Author Archives: Dollars

Google AdSense Competitive Ad Filter Broken?

Update to the Update (most recent): Turns out that blocking Yield Manager did not stop the ads from appearing either. Eventually, I resorted to searching for other websites on the same topic and waiting for an equivalent ad to appear. When I finally found one on a website that I do not own or have any relationship with, I clicked on it to see where it went. I blocked THAT address which seems to have done the trick.

It is a shame that in its quest for secrecy that Google cannot provide webmasters with a usable way in which to find out who is displaying advertising on their websites. The so-called preview tool that they provide is laughable in both its functionality and the fact that one has to just get lucky in order to get the ad in question to appear in the tool at all.

Update: Although I didn’t get much of an answer to my question in the Google AdSense forums (big surprise), I did some more digging on my own and came up with a likely answer. When using Firebug Firefox plugin to view the source of the offending ad, I was able to see the whole source code for the JavaScript based ad that was being displayed. While I don’t know much about JavaScripting code, I did notice in all of the programming a domain name, yieldmanager.com.

Again, I don’t know much about how JavaScript works, but I am going to assume that yield manager is actually having the ad placed and that when it displays, this bit of code goes out and actually ends up running an ad from the low cost per click paying atdmt.com folks.

On the one hand, that means that atdmt is not displaying ads on my site by paying some ridiculously low ad rate, because the ad actually comes from yieldmanager.com. The problem isn’t so much whether or not the ad pays well, but rather that it is virtually NEVER clicked on. In fact, I got my first click on that tower ad in a long time, and it paid decent. But, if it’s only going to bet clicked once every week, then it isn’t worth it. So, for the time being, I have added yieldmanager.com to my competitive ad filter too.

Hopefully, this will return that tower ad to its previously profitable status and eliminate the wasted impressions generated by this overly generic, non-call to action, advertisement.

Like many other AdSense publishers, I long ago added ATDMT.com to my competitive filter list in order to block their advertisements from appearing on my websites. However, on one of my websites, I’ve noticed that their ad appears repeatedly despite being in the list that is supposed to block them from showing up at all. In fact, on this particular website, one ad from ATDMT seems to appear almost exclusively in the sidebar tower ad.

It is not a matter of giving it time since ATDMT has been in the list for months. In fact, I was somewhat surprised when I went to add the domain name to the competitive ad filter list and found that it was already there. The full domain is supposed to be filtered atdmt.com and yet, an ad from click.atdmt.com shows again and again on different days, on different pages, and in different browsers.

This raises the question, is the AdSense Competitive Ad Filter working properly? Or, is Google using the list as a “suggestion” and continuing to display whatever ad it feels like? Or, are publishers not allowed to block atdmt.com at all?

I’ll be posting a question in the AdSense forums, which is the only form of help available to most content publishers when it comes to Google AdSense. A quick Google search revealed that if this sort of thing is a widespread problem that there don’t appear to be too many people aware of it, which leads me to believe, for the time being, that this is just a singular glitch on my website.

Ironically, the ad in question was brought to my attention not only by the sudden appearance of very low CPC rates on what traditionally provides relatively decent pay per click, but also by the fact that NoScript was suddenly showing in the status bar that it was blocking some JavaScript even though I have my domain whitelisted. Turns out that not only is atdmt.com showing up past my competitive ad filtering, but that it is also running an animated JavaScript ad as well.

Well, off to post my forum question.

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How To Get More Traffic On Your Website

The HubPages experiment continues. Check out some of my best Hubpages Hubs here.

I hate to say it, but I’ve been sucked in by the whole HubPages concept. For those of you who are not familiar with HubPages, it is an article directory that allows anyone to author webpages using a web-based template. It’s closest competitor is Squidoo, although I find Squidoo a chore, and HubPages a little too much fun.

What makes HubPages so addicting for a professional writer is that the interface is remarkably simple to use and the output generated in the form of a published “Hub” or webpage is attractive and compelling. Additionally, I have yet to have the interface crash on me and cause me to lose any work, which means that I feel comfortable typing directly into the web forms instead of being compelled to type into a text editor like Notepad++ or Word and the copy and paste the results. This makes writing Hubs much faster than on less “trustworthy” platforms.

Still, to reach the full potential of HubPages, one needs to generate more traffic on their webpages or Hubs. There are two ways to go about this within the context of the HubPages system.

The first method to attract more Internet traffic to your website hubs is to get a higher HubRank or Author Score on hubpages. This provides two main benefits. One benefit is that once a writer has a HubRanking over 75, their backlinks have the HubPages nofollow tag removed which means that the links from HubPages actually pass their “link juice” on to the site they link to.

The other important benefit is that HubPages displays “other” articles or hubs to its visitors whether they are Hubbers (hub authors) or just regular internet users directed to HubPages via a search engine. Needless to say, appearing more often in these lists of articles increases the odds of people clicking on your links and visiting your own hubs. Ideally, that visit leads them to read more of your stuff, and eventually bookmark, share, or become a fan of your websites.

