June 24, 2005
Matt Cutts announces new AdSense spam report feature
If you see a site violating the AdSense terms, you can now file an anonymous spam report that will get to the quality team for checking. To file a report, you simply go to the page that is showing AdSense ads and click on the "Ads by Google" (or "Ads by Goooooogle") link. In the form on the next page, include the term "spamreport" and put in a short reason about why you feel the site is violating the AdSense terms or policies. You can also enter your own email address, if you wish, then click submit.
Many people have used this way to submit AdSense spam reports in the past, rather than emailing Google directly or using the contact form within the AdSense account control panel. It gives people anonymity when reporting sites, and now there is the official "spamreport" keyword so that it gets to the right team who is in charge of quality checking potential AdSense terms and policies violators.
June 21, 2005
Contextual Advertising for Publishers session at WebmasterWorld conference
Jennifer Slegg from JenSense (aka JenStar) was up next to talk about increasing your AdSense earnings with testing. She says it is one of the easiest ways to increase your earnings is by testing.So if you missed it, you can read it here.
June 14, 2005
I've finally been accepted into the Google AdSense referral program
I blogged last month about a great advertising promo & AdSense demo Google was running, and lamented about the fact I wasn't accepted into the AdSense & Adwords referral program... and it took only a day to be accepted after that ;)
They have a variety of animated and static banners, skyscrapers and cube ads to choose from. The AdSense ones are definitely more imaginitive than the AdWords ones, at least for the ones currently offered.
Here are a few examples of my current favorites... and yes, these are affiliate links ;)
These two feature quotes from current publishers featured in the AdSense case studies:
And an example of an AdWords ad:
They also offer skyscrapers that are 800 pixels high... I remembered seeing some before and thinking they looked pretty long, but didn't realize they had expanded the standard 600 pixel skyscraper to 800 pixels.
June 13, 2005
Meet the Google AdSense engineers at WebmasterWorld Search Conference
Google is excited to announce that a team of our top ads and search engineers will be participating in a Google-hosted cocktail reception and roundtable Q/A on Wednesday evening at the Webmasterworld conference. These engineers span a wide range of projects including AdWords, AdSense, and Google Web Search. Some of their recent accomplishments include Site-Targeted Campaigns, AdSense for Feeds, AdLinks, AdWords Smart Pricing and of course continually improving search quality. They'll be happy to share their expert opinions with you on Google, the industry, and key technologies reshaping search and monetization online.
The evening event is being held on Wednesday, June 22 from 6-8pm and is free for all conference attendees, but you need to RSVP first. And you will be required to show your full conference badge to attend.
If you attend, you will also have the opportunity to hear me speak - I will be on the Contextual Advertising for Publishers panel as well as Peaceful Coexistance: Writing for the Search Engines, both on Tuesday, June 21st.
Wednesday morning features Contextual Advertising Program Issues where reps from Google AdSense, ContextWeb, Kanoodle and Quigo have the opportunity to showcase their contextual programs and talk in depth about their product as well as the future of their programs.
I will be there for the full conference, so don't hesitate to stop me and say hi as you see me out and about during week.
Yahoo advertisers get longer descriptions with YPN ads
Yahoo Publisher Network ads feature an extra perk for advertisers than Google AdSense does not offer. Advertisers will see their ads on content sites with extra long descriptions, which appear when the mouse is rolled over the ad within the YPN ad unit.
Some screenshot examples from three different blogs running YPN ads (the mouse pointer does not show up when taking screenshots).
As you can see, the description is quite lengthy in comparison to the Yahoo ads appearing on the Yahoo search results as well as to the advertiser descriptions shown on Google AdSense ads. The mouseover also has an IntelliTXT feel to them. They are particularly noticeable on the banner ad sized ad unit, where there is only one line of description, compared to the two lines of description that Google AdSense shows on the same ad unit size.
However, from a publisher point of view, there is a downside. Without the YPN mouseover pop-up, some visitors might have clicked those ads. But when a visitor mouseovers them and gets the fuller description, that person might not click the ad if the fuller description reveals that the site might not actually be what he or she is looking for. Good for advertisers but bad for publishers who want to increase the liklihood that visitors will click the ads... within the AdSense and/or Yahoo terms, of course ;)
Comparing the ad relevancy of Google AdSense & Yahoo Publisher Network ads
With some of the Yahoo employees running Yahoo Publisher Network (YPN) ads on their blogs, I thought it would be interesting to compare relevancy between YPN and AdSense and see how the two compare.
I compared the ads by seeing the ads displayed on the blog entries - selecting entries where ad inventory would not be an issue - and then using the Google AdSense Preview tool to compare YPN against the ads that AdSense would serve on the same page, then took screenshots which are below.
The first comparison was a blog entry of William Reardon's entitled "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith". First the Yahoo ads:
Love Money Revenge Spells must have come from the keyword "revenge". Then it shows a fairly general blog ad. No ads related to Star Wars at all, even with multiple refreshes of the page, and checking on several days.
Now, let's look at what Google AdSense displays:
Their ads are much more targeted to Star Wars and light sabre ads... the ads you would expect to see on a page about Star Wars.
Next up is an entry "I am Ulysses!" at the Ink Stained Wretch. So you would expect to see ads regarding James Joyce and/or Ulysses. But which publisher program delivers?
