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Google Quietly Closes AdSense API to Small Sites

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the raising-the-bar dept.

Google 56

NewsCloud writes "Google has raised the required minimum traffic limit for publishers who wish to use its AdSense API to 100,000 page views per day. The AdSense API was introduced in March as a way for sites with user generated content to share advertising revenue with their members. Says Google, "This policy change will probably result in fewer developers going live and give us a chance to enhance our support resources and processes to more easily support a greater number of developers in the future...we hope to be able to lower it in the future as we become more efficient at supporting our developers!" Meanwhile, some publishers report waiting a month for their API usage to be approved. I take Google at its word for now but worry that small developers could be increasingly squeezed out of the mashup space if this were to become a trend."

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The Road (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20612753)

Further down the Evil road everyday...

Re:The Road (4, Interesting)

synx (29979) | more than 7 years ago | (#20612779)

Maintaining a high level of customer service is an admirable goal. Why is this "evil"? Note, this isn't closing _adsense_ but the Adsense API.

Re:The Road (-1, Offtopic)

Whammy666 (589169) | more than 7 years ago | (#20612957)

Who cares. I have adsense blocked anyway.

Re:The Road (4, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#20613351)

Maintaining a high level of customer service is an admirable goal. Why is this "evil"? Note, this isn't closing _adsense_ but the Adsense API.

Google should hire you as their Chief Newspeak Officer.

Re:The Road (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20616935)

It was reported here that sites have been waiting up to a month or more to be approved, activated or whatever. This would seem to make viable an assumption of limited capacity on their end to serve new signups.

If the number of sites signing up per month is X, while they only have the capacity to include the smaller number Y, then it would make sense to either hire more people or find some way to reduce X to the level of Y. Assuming they are not hiring people, what's the best way of reducing X? Setting a limit on site views seems to be rather optimal - you get only the bigger sites, but also more professional and experienced hosts as counterparts. I don't see their way out as evil.

FIX YOUR RSS FEED (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20613039)

FIX IT FIX IT FIX IT FIX IT
fix it. Fix it. fix it. Fix it.
fix it fix it fix it fix it fix it.

It's been about 10 stories behind and it's annoying the SHIT out of us RSS regulars.

Re:FIX YOUR RSS FEED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20615123)

Agreed

Competition (4, Interesting)

biocute (936687) | more than 7 years ago | (#20612771)

Is there any competition to capture this <100K market?

Anyway, site developers can still share profits with contributing users, it's just less transparent and more tedious to work out the portions.

Competition-Pie Slices. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20612855)

"Anyway, site developers can still share profits with contributing users, it's just less transparent and more tedious to work out the portions."

Anyone who can read the server logs and contributors list can figure it all out.

Re:Competition (3, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 7 years ago | (#20613131)

Yeah, this is a non-story. As far as I can see, it just means the accounting burden shifts to the customer, right?

Re:Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20614451)

Yes, but then you have to trust the site owners. What's stopping them from hiding the true number of users? And since the ad changes to match the content, you can't just divide the shares equally amoung the creators.

If an article gets 10.000 hits, it might have generated less income than an article that generated 7.000 hits, because the article contained keywords that generated more attractive ads.

That's why you need to get the numbers directly from the source.

Re:Competition (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 7 years ago | (#20618199)

Yes, but then you have to trust the site owners.

Or you could switch to a more co-operative business model. I see this as a trend to watch.

Re:Competition (1)

xnickmx (628586) | more than 7 years ago | (#20642541)

non-story? Uh not quite. Google does a tremendous amount for the site owner: tracks the clicks (not all clicks pay out at the same rate, site owner doesn't know how much each click is worth) Google sends out the checks (prints them out, mails them and I believe takes care of W2s or 1040s) Google is trusted broker. It's a big issue to get customers to trust some small site to pay them the correct amount.

