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March 22, 2007

Yahoo's Panama ad platform will launch in UK / Europe in Q02

At Seodays, we had the pleasure of hearing Andrew Buckman (EU Product Director for Yahoo Search Marketing) talk about Yahoo Search Marketing's new ad platform Panama. While Panama launched in the US late last year, UK / European advertisers have been anxiously awaiting for Panama to hit across the Atlantic.

So when will these advertisers get their hands on the new Panama platform? A lot sooner than you think! Panama will be launched in Q02 (Q01 will end at the end of March). It should be available to advertisers by the beginning of May, but my instinct says that advertisers will likely see it sooner than that, in mid to late April.

Seodays attendees has a lot of questions for Andrew, and he put on a great presentation showing advertisers what the new Panama platform would be like.

I also asked about when the Yahoo Publisher Network would be available to UK and/or European publishers, and the answer wasn't as soon as Panama. Panama is the priority launch at the moment, so YPN is more on the backburner until then. But I am keeping my fingers crossed that Panama will go international by the end of 2007.

And thank you to Andrew for such an awesome presentation, attendees had nothing but positive feedback about the Panama presentation. And especially since he allowed all attendees to have a copy of the powerpoint so they could check out the slides and screenshots in more detail... and I know a couple advertisers were angling me on how to get into the initial wave of Panama migrations, which is always a positive sign a presentation is well received.

Posted by Jenstar at 06:35 PM | Comments (3)

Google AdSense adds Google Checkout referral program

Google has added - not surprisingly - a new referral product to the lineup in AdSense, this time for Google Checkout. This is one program that I have long-suspected would be the next Google product added to the referral program.

Unfortunately for me, as a Canadian publisher, I cannot use it :(

You place the Checkout referral button on your site.

Someone clicks on the button, signs up as a buyer with Google Checkout using a valid U.S. credit card, and completes a purchase of at least $10 before shipping and tax through Checkout within 90 days. (The current $10 minimum purchase corresponds to our existing $10 promotion for new buyers, so this amount may change in the future.)

You earn $1.

It's that simple. Please note that Checkout referrals are currently only available for U.S. publishers, and Google Checkout is currently only available for buyers with a U.S. credit card. We hope to make both Checkout and Checkout Referrals available in more countries soon.

I still wish Google would give non-US publishers with a high percentage of US traffic the ability to refer US customers. Alas I will be waiting for a while before I can use it.

More on the AdSense blog.

Posted by Jenstar at 06:30 PM | Comments (2)

Google launches pay per action program in AdWords & AdSense

Catching up on the last few days of news stories, Google AdSense has launched their new pay per action program for AdWords advertisers, meaning that publishers can now earn referral money through the AdSense program. The program is in beta for both advertisers & publishers, and AdSense publishers can apply to be a part of the beta, as can AdWords advertisers.

As you will remember, Google first began testing pay per action ads last summer.

Google announced today a limited beta test of pay-per-action advertising, a new pricing model that allows advertisers to pay only when predetermined actions are completed on their site. The pay-per-action model gives advertisers the option of paying when a customer makes a purchase, signs up for a newsletter, or completes any other clearly defined action the advertiser chooses. Advertisers have the freedom of defining the value of a completed action, ultimately giving them more control over their advertising costs. Designed to complement Google's existing cost-per-click and cost-per-impression pricing models, pay-per-action pricing offers advertisers yet another choice, enabling them to reach their customers in a new way, and thereby better meeting their goals and objectives.

Pay-per-action ads are only shown on Google AdSense for content sites. AdSense publishers are able to choose whether they want to serve pay-per-action ads on their sites. Publishers can select between an individual ad, a shopping cart of ads, or a specific term or phrase that is relevant to their site's content. Prior to ads being shown on their site, publishers can view the specifics of the ad, including company name, logo and products or services being sold. This visibility provides publishers with control over which pay-per-action ads are shown on their site.

