« April 2005 | Main | June 2005 »

May 25, 2005

AdSense hijack gone & the All-In-One-Business site owner speaks out

Well, doing a search for AdSense & Google AdSense right now does what it should - return the Google AdSense site in the #1 position, and with its original www.google.com/adsense URL. www.all-in-one-business.com/adsense/ is still in the index, but no longer ranks for the term AdSense. It is still on a meta redirect to the AdSense home page, and also shows a snippet from Google's AdSense page. However, the cache date is still for May 21st, so it could change once a new cache is taken.

Kevin Bidwell from All-In-One-Business.com stopped by JenSense to explain the hows and whys of the hijacking situation.

I want to thank JenSense and others for posting this thread.

Thanks for the comment Air Charter. I just got off the phone with two different tech writers explaining why I would have a meta redirect on my site.

It isn't an attempt to profit from either Google's page rank or some cloaked affiliate link.

I am no hijacker. In fact, I'm not sure how I could in any way benefit from this link.

The simple fact is this: I write and syndicate articles all over the web. I used to put into those articles direct links to sites I was talking about.

A couple years ago I had a problem when I had written and syndicated several articles about GoTo.com when they changed their name to Overture. There were dozens of websites to notify and ask them to update the links in my articles.

So I decided to begin using meta refresh redirects rather than listing the URL's directly. I can then keep the links current in all the articles I write.

Hopefully Google will look at this and decide to make some changes so this won't occur. It's hard to believe I got a number 1 listing without trying.

If it was done without trying, it sure points to some holes in the algo that allowed this situation to happen. And must be more than a little unsettling for an unsuspecting site owner to be on the receiving end of so much less-than-desirable attention, even with all the extra incoming links.

Interesting that the URL search for www.google.com/adsense still returns www.google.com/adsense?hl=en_ US&sourceid=aso&subid=us-et-ads as the URL, as it did after the initial hijacking took place.

Posted by Jenstar at 03:17 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 23, 2005

Google AdSense site hijacked in the Google serps... oh the irony

When you decide to hijack a site in the Google serps, it makes sense to do one that will benefit you in some way, while not raising yourself too high on the search engine's radar. So, it obviously makes perfect sense to go and hijack the Google AdSense site ;)

adsensehijack.gif

Yes, the first result for "Google AdSense" and "AdSense" goes to www.all-in-one-business.com/adsense/, which if you click it, goes straight to the Google AdSense main index page. And if you watch the redirect fast enough, you can see the www.all-in-one-business.com/adsense/ page sitting pretty with a PR9. The actual Google AdSense main page is a grey bar. The Google cache of the www.all-in-one-business.com/adsense/ page also shows the Google AdSense index page.

What is more, that all-in-one-business.com page has managed to amass 3,040 backlinks. All of those backlinks - including internal links within the AdSense support site - are actually pointing to www.google.com/adsense/, even though the link command "link:www.all-in-one-business.com/adsense/" was used in Google.

adsensehijack2.gif

And in fact, doing a search for the www.google.com/adsense URL in Google reveals that the page is not indexed as itself, but only as www.google.com/adsense?hl=en_ US&sourceid=aso&subid=us-et-ads.

adsensehijack3.gif

So, just for fun, lets plug www.all-in-one-business.com/adsense/ into Google, and see what happens.

adsensehijack4.gif

And suddenly, there is the extended version of the AdSense URL showing for the page listing information.

Welcome to the Google Update Bourbon ;)

Of course, there is just far too much irony in the fact a Google program's URL has been hijacked in its own search results. Don't wait to check, I am sure this one won't last long! Kudos to Dotcomicide for noticing that Google AdSense no longer had the first ranking for AdSense in the Google serps... then I couldn't resist digging a little further into why that was ;)

Posted by Jenstar at 08:42 PM | Comments (24) | TrackBack

Advertiser favicons being used in AdSense ad units

Icons, better known as 16 by 16 pixel favicons, have been spotted in AdSense wide skyscraper ad units tonight. Register.com, eBay.com and Amazon.com are among those advertisers whose favicons are being shown.
iconad1.gif
iconad2.gif

These definitely catch the eye of the person viewing the webpage, which will be good for publishers as well as the advertisers who are using them to attract clicks. So it will be interesting to see if regular advertisers will be able to include icons in their content Adwords ads, or if they will be limited to the "big brands" only.

