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September 17, 2007

Google launches AdSense for Mobile... but only for certain countries

So I knew AdSense would be launching an AdSense for Mobile product sometime this fall, so I did what any good publisher would do... I researched how make mobile-friendly versions of some of my sites that I knew got mobile traffic, and started transitioning some to recognize the many mobile browsers and forward those visitors off to a mobile.example.com. That way I would be ready to get them AdSensed-up once the new product was released.

But alas, when i got the word they launched it, I log in and am greeted with "* We do not currently offer AdSense for Mobile in Canada. " Although I do have to give them credit for at least alerting me to the fact that they won't give it to me, rather than me wondering why it didn't show up.

So who does get AdSense for Mobile? US, England, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Russia, Netherlands, Australia, India, China, and Japan are all on the list, either as having it already or will in the next few weeks.

I am starting to wonder what Google has against Canadians... first I had a whole fiasco with trying to be a qualified company in the Google AdWords Professionals program when they included just about every country in the world except Canada... and now this. I can see testing some things in the US only first, but that is a pretty large list of countries they are allowing, while excluding Canada. So I am pretty peeved, especially since their own Google Analytics tool tells me the vast majority of my traffic is US based.

So I am disappointed to say I don't have any cool screenshots of AdSense for Mobile in action on my Blackberry to show you like I had planned.

AdSense hasn't actually said too much about AdSense for Mobile, as they haven't actually added anything about the new product to their help files yet when I searched for "mobile"... ("Your search -- mobile -- did not match any answers in the AdSense Help Center. Please edit your search terms and try again.") They do have a press release as well as a blog entry. There are some documents available on compliancy (such as using a mobile markup language & having server-side scripting) once you click the "Get started" for AdSense for Mobile.

One can assume that smart pricing will still be applied to AdSense for Mobile, with the same/similar revenue share as is in place for standard AdSense.

There are two ad sizes available - single (one ad) and double (two ads stacked). The ads are text only right now, although one could expect they might move to image ads as well, for some of the newer mobile products. And yes, they are branded with Ads by Google ;)

To start using it, you will find it on your AdSense products page in your control panel... if it is available in your country, that is!

Posted by Jenstar at 10:42 PM | Comments (5)

September 10, 2007

My Google AdSense Referrals Wishlist

I have been playing around with the Google AdSense referrals the past week or so as I have been doing some updating and some client work. And I have definitely discovered some serious pain points with the referrals program. So here is my wishlist for AdSense Referrals :)

Let me set a location & keep it there

Everytime I search for a new referral, I have to keep changing my location from Canada... even though somewhere in the neighborhood of 95% of my traffic is US based, and I am not even sure 1% of the overall traffic to all my sites is Canadian. So obviously, showing Canadian ads wouldn't be in my best financial interest :) So please give me the option to set US as my preference... and then remember it, whether with a cookie or an option to set it in the control panel. This is my number one pain point with AdSense Referrals and is so annoying to change each time.

Being anti-back button

I can't count the number of times I hit the back button after viewing the specifics for a referral, then being hit with the AdSense Setup Product Landing Page. So then I have to click Referrals once again to get to the referrals product page... and you guessed it, have to go through the process of changing the location from Canada to US. Please take me back to the listing page showing the various referrals in the category, and not back to the product landing page.

Image versus text referrals

I have done enough testing that I know some placements or page/content styles (such as forums) tend to do better when the ad is an image one instead of a regular AdSense text ad. But there isn't a way to easily search only image ads, I have to click each individual referral to see if image ads are available. This could easily be added to the ad size drop down menu.

Empty categories

If you don't have any referrals available in a certain subcategory, don't show me that category as a selection to click. It is very annoying to click down to a subcategory, only to find there are no referral listings in it once I view it.

Subscribe to certain categories for new referral alerts

I know AdSense wants publishers to use more referrals. Why not give publishers the option to subscribe to certain categories, and let us know via email or on the AdSense account dashboard that there are new referrals available, what companies they are for, with a link to take us directly to the referral's "Get referral code" page. Yes, I know publishers can select a category instead of specific product referrals and AdSense will automatically update them. But I am one of those who wants more control, and I like to pick and chose my referrals, so why not let me know that you have something new in a category I am watching.

Show me the money

Either show the referral amount in the general referral listing page, or give publishers the option to add the column alongside the "Performance on Network" column. It is annoying having to select each one individually to see what the payout terms are. As an added bonus for Google, this might encourage some advertisers to up their payouts, if a competitor is paying more money for the lead/purchase, and it is easy to view them from the "Choose Referrals page"

Let's get searching

When I am viewing a list of referrals within a category or after a product search, and nothing strikes my fancy for a particular website I am working on, why not have that product search box on those pages too? It would make searching for new referrals so much quicker, without having to click the "Find more products" link to go back, or if you are like me, accidentally hitting the back button and having to start all over again.

My wish list actually turned out to be much longer than I anticipated, I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing! Any guesses on how many of these things will actually turn into reality at some point in the Google Referrals evolution?

Posted by Jenstar at 11:57 PM | Comments (8)

September 03, 2007

Allowed sites now an option in AdSense

When I did my presentation at SES San Jose a few weeks ago, I added a new section on protecting your AdSense account. And one of the things I mentioned was the potential for someone to take your AdSense code and place it on an inappropriate website in order to damage the entire AdSense account. And I suggested that anyone who finds their account suspended to confirm with Google that their own list of domains matches what Google has as well, especially if it is an issue with one specific site.

And it isn't farfetched... this did happen to at least one person, but his account was reinstated after proving the site with his code actually wasn't his. And because AdSense does not offer an option to list sites running AdSense or a setting that would allow you to run adds only on your chosen sites, publishers were out of luck.

Well, Google was listening this time around (although I have mentioned this repeatedly to Google over the past couple of years) and publishers now have a new tab in the AdSense account called "Allowed Sites". It actually showed up in accounts on August 28th for about half a day, before being re-added on August 31st. Under AdSense Setup tab, click the "Allowed Sites" link.

And Google is acknowledging that this is a concern for publishers. From their help center:

We've added the Allowed Sites feature because we've learned that some AdSense publishers are concerned about potentially malicious behavior from others on the web, such as stealing their ad code and placing it on an inappropriate site. By offering this feature, we allow AdSense publishers more control over which sites or URLs can have their AdSense code.

The two selections in the account are "Allow any site to show ads for my account" or "Only allow certain sites to show ads for my account". Then you get the option of adding domains or subdomains to your approve list.

If you belong to any revenue sharing forums or blogs, be sure to include those URLs in the allowed list. But do be aware that your ads will no longer show on cached copy pages or archive.org unless you add those URLs as well (including all the Google cache IP addresses).

However, there is one VERY odd thing about this new feature. If your AdSense code is on a site that is not on your approved list, ads will still show. Which means while your ads are displayed, you won't get any revenue from the clicks (or show impressions either). I think a better option would have been to show PSAs or alternate ads if one is specified, although I suppose that might not be the best option for user experience, although it might mean we get to see some new PSAs other than the Katrina fund one.

I wonder how many people will actually use this feature though. I know I have sites that I have left dormant for some time now but are still earning a tidy sum each day. I could easily forget about one or two of them when using this feature.

Posted by Jenstar at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)