Today, when I logged on to HubPages I had an author score of 93. Since one component of any HubRank is “random,” according to HubPages documentation, there is no way of knowing how much of that score is “real” versus how much might be a pumped up random number. However, a 93 is pretty good either way.

Unfortunately, there are many Hubbers with scores of 98,99, and yes even the top score of 100.

How To Get HubRank 100

Getting all the way to a HubRank of 100 takes full participation in the HubPages community. Fortunately, that is pretty easy to achieve, even if you only want to “fake it.”

Commenting on other Hubs, making a few posts in the Forums, and publishing a new hub every now and then is sufficient to qualify as “full participation.” The only thing left to do is have enough traffic, fans, or commenters to get the rest of the algorithm up to the top.

Assuming one is writing quality content for publishing hubs, and that one is not interested in pandering to the lowest common denominator by writing dozens of hubs about hot actresses or pretending to be a hot housewife writing about her underwear, then the only two possibilities for driving increased traffic to the webpages for the sake of increasing the author score are a) building more links to hubs, or b) writing more hubs.

Since the point of my experiment with HubPages is to generate links OUT to my stuff, taking the effort to do anything more than the most basic backlinking to Hubs seems counter-intuitive. Therefore, the solution for most writers looking to earn money writing online is to produce more hubs.

Like I said, generating new hubs can be a quick process for an experienced writer. Assuming that a topic is in mind and the author is already a sufficient subject expert to write on the subject, it is entirely possible to write quality Hubs in 20 minutes or less.

In the past I have attempted to writer 30 Hubs in 30 Hours. However, this schedule leaves no room for error. Since I am unwilling to take any precious time off in order to ensure success, I looked for a new idea that would fulfil the objective of publishing a lot of hubs fast but have some more flexibility.

The result?

The Turbo Lightning HubChallenge!

Publishing 100 Hubs in 10 Days. The additional hubs will generate their own traffic and as a bonus compliment the traffic already being driven to my websites via HubPages.

To go all out, I have decided to sell-out this time, as well. I’ll be writing hubs on the most common “high traffic” or “high search volume” topics. After all, it isn’t like I’m building a whole website to compete for a single high CPC keyword with massive competition. If it turns out that the Hub works at drawing traffic, I’ll have an insiders look at what works for that search term.

If not, the hubs will still draw the eyeballs of visitors already floating around the HubPages community who happen to see a Hub about the best new free techniques for whitening teeth, looking younger, losing weight, and getting government grants for plastic surgery for hot housewives. (Oh, yeah. Now THAT is keyword stuffing!)

Will it work?

Find out. Grab the Make Money Writing Online Feed so you don’t miss a thing.

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How To Know If Google Certified Ad Networks Ads Are Appearing On Your Website

blocked-ad-google-certified-ad-network-3rd-party-graphic Not long ago, Google introduced the concept of certified third-party ad networks to the AdSense program. These advertisers are approved by Google and then permitted to display their ads on websites within the Google advertising network. AdSense publishers were understandably concerned that these certified networks might not generate as good of ads or as high of click through rate as the Google Ad Network.

On one forum, many webmasters were discussing blocking all Google Certified Ad Networks from running ads on their websites. Some publishers went so far as to say that they had seen their AdSense revenue drop after the third-party ads were first allowed. Some of these same website owners and blog publishers claimed that after blocking the certified ad networks that their AdSense revenue increased back to previous levels.

At this point, one of Google’s unofficial spokesman appeared on the forum and said that whatever they were seeing, it wasn’t likely related to the third-party ads because Google was rolling them out "very slowly" and that it was likely that no certified ad network advertisers were displaying any ad results on their websites yet.

Since Google AdSense is one of the easiest ways to earn money writing online, this is a very important issue for those of use who write our own websites to generate ongoing passive income for the long-term.

Is It Google or Is It Google Certified Ad Network Advertising?

Finding out who the owner of an AdSense ad is, is never easy. It takes a bunch of finesse and a little determination to figure it out. This is because clicking on your own ads to see where they go is a violation of Google AdSense Terms and Conditions, and it is one they take very seriously. Getting banned from AdSense for life is a common penalty for clicking your own ads.

However, there is a way to tell if some ads are third-party ads instead of official Google ads using Firefox and the NoScript Plug-in.

Set the No-Script Plug-in to allow all Google and Doubleclick domains to run Javascript on your website. If you use an ad blocking plug-in like AdBlock Plus you’ll have to allow them in its settings too. Do not allow any of the third-party domains.

Now, whenever you load your own site, whether to check on things or update content, if you see an ad, then it is a Google AdWords advertising network ad. If you see a blocked symbol instead, then you know it is a third party ad. It is a crude but effective way to determine whose AdSense ad it is.

google-certified-ad-network-displayed-graphicLooks like I got an ad from 2mdn.net… 

Hover your mouse of the stylized-f with a circle and the tool tip that appears will say where that blocked Javascript or blocked ad is from. Then, you have concrete proof that Google Certified Ad Networks are displaying ads on your websites. If your AdSense earnings have fallen at that point, you can reasonably suspect that your website is not benefitting from the additional advertiser competition that Google has been touting as the primary benefit for allowing third-party ads on your website.