Re:Competition (1)

kc-guy (1108521) | more than 7 years ago | (#20619367)

Competition?
I worked for http://www.enhance.com/ [enhance.com] a while back. The sell PPC advertising on junk search engines. Not quite the same thing, and much lower click-through than Google or Overture...but a possible alternative to the newly alienated market.

Why ... Google? Why? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20612817)

Ask Slashdot:Why does Google hate their AdSense costumers?

Not ready for prime time? (4, Insightful)

Vlaadimir (1146843) | more than 7 years ago | (#20612873)

This just shows that the AdSense network is not robust enough to handle the amount of users that wanted to participate. By limiting the program to users that have high volume, they maximize profit. This allows that devision of Google to fund R&D on how to improve the network to include more participants. This just appears to be an issues of cost.

Re:Not ready for prime time? (0, Troll)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 7 years ago | (#20613205)

But they can turn right around and blow a few million on a landing strip for their personal jets [slashdot.org] . Yeah Google is really short on cash.

Re:Not ready for prime time? (3, Informative)

king-manic (409855) | more than 7 years ago | (#20613823)

But they can turn right around and blow a few million on a landing strip for their personal jets. Yeah Google is really short on cash.

You are aware that wasn't "Google" funded. It was the personal funds of the founders. The jets as well. Or should all CEO's limit themselves from spending their personal bank roll?

Re:Not ready for prime time? (1)

muridae (966931) | more than 7 years ago | (#20613223)

This just shows that the AdSense network is not robust enough to handle

No, it doesn't. It shows that Google doesn't want to spend money supporting the API for use by small companies. AdSense is still available to small web pages.

Re:Not ready for prime time? (3, Informative)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#20613561)

Its not Adsense. Its a special form of adsense which would probably only be useful for larger sites anyway.

Basically its revenue sharing where you can share a % of your profit with your users.
Thats all they have limited.

How much of AdSense Ads are Scam? (1)

Via_Patrino (702161) | more than 7 years ago | (#20616099)

How much of AdSense Ads are Scam?

I'm not talking of the kind of scam that you pay but don't receive. Put those products that promise solutions they don't or only partially provide.

Or silly, poorly made products, where most of investment in the product is buying adwords.

Look the ads Google put on your site. Would they be approved by your advertisement editorial team? Do they make your site less credible? Do they lower the value of your ad space?

Google technology so far is much more focused on being popular, not on quality.

That was good when search algorithms where just about "number of words" and other easily burled techniques. But Google grew up only in size, it keeps applying the same "popular principle" to everything.

If it draws people attention it's good.

For adsense, the good websites are those that just attract people, specially the kind of people that are easily manipulated, those likely to believe on something by just "two lines of text", at least to believe enough to click on them and generate revenue.

People which are "smart" enough to manipulate other people into clicking in their ads, and eventually buying their products, are considered good partners by Google, at least until those partners disappear with their bad products and someone else fit their shoes.

This generally low quality reduce the value of advertisement at all, and so reduce content generator's revenue.

Google doesn't care because it can scale those pennies and attract new people to that model (either scammertisements and content generators).

Soon it will affect the websites themselves. If the ads of a website are bad people will consider the whole experience equally bad and won't visit those websites anymore. If they need some info they won't visit a specialized website anymore. Who they will visit? Google.

Who will show the advertisement on the first line of the search results, bypassing that once credible specialized website.

I wonder how many people who do somehow commercial related searches click on the ads before clicking on the actual search results? Google obviously won't say the numbers, but I wouldn't be surprised if that number is over 50%.

Google, the popular shallow culture to the Internet.

Re:How much of AdSense Ads are Scam? (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 7 years ago | (#20618375)

Adsense ads on my site are usually quite relevant and legitimate. I have a blog with some tech stuff, some personal stuff, and a large photo gallery from sci-fi and anime conventions. The tech stuff tends to get mediocre-and-higher store links, and the photo gallery (when its properly tagged) usually gets ads for costume stores and comic dealers.

