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Oct 19, 2008

Two Ways Google Is Trying To Juice AdSense: Ad-Only Search Boxes And Syndication Pages

Ed: Confusion between efforts to increase the supply of ad pages versus click demand. 

Turning on ad units on maps, flash, video suggests shortage of supply where ad demand exists to increase revenues.

Using inventory to run generic Google search and link syndication suggests shortage of clicks. Getting more people to click increases revenues. 

In the recent quarterly report, the Google CFO claimed that we can sell every click. Thus, it's likely that these actions suggest shortage and possibly falling clicks - as reported.

Two Ways Google Is Trying To Juice AdSense: Ad-Only Search Boxes And Syndication Pages

Google turned in healthy third-quarter earnings largely thanks to the fact that Google is finally getting serious about cost containment. But that is only half the story. Going into the expected economic downturn, Google is now turning on every additional source of advertising revenues it can. For instance, so far earlier month it began offering AdSense in Flash games, new AdSense links at the bottom of Google Maps, and introduced click-to-buy buttons on YouTube videos. Now, it looks like it may be testing two more ways to juice those AdSense revenues: an AdSense search box and AdSense ads that link to syndication pages filled with . . . more AdSense ads!

Google might just be testing these, but these efforts are starting to get noticed. One reader who runs a site about Google Chrome, for instance, runs AdSense. But instead of a regular text ad, Google served up the search box at left, inviting people to search for specific ads. In effect, Google is saying, “We are not 100% sure what ads you’d like to see, so why don’t you just tell us?” An ad-only search box is a departure from Google’s past policy of showing the most relevant results, with ads on the side. Although it is clearly labeled, some people might still confuse the AdSense search box with a regular Web search box. Others might find it more helpful than the regular text ad links.

More troublesome is Google Syndication. Another reader, Michael Oxley, noticed that the AdSense text links on his golf site are directing readers not to a product page with information about a “Tiger Woods Caddy” or “Golf Wear,” but rather to a Google Syndication landing page filled with more AdSense ads (see screenshot below). These landing pages are run by Google (they take you to a googlesyndication.com URL). These pages basically syndicate a bunch of other AdSense ads triggered by the keywords in the original ad that was clicked on.

If Google starts using its Google Syndication pages more widely (they’ve actually been around for a while, it seems, and look similar to what are known as Link Units), it could become controversial. That is because they seem to run counter to Google’s own stated policy for landing page quality, a factor that goes into how Google scores each ad. As this NYT article explains:

Google now takes into account the “landing page” that the ad links to, and, for example, gives low grades to pages whose sole purpose is to show more ads...

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