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April 05, 2006

Referral program for AdWords live for all publishers now

I reported several weeks ago that some publishers in select countries (US, Canada & UK were amongst those excluded) were able to refer new advertisers to AdWords in exchange for a commission after the advertiser spent a certain advertising value. Now AdSense has released this program to all AdSense publishers in countries and languages where AdSense for Content is currently available.

The program uses buttons and banners very similar to those used for the other referral products (AdSense & Firefox), although these images are definitely red in color. I can only hope they will come out with other colors, as these ones definitely clash with several websites I own!

It is interesting to note that the text on these AdWords images seems pretty pixelated and not quite clear as the Firefox and AdSense images are.
Compare the three 120x60 images from the three different referral products.

refadwords.png refadsense.png reffirefox.png

Hopefully someone will get in there with handy photoshop skills and make the image a bit sharper.

And on an unrelated note, am I the only one who has noticed that the word "toolbar" has two different sized O's right next to each other (or worse, one letter O and one number zero) in the Firefox toolbar referral image above? A couple others have this same problem in the image when I looked closer at the generation page for all the Firefox ads. I can understand needing to change the width of some of the words to make them fit, but it does look odd to see two letter O's right next to each other being such different widths.

Back to the AdWords referral program, publishers will earn $20 when they refer new advertisers to AdWords that spend $100 in advertising within 90 days of signing up.

I definitely find the fact that referring a new advertiser is only worth $20 for the publisher, but referring a new publisher earns $100. Perhaps this was grandfathered in under the old AdWords referral program where the referrer earned $20 after the advertiser spent $20. But I would have thought a new advertiser would have been just as valuable to Google - if not more so - than a new publisher. The only reason I can think of for this is that they are trying to capture more of the publisher market share, especially with new publisher programs for competition out there such as YPN and MSN ContentAds.

It would have been brilliant if AdSense had launched this program where it was integrated with the "Advertise on this site", but unfortunately the Onsite Advertiser Sign-up was not included in the AdWords referral program. However, I can see the inherent problems why this probably was not done... namely the spamming problem that could be done with the way the "Advertise on this site" link works. With many people linking to that "Advertise on this site" landing page directly without having it appear in their ad units, there is the possibility that people could then use that same link with all kinds of anchor text to get people to sign up for AdWords, the same kind of affiliate spam problems that have plagued the Chitika affiliate program. However, with the images as javascript and referral tracking, this hasn't been a problem with the Google AdSense referral products thus far. Perhaps the way the "Advertise on this site" link is generated within the ad unit will be changed so publishers can earn referral revenue when new advertisers are referred to AdWords via the ad unit.

And I couldn't help but notice... the referral generation page is causing unsecure warnings to pop up. I should have mentioned that a couple of weeks ago when I commented on the AdSense unsecure errors in the help center, but forgot that the error was also triggered from within the control panel as well since I don't go to the referrals section of the site very often. Since the last one was corrected, maybe this one will be too :) Especially since it isn't reassuring to see unsecure warnings pop up when you are logged into a secure area. However, this one is due to the way all the referral images are rendered with javascript in the control panel, so this one will definitely be a bit trickier to fix.

Everything else aside, it is nice to see Google launch the AdWords referral program to all publishers instead of the select few who had it before.

Posted by Jenstar at April 5, 2006 04:17 AM

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Comments

I am also a bit disappointed in the payout difference between referring a publisher and referring an advertiser. I would think that the advertiser would be more valuable than the publisher. I'm sure it's an effort to pull/keep publishers away from YPN and Microsoft.

I also noticed the O/zero thing in the word Google in that ad.

Posted by: Matthew Leo at April 10, 2006 06:30 AM

Yep when it comes to referrals google hasnt been sharp and competitive enough. With those boring buttons and weird text on it (and the TOS mentions that we should not motivate ppl tp click on em) haas never ever generated any kinda revenue for me. With google now going one step ahead and filtering those unwanted clicks I think they could call me to work on those buttons ;)

I hope we come across some good banner/buttons soon.

Posted by: day of our life at April 11, 2006 08:33 PM

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