There is also a current discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Posted by Jenstar at 07:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

So what exactly is Y!Q and how does it fit in the Yahoo Publisher Network picture?

I have been getting many questions this morning about Y!Q Beta, and what this means for content publishers. In actuality, this isn't the Yahoo! Publisher Network Beta that everyone is waiting for, but rather a promotional contest to raise awareness that yes, there will be some paid contextual placement coming up sometime in the future. But unless you win the prize with this, you will not be compensated for running Y!Q on your websites.

There is no sign yet about when YPN will finally go beta - it has not been seen anywhere but Yahoo Search Marketing (Overture) employee blogs, and there has been no ETA announced.

It is fairly simple to add to your page, although it is a two step process, unlike the one-step cut-and-paste process of adding AdSense. Y!Q requires you to add both to your HEAD area and the body area of the page, which can make it trickier for those using templates. You can modify the look via CSS, which is a nice touch.

Yahoo! has also added a nice examples page, so you can see what it would look like in action.

As for the Y!Q Challenge, the rules state you are only eligible if you are a US resident, which will eliminate a large chunk of those who might have otherwise joined in. Let's hope they don't restrict the YPN to those residing in the US only!

Posted by Jenstar at 10:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 19, 2005

Context Stream by Mirago the latest contextual program

Mirago has announced their entry into the contextual publisher market by introducting Context Stream, "the brand new revenue stream for your website".

Like most contextual programs, Mirago will use their technology to read the page and then automatically serve relevant ads to the end user. They will display adverts from their Mirago Featured Sites program for advertisers.

They appear to offer flexibility with the publisher implementation:

We understand that every website is different, and offer various combinations of frames. All you need to do is decide how many advert links you wish to render, where they should appear and we’ll serve the ad units that work best for your site. Of course, If you should still require further customisation then speak to us and we’ll do the rest.
They also allow publishers to run Context Stream on pages that already contain other sponsored site listings, affiliate links or banners. However, they don't say whether other contextual competitive products are permitted on the same page as Context Stream.

To open a Context Stream partner account, you must contact the Partner Team directly. Their registration page may also work for initial contact. Your site's main user base must be located in UK, France, Germany or US.

Posted by Jenstar at 03:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 18, 2005

Google Adwords announces their blog "Inside AdWords"

If you are an Adwords advertiser - or even an AdSense publisher - the new Inside AdWords blog is a must-have feed to add to your reader. Inside Adwords is powered by Blogger (of course!) and the Inside Adwords is run by Andrew, Blake, Vivian, and Jon.

Here’s what you’ll find when you visit adwords.blogspot.com…

- Updates on enhancements we've made to the system
- Thoughts on things that advertisers have been asking about
- Tips on getting the most from AdWords
- Details on tools we think you'll find useful
- Links to articles you might find interesting

A great addition to keep up to date on all the latest AdWords happenings.

AdWordsAdvisor announced the blog at WebmasterWorld today.

In a related note, the associated adsense.blogspot.com address returns a password protected message, which hopefully means we will be seeing an Inside AdSense blog in the near future, as well.

Update: All mentions of the blog have been removed from the above referenced thread at WebmasterWorld, it seems. So I guess you heard it here first ;)

Posted by Jenstar at 12:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Google Adwords will be down for maintenance this Friday

AdWordsAdvisor has alerted advertisers that the AdWords system will be down for "maintenance" this Friday.

Anyway per frequent requests heard on this Forum, I wanted to give all you advance notice that this Friday, 5/20, the AdWords system will be unavailable from roughly 9 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. PDT (US), for system maintenance.

A UI message will also appear in your accounts before too long.

And as always, you have our apology for any inconvenience that this'll cause. I do hope, though, that the early notice will allow you to plan accordingly.

