Archive forFebruary, 2007

Korean Fair Trade Commission: AdSense Policies Unfair

A common complaint among publishers is that the AdSense program policies are unfair; they allow Google to unilaterally cancel an account and keep all the earnings made by the publisher. The Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) has now ruled in favor of these publishers. After studying the case for a year, the KFTC ruled Monday that Google must change these policies.

The KFTC began looking into this after a website, Humor University, had its account canceled and had about $26,000 taken away by Google. Humor University is now filing a lawsuit against Google Korea.

Here is an article about this from the Korean Herald.

The article has a quote from Humor University’s CEO Lee Jung-min:

“In the lawsuit, I’m considering seeking the unpaid ad revenue only, even though the reputation of our website might have been tainted because of the illegal click claims.

I find this kind of dubious. How would Google canceling the account effect the reputation of the website? Google doesn’t make public which websites have been canceled. If that information got out, it was the publisher’s own fault. If anything, taking AdSense ads off a site would increase its ability to monetize the site.

It will be interesting to see how Google responds to this. Will they try to fight it, or will they change the policies? And if they change the policies will it effect publishers worldwide, or just in Korea?

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The Rise and Fall of MyBlogLog

A few months ago, many high profile bloggers in the SEO community started using the MyBlogLog Widget on their pages. This included people such as ShoeMoney, Andy Beal, and GrayWolf. People were excited about building their communities and the opportunity to network with other blogger. I also joined up in December and placed the widget on my blog.

Soon, however reports of MyBlogLog spamming started rolling in. People were adding links to their networks via automated scripts, people came up with automated ways of getting their pictures at the top of high profiles blogs. People discovered how to automatically add others as co-authors on their blogs.

One of the highest profile bloggers talking about these issues was ShoeMoney. He was pointing out flaws and also pointed out a way people could surf the web pretending to be any member of MyBlogLog they wanted. This action got him banned from MyBlogLog. This caused many other bloggers, including Andy Beal and GrayWolf to boycott MyBlogLog.

The ban was a surprising move by the MyBlogLog, they are a focused on helping bloggers so you’d think they would “get it”. They should have embraced what ShoeMoney was doing and thanked him for pointing out the flaws. Instead, banning a high profile, popular member from their service caused a lot of backlash. Bloggers are a tight-knit bunch, and they should have known doing something like that was going to get them in hot water. MyBlogLog did finally do the right thing and unbanned ShoeMoney, but I think the damage is already done.

To add to their public relation problems, bloggers such as JenSense, have been reporting that MyBlogLog is keeping track of click data on AdSense and YPN click-throughs. Most webmasters consider this data very private and do not like the idea of giving it away for free. Again, this news is spreading through the blogger community, and the reaction is negative. I guess MyBlogLog could help things by allowing users to opt out of this option, but again, I think the damage is already done.

MyBlogLog has definitely slipped, and I’m not sure that they can fully recover. This is a good opportunity for competing service, like Explode, to gain some ground. I personally have taken MyBlogLog off my site, and am thinking of trying out some alternatives.

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How Does Yahoo’s Reorganization Affect YPN Publishers?

In December Yahoo announced a major reorganization, and part of that reorganization was the creation of the Advertiser & Publisher Group(APG), which is where there Yahoo Publisher Network now belongs.

Susan Decker, Yahoo’s CFO recently sent an email to all Yahoo employees, which got leaked and published at TechCrunch. Here is the part of the memo that talks about YPN:

Yahoo! Publisher Network (Supply Channels). Our publishing customers are a critical component of the ad network ecosystem, and we are committed to driving and expanding monetization opportunities for this important customer segment. I have asked Hilary Schneider to lead the Yahoo! Publisher Network (YPN) organization. I also want to thank David Karnstedt, who stepped in to lead this group while also leading direct search sales, and enhancing the overall connection and strategy of this group to be more aligned with advertising customer objectives. This team will be instrumental in developing and executing our global strategy of becoming the leading search, display and listings-based ad network by securing ad inventory on off-Yahoo! publisher sites. This off-Yahoo! inventory will complement the Yahoo! network inventory and enable our demand channels to offer our advertising customers not only the broadest array of marketing products but also the most robust and high quality audiences as well. As part of his responsibilities for the online channel, Rich Riley will drive the strategy around customer acquisition and retention of small publishers, supporting Hilary in this capacity.

