set up some ads and I have it manage my campaign and spend a maximum of $10/month. I'm working on a client right now who found me "through Google" and have so far done about $4000 of work for them. So that's not a bad return.

              You're right though, if you're fighting for space with established players, it's a tough game.
          • My company disabled afilliate ads (the display of our ads on third party websites) because of what appeared to be fraudulant clicks. Google seemed not to care.

            When we turned it off, guess what? It turned itself back on. Of course, we had no explicit record to demonstrate this to google, and they had no records of their own. It cost us several thousand dollars in fees to google.

            We now take screen shots of every single interaction with google's adword/adsense control system.

            Overall, however, we are findin
            • by Electrum (94638)
              When we turned it off, guess what? It turned itself back on. Of course, we had no explicit record to demonstrate this to google, and they had no records of their own. It cost us several thousand dollars in fees to google.

              Google tracks all changes made to your account. See Campaign Management -> Tools -> My Change History. I just changed a test campaign from content network to Google search only and it shows in the history:

              Opted out of content network
              Opted into Google
        • Was it click-fraud or was it a poorly optimised site?

          I'm not saying you're wrong, it might well have been a click fraud problem, but lots of people clicking through then leaving is not an uncommon problem for any advertising, not just on Googles network. People are impatient and busy, they have many things to do, which is why Google now focusses on landing page quality as an interesting thing to measure. Really improving the landing page for an advert can make a dramatic difference to the conversion rate.

        • by dargaud (518470)
          The workings of Adsense are still very mysterious. I subscribed early this year after several years of deliberation (I hate advertisement). The first two months I raked 800$/mo. Since then it's been around 300$/mo. The traffic always stayed the same (the site is 10 years old). WHere does the difference come from ? They provide adsense subscribers with analysis tools, but you can go into a case by case basis, so all you got are global stats. I think overall it's a good system, but very mysterious, which is n
          • by onepoint (301486)
            as a publisher using AdSense, I would, if I was you, pay attention to which ad's are being viewed on your site. then start filtering out the ones that are not viable for your users.

            it takes about 3 months to get it right, but when you do, you get quality advertisers and your revenue stream should increase.

            Mike
        • Yeah, I had the same issue, in about two years time, late 2004 until mid this year, I saw my adwords/adsense ads cost for my hobby site go from $20/month to a peak of over a hundred, given this was my limit. Most of those were "content network" ads... where from my own checking it was the search ads that brought in more users signing up... So I nuked the content ads, and my monthly fees are under $20 again. Also, I am able to get a few words/phrases that are a bit more expensive per-click, that I didn't
        • by trifish (826353)
          It was a click, then leave, over and over and over again, hundreds of times.

          Maybe it was time to think whether it is really fraud, or whether anyone is really compelled to stay on your site for more than 2 secs after entering.
    • Just how do they plan on enforcing this? Take away the adsense from a webmaster if they find a site that is violating this new procedure?

      Um, yes. Exactly.

      • Not a webmaster here. It was actually a legit question :-)
        • by Joe Decker (3806)
          *nods* It is a good question.

          With other policies Google has, I'm told, been pretty direct about closing down publishers when their sites seem to be the source of fraudulent clicks. I'm OK with that, although it's a bit intimidating, I make a decent amount of money off of AdSense right now (legitimately, I believe), and I'd like that to continue, but then, I'm not trying to scam them, either, I've been happy with both AdSense and with buying ads on their system (for my photographic services as well as fo

  • by martyb (196687) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @10:12AM (#17299496)
    FTFAS:
    'However, there is simply not enough radio inventory in the Google Audio System (yet) to enable buyers to run campaigns.'

    Got it started, but then ran out of G.A.S.? <grin>

  • Maybe I'm off base, but I wouldn't have expected the supreme 21st-century new-millennium Web-2.0 information-superhighway buzzword-erific folks at Google to bother with ancient and increasingly less relevant mainstream network radio. Wouldn't they be jumping all over Internet or satellite radio, instead?
    • by kjart (941720)

      Wouldn't they be jumping all over Internet or satellite radio, instead?

