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AdSense Change Rules – Stupidity Stupidity Stupidity

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.

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. Ramdayal says:

    I am also very much disappointed with the decision taken by google adsense team, their other referal products are not as much convertive as adsense, in last 4 months I have got good clicks and signups, but now all that for no use. its very sad.

  2. jansegers says:

    It seems to me that they’re risking a downward spiral.

    It’s a bit like Lego who’s policy to sell fewer and fewer plastic for more and more money, almost caused the complete abolishment of the company.

    Less referrals means less people engaged in the promulgation of Adsense.

    Pieter Jansegers

  3. stephanie says:

    BTW, I would encourage people to WRITE Google and complain. Snail mail, not just email. Here is the address:

    The Google AdSense Team
    Google Inc.
    1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
    Mountain View, CA 94043

  4. WTF
    they even took referral money i got from a referral Signed up 4 months go
    this is not fair

  5. PCNews says:

    CJ make similar move few months ago. referrals are no longer value for ads networks?

  6. And I thought it was the WORLD WIDE WEB, same for me, same for you, same for all. I have the Australian largest online WebSite- Directory.com.au never had much luck with AdSense referral, just upset about the new limitation and think it is very poor and unfair.

  7. Kevin Lam says:

    Hi Darren,

    I understand your frustration and that is unfair what Google is doing. I completely agree that it’s stupid how they could determine that they simply don’t need referral help from specific regions/countries. After all this time, effort and new members you’ve given to them, now they’ve practically given you the boot. I mean, what’s next?

  8. Anglictina says:

    This is horrible, i lost more money with this ****** *** change.

  9. Vanessa says:

    The U.S. considers the Internet to be theirs sharing it with the rest of the world. This may be about competition. Funny thing.

    One of my posts was not crawled by Googlebot and came back an error. It was a post about China being the second largest online community in the world. Oddly enough that was the only post it appears, that week that produced anything at all from AdSense for Content. It all sounds very fishy.

    The Internet is a global community and however diverse opinions and beliefs are, it is still global. It sounds like American politics to me.

    India has been having problems with this for years. I just made the decision as I updated and re-organized my site to place AdSense. It took me months to decide to finally do it. Now this. The only thing left to do is seek out other sources to offset this. Small publishers like me have fewer alternatives. Nevertheless, I do not believe it is hopeless, just another challenge.

    Its really ashame but no one here in the U.S. should be surprised I think.

  10. Fat Lester says:

    AdSense is a horrible decision for any small business and all but a few bloggers. This is especially true if you’re actually making money from it.

    There are several reasons why small companies should avoid doing business with Google at all costs:

    1. Google won’t talk to you. In fact, your company isn’t even important enough for them to provide you with a phone number.

    2. Google reserves the right to ban your account and keep all your earnings for any reason it sees fit and/or no reason at all.

    3. Google doesn’t differentiate between you fraudulently clicking your own ads and your competitors fraudulently clicking your own ads. In either case, your account will be banned and your money withheld – and that includes anything revenue generated by legitimate clicks.

  11. Lora says:

    I also blog ftom Greece and i Can’t add any refferal ads which target to us people to my blog.

    http://funnyhack.blogspot.com

  12. hot layouts says:

    Thank you for the update!

  13. Then new decision will reduce my earning as I have promoted referrals

  14. kinski says:

    Google is getting big and greedy like every other big company. The always pay may ad sense commission late. These days if you try to reach someone regarding this via e-mail good luck. Looks like the took out the customer care option, reducing staff??

  15. Adsense referrals are now hard to come by. However, a great idea is by creating your own adsense tutorial program.