So.... (0, Troll)

Orthuberra (1145497) | more than 7 years ago | (#20612931)

When is Google gonna have a "We're officially evil!" press release?
Sorry for the troll, can't help it.

Slashdot quietly supports blogspam (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20612945)

Stories submitted by user NewsCloud:
  Spotlight on Facebook Groups Affects Microsoft http://jeff.newscloud.com/2007/09/06/microsoft-digital-advertising-placing-ads-on-facebook-hate-groups/ [newscloud.com]
  Facebook Exposes Advertisers To Hate Speech
http://jeff.newscloud.com/2007/09/03/facebook-brand-left-to-mercy-of-hate-groups/ [newscloud.com]
  Facebook Apps Facing Delays and Uncertainties
http://www.idealog.us/2007/06/thanks_for_deve.html [idealog.us]

idealog = personal spamblog, newscloud = spam blog, whom Google undoubtedly denied AdSense API access

Re:Slashdot quietly supports blogspam (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 7 years ago | (#20613515)

I quite honestly fail to see what makes any of these stories invalid, except possibly the one about the hate-speech groups. Care to elaborate? I personally think three out of those four are very interesting, newsworthy stories.

Re:Slashdot quietly supports blogspam (4, Interesting)

klenwell (960296) | more than 7 years ago | (#20613603)

Google does in various ways, too. I run a couple adword campaigns for fun (bids all under 5 cents) and the only place where my ads show up as I far as I can tell are weird site like this:

http://icanhascheezburer.com/ [icanhascheezburer.com]

Ok, not blogspam, but a linkfarm. But wouldn't be surprised if Google run a few hundred thousand spam blogs, too. (After all, they do own Blogger which, as much as I like it, is from a certain perspective little more than an extensive backwater of blogspam.)

In response to an email I sent them, a Google rep acknowledged these are Google sites. Fine, they provide an advertising space for cheapskates like me who wish to pay 2 cents a click. But I found it interesting that they don't identify these as Google-run sites, or even put the usual 'Ads by Google' tag with the ad blocks. And as their response shows, they don't make it exactly easy to disassociate yourself from this stuff if you're running a budget campaign:

Thank you for your email. I apologize for the delay in responding to your email. Please note that the site icanhascheezburer.com is not necessarily a link farm. This website is a part of our AdSense for domains program. AdSense for domains allows domain name registrars and large domain name holders to display AdWords ads on their websites. AdSense for domains delivers targeted, conceptually related advertisements to parked domain pages by using Google's semantic technology to analyze and understand the meaning of the domain names. Note that ads shown on an an AdSense for domain site need not display the 'ads by Google' label. Ads on such sites only display the 'Sponsored links' label.

Please be assured that parked domain sites are included in the Google Network because of the value they add to both users and advertisers. Our internal data show that parked domain sites typically convert at rates equal to that of search and content pages.

We do realize that advertisers may not want their ads to show on such sites. Please note that turning off the Content Network will cause your ad to stop showing on all the sites on the Content Network including AdSense for domains.


Not sure if the API gives you any finer control over where your ads appear, but if it did, one effect of removing it from small advertisers might be consigning their ads to more wastelands like this.

Re:Slashdot quietly supports blogspam (3, Informative)

klenwell (960296) | more than 7 years ago | (#20613657)

Whoops. Just noticed that this story was about AdSense, not AdWords, so strike the last comment about how this affects small advertisers.

That it's adsense make me wonder if this isn't really a measure designed to control or attack people abusing the API to propagate things like blogspam and link farms. It doesn't make sense to me that Google wouldn't really be able to accommodate smaller publishers since I'd guess that the majority of API resource usage is concentrated among the largest qualifying publishers.