First up, is YPN:
I would guess the wax seals ad (which I also noticed on the main index page of the blog) is coming from the blog title itself. Not sure what the other two ads are being triggered by.
Now let's look at what Google AdSense would serve on the same page:
Pretty targeted ads in comparison.
Back to William Reardon's blog is an entry on "House Shopping" and it is YPN's turn to shine here.
These ads are targeted to house hunting, although the second ad isn't targeted to the location mentioned in the entry, or to my IP address.
Now for Google AdSense, it struggled with this page, and shows the problem many blog owners face on their blogs... showing all blog related ads.
I also compared Flickr results comparing AdSense & YPN, which is easy to do since some page views run AdSense while some run YPN. AdSense had the most targeted ads - YPN shows very similar ads on every page, no matter what the topic was. Here are a few examples, starting with the Manhattan tag photo page that the AdSense Team recently pitched as an example of a publisher site.
Next is a look at the page for photos tagged with the term "Wedding" and again YPN has the same problem with ads, showing photo related ads, instead of wedding related ads, which AdSense does successfully.
Some interesting observations though, for those wondering how relevant YPN is while it is in limited beta. It seems to still need some work compared to the targeting of AdSense, which many publishers agree is quite good. There will be many publishers watching to see how relevant the YPN ads are, because ad relevancy is so closely tied to a publisher's CTR rate, and hence their overall earnings. The true test will be once YPN begins showing on content sites, where the problem with generic ads (such as blog ads & photo ads) will be less of an issue.
June 09, 2005
Ads by Y! - Yahoo's answer to Ads by Gooooooogle?
Now, they have undergone yet another branding, this time following the quirkiness of the Gooooooogle, but using "Ads by Y!" on their ad units.
Still no word on when YPN will be launching in beta, but it shows they are still actively working on tweaking them before launch.
New Horizonal Ad Links ad units added for AdSense publishers
AdSense has just released new Ad Links ad formats, that run in a horizonal ad unit, as opposed to the current "cube" vertical format they have served since they launched Ad Links in March.
The new ad units are either 468x15 (banner width) or 728x15 (leaderboard width) and publishers can include either four ad links or five ad links in either style.
The new Ad Links look like:
I suspect we will see plenty of publishers running these directly underneath banners and leaderboards.
Ooops! AdSense Team pitches Yahoo Publisher Network ads by mistake
If you are part of the AdSense team encouraging potential publishers to sign up for AdSense, it makes sense to lure them with example webpages actually running Google AdSense... and not the competitive Yahoo Publisher Network ads. Yet that is exactly what happened to David Galbraith when Google tried pitching AdSense to him.
"Here's an example of how Flickr.com is using AdSense: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/manhattan/ (you may need to hit refresh to see the ads load)"However, it is first not really that great they are sending you to an example page where you need to refresh multiple times just to see the ads - why give the potential publisher the idea of doing it themselves, rather than having them displayed 100% of the time.
And when you finally get them to load, after refreshing a few times, instead of the presumed AdSense, you see:
Yahoo bought Flickr a couple of months ago, and at the time I speculated that Flickr would make the switch to YPN ads from AdSense. And they have since made the change... although someone forgot to tell the AdSense Team ;)
Added: Flickr seems to be on a rotation, dividing page views among no ads, Google AdSense and Yahoo Publisher Network ads. Still the question is why promote AdSense to potential publishers on a page that may not show the ad product you are putching... and worse, may show your competitor's contextual ad product instead.
June 07, 2005
First sighting of Mirago's Context Stream
var width = '336';
var height = '336';
txt='<ifr' + 'ame width="' + width + '" height="' + height + '" style="border-style:none" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://www.mirago.co.uk/scripts/contextual.aspx?' + 'url=' + ref_url + settings + '"></iframe>';
More discussion on Mirago's Context Stream here.
AdSense for RSS changes formats
LonghornBlogs, the first AdSense for RSS beta tester
has changed the design and backend of their AdSense RSS ads. AdSense has changed the look, size, as well as how the ads are controlled - from a table format to an image map format (similar to how AdSense in newsletters works).
This new change will also bring Longhorn blogs in line with the format of other AdSense for RSS publishers as well.
I have to say, that I like this new creative a lot. It's unobtrusive, and it incorporates a lot of feedback from other users. I think people will like this version a lot better.I also agree this format looks much better when you compare the two versions of the AdSense for RSS side by side, and it is a good move for Google.
The old format appeared as this:
And used the following HTML code to generate it:
<table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"><tr><td><aThe new format is a smaller version of the ad unit, and looks much better in a feed reader:
style="font-size: 9pt; color: #999999;">Ads by Google</a></div></td></tr></table>
and uses the following code:
<map name="google_ad_map_20f58a17-7e15-440c-89b3-dfe02fe74bcd:14157"><areaWhile the first does more closely resemble a regular AdSense ad unit - and was probably why that format was used in the initial beta test - the new format does use the elements of the regular ad unit, such as the default green URL. And, of course, the "Ads by Goooooogle" that so many publishers are familiar with ;)
coords="1,2,367,28"/><area shape="rect" href"http://services.google.com/feedback/abg"