      I believe that such services are subscription based (i.e. no ads) so there isn't any room for Google to come in.

      • Satellite radio is subscription based, but increasingly also carries advertisements. Kind of like cable TV.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by tlhIngan (30335)

          Satellite radio is subscription based, but increasingly also carries advertisements. Kind of like cable TV.

          Not really. Satellite radio gets its programming from two sources - in house, and 3rd party. In house stuff is supposed to remain commercial free. It's the 3rd party stuff that carries ads, because the 3rd party supplies them. Clear Channel, for example, supplies content for several XM channels. They were initially commercial free, but then CC decided to put ads on. XM scrambled to setup new channels t

          • by WaXHeLL (452463)
            "Also, since most of the talk radio is syndicated from 3rd parties, you'll have ads there, while the inhouse produced talk radio isn't (like why you don't have ads on Stern (Sirius) or Ron & Fez and the like, but on channels like CNN, BBC, etc. you have ads)." Not to mention that most of the feeds like CNN, BBC, etc are the audio-only feeds of the TV channel. Nice bonus and suprisingly effective.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by otacon (445694)
      If google could advertise on satellite radio that would be ideal, because the stations are geared towards a specific genre, whether it be sports or rap music, and you could gear ads towards a certain demographic.
      • ...advertise on satellite radio that would be ideal, because the stations are geared towards a specific genre, whether it be sports or rap music, and you could gear ads towards a certain demographic.

        And regular radio stations aren't "geared" toward a particular demographic? C'mon, kid: almost all modern media, including SlashDot is directed at a particular audience/demographic.

        (As a Google AdWord subscriber, I can also tell you one thing Google currently does a very poor job of now is targeting particular d

        • by otacon (445694)
          to an extent yes...but there are a lot of mixed variety stations...Top 40 stations...where anyone from a 10 year old to a grandma can listen to...of course there are stations like that on xm or sirius but the satellite stations also have very specific genres...comedy...heavy metal...that could fit ads to a particular niche... in larger cities you have more variety on standard radio...but it smaller cities and even rural you are stuck with only a few choices on normal radio...especially in the bible belt.
      • That would be a better idea if it weren't for the fact that satelite radio is commercial free. Although I've heard there are some commercials on XM, Sirius has a firm "No Ads" policy. I just hope it stays that way and doens't do what cable tv did. I still can't understand why I pay a subscription to Comcast every month, yet I am still force-fed billions of commercials on the networks they carry.
    • by Billosaur (927319) *

      Perhaps, but given the wide number of radio station formats with solid demographic ranges, and also given that people do still listen to the radio quite a bit despite the advance of technology (else why would there be satellite radio?), Google's making a smart move in trying to wedge its way in. After all, there is an untapped market for them -- the casual computer user. Someone who may use one at an Internet cafe or library for browsing, or has a computer at home but rarely uses it for more than email or t

    • by pudro (983817)
      Why would Google get involved with satellite radio? Google specializes in the targeting factor of the advertising. There isn't any targeting to be done with satellite radio outside of targeting the market as a whole or individual stations (which they don't need Google for). Everybody across the entire country hears the exact same thing.
      • Everybody across the entire country hears the exact same thing.
        Have you listened to any major broadcast network radio at all lately? You could actually drive coast to coast and hear the same ten songs over and over.
        • by pudro (983817)
          You missed the entire point of my post. The point is that with satellite radio everyone across the entire country hears the same commercials. Google has nothing to do with the content. The only ad-targeting to do on Satellite radio could be done by dozens of different groups. (Actually, I don't see how Google is any better equipped to do any radio advertising, though that doesn't mean they can't do it well.)
  • Coming Soon (Score:4, Funny)

    by Aqua_boy17 (962670) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @10:40AM (#17299706)
    Until Google can strike a deal with CBS, or some other radio giant...
    Google announces deal with Clear Channel in 5, 4, 3, 2...
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @10:44AM (#17299746) Journal
    In most magazines and newspapers, if an advertizer mimics the content of the mag or newspaper too closely, the publisher adds a prominant "ADVERTISEMENT" headers and footers to separate the ad from the content. So it might appear that google policy is just an on line implementation.