Anonymous Coward = Mark Zuckerberg? (2, Informative)

newscloud (1037538) | more than 7 years ago | (#20613983)

Why just complain about my Facebook posts? You don't seem to have a problem with: Looking Into Mozilla's Financial Success [slashdot.org] , Gates Foundation Revokes Pledge to Review Portfolio [slashdot.org] and Moglen on Social Justice and OSS [slashdot.org] . It's not like the NewsCloud logo is all stealth on my blog :)

Step in the right direction? (1)

Thyrteen (1084963) | more than 7 years ago | (#20612969)

Personally, I'm kind of tired of seeing those ads everywhere I go :) Maybe it'll cut down some load time for the remaining ones as they save some bandwidth as well.

Re:Step in the right direction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20613219)

You need to learn about good firefox addons, try Flashblock, NoScript, and QuickJava

Synergistic Web 2.0 Blogosphere Jargon (0)

fosterNutrition (953798) | more than 7 years ago | (#20613051)

I take Google at its word for now but worry that small developers could be increasingly squeezed out of the mashup space if this were to become a trend.
That sentence is like some sort of a highly refined concentrate of dumb. The Google trusting isn't really that bad (although I don't think they deserve it) but "squeezed out of the mashup space" ?? Remember, web 2.0 is only... http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/11/11/web_two_point_naught_answers/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:Synergistic Web 2.0 Blogosphere Jargon (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 7 years ago | (#20614345)

Everyone knows that mashed potato, when squeezed, moves *out* of a sieve. It's really quite simple.

100,000 pageviews (3, Interesting)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 7 years ago | (#20613233)

100,000 pageviews a day may seem small in comparison to some sites on the web, but that actually limits the number of sites to only a few thousand. I run a site that gets roughly 50,000 pageviews a day, and also ranks in the top 50,000 sites on alexa.com. If pageviews across sites are skewed exponentially towards the busiest sites, that means that roughly 10,000 or less sites are eligible to participate. Interesting.

Re:100,000 pageviews (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 7 years ago | (#20613847)

, and also ranks in the top 50,000 sites on alexa.com

Alexa.com is a website that aggregates data from their spy ware tool. So it heavily skews their information to the technically incompetent/ windows pc users. Thus slashdot is severely under represented as are many geek sites such as ars technica and so on. Are you aware of any more accurate tools? sometimes I'd like to know data for these sites.

Re:100,000 pageviews (1)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 7 years ago | (#20614217)

Especially IE/Win users. Unfortunately, I know of no other similar tools.

Re:100,000 pageviews (1, Interesting)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 7 years ago | (#20614515)

People who watch their privacy and block counters,don't install toolbars are making an intelligent choice, but they remove themself from statistics.It has some disadvantages on the
scale of entire internet.
See, people base popularity on the statistics,
and having these statistics requires to users to give up some of the privacy.Examples:
How many Linux users are there?>>
Does our company needs to develop for them?
Is this site really popular? >>Whats its pageviews in alexa?
My statistics webcounter shows that absolute majority of customers are using windows XP with Internet Explorer.>>why should i support other browsers?

If any of these queries are answered,the answer comes from statistics.Not from anything,else.Surveys,Polls and other methods which require participation aren't reliable enough for most people(as the results can be skewed by interested parties).
Linux users,and people who use more secure browsers,are more concerned about these issues: the statistics are biased against them.

Re:100,000 pageviews (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 7 years ago | (#20616049)

Surveys, Polls and other methods which require participation aren't reliable enough for most people (as the results can be skewed by interested parties).

1) How is installing a piece of software not participation and how is — contrary to your argument — a skew avoided?
2) Surveys, Polls and other methods (given proper sampling/sample size) are skewed on principle because only specific subpopulations agree to participate (not, e.g., because Coke has a vested interest in not knowing how many people drink Pepsi how often and when and where because they do not like the fact).

CC.

Re:100,000 pageviews (1)

hankwang (413283) | more than 7 years ago | (#20614495)

Alexa.com is a website that aggregates data from their spy ware tool. So it heavily skews their information to the technically incompetent/ windows pc users.