I’ll try to break this down a little to see what it means for YPN publishers.

We’ll I’m glad they want to “committed to driving and expanding monetization opportunities” for publishers, but that really sounds like a lot of corporate-speak that means absolutely nothing to anyone. The whole memo was full of generic business terms that really did not shed any light onto what is going on. I think someone needs to give a copy of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (aff link) to Yahoo executives if they want to have any chance of actually communicating something.

The next part that might say something interesting is the “global strategy of becoming the leading search, display and listings-based ad network by securing ad inventory on off-Yahoo! publisher sites.” Obviously Google’s AdSense is the current leader and Yahoo wants to try and make a dent in this. It’s good news for YPN publishers and those wanting to become publishers that Yahoo is serious about this and sees it as a real opportunity for growth. I would assume they want to grow by getting more publishers signed up, and getting existing publisher to display more ads. The best way to do that is to make sure the program pays well.

The next bit I found interesting was “offer our advertising customers … the most robust and high quality audiences as well“. Yahoo’s current strategy for getting the “highest quality audiences” is to restrict publishers to show the ads to mostly US based users. Obviously this restriction gets in their way of their global strategy of becoming the leading ad network. Their going to have to figure out how to monetize those international clicks somehow.

Overall it seems like good news, they seem dedicated to making the YPN program work. But I think the reorganization is probably bad news for people still waiting for YPN to come out of beta. Switching people around will only delay getting things into top shape over there.

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YPN Now Only Allows 3 Ads Per Page

Yahoo Publisher Network has updated their policies to allow only 3 ad units per page. I’m not really surprised by this, AdSense has had this same policy in place since I can remember. I’m sure this has to do with their recent change to eliminate duplicate ads in multiple ad units on the same page. If a publisher had 15 ads on their page, it would be difficult to fill all those spots with relevant ads.

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John Chow Made $3,440.66 Last Month From His Blog

John Chow has a great post on the monetization of his blog. He has gone from making $352.94 in September to making $3,440.66 in January. Almost a 10 fold increase in 4 months! He did this mostly by bring new revenue streams to his blog. His top 5 earners were: Direct Ad Sales ($750.00), Text Links Ads ($621.68), Affiliate Sales ($545.00), Google AdSense ($536.58) and Vibrant IntelliTXT ($478.18).

He has done this with 133,871 unique visitors bringing 255,574 page views. That works out to a $13.46 CPM.

This sure makes me want to keep trying new revenue streams, particularly Text Link Ads (aff link).

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AdSense Increases Publisher Referral Amounts

Good news from AdSense, the referral amounts for publisher referrals has been changed for the better. There is now a two-tier system in place. If a publisher that you referred reaches $5.00 within 180 days, you will receive $5.00. If a publisher you referred reached $100 dollars you get $250. This is a nice jump from the previous $100.

This seems to be effective retroactively to some degree. I see a $5.00 referral already in my account, although I’m not sure how far back they have applied these new amounts.

As usual, JenSense had the scoop on the official word, although I saw Darren mention it first.

Update: AdSense has posted about this on the Inside AdSense blog and there are some additions to the publisher referral program:

If, in any 180-day period, you refer 25 publishers who each earn more than $100 within 180 days of their respective sign-ups and are all eligible for payout, you will be awarded a $2,000 bonus (bonus payouts are limited to 1 per year).

They also have changed the AdWords advertiser program:

  • When an advertiser you refer spends $5 within 90 days of sign-up (in addition to the $5 sign-up fee) you will be credited with $5.
  • When that same advertiser spends $100 within 90 days of sign-up, you will be credited with an additional $40.
  • If, in any 180 day period, you refer 20 advertisers who each spend more than $100 within 90 days of their respective sign-ups, you will be awarded a $600 bonus (bonus payments are limited to 1 per year).

They also included details on how past referrals are effected:

These rules will also apply to users that you have already referred but who have not yet reached one of the new earning/spend thresholds. For example, if you referred an AdSense publisher who has currently earned $2.00, you will be paid $5.00 if that publisher reaches the $5.00 mark. But, if you have referred an AdSense publisher who has already earned $10.00, you will not be paid $5.00 retroactively for that referral reaching the $5.00 mark. However, should that publisher eventually reach the $100.00 earnings mark within 180 days, you will be paid $250.00.

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