Thanks to AWA for giving the heads up, which is also announced on Inside Adwords.

No word on whether publishers will also notice downtime in the AdSense control panel at the same time, although usually if one is down, it affects the other.

Posted by Jenstar at 12:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 17, 2005

Google AdSense quietly updates their AdSense Policies

Unless you have an eagle eye, you likely didn't notice that AdSense updated their Policies today (although it is dated yesterday).

So what has changed? Here is the complete run down of the new AdSense Policies. And remember, when you agree to the AdSense terms, you also agree to abide by the entire policies as well, even when they are updated.

Competitive Ads & Services

There has been a lot of question about what exactly is considered to be a competitive ad that is not allowed by AdSense, and what is allowed. So while it isn't completely clarified, it isn't the "clear as mud" as it was in the previous policies release.

If you have elected to receive contextually-targeted Google ads, this would include all other contextually-targeted ads or links on the same page as Google ads. This would also include ads throughout the site that mimic Google ads or otherwise appear to be associated with Google on your site. Although you may sell ads directly on your site, it is your responsibility to ensure these ads do not mimic Google ads.
A few interesting thoughts on this section:

It seems that AdSense is now not allowing any ads that mimic AdSense to appear on any pages within the entire site - including those pages that are not even running AdSense. There are many publishers who run AdSense, then run their own text ads in an identical format, which would now clearly be against the terms, even if they are on different sections of the same site.

This could also mean that those running non-contextual ad networks could also be in violation if some of those ad networks run ads that appear to mimic AdSense ads (as many advertisers are doing these days), even if they are on completely different pages. This could result in publishers opting out of networks or campaigns if these types of ads could not be removed from the rotation.

And if you are running an alternate ad that mimics AdSense, this would not also be against the terms, since it would appear on the same site as AdSense, even though not on the same page at the same time.

Language
In an odd change, the line Ads must not be displayed on any page with content primarily in an unsupported language has been removed.

Site Content

Under site may not include, the following has been added

Sales or promotion of products that are replicas or imitations of designer goods
I suppose this will stop those publishers selling knockoffs who also display AdSense ads. They will no longer be allowed to have AdSense generating revenue for them on those pages selling or promoting those knockoff products.

Also removed under site content is:

Site must also adhere to Google's WebMaster Guidelines, found at http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html#quality or such other URL as Google may provide from time to time.
However, this is still valid, it was simply repetitive with the Webmaster Guidelines section that appears later in the policies.

Not anything earth shattering like has been found in previous Policies changes, but it is always good to double check you are in compliance and save yourself a warning email.

That's all folks :)

Posted by Jenstar at 06:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Personalized AdSense optimization offered by the AdSense Team

When you login to your AdSense account next, you will discover the AdSense team asking if you want to request optimization help on your ad units from them.

Learn how to improve the performance of your Google ads with our new optimization tips page! To be considered for personalized optimization tips, email us at adsense-support@google.com with "Optimization Request" in the subject line.
If you see this in your account (I am not sure if all publishers are seeing this, or if it is slowly updating in their usual rolling release fashion) consider taking them up on the offer and send in your request. They have a great team in charge of this, and they know their stuff. And best of all... it means money in your pocket if you implement their suggestions and it results in an increase CTR and/or EPC. What are you waiting for ;)

Posted by Jenstar at 06:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

AdSense support site adds news articles to its help section

It is interesting to note that Google AdSense has added a new section News & Case Studies where they link to not only their selection of case studies (no new ones have been added) but also to a new selection of news stories.

The most recent article is a March article about Ad Links from InfoWorld, but WebProNews, USA Today, Digital Edge, AlwaysOn and Poynter Online also have articles featured in this new section.

It will be interesting to watch this news article section to see what other articles are featured, and where they are published. No JenSense yet, but you never know, maybe in the future ;)

Posted by Jenstar at 06:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

AdSense RSS & Atom Feeds Beta is Now Accepting Applications From Publishers

Google AdSense has announced they are now accepting applications from publishers who are interested using AdSense in their RSS & Atom feeds, following up on the first beta test that had bloggers buzzing about a few weeks ago.