With this new pricing model, advertisers can create text or image ads in addition to using Google's new text link ad format, which are brief text descriptions that take on the characteristics of a publisher's page. Pay-per-action advertising is available to U.S. advertisers. Over the next few weeks, Google will begin adding advertisers and publishers to the beta test. Advertisers and publishers can sign up now to participate and more will be added to the test on a rolling basis.

I think this new program is good for publishers, as it gives publishers an additional revenue stream for their sites. And because it offers money on a CPA basis, this means that a single click from a publisher site has the potential to earn that publisher much more money than a regular AdSense ad would earn.

I have an interview planned with Google, so I will have more information as well as my own perspective on the new program coming soon. In the meantime, both the AdSense blog and the AdWords blog have more information.

Posted by Jenstar at 06:09 PM | Comments (7)

March 21, 2007

New adCenter tool for determining page sensitivity

Mel Carson from Microsoft adCenter did a great presentation at Seodays yesterday, and one of the interesting adLabs tools he pointed out was a tool that he alluded was used for determining on-page sensitivity for contextual advertising. While we don't know when ContentAds will be launched for regular publishers (ContentAds is currently running on MSN properties only), this is a useful tool for any AdSense publishers that are running into problems with the stop word filter resulting in PSAs.

The tool is simply called Detecting Sensitive Webpages and you can submit a URL and it will give you a percentage score of how sensitive it believes the page content is.

Sensitive Content Detection helps you determine whether a webpage contains content that might be considered sensitive by general public.For example, content about porn, terrorism, or crime. This tool detects whether the input webpage contains sensitive content and assigns a confidence score.

For example, the page at http://www.personalarms.com/defense/ninja_weapon_for_sale.htm
is considered as a sensitive webpage.

Since we will crawl page from the server on realtime,
so if the web page is generated by web server dynamically,
the result may be different from time to time.

While obviously the AdSense stop word filter will have different elements when compared to this tool, if you are having problems with sensitive content, this could be a helpful in trying to identify just what could be considered sensitive content.

Posted by Jenstar at 03:05 AM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2007

Both Google & Yahoo confirmed for Seodays in London next week

I am pretty pleased to say that both Google & Yahoo have confirmed speakers for Seodays next week in London. That means we will have representatives from all three of the big three search engines presenting next week at Seodays.

Yahoo will be presenting on the new Panama platform, which will (very soon?) be released to UK advertisers of Yahoo Search Marketing. I had the opportunity to be invited down to Yahoo for their Influencers event to get to play around with Panama prior to their original Panama launch in the US, and it is pretty impressive for those used to the legacy Overture system. This is definitely a not-to-miss opportunity for advertisers to get ahead prior to the UK launch.

Google's Charlotte Morton (along with a second Googler who will be in attendance) will be presenting on Google AdWords. AdWords has had some great things going on lately, such as the AdWords Editor and the Website Optimizer. And most advertisers have very likely heard of the landing page quality score & algo.

In addition to Google & Yahoo, Mel Carson from adCenter is also presenting. We also have Heather from Hitwise & Ben Jesson and Dr Karl Blanks from Conversion Rate Experts.

We also have more specific details on each of our presenters on the official Seodays blog.

Dave & I are finishing polishing off all our presentations, getting the attendee business portfolios and USB sticks all ready to go, and busy doing reviews of attendee's websites. Things are coming along great for a very successful event next week.

There still are some registration spots available for our March 20-21 Seodays next week at the Hilton Euston! If you haven't yet registered, you can do so here. The agenda & session description is here, and we will be posting the finalized agenda later today.

Update: The agenda can be found here.

Posted by Jenstar at 10:04 AM | Comments (1)

March 13, 2007

Mel Carson from Microsoft adCenter joins us at Seodays

I am happy to announce that Mel Carson is joining us at Seodays next week, to present on Microsoft adCenter UK (geared for average and expert PPC users), the tools within adCenter that advertisers will find useful (such as demographic information on keywords) as well as talk about adlabs (various tools available for advertisers and marketers).

Mel is a great presenter, so attendees will learn a lot that they can put right into action :) And yes, there will be time for attendees to ask their burning adCenter questions.

