Archive for January, 2009

Ads back up on Blogger

Author: InsideAdSense
27.01.2009

If you have a Blogger site, some of you may have noticed that your ad units began showing public service announcements (PSAs) in the last nine hours. This was due to a technical issue that we’ve now identified and resolved. As a result, you should now begin seeing paid ads on your pages again.

If you’re still displaying PSAs after 24 hours, we recommend reviewing our Help Center and using our PSA troubleshooter.

Thanks to everyone who helped report this issue, and we appreciate your patience.

Posted by Arlene Lee – Inside AdSense Team

 Ads back up on Blogger

 Ads back up on Blogger

Update on US tax forms for 2008

Author: InsideAdSense
27.01.2009

This is a friendly reminder that we’re currently preparing and mailing tax forms to eligible U.S. publishers and will be sending them out by the end of January. Please keep in mind that not all U.S. AdSense publishers will receive a tax form from Google.

How do you know whether to expect a tax form? We’ll send you one if:

  • You submitted a Form W-9, are not a corporation, and were paid at least US $600 in 2008, OR
  • You indicated that you are subject to backup withholding and had taxes withheld

If you qualify for a tax form, you can expect it to arrive at the address listed in your account by early February. We recommend checking your account to ensure that your mailing address is up-to-date; you can make any necessary updates by following the instructions in our Help Center. Please note that payments dated in 2008 will be reported in 2008. This means that unpaid earnings from 2008 that are rolled over to 2009 (for example, December 2008 earnings paid in January 2009) will not be included.

If you won’t be receiving a tax form, but you still have questions on how to report the payments you received from AdSense, please consult your local tax advisor.

Posted by Elizabeth Ferdon – AdSense Payments Team

 Update on US tax forms for 2008

 Update on US tax forms for 2008

27.01.2009

It can be tough to sell advertising in today’s economy. It can be even tougher to figure out how to maximize revenue for each ad impression. Google Ad Manager, our hosted ad serving and management solution for publishers with small direct sales teams, was built to address these issues. Ad Manager helps publishers maximize the value of their ad impressions while reducing ad serving costs.

We enlisted the help of Nandu Ramani, Engineering Lead on Ad Manager, to talk about one of Ad Manager’s features that helps publishers maximize the value of their ad impressions: AdSense price optimization.

What is the AdSense price optimization feature in Ad Manager?

 Talking AdSense optimization in Google Ad ManagerMany publishers don’t sell all of their ad inventory. In these situations, publishers might not serve any ads or might serve less valuable house ads, therefore losing potential earnings. The AdSense price optimization feature in Ad Manager provides an automated solution so publishers will always have an ad to serve in an undersold situation.

We also wanted to make sure that when a publisher runs multiple ad networks they are always showing the most valuable ads. For certain individual impressions, AdSense can provide the highest paying ad. When that’s the case, an AdSense ad shows. When that’s not the case, an ad from the highest paying alternative network will be shown.

How does the price optimization feature work?

In order for AdSense to compete against other ad networks, a publisher must manually enter a CPM for each configured network. We use the CPM entered to determine in real time, on a per impression basis, whether or not an AdSense ad will pay a publisher more. If the AdSense eCPM is greater than the CPM value entered for competing networks, then an AdSense ad will be shown. Additionally, AdSense will never compete with a publisher’s directly-sold inventory. To enable the price optimization feature, all a publisher has to do is check a box when setting up inventory.

As a publisher, how much will I earn using AdSense price optimization?

It’s hard to predict; the best way to find out is to opt your ad slots into AdSense price optimization and see how AdSense performs for you. With AdSense price optimization, Google will always serve the highest paying AdSense ad available, and will never lower the price of the winning ad, or reduce your earnings from it.

When should I use the AdSense price optimization feature?

We suggest you opt all of your ad slots into AdSense price optimization. AdSense ads will only appear if they’re able to pay you more than the alternatives, so there’s no risk of losing revenue.

We also recommend that you opt your premium placements into placement targeting so AdWords advertisers may specifically choose to bid for space on your website.

Sounds good. How do I get started?

If you already have an Ad Manager account, go into the inventory tab in your account. For each ad slot where you want to enable AdSense price optimization, click on the name of the ad slot, check the ‘Maximize revenue of unsold and remnant inventory with AdSense’ checkbox, and click ‘Save.’

If you don’t already have an account, get started today at http://www.google.com/admanager. Then, when you’re setting up your inventory, make sure to opt all of your ad slots into AdSense price optimization.

For more information about AdSense in Ad Manager, check out the following video.

Posted by Stephen Kliff – Google Ad Manager Team

 Talking AdSense optimization in Google Ad Manager

 Talking AdSense optimization in Google Ad Manager

Asking Dave Taylor about AdSense

Author: InsideAdSense
27.01.2009

AskDaveTaylor.com offers tech support Q&A on subjects ranging from mp3 players to Linux to AdSense. We recently chatted with founder Dave Taylor about his site and his AdSense experience.

Inside AdSense: Where did the idea for your ‘Ask Dave Taylor’ site come from?

Dave Taylor: There’s a great backstory, actually. I’ve written twenty different books on various business and technical topics, including Teach Yourself Unix in 24 Hours and Creating Cool Web Sites. Each time I’d publish, I would be sure to include my email address and other contact information. Problem was, people would send me email with questions. Lots of email with questions.

