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AdSense tests Rich Media and Change Referral Rules

Two important posts over at Jensense today (why news break every time I go away):

1. Google AdSense begins rich media beta test – very interesting news. Google are going beyond just text ads and are testing a variety of other types of ads including interstitial (I’m not a fan of these – they are an ad page that sits between the actual page people want and where they came from that often make you click a link to continue on to the page you want), expanding ads (when you scroll over or click on an ad it expands) and floating ads (those that seem to hover over the page). This is sure to cause a real stir among both publisher and those who hate online advertising – especially any kind that might have an increased annoyance factor.

Jen says these are likely to be site targeted ads (not contextual). If you spot any of these ads I’d love to hear from you.

2. AdSense silently adds a 90-day time limit on AdSense referrals – Previously if you referred a publisher to AdSense with one of their buttons you’d earn $100 when they got to their first $100 of earnings. Now they’ve added a clause that says you only get this $100 commission if they make the $100 in the first 90 days that they are a publisher. I have to say I’m not at all impressed by this development. I’ve referred a number of people to Adsense in the past few months (20 or so) but am yet to see any earnings from them which indicates that none have hit the $100 mark. Last time I checked with readers they hadn’t had any payments either (let me know if you have). To me it just seems like they are changing the rules mid stream and that 90 days is quite a short time frame. In my experience as someone who consults with AdSense – it’s not uncommon for publishers to take longer than 90 days to get their first cheque. I’m pretty disappointed in this finding – and to see that they seem to have made the change without making any public announcement just seems a little underhanded.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. That’s crazy. I have had AdSense for about three months now and am nowhere close to $100.00 yet. It’s probably like that for a lot of people just starting up with AdSense and this seems like a way for Google to just avoid having to pay out on 90% of the referals that they get.

  2. Cary says:

    Yeah, I’ve gotta’ say that Google looks pretty bad right now if they’re really just changing the rules mid-game without any allowances for referrals that have already been made.

    Is that change in TOS just for new referrals, or will it effect referrals you’ve already made?

  3. Supa says:

    :( I’m sorry I haven’t hit $100 yet Darren :(

  4. Duncan says:

    I’ll just link to what I wrote this morning on the 90 rule:
    AdSense adds a 90-day time limit on AdSense referrals

    really quite disgraceful when you think about it. No hope in hell now of anyone making the referral fee

  5. brem says:

    Then maybe we should all not refer?

  6. A.H says:

    I’m removing, it’s time that publishers will have a say in setting things too.

    Very very disappointing Google..

    A.H

  7. Dave says:

    A 90 day limit is extreme,and I’m sure google realise this. The main issue is that for new adsense publishers, getting a clich-thru sufficient to earn $100+ in 90days is probably impossible, unless the site has a high volume of visitors that are not ad-blind. Unfortunately most of the sites that have the kind of visitor ratio required to earn $100+ are most likely already adsense users.

    I always assumed that the referral program was aimed at the novice end of the market, where those signing up are unlikely to be earning large sums of money quickly.

    It now looks like even if you refer a reasonable number of people, your chances of earning anything back from the referral is reduced to a percentage game based on the slim chance that one of your referrals will hit it big quickly.

    If you referred 100 people, I’d guess at only 1 or 2 being able to earn sufficiently to give you a return.

  8. Andy Merrett says:

    For Dave’s reason, I wouldn’t bother referring – people are either already using AdSense or they won’t earn enough to make the referral fee worth it – I’d rather just tell people to use AdSense if I think it’s worth it for their site.

  9. Yes,
    I also don’t agree to that rule.
    Google is facing many new challenges.
    Google has also been in news a lot these days.
    Recent big ones involved US and Chinese Governments.

    I have also written about them at my blog.

    Many people might not know that Google actually has many things under their belt. Many things meaning–trouble..

    I will be writing on that soon.

    I hope Google will hear their FANS also.

  10. that rules really put me off. but im lucky enough to have a $100 referral commission :) i guess that will be my last :(

  11. Anthony says:

    It’s almost as if Google didn’t do the basic math on what this would cost them when it was first introduced. If I was G! I’d have the 90 day cap as well but would be providing the new publishers with an intensive education program to help them maximise revenue straight away.

  12. So, Google, I sent to you 28 people and now you say you won’t pay me? Interesting way to do business :(

  13. Shane says:

    I’m leaving mine up because you never know! It’s like playing the lottery you can’t win if you don’t play. The same is true for the referral program, you can’t make any money if you don’ have the referral button up. Take it down and you are guarenteed not to make any money from referrals.

    I would suggest putting the smaller referral buttons on your site, to minimize the space required for them.

    Is any one going to take the firefox down too? I’m not, the adsense, firefox, and chitika buttons stay on my sites.

