The AdSense blog has just announced changes to the AdSense referral program which I’m pretty disappointed in. In fact they anger me and leave me disillusioned with AdSense.
There are two changes:
1. Changes to Payment System
The ‘experimental’ payment system for publishers promoting AdSense is being changed back to the way it was before it was changed a year ago.
The current pay system (that is about to change) works like this:
- If you refer someone to AdSense who makes $5 within 180 days you get a payment of $5.
- If you refer someone to AdSense who makes $100 within 180 days you get $250
- If you refer 25 people who make $100 within a 180 day period you get a bonus payment of $2000
The previous payment system (which is what things are being changed back to) is this:
If you refer someone to AdSense who makes $100 within a 180 day period you get $100.
This removes the incentive to refer anyone who is a small publisher and it removes the incentive to work hard at referring multiple publishers. In fact it removes quite a bit of incentive to use the program at all.
As someone who had always just fallen short of the $2000 bonus I can tell you that for me it always acted as a huge incentive to promote AdSense. When AdSense added the $5 and $2k bonus I thought it was genius – while the numbers may not have been right – I’m surprised that AdSense have removed incentive for publishers to refer them in this way.
But if that’s not enough – get this second change:
2. AdSense Referrals Retired for Publishers outside of North America, Latin America and Japan.
If YOU as a publisher are outside of North America, Latin America, and Japan – you’ll no longer be able to participate in the referral program.
Yes you hear me right, its about the location of you as a publisher that excludes you from participating in the AdSense referral system. It’s got nothing to do with your audience’s location, the topic you write about, the quality of your blog or any other factor – it’s about where you blog from.
I’m not privy to the reasoning for this – they simply say ‘We’ve found that this referral product has not performed as well as we had hoped in these regions’ – but in my mind this is stupidity to the ultimate degree.
As a publisher who blogs from Australia but who has a blog on a niche topic that relates perfectly to AdSense and which has the vast majority of it’s traffic from the USA (and which has consistently referred publishers to AdSense that have converted at the $100 in 180 range) I cannot understand the reasoning for this change.
I’m just one example (I’m the example I know best) and a quick look at my stats shows me that I’ve displayed AdSense referral ads close to 20 million times. I’ve sent them tens of thousands of visitors and have been responsible for thousands of sign ups. I cannot even begin to imaging how much money those signups have made AdSense – yet today they’re telling me that they don’t feel that that kind of evangelism for them is worthwhile paying for?
I can understand the reasoning for changing payment levels if they are not converting well for AdSense, but to exclude publishers from promoting them based upon the location of the publisher is simply dumb.
AdSense – this is short sighted, this will cost you money, this is stupid.
PS: The last line of the post on the AdSense blog which announces this shows just how out of touch the team that made this decision are with international publishers.
“We appreciate your support of this referral product, and hope it won’t cause you any inconvenience.”
You hope it won’t cause inconvenience? Are you serious?
Shoemoney joins the conversation with AdSense Slaps Foreign Webmasters in the Face
Update: I’m still a little confused by this decision of AdSense and have been wondering what’s behind it. One that comes to mind is that perhaps they have an oversupply of publishers and need to slow down the intake of new ones. Perhaps with the rise of so many other ad networks advertisers are finding other options to advertise with and going with AdWords less – causing an oversupply of publishers.
Not sure on that one – just the beginning of an idea.
Update 2: one thing I failed to point out in this post that Andy points out is that publishers that you’ve referred to Google in the last 180 days which are yet to make $100 will be switched to the new payout system at the end of the month. For example, if you referred someone 4 months ago who has made $99.99 as of the end of this month (when the changes come into effect) and who makes makes another cent the day after taking them up to $100 – you will only get the $100 payout instead of a $250 one. Of course that is if you live in the ‘golden zones’ of the Americas and Japan.
So for ‘international’ publishers – every person that you and I have sent to AdSense since the end of July last year that reaches a conversion point in the coming months will earn us nothing at all.