Get thee to your Google AdSense manager and block those ads. Whether you block all of the third-party ad networks or just the ones that seem to be appearing and lowering your AdSense earnings is a judgment call.

*****

Technorati Tags: ,Google Certified Ad Networks,

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Google Certified Ad Networks Who Are They?

google-certified-ad-networks-questions-graphicGoogle has allowed certain third-party advertising networks called, very benevolently, “Google Certified Ad Networks” to the Google AdSense program. The official party line is that these additional online advertising networks will provide publishers with higher income allowing them to earn more passive income online from the content they publish on websites. The skeptical party line is that nobody sells ads better, or in greater volume, than Google AdWords, and that the 3rd party ad networks have to earn their money by taking a cut of revenue as well, therefore, these new ad networks will only drive down the amount of money webmasters can earn with AdSense advertising on websites.

Who is right?

Unfortunately, that is a pretty tricky question to answer.

Early on in the launch of the third-party ad networks, many webmaster claimed that they saw their revenues and earnings in the form of cost per click or CPC decline. They further claimed that after disabling all of the third-party ad networks that their ad revenue increased back to “normal” levels. That might have been all she wrote, except for at that point one of many unofficial Google spokesmen turned up on that forum and said that the 3rd party networks were being rolled out very slowly and therefore, whatever those guys were seeing was not the result of lower payments from third-party ads. He went on to say that it would be a “mistake” to follow the disabling course of others. Curiously, no other information has been forthcoming sense.

It is difficult to no how much value to give to various forum posts since users are notorious for inflating their importance and income. Reading many user’s posts leaves one with the considered opinion that the author has never published anything other than a handful of token websites in their life, let alone have any sort of ability to provide a valid analysis.

Testing Google Certified Ad Networks Impact On Earnings

Unfortunately, truly testing the impact of Google certified ad networks would require either directly violating Google’s confidentially terms and conditions or violating the rule against having more than one AdSense account. Since AdSense publishers can only enable or disable third-party certified ad networks on a whole account basis, there is no way to turn them off for one set of sites and leave them on for another and then compare the results. To publicly compare results would violate rules against disclosing cost per click and eCPM metrics.

Thus, Google leaves us with no way of knowing whether or not the new 3rd party certified ad networks are good for us publishers or not. Are the Google Certified Ad Networks hurting earnings, or are the new 3rd party ad networks helping earnings? I guess we’ll just have to go ask Mr. Owl.

Who Are Google Certified Ad Networks

The only thing we can see is who the certified third-party ad networks are. If you were expecting to see the names of numerous advertising powerhouses or other well-respected online vendors, you have a surprise coming. Most of the certified ad networks list reads like that starting lineup for the Cleveland Indians at the start of the movie Major League, “I’ve never heard of most of these guys.”

As always, successful AdSense publishing requires diligence on the part of the publisher and webmasters. Monitor your sites and check in periodically to see what ads are showing up. Find out whose ad is on your webpage and add those served by undeserving advertisers to your competitive ad filter where both Google and 3rd party ads will be blocked.

Determining which, if any of the third-party ad networks to block will be much more difficult. For now, monitor your AdSense income and respond to any substantial across the board drop by blocking all 3rd party ad networks immediately.

Remember, this is the holiday season, when AdSense earnings are at their highest. If you are publishing real, legitimate content and honestly building links and authority to your webpages, your AdSense income should be going up through the end of the year, not going down. So, now is the perfect time to over-react. Next year, you can re-evaluate if necessary. And, the good news is that you will have a baseline of data from your “blocked” period to use as a starting point in evaluating whether or not to continue allowing the Google Certified Ad Networks back onto your websites.

List of Google Certified Ad Networks

Here is a list of third-party ad networks as of 11/28/09:

Adchemy
Invite Media
Specific Media
Turn
[X+1]
OwnerIQ, Inc.
Adconion Media Group
Adtegrity.com
AudienceScience Inc.
Dapper Inc.
Dedicated Media
FetchBack
LucidMedia
NetSeer Inc.
QuinStreet, Inc.
ReTargeter
Teracent Corporation
ValueClick, Inc.
Aggregate Knowledge
Atrinsic
Brand.net
BrightRoll
Chitika
Collective Media
CPM Advisors, Inc
DataXu
Efficient Frontier, Inc.
InterCLICK
Media6Degrees
MediaMath
OpinMind
Quantcast Corporation
Rocket Fuel Inc.
Semantic Sugar, Inc.
TellApart
Traffic Marketplace
Triggit
Goodway Group
Ad Marketplace
VivaKi
AppNexus
Epic Advertising
Reply! Inc.
Criteo Europe
Criteo UK

If you have any data to share, or experiences to report, regarding 3rd-party ads on your website, please don’t hesitate to comment or email.

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