AdSense for feeds is a program that enables publishers to place relevant ads in the feeds they syndicate. Google technology understands the nuances of language, and places ads that are closely matched (or "targeted") to the content next to which they appear.
There are special additional terms that these beta testers must agree to, and they must have a minimum of 100 active subscribers to their feed.

AdSense also offers best practices advice for feeds.

Clickz's Pamela Parker & Rebecca Lieb interviewed AdSense business product manager Shuman Ghosemajumder for their article Google Opens Up Beta of AdSense for Feeds

"For both click-through and conversion rates, it's something that's going to vary from publisher to publisher. It depends on the content and the audience that the particular publisher is attracting," he said. "For the medium overall, we just need to see when we have a larger set of users who are seeing the ads."
Also announced by Ghosemajumder on the newly relocated Google Blog.
If you’re like many savvy web users, you may be reading this via a feed reader, along with all the other blogs, newspapers, and other content that interests you. Whether a feed is Atom-enabled or RSS, it offers great flexibility for users and additional distribution for publishers. As with many promising technologies feeds haven’t quite hit the mainstream yet, nor are the business models entirely sorted out.

Enter AdSense for feeds, launching today in beta. The idea is simple: advertisers have their ads placed in the most appropriate feed articles; publishers are paid for their original content; readers see relevant advertising - and in the long run, more quality feeds to choose from. Given the great flexibility that feeds can offer, it’s essential to get the model right, especially so that readers are satisfied. Towards this end we have outlined what we believe are some best practices for advertising in feeds. Publishers who want to participate in the public beta can apply here.

Although it is unknown what criteria the AdSense team will be applying when considering applicants for their beta feed program, this is a welcome addition for bloggers looking to monetize their blogs, particularly with the large number of readers who prefer reading in feed readers as opposed to on the site itself.

Update:
RustyBrick of SERoundtable reports he has been approved as a feed beta tester, a mere three and a half hours after applying.

Posted by Jenstar at 05:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 16, 2005

Publisher Propositions from AdSense Ad-Clickers Goes Mainstream

TimYang.com reports about an email exchange he had with Sanjay Das, who promised him 1000+ untraceable AdSense clicks on his ads, which could be upped to 5000+ clicks if he so desired.

You can read the full account here, but this is perhaps the most amusing snippet:

My 1000+ visitors are such that each person would click all the Adsense ads on your site. Additionally I can give you IP addresses of each of my visitors to your site. This can be a way to differentiate. I don't know how is the log of the Adsense, but I can give you a helping hand to differentiate my visitors from your visitors. All you have to do is to give me a secondary access to your logs, by either sending me the saved log page (as MHTL) or by sending me snaps of the log pages.
I bet the AdSense team would love that list of IP addresses ;)

Ralph of Fantomaster also comments:

Still – it may have been a pretty amateurish attempt but what it does indicate is that the concept has trickled down into the mainstream so we’ll probably see a lot more of it happening. Ironically enough, this fellow maintains an e-mail account with (you guessed it!) GMail.
Click fraud has definitely been going much more mainstream - it was unheard of only a few short years ago, even on the advertiser end of things. Now it is written everyone from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal.

How much longer until it becomes popular enough that email spammers begin mass emailing millions with similar "we will click your AdSense ads" email spam offers?

Posted by Jenstar at 07:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 11, 2005

New AdSense Demo & Free Gift for New Publishers

It's been a while since a Google AdSense advertisement caught my eye, but their new ad campaign targeting potential new publishers did.

adsensead.gif

Here is a leaderboard format (shrunk down to 500 pixel width fit this page) I also came across:
adsensead3.gif

Clicking through reveals a box where you must enter your URL to start the demo, and Greg, a Google AdSense engineeer literally walks you through a brief demo about how AdSense works. Very basic for current publishers, but is definitely an interesting way to do it.

The most interesting thing is that the demo will actually underlay your index page underneath Greg doing his demo.

adsensead2.gif

And as a bonus, those who sign up will receive a free copy of Building Your Business with Google for Dummies.