  14. vivek says:

    It is really bad new, as I have referred 10 friends and relatives so far and no one able to cross $100 :( it will be loss of US $ 1000; I am going to write an email Google AdSense about this new change

    I have also noticed drop in FireFox referral earlier it was around $1 or .50 but since last 2 weeks it is .10 only. My stats still says 60% visitors use IE

    I have already removed Chitika since they use to cut too much income at the month end…

  15. Grant says:

    I’m pissed off with google on this one. I’ve sent them 30 referals in the last 2.5 months since starting with referrals at the start of November and am yet to earn a cent from it. I’ve given them a skyscraper ad in that time which if they’d let me have more time potentially could earn me $3000 but knowing the kind of people who read my blog will now earn me $0 because they will take longer than 3 months to get to $100.

    I didn’t start using their referrals ads under these conditions and think we all have grounds for them to put NO time limits on any referrals we’ve already made.

    The fact that they have made these changes without notifying their publishers to me seems to border on illegal, isn’t their TOS a legal document? They can ban us for breaking it and can even sue us if we do it in a way that defrauds them. This smells a lot like fraud to me, I wonder who will be the test case to sue them?

  16. Garri says:

    Simple solution: don’t employ their crappy referral ads on your sites, don’t
    refer people to them. Vote with your feet (hands, whatever)

  17. Dio says:

    Yup, this one is so low you need to be a contortionist to get under the pole now. A lot of webmasters oput a lot of work into this for google, and they’ve just made it nigh on impossible for the average webmaster to make any money from it.

  18. Matt says:

    I have written on one of my other blogs about these kinds of things from Google. They have a company credo of “Don’t be evil”. Yet again, I think they are being evil. Their entire policy an AdSense ads seems to be to attempt to avoid any payments at all except to publishers like Darren who have many many sites and many many visitors.

    The fact that you have to earn $100 in order for them to pay you is ridiculous, especially in this age of PayPal and other means of electronically transferring fund for free (meaning no check or postage is required). Chitika pays out at $10. I get money from them every month. I started out with Chitika 2 months after I started with AdSense and I have yet to be payed anything from Google, but have been paid twice by Chitika (It’s only my 3rd month using them). As soon as I reach the $100 mark from Google, I am removing them (Because I don’t want to give them these few ad impressions that I’ve already given them for free).

  19. Spencer says:

    speaking of Chitika, they pay 10% of the earnings of the people you refer for a full 12 months which to me seem a lot more generous than $100 if the person earns $100 within 90 days. Seems like a stupid refferal program to me, wish I’d thought of it like this earlier and not wasted my time with wasting space on my blog with their ads.

  20. Joe says:

    Hey Darren,

    I’m on the undecided side at the moment. I am starting to do better with AdSense. I only have one referral so far (2 months) and at this point don’t expect to get paid for it.

    You would think a company such as Google would have a better referral program (90 days is crazy).

    The main reason I put the chicklet on the Blog in the first place was to give an option to my readers. So, I’ll probably just leave it for now.

    Joe

  21. Issa says:

    If they were looking to save money it would make more sense to me to lower the payout figure, to say $50. The way it is now it might seem like there is not much point taking up screen realestate with it.

    Sorry Darren, but as some one just starting out, I might not be able to reach the threshold in time.

  22. JPT says:

    I am not happy with adsense anymore. I hate to be negative talker, but I have not been treated well with them and Yahoo has done awesome.

    So I have switched 60% or so of my sites over and my pas has gone up a bit.

    I hope that Yahoo comes out with a referral program when they are out of beta, and I also hope to see some search program as well.

  23. Toad says:

    Adbright has also started the ‘click to continue’ pages.

    I found out when they started showing up on my page. It’s pretty disturbing that they don’t really tell you about these things, they just go for it.

  24. Alan says:

    Well that’s quite a drag! I’m not trying that hard, hard but I haven’t had anyone sign up for Adsense, now I don’t know if I really care to make a serious effort at it.

    Nintey days, come on Google. There are many newbies that never see their first $100 for all their affiliate programs combined, much less for Adsense.

    Google should extend it to at least a year. I think there’s probably an Adsense Divide going on here. Newbies take a long time to make their first $100 and the people that can make it quick are already in the program.

  25. Well, that’s a dumb rule. It took me FOREVER to reach my first $100 in Adsense revenue. Now, I’m happy to say that I’m doing much better. However, that rule stinks. They might as well not even have the referral program.

  26. After hearing this, I only left the smallest button, placed at the bottom of my page with all of the “add to My-Yahoo” type chicklets.

  27. Christina says:

    Back to your first question…I had one of those ads pop up on my MRSA site the other day, I wish I had taken a screen shot. Do you know if you can turn those things off??

  28. raj says:

    That really sucks. It took me 6 months to get $100 myself, even with spending 8-20 hrs blogging and researching daily. And today, I finally had one Firefox referrall and received US$0.10 instead of the $1.00 Google claimed. What up? I’m removing all of my referral buttons; they’re taking up space.