Over time I found myself answering the same questions again and again and realized that there had to be a better way for readers to search through an archive of already answered questions. I tried an online discussion forum, but it didn’t really work very well (though it did give me an excuse to write my own bbs system from scratch, but that’s another story!).

Then early in 2003 this “weblog” thing started to gain a bit of traction. When I first saw how it was built upon the concept of an author writing entries and others being able to add their comments, I realized that it could be ideal for my needs.

IA: Why did you join the AdSense program?

DT: As a businessperson, I had always viewed my website as a cost center. I mean, you had to pay for hosting, you had to pay for graphic design, you had to pay for Internet connectivity, etc. That was just my mindset. It was a marketing expense and its purpose was lead generation for my consulting and book sales.

In mid-2003 my friend told me about this “AdSense thing” and said that he’d been experimenting with it and making some money. So I finally decided that I’d try putting some adverts on my site (I’d been on the Web since 1996 but never had any adverts on my sites until that point). That first month I made more than I expected by simply adding the AdSense adverts to my pages and was surprised as heck. Then it started to grow…

That’s when it hit me, that my website was becoming a profit center for my business, not a cost center. I began to pay more attention to the site and published new content on a more regular basis. Within a few months I was earning enough to pay my mortgage, and today my website, and specifically Google AdSense, is a primary revenue stream for my entire company.

IA: Can you talk a little about your experience with optimizing your ads?

Once I began working with AdSense in earnest, I began to wonder how ad placement, size, color, and design would affect earnings, and how to balance my desire to offer a splendid user experience with the need to simultaneously maximize revenue.

Enter A/B testing. I read and talked with many AdSense publishers, tried what they suggested and what had worked for them, fiddled with my own ideas, and generally tried every variation I could imagine to see if I could improve the click-through-rate of my ad blocks. The greatest boosts I saw in clickthrough rate were when I moved the advert into the middle of my articles, when I made sure it had the same color background as the material around it, and when there wasn’t a solid border or other visual element to make the ad stand out from the surrounding content.

 Asking Dave Taylor about AdSense
Truth be told, I’ve also paid close attention to the sites profiled on the AdSense blog, looking at how they integrated ads into their own design and trying to emulate their successful techniques on my own site.

IA: Glad to hear you used the blog! Any other optimization tips for our readers?

  1. Focus on generating really good content that meets real user needs.
  2. Design your blog so that there are minimal distractions for the user.
  3. Wrap your blog entry around the Google ad unit and put the ads where users will see them, though make sure you have them visually distinct from your content: trying to trick readers into clicking on ads is a definite no-no and anti-reader too.

IA: Thanks for the interview, Dave, and good luck with your site!

Do you also have an AdSense success story to share? Let us know.

Posted by Arlene Lee – Inside AdSense Team

 Asking Dave Taylor about AdSense

 Asking Dave Taylor about AdSense

27.01.2009

 Behind the scenes of scheduled maintenanceWe know many of you have questions about what we work on during our monthly scheduled maintenance and how this work affects you. As one of the engineers who’s involved with this AdSense maintenance, I’d like to provide some insight into what goes on during these periods.

First, you’re probably used to hearing us say that maintenance won’t affect your ad serving, and that your earnings will still be tracked as normal. Here’s why: when someone visits your site, one of our many ad servers decides which ads we’ll show on your pages, and we log the fact that we delivered those ads to your site. We use this information to calculate the number of ad impressions your site visitors generated. Likewise, any clicks on those ads get logged by another of our ad servers. These servers operate independently, so as we roll out upgrades, we can update groups of ad servers without impacting overall ad serving or our internal logs.

Reporting, on the other hand, is quite a different issue, and this is why you aren’t able to access your account during maintenance periods. The stats logged by our ad servers aren’t immediately reflected in your reports, as they need to be collected and tallied in one place before we can give you a single summary of your ad impressions, clicks, and earnings. Our systems diligently work around-the-clock to collect this data from our many ad servers and tally it all up for each publisher, generally updating the reports with recent stats every 15 to 30 minutes.

Although many of our software upgrades occur throughout the month without any noticeable impact to you, certain types of reporting upgrades just aren’t practical to perform on-the-fly. When we perform our monthly maintenance, we have a chance to put this reporting collection on hold for these big upgrades. This lets us upgrade our databases, prepare our systems for new features, and perform the necessary tasks needed to keep a complex system like this one running smoothly.

Some of you have noticed that impression and click stats appear a bit low after we bring the AdSense site back online, wondering if maybe AdSense maintenance is used to change data to affect your earnings. That’s a theory I’m happy to debunk: this discrepancy is actually a reporting artifact, occurring because we pause stats tallying during our maintenance period. After resuming, our reporting systems have to digest all of the accumulated impression and click logs, and there’s a lot of data! It takes the reporting systems a little while to process the logs, but rest assured that once we get the chance to catch up, the reports will reflect all of the impressions, clicks, and earnings that occurred during the maintenance period. If you’re concerned about the stats you’re seeing, we recommend checking back throughout the day as your reports are updated.

I hope this explanation provides a better picture of what we’re doing during these maintenance periods. Though I do have to work the occasional Saturday, it’s worth it to make sure your stats are accurate and everything’s working smoothly. (Hey, at least it gives me the chance to sing cheesy 80′s pop music in the office to my heart’s content without disturbing too many other engineers!)

Posted by Curtis Light – AdSense Software Engineer

 Behind the scenes of scheduled maintenance

 Behind the scenes of scheduled maintenance