That effect is offset by technically oriented website owners who are interested in how their site is doing compared to the competition, and technically oriented people who are more interested in statistics anyway. My own website has a part that attracts mostly nontechnical people (85/11% IE vs FF browsers) and a part aimed at technical people (48/41% IE). The nontechnical site gets 10x more page views than the technical site, but according to Alexa, the ratio is more like 2:1.

Re:100,000 pageviews (1)

Heddahenrik (902008) | more than 7 years ago | (#20616347)

Your Alexa-rating is bullshit. Elfpack [elfpack.com] has Alexa's bullshit traffic rating 124,533 while it has over 40 000 page views per day. And while more than 90% of the users are from the English speaking world, Alexa says most of the viewers comes from a few Arabic countries.

They screw the smaller ones anyway (4, Interesting)

DreamerFi (78710) | more than 7 years ago | (#20613767)

Every single smaller advertiser I know that has attempted to get some money through advertising for google had their account yanked a few weeks before it reached the point where google actually had to pay something. Every single one. And always without any way to challenge the yanking, as in "we detected click-fraud and YOU have to prove we're wrong, but we won't show you anything that may help you".

Guess who's permanently in my adblock filter?

Re:They screw the smaller ones anyway (2, Insightful)

emurphy42 (631808) | more than 7 years ago | (#20613881)

As I understand it, anyone worried about that could force an early pay-out by closing their account (and then opening a new one if they decide it's worth continuing after all).

Google AdSense has always paid regularly... (2, Informative)

newscloud (1037538) | more than 7 years ago | (#20614057)

I've never had any problem with ad revenue and payments. Just my experience...

Re:They screw the smaller ones anyway (0, Troll)

tedivm (942879) | more than 7 years ago | (#20614063)

I can vouch for this- a few years ago I decided to try ads on my site. I specifically told people not to just click ads, but to just view the ones they actually wanted to see. I didn't get that many clicks, and so it took a few months before I could get a payout. Then, right before I was going to get a payout, which was the money I was hoping to use to buy school books, I get this email about click fraud and that they were closing the account and zeroing out the balance. The problem is that Google caters to the people who pay them, not the people they pay- and now they're being even more blatant with it. This is pretty shortsighted since its going to drive smaller websites away from the program, and those smaller websites make up a good portion of the web.

Re:They screw the smaller ones anyway (1)

jsight (8987) | more than 7 years ago | (#20616279)

I specifically told people not to just click ads, but to just view the ones they actually wanted to see.


If you put a statement to that effect on your website, then you were violating the google terms of service.

Re:They screw the smaller ones anyway (1)

emurphy42 (631808) | more than 7 years ago | (#20618639)

Specifically, this section of the ToS [google.com]

5. Prohibited Uses. You shall not, and shall not authorize or encourage any third party to: (i) directly or indirectly generate queries, Referral Events, or impressions of or clicks on any Ad, Link, Search Result, or Referral Button through any automated, deceptive, fraudulent or other invalid means, including but not limited to through repeated manual clicks, the use of robots or other automated query tools and/or computer generated search requests, and/or the unauthorized use of other search engine optimization services and/or software;

Re:They screw the smaller ones anyway (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 7 years ago | (#20617425)

I've held a google adsense cheque in my hands. So it's not impossible. Now get out there and Live The Dream! ;-)

(And, seriously, adblock *your own* google ads on *your own* site, it just makes sense. I tend to block all of them, everywhere, even my own site, though. :))

Re:They screw the smaller ones anyway (1)

xnickmx (628586) | more than 7 years ago | (#20642619)

I've never had any problem with AdSense paying out on a site that I help with. It typically get 3000-5000 hits a day and the Google checks arrive regularly.

I had to laugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20614277)

So according to the person who wrote the title, we should believe that a website with 90,000 page views a day is a "small" site. I had a good laugh when I read that.

this is to shut down the stupid search sites (1)

Dr. Tom (23206) | more than 7 years ago | (#20615235)

I hate those stupid autogenerated search sites that do nothing more than come up with ads for your keywords, they get put up all over the place. I hope this kills them.

When I joined slashdot... (1)

gillbates (106458) | more than 7 years ago | (#20615293)

They wouldn't have qualified. And my id is not that low.

It seems that Google wants the startups to go with someone, or rather, something else - which is not a bad idea until you consider the fact this practice will eventually cut Google out of a large portion of the market. Why would a well-established website, with its own marketing staff, cater to Google? Once you've hired marketing staff (as opposed to just using Google), there's going to be a resistance to change. Sure, you can fire them, but I'm thinking that ~100,000 views/day point, the operation is still on first-name-basis scale, and nobody likes firing their friends.

Everybody starts small.

I run a number of small websites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20616899)

and together I earn from them around $300/month, after expenses. What I've noticed is that if you start doing well, Google Adsense knocks you down to where you can't do well at all. I had a string of months where I was bringing in about $1000/month and then there was an immediate and shocking drop in revenue on May 30 of this year. I put in an extreme amount of effort bringing up the quality of the sites and making sure I offered something decent for the visitors. I was getting many repeat visitors direct to the sites, so obviously what I had was valuable to them. However, Google dropped my search ranking and dropped the amount I was earning per click for no apparent reason. At the same time, a direct competitor in the market suddenly zoomed up and got one of the special multi-link first result entries, at the same time they clearly bought a bunch of AdWords. Don't believe that Google's search results are spam-free. People who spend lots on AdWords gravitate to the top of the search results, without providing better content to the actual visitor. I admit I'm a fan of many things that Google has done for the internet, but clearly their advertising systems are not run with a philosophy of helping the 'little guy with good content'. It's all dedicated to bringing in smaller numbers of large chunks of money rather than larger numbers of small amounts. Even if the final dollar total is the same, they know which is easier to manage within their systems and will accomodate. In reality, Google is helping the internet become what the largest corporations want...pablum for the masses with very few popular websites and no way for lone inventors to rise up. Kinda like radio and TV progressed before the present.

Re:I run a number of small websites (1)

clayne (1006589) | more than 7 years ago | (#20622829)

This comment is on the money.

Re:I run a number of small websites (1)

hords (619030) | more than 7 years ago | (#20627931)

I have three friends using adsense making $6000, $10000 and $12000 a month mainly off one website each. They don't use adwords to bring traffic in. I would consider them the 'little guys' since they created and run the website on their own. It took each one of them about 2 years to really get good money, but it's possible.

How does this affect Apple's iWeb? (1)

Killer Eye (3711) | more than 7 years ago | (#20617209)

One of the features of Apple's new iWeb release is AdSense: http://www.apple.com/ilife/iweb/#google [apple.com]

But, this program is surely targeted toward the average person's boring blog, not something that would generate significant traffic. So, is the feature just broken for them now?

Developer != Publisher (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20618207)

Slashdot (and Idealog) has this incredibly wrong:

Publishers and Developers in the AdSense API are different beasts. Developers are people like hosting companies, publishers are the people who run the actual sites. The API was created so that hosts could implement their own version of AdSense which their users (the publishers) could use instead of going direct through the primary AdSense pages. The hosting group (developers) get a cut of the revenue from page views and referrals, the users get the rest.

Essentially, this lets hosts force users to go through them to use AdSense.

While many websites don't pull 100k PVs/day, if you're a host you generally should be able to have 100k PVs/day for all sites under your umbrella. So in reality, this will only affect really, really small hosting resellers who somehow have the resources to implement the API before they even have a decent userbase. This makes sense for Google, as their process for approving Developers to go live (their sandbox will work if you are not live, but Google must approve your implementation before you can use the actual AdSense servers) is not quick or easy. They spend the time to ensure that your implementation is up to snuff and secure.

So this would be news if the publishers had to all have 100k PVs to get AdSense, but it's a non-story since it's the developers/hosts.
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