You can get all the details about Mel from Microsoft adCenter speaking at Seodays on the Seodays blog.

We have just a week to go before our first Seodays in London, and I have been busy polishing off my presentations, and getting ready to proof Dave's :) I am looking forward to Monday night when we get to meet all the attendees for a pre-conference drink to socialize and talk shop before we all start the following morning!

You can view the agenda here or go ahead and register for Seodays. We are sending out the form for the attendee's choice session shortly, so be sure to register fast if you would like to vote on your choice for that open session!

Posted by Jenstar at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2007

Yahoo Publisher Network giving false compliancy alerts

If you are one of the publishers who is seeing compliancy alerts in your Yahoo Publisher Network account that are seemingly not for any real issue, rest assured that your account is very likely not running afoul with any of the terms and policies. There is a bug that is causing false alerts to show up in accounts over the past few days.

Affected publishers would receive an email alerting them to a compliancy issue, yet nothing would be listed in the compliancy manager once the publisher logged into his or her account.

If you have contacted customer support about the issue, they do realize there is a problem and support is sending this as a response:

Normally, the Compliance Manager page in your Yahoo! Publisher Network account will only appear if there's been a violation of our Terms and Conditions. However, we are currently addressing a system-wide issue causing this page to appear in accounts that haven't violated our guidelines. We regret that we're unclear as to when this will be resolved but advise you to disregard the notice if there?s nothing indicated on your Compliance Manager page itself. We apologize for any inconvenience caused to you.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any further assistance.

YPN also scheduled downtime last night for maintenance, which was likely related to this issue, since it seemed to be a last minute announcement.

Forum discussion here

Update March 5, 2007
Yahoo has now fixed the issue, according to a post YahooSarah made today at DigitalPoint.

Hey there, We were experiencing some problems with the compliance manager status page but we resolved it yesterday. For anyone who got an email regarding YPN's compliance policy, you should log-in to the portal to double check and make sure you do not have any outstanding actions.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Posted by Jenstar at 05:41 PM | Comments (2)

March 02, 2007

Google AdWords testing yellow background on ads above the search results

Since I am handling the paid search side of things for Seodays, Dave & I were discussing the keyword topic areas for screenshots and examples. Ironically, while discussing that, Dave stumbled upon an AdWords test that Google is doing on their AdWords ads. Instead of the usual blue background you usually see with AdWords above the search results, these ads had a yellow background. Screenshot is below, click on the image for the full-sized version.


It was only seen once for that query, additional queries reverted back to the usual blue background. Google has always been known to do plenty of testing on a variety of site designs, particularly when it comes to how their ads are displayed, and we have seen plenty of changes made to how AdWords ads are displayed in the search results as a result of these little tests.

I think this background likely will perform better than the blue, as I suspect the AdWords team is testing this color as a test to see if "banner blindless" has begun to take place with the blue, and as you can see in the screenshot, yellow looks dramatically different from the blue, and I am pretty sure it draws more eyeballs when it is seen.

Personally, I like the change. Anyone else?

Posted by Jenstar at 09:56 AM | Comments (16)

March 01, 2007

First Seodays dates announced for London

Dave Naylor and I have announced the dates for our first Seodays, being held in London later this month. We are hosting Seodays London on March 20-21st at the Hilton Euston. We chose the Hilton Euston as it is near Kings Cross for attendee convenience. We have limited registration numbers to ensure that everyone gets a personalized Seodays experience.

You can view the agenda, as well as a bit about the Seodays experience here. The event includes an informal meeting for drinks the night before, two full days of knowledge building, with a dinner on the Tuesday night. There will definitely be plenty of time for one-on-one with myself and Dave.

We will also be adding additional speakers as we get more attendees signed up, so we can keep the ratio down to ensure everyone has a personalized experience. But numbers are limited, as are the number of rooms we have in the Seodays block at the Hilton, so registering the earlier the better.

Registration page is here. I hope to see some of you there :)

Posted by Jenstar at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)