Tuesday, January 15, 2008

AdSense Change Rules

The AdSense blog has just announced changes to the AdSense referral program which I’m pretty disappointed in. In fact they anger me and leave me disillusioned with AdSense.

There are two changes:

1. Changes to Payment System

The ‘experimental’ payment system for publishers promoting AdSense is being changed back to the way it was before it was changed a year ago.

The current pay system (that is about to change) works like this:

  • If you refer someone to AdSense who makes $5 within 180 days you get a payment of $5.
  • If you refer someone to AdSense who makes $100 within 180 days you get $250
  • If you refer 25 people who make $100 within a 180 day period you get a bonus payment of $2000

The previous payment system (which is what things are being changed back to) is this:

If you refer someone to AdSense who makes $100 within a 180 day period you get $100.

This removes the incentive to refer anyone who is a small publisher and it removes the incentive to work hard at referring multiple publishers. In fact it removes quite a bit of incentive to use the program at all.

As someone who had always just fallen short of the $2000 bonus I can tell you that for me it always acted as a huge incentive to promote AdSense. When AdSense added the $5 and $2k bonus I thought it was genius - while the numbers may not have been right - I’m surprised that AdSense have removed incentive for publishers to refer them in this way.

But if that’s not enough - get this second change:

2. AdSense Referrals Retired for Publishers outside of North America, Latin America and Japan.

If YOU as a publisher are outside of North America, Latin America, and Japan - you’ll no longer be able to participate in the referral program.

Yes you hear me right, its about the location of you as a publisher that excludes you from participating in the AdSense referral system. It’s got nothing to do with your audience’s location, the topic you write about, the quality of your blog or any other factor - it’s about where you blog from.

I’m not privy to the reasoning for this - they simply say ‘We’ve found that this referral product has not performed as well as we had hoped in these regions’ - but in my mind this is stupidity to the ultimate degree.

As a publisher who blogs from Australia but who has a blog on a niche topic that relates perfectly to AdSense and which has the vast majority of it’s traffic from the USA (and which has consistently referred publishers to AdSense that have converted at the $100 in 180 range) I cannot understand the reasoning for this change.

I’m just one example (I’m the example I know best) and a quick look at my stats shows me that I’ve displayed AdSense referral ads close to 20 million times. I’ve sent them tens of thousands of visitors and have been responsible for thousands of sign ups. I cannot even begin to imaging how much money those signups have made AdSense - yet today they’re telling me that they don’t feel that that kind of evangelism for them is worthwhile paying for?

I can understand the reasoning for changing payment levels if they are not converting well for AdSense, but to exclude publishers from promoting them based upon the location of the publisher is simply dumb.

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