It is a pretty cool demo, one of the best online demos I have seen. You can view it here.

These are creatives for the Google Affiliate Program, which I ironically have not been accepted into. So no, that isn't an affiliate link above, but maybe if enough of you click, I will finally get accepted ;)

Posted by Jenstar at 07:14 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 10, 2005

Contextual Video Advertising Launches Publisher Program Vidsense

Vidsense.com is the latest contextual advertising program to hit the market... and this one definitely has a twist. Instead of standard text ads, VidSense offers user-initiated video advertising instead. And everytime a visitor plays a video, the publisher gets a share of the advertising revenue.

You can also read their press release here.

The format features a commercial and a video. So before a visitor is able to play the video they want to see, they must watch a video commercial first. The commercials range from fifteen to thirty seconds, while the videos range from 45 seconds to a minute and a half in length.

Vidsense services pretty narrow verticles:
Humor & Entertainment, Music & Dance, Religion/Spirituality News, Top Clips, Sports, Bizarre, Politics, Animals & Nature, Science Fiction and History. It is missing major market areas, such as business and technology.

It takes 3 to 4 days for a site to be approved, which seems quite a long turnaround time, especially for a new program which should be hungry for a market share. They do not say how much publishers will earn, following the lead of AdSense. And they only accept US-based publishers.

Vidsense is part of EVTV1.com, with much of the support documentation on the EVTV1 site instead of on the Vidsense domain. And ironically, EVTV1 is running AdSense (including on their pages that play videos), not to mention some horrible siezure-inducing animated banner ads.

Will Vidsense being a player in the contextual ad market? Because of the narrow markets it services, it will not be able to grab much of the market. But it could do well on sites that might not do as well with AdSense. However, the site seems more geared towards driving traffic to their EVTV1 site (note all the "quality content" anchor text links from the Vidsense domain), and generating their own ad revenue from that, rather than getting new publishers for Vidsense. An interesting decision.

Posted by Jenstar at 12:05 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 05, 2005

Adwords advertisers can now negative filter publisher sites

AdWords advertisers now have the ability to add AdSense publisher websites to a new tool called "Campaign Negative Sites". This means that advertisers who have one or two websites they wish not to have their ads appear on (whether they are competitor sites or just sites they deem as lower quality) can now easily add those URLs to the filter, and their ads will no longer show on those sites, while still be able to run unaffected on all other publisher sites.

I have been a beta tester of this awesome feature, and am very happy to see it finally released to everyone - for both the advertiser and the publisher benefits. Speaking from experience, it works very well, as other advertisers will hopefully be discovering too.

As an advertiser, how should you select what sites to filter? If you have a PPC tool that calculates your ROI on individual content sites, you can exclude lower performing content sites that way.

If you do it the old fashioned way, simply scan through your logs and pull out all the content referral clickthroughs to your site, then extract the publisher page URL. And then you can do what I did - visit every single site, and select those sites you do not want your ads appearing on.

And an added benefit - you can also filter URLs for publisher sites that are not currently in the AdSense program - but if you filter them now, they will be automatically filtered should those sites join AdSense in the future. So this is a great opportunity for advertisers to be able to block all competitors if they chose to do so.

Do keep in mind that you will need to filter on a per campaign basis, so if you want to block competitors, you will need to add them to the tool on each individual campaign.

And as I commented in the current WebmasterWorld thread on this new feature, my biggest surprise was how few sites I actually ended up filtering.

I think this tool will possibly encourage more advertisers to opt-in to content, since they will have more control over where their ads are appearing on. And publishers with high quality sites will benefit as well.

On the flip side, publishers with less-than-quality sites could be hit, particularly if advertisers are opting out simply based on appearances rather than conversion data. Because some of those less-than-quality sites definitely do convert for some advertisers, even if the sites don't appear as though they would convert very well, some publishers could filter them on looks alone while not even considering their ROI on these sites.

Another kudos goes out to Google for bringing in this long-awaited feature out of beta. They have really been stepping up the game since March, and it should pay off for both publishers and advertisers.

Posted by Jenstar at 10:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack