Which AdSense Rectangle Ad Performs Best?

Here’s a quick AdSense tip that could make you some good money.

AdSense offers two rectangle ad unit sizes – 300×250 pixels and 336×280 pixels.

inline_rectangle.gif 336x280.gif

These are both great ad units to use on your blog because they are not only available as text based ads but also image and video ones. Setting your ad units to show all formats of ads increases the potential number of advertisers that will ‘bid’ for your ad unit which drives up the potential CPM of the unit.

So which is best – 300×250 or 336×280?

One might think that the larger the ad the better it’s earnings will be – I mean having more of your screen real-estate dedicated to an ad increases the chances of it being clicked doesn’t it?As a result many bloggers go for the 336×280 ad.

However it can be well worth your while to test both ad unit sizes because there’s a good reason why the smaller ad unit can perform better for you – it’s more popular with advertisers.

336×280 might be bigger and increase the chances of being noticed – but 300×250 pixel ad units are more popular with advertisers wanting to run image/banner ads. It’s a standard size that many of them (particularly larger advertisers) produce (along with 728×90 sized ads) for online advertising. I spoke to one advertising agency representative recently who says that they’ve never made a 336×280 ad for any of their mainstream advertisers.

Split Test Your Ad Units

Of course it’s worth keeping in mind my regular advice of ‘ever blog is different’. I do have one blog where the larger rectangle ad unit out performs the smaller one. This blog doesn’t attract many image ads for some reason (I think it’s because it has a more local market with less advertisers) and the larger format works better for it with text ads. The moral to the story is to test both ad units and go with the best performing one.

AdSense for Video Goes into Beta Testing

I’m literally running out the door for a week’s vacation but the news broke last night that AdSense for Video has finally come out of it’s initial pilot testing into a wider beta test. You can read about it on the AdSense blog or check out an overview of it with this video.

Keep in mind – these are not video ads – but ads that become embedded in video that you show on your blog.

At this point it’s a US publisher only test (grrrr) but I’m assured that other parts of the world will come into the program at some point (I got the sense it wouldn’t be too long). There’s more information on the blog or here on their Video Advertising Solutions page.

Summary of New Changes to AdSense Referrals Programs

My last post love letter to AdSense shared some of the latest news to come out of AdSense regarding their referrals program – but there are more changes announced. Let me share them here:

  1. All publishers may now participate in AdSense referrals regardless of their own location. Now you’ll only earn commission if those you refer come from North America, Latin America and Japan.
  2. The commission paid will be $100 when the publisher you refer makes $100 in their first 180 days (there is no more $5 or $250 payments and no more $2000 bonus)
  3. There have been some publishers who can’t see any referral earnings in their reports – this is a glitch and will be fixed
  4. Publishers using the ‘Google Pack’ referral program will only earn $1 per referral (previously it was $2) as of the third week of February
  5. Publishers using the Firefox referrals program to China will see reductions in payments (this won’t impact anyone you refer who is from outside of China).

Dear AdSense, You Heard My Pleas – Another Open Letter to AdSense

Earlier in the week AdSense confirmed that they would no longer accept publishers into their AdSense referral system (the program where they earn commissions by recommending AdSense) that lived outside of North America, Latin America or Japan. I (and other bloggers) wrote expressing our disappointment and pointing out problems with this post.

Today AdSense have announced that they’ve re-thought their approach and will now allow all publishers to participate – but will only pay commissions based upon the location of the publishers that they refer.

While this will still mean a reduction in commissions for those referring AdSense new publishers – it seems a more logical decision to me.

As I previously wrote an open letter about my ‘broken heart’ over their last decision – I thought I’d send them another today.

Dearest AdSense,

When I wrote to you to tell you of the way that you broke my heart earlier in the week I must admit that I thought my cries of despair might fall on deaf ears and that you’d toss my note aside. I know how much correspondence from lovers (and ex-lovers) you must get.

Yet yesterday when you called to say that you got my note and that my declaration of love for you had caused you to rethink your decision…. my heart did leap with joy.

Today you’ve posted a note of your own – on your blog. You say that you’ve rethought your decision to end your affair with those of us who live outside of your backyard and that you’ll continue to accept (and reward) some of the gifts of traffic that we send to you.

Instead of rejecting the advances of lovers based upon their location – you’ll look at the quality of the gifts (traffic) that we send and make a call on whether we’ll be rewarded based upon that.

While I’m still sad to know that not all of my gifts are valuable in your eyes – this change of heart is one that makes a little more sense to me and I respect that you’ve been willing to rethink the relationship that we have.

With Valentines Day approaching hopefully our gifts to one another will continue to bring happiness to all.

Thank you

Darren Rowse

Image by Darwin Bell

Dear AdSense, You Broke My Heart – An Open Letter to AdSense

Broken-HeartAdSense have sent publishers using the AdSense referral program who live outside of the US, Canada and Japan an email confirming that the program will be retired as of 31 January (published below). The email came from a ‘noreply’ email address – so publishers have no way of feeding back their response.

As a result I’ve decided to reply here with an Open Letter to AdSense regarding their ‘Dear John’ (breakup) letter to me. I hope you’ll indulge me while I seek a little public therapeutic release.

update – it seems AdSense read this post and had a change of heart. You can see my 2nd ‘love letter’ to AdSense here.

Dearest AdSense,

I was sorry to receive your letter today which confirmed what I’d been hearing about our relationship – ie that you don’t want to see me (or my traffic) any more.

I still remember the time you began to flirt with me. It was in February 2005 when you announced a new product – a ‘referral program’ that offered to publishers like me gifts when they sent a new customer to you. You took my breath away with the idea but as your eyes passed over me back then for not living in a place that you desired your lover to live I was saddened. I wondered why me not living across your back fence worried you so much when my traffic was mainly local to you – but I lived in hope that you’d look upon me some day.

It wasn’t like I’d have to do anything that I wasn’t already doing. I’d had a crush on your for years already and was already telling the world of how great I thought you were!

All my wishes came true on November 2005 – when your previous flirtations went a step further and we stepped out on our first date.

At first I was cautious – but when you held me in your arms and whispered sweet promises of what we could be I leapt in. I’m a little ashamed to say it – but we did more than kiss on our first date – I began to send you traffic on that first day – 17 visitors to your site and 1 ‘conversion’ – a small but significant (at least for me) token of my love for you.

It wasn’t until February 2006 that you reciprocated my love for you. I’d been sending ‘gifts’ in the shape of readers to you for months to no avail – but 2 days after Valentines day you uttered the words I’d been longing to hear…. ‘here’s 100 big ones baby’.

In May you said it again and then in June twice more. Your calls were coming with more and more frequency and I began to see more potential in our relationship.

In February 2006 you became more generous with your promises – extending the period of time that you’d accept referrals from 90 to 180 days. You added new features and designs – making it easier for me to tell everyone of you.

In October you did the unthinkable and called twice in the one day and I could hardly contain my excitement.


All the while I was telling the world of my admiration and love for you. I gave them tips on how they too could be your lover, sharing the secret insights on how you worked (things I could have kept to myself), I defended you when you seemed distant from them and I continued to send you more and more gifts.

I even set up a permanent place on my blog proclaiming my love for you as well as a whole category (with over 450 posts) on my blog dedicated to breaking your news, sharing tips on how to work with you better and encouraging people to check you out – it’s the most popular category on my blog. Sure I did this partly because I wanted to win your favor and get the gifts you promised – but it was also partly because I believed in you and appreciated what you’d done for me and others like me.

In February of last year you again whispered sweet nothings in my ear and generously updated your promises to me. You gave more incentive to send you smaller lovers to you but also dangled a large reward before me to send more and more lovers your way.

I increased my efforts to please you and the results were amazing.

You began to call and say the words that I loved to hear (‘here’s 5 big ones’ or ‘here’s 250 big ones baby’) more and more. There were weeks when you called almost everyday and I began to wonder where all of this was leading!

As someone so loyal to you I had half wondered if there might be special privileges one day set aside for me. I’d heard of others who’d been given more personal attention and who had been invited to get access to your palace…. perhaps one day you’d notice the efforts that I’d put in to win your affection and build something that you might find worthy of acknowledgement….

Sure I’ve taken other lovers at times. You might not want to hear it but seeing as we’re being hones, some of them even even were more generous than you in what they offered me – however you were my first love and I’ve always had a special place in my heart for you and so despite your gifts being a little small in the size department I continued to proclaim my love for you.

The big ‘reward‘ for sending many lovers in a 180 day period has been so tantalizingly close over the past few months. Surely you’ve noticed how hard I’ve been working to share with the world my love for you.

And then last week I began to hear rumors about you. People began to say that you’d changed – that something was wrong. The news began to filter out and then you broke the news on your blog. Oh I wish I’d heard it directly from you so that we could talk about it – but I guess you wanted everyone to know at once.

It seems that the gifts that I send you are not of the type that I want – for some reason because of where I live. Once again the fact that I’m not living over your back fence seems to be something you can’t get over.

The gifts I send you are largely local to you, I’ve sent thousands of them over the last two and a half years. While I’m sure others have sent more – I know that many hundreds of them have converted for you. You’ve taken thousands of lovers upon my recommendation.

When I heard the news late last week I was shocked. Then I was hurt. Then I felt taken for granted. Then I felt insulted. Then I was angry.

I got lots of sympathy from others about it – but it seems my that nothing has changed in your mind because today I received your letter.

  • You are still hung up on my location – despite my relevant traffic and audience who lives in your backyard.
  • You say that the gifts I sent you that still convert in the next 180 will no longer count after 31 January. You will profit from our relationship for many years – yet you cut me off with 3 weeks notice.
  • You apologize for my inconvenience again but your apology feels empty after years of me declaring my love for you.

You seem to want to remain friends – your letter suggests that other programs might convert better for someone in my ‘region’ – but you don’t seem to understand that I don’t want to dance with others.

Those other programs have no relevance to my audience – and to be honest I’ve never had gifts from any of them. You’re the only one for me – or so I thought.