    On the other hand, unless I have misunderstood the policy completely, here Google prohibits content from mimicking the ad too closely. Do we have any thing like that in the print world? Time Mag specifically making its article look like an ad?

    Does it mean that someday TiVo would ban TV shows from inserting fake ads to fool its ad-skipper? Nah, TiVo has already sold out to the corps. MythTV does not have the clout.

    • Well, you can't exactly click ads in a magazine either. I think this policy is important because google is basically saying "we don't want our advertisers to attempt trick consumers". Whether or not these ads actually tricked anyone is moot, the point is they tried to trick consumers.
      • by slashkitty (21637)
        It's different from the magazine scenario.

        In this case, it's the PUBLISHER trying to trick the consumer. The advertiser is the one who is really tricked though, because they ultimately pay for the click.

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @11:16AM (#17300048)
    I wonder what will happen to share price when people realize that Google is more-or-less a traditional media company?

    Also, I wonder why Google doesn't just hand this "challenge" to its gaggle of geeks and say, "no deadline, no pressure, and you can call it beta if you're afraid to stand behind it."
    • by pacalis (970205)
      I wonder what will happen to all the free google goodies I use when people realize that Google is more-or-less a traditional media company? I also wonder what happens when traditional media catches up using higher quality media. Limiting the use of texts ads does not sound like allowing all those innovation flowers to bloom.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by owlnation (858981)
      Logically it would rise. Google is currently 353rd on the Fortune 500 list. Time Warner is 40th, and most of the other big media groups are in the top 100.

      And for those who are interested, Yahoo is 412th despite sooo many fingers in sooo many pies. Ditto for eBay at 458th. Microsoft is 48th, not 666th as many /.ers would naturally expect.
      • I wonder what will happen to share price when people realize that Google is more-or-less a traditional media company?

        Logically it would rise. Google is currently 353rd on the Fortune 500 list. Time Warner is 40th, and most of the other big media groups are in the top 100.

        That's somewhat apples-and-oranges. Google isn't a media company - its an ad agency. Time-Warner and the other big media companies are content creators and providers - niether of which Google does.

  • I happen to run a fairly popular online comic site and use AdSense ads to supplement some of our existing advertising. What I want to know is just how broad their definition of "unacceptable implementations" is. The common practice that I and many other online cartoonists tend to use is to place images above or near the ads to actually draw attention to them, hoping our readers will click on them. The images tend to be eye-catching and related directly to the comic; i.e., the images on my site are of one my

    • by slashkitty (21637)
      Yes, I would think that your implementation would also be unacceptable. When you look at the purpose of your images, it is to draw attention to the ad. There is already a policy about not drawing undo attention to ads.

      If you images were actually there for a reason, like clickable thumbnails of other comics, then, that would be a different story.

      Since this practice is so wide spread, I think they'll only slowly act. They probably will only go after the people putting the images next to the ads first. How

      • by antic (29198)
        I saw another site use this technique of placing thumbnails above text ads and gave it a shot. It doubled the number of clicks I was receiving.

        Not sure what to make of this news. I was quite happy earning the extra money, but I'd rather not have my account switched off. :|
      • by antic (29198)
        Oh, and sorry to double-post, but I was contacted by Google's AdSense Optimization Program recently. Their advice for one of my sites was to actually make the ads look as much like the content as possible - confusing.
  • I prefer Bidvertiser over Adsense. Bidvertiser shows you the ads available for your site and also how much each ad is worth. This is in complete contrast to Adsense where you have no idea what is going on. I used to earn a few cents a week with adsense in my blog. With bidvertiser I have earned $0.51 in just one day!!!!!!!!!
    here here [blogspot.com]
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