I’m sorry to see our relationship end. I’ve danced publicly with and for you for years and now this – a slap in the face.

The time has come for the dancing to stop. I don’t want it to – you see I think you’re really great. But unrequited love has a habit of turning ugly in time – so it’s probably best I step away from the dance floor like you’ve asked me to.

I’ll still talk about you – after all I want to help my readers and continue to provide relevant information for them – but I can’t guarantee quite the same warmth in my voice when I do while I’m feeling like I do. That’s not a threat – it’s just the way life is when you break up I guess.

I’m not sure what else to say. I know there’s little that I can do to change your mind – but I guess I wanted you to know how I feel. I do look back on some of the times we’ve had with fondness – but I guess it’s time to say goodbye.

Darren Rowse

Thanks to directeur from for the help with the image.

Following is the email sent by AdSense to ‘international’ publishers earlier today:


We are writing to share some important information with you about
referrals to the AdSense product. As part of ongoing efforts to
optimize revenue opportunities for our publishers, we’re
constantly experimenting with new revenue-enhancing features as
well as tweaking those products already available to our
publishers. This is the case for referral units directing visitors
to sign up for AdSense. After experimenting with this program
over the past year, we’ve concluded that there are other products
that are of higher value than this program to publishers in your
region. As a result, referral units for the AdSense program will
be retired in the coming weeks. Referrals to other products and
services remain unaffected.

If you’re currently displaying referral units on your site
directing users to sign up for AdSense, read on below for details
about what to expect in the coming weeks.

In early January, the option to add referral units directing users
to the AdSense product will no longer appear in your account. You
will continue to accrue earnings for all existing referrals yet to
generate $100 until late January, at which point the program will
be fully retired. Existing referral units will continue to appear
on your pages.

By the end of January, you should remove all referral units
directing users to AdSense from your pages. Referral units
that you do not remove will continue to be displayed on your pages
as normal, but conversions will no longer be recorded. We
suggest you replace the AdSense referrals with referrals to
another product or service or an additional ad unit.

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.

AdSense Fix Inverted Exchange Rate Problem for Australian and New Zealand Publishers

Earlier in the week it was revealed that AdSense had made a mistake in calculating payments to some non US publishers. It seems that the problem was localized here in Australia and New Zealand and that Google inverted the exchange rate that they used to calculate how much publishers would be paid in their local currency.

Yesterday I chatted to an AdSense Australia rep about the problem and she told me that today AdSense will begin to advise publishers of the mistake and their plans to fix the problem. They’re sending the following email to publishers impacted by the mistake:

Happy New Year! We hope you had a wonderful holiday season.

It appears that the November payment you received was calculated using an inverted exchange rate. We’d like to let you know that you’ll be receiving an additional payment using the correct exchange rate to make up the difference. This payment will be issued to your bank account this week and we expect that you’ll receive it by Monday, January 7, 2008 if not sooner.

We apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. Please let us know if you have any questions.

AdSense Apply Wrong Exchange Rate to November Earnings

If you’re an AdSense publisher who gets paid in your own local currency it might be worth checking your payment reports today because I’ve heard from two different publishers who are reporting that the exchange rate application is wrong. I just checked mine and it’s out also.

It seems that they’ve converted money the wrong way around for earnings for the month of November.

So instead of converting the earnings from USD to AUD in my case – they’ve taken the USD figure and converted it as though it was an AUD figure being converted into USD. I’m not going to give my exact figures – but here’s someone else’s figures:

Earnings in USD – $103.06
Exchange Rate – 0.867 : 1
Earnings in AUD – $89.40

The problem is that they’ve applied the wrong exchange rate – it should be something close to 1.144 : 1 (that’s last month’s rate) and the earnings should be around $117AUD.

While in the case mentioned above the difference is just a few dollars if you multiply the earnings into higher rates (mine are in the five figures per month range) the difference is significant (I’m thousands out).

I have no doubt that AdSense will fix this mistake – but it has thrown a few publishers into a spin today.

Thanks to Mauricio from Geekzone for the heads up on this one.

Update: if you’ve got the same problem let us know in comments below. You might also want to email AdSense on adsense-support @

Update 2: Looks like others have the same problem in the AdSense forums

Update 3: so far I’m just seeing this reported by Australian and New Zealand publishers. Any others have the same issue in a different currency?

Update 4: I’ve had an email from AdSense in the last few minutes to let me know that they are now aware of the problem and are in the process of resolving the issue.

Financial Blogger Abandons AdSense

There’s an interesting post over at The Simple Dollar titled – Why I’ve Decided To Abandon (Virtually All) Ads On The Simple Dollar. The post outlines Trent’s reasoning on why he’s taken AdSense off his blog – in short, the lack of control that the program gives him over who advertises on his blog.

While this problem will no doubt be helped by the recent introduction of an Ad Review center in AdSense – this only fixes part of the problem as it only gives you the opportunity to review those ads specifically targeted to your site and not those ads that AdSense just serves contextually from their non targeted pool of advertisers.

Thanks to Jeremy (no link supplied) for the heads up on this one.