How To Survive (And Thrive) After Your Google SlapBy Markus On June 14, 2012 Under Internet Marketing
If you’re a loyal reader of this blog, you might have heard that Google banned Gauher’s AdSense account without warning, a second chance or without reason.
Google’s no-comment policy is causing confusion, fear and even panic amongst bloggers and website owners.
What’s really going on here? Why does Google seem to go against their “do no evil” mantra?
Introducing Google’s newest “slap” – Smart Pricing
In the vast majority of cases, Google stands firm with their official no-comment position on matters involving bad news…
… But on rare occasion, Google offers up a plausible explanation about their policies… and in this recent blog post, the Big G tries to explain away why our AdSense revenues are plummeting:
Here’s the key sentence:
“If a click is determined to be less likely to lead to a business result like a purchase or a newsletter sign-up, an advertiser’s maximum bid may be reduced.”
May be reduced? Really? That’s funny because I’ve seen across-the-board reductions that turned once-lucrative AdSense revenue sharing into pauper’s change.
In simple speak, Google is now adjusting our AdSense money based on THEIR advertiser’s inability to create a half-decent landing page. That is, if their opt-in form (or salespage) isn’t performing well, it’s somehow our fault.
But wait. There’s more.
Now ex-Google employee (and product-development AdSense stagger) Keith Mander was interviewed about Smart Pricing and offered this interesting tidbit:
So Google even penalizes us if our website seems to be located in the wrong neck of the woods.
In other words, we can deliver the best visitors on the planet… prospects ready to take action and buy something (with credit card in hand)… but if Google’s advertisers don’t have a clue on how to convert this amazing traffic, we’re somehow to blame. And as a result, Google’s “Smart Pricing” (penalty) slashes our earnings.
Even worse, we’re willingly letting our visitors leave our site in exchange for mere pennies per click.
Someone call the police -
a pirate is stealing from me
The math doesn’t lie about the trend here.
During the day, I help authors, copywriters and bloggers convert their writing into cash… and every single one of my clients are experiencing a rapid drop in their AdSense earnings. No exceptions. None.
And I just checked my AdSense account and ran reports for each May’s RPM (Revenue Per Month) over the last three years. Take a looksy at this:
May 2010 $19.19 R.P.M.
May 2011 $9.74 R.P.M.
May 2012 $4.63 R.P.M.
What’s interesting is my level of traffic is of much higher quality now compared to just three short years ago.
At this rate, I might soon have to pay Google to send my traffic to my direct competitors.
All jokes aside, Google is literally stealing from me (with my full permission). Fool me once, shame on me (you know the rest of the expression).
I’m done. No more plundering and pillaging. It’s time to tell this pirate to take a hike. And last week I removed all AdSense ads from my portfolio of websites. And I now recommend all of my clients to do the same.
Hurricanes, abs and fluffy animals (oh my)
I see a lot of anger in the forums and blogs I lurk at.
Google’s seemingly sudden Draconian schemes are showing up in plain site these days.
But the reality is Google has been slowly slapping us since 2003 – yep, almost a decade ago. This is known as the Fabian Strategy – a military method that S L O W L Y wears down the enemy. It’s like placing a frog in boiling water and gradually turning up the heat… the frog doesn’t notice, and eventually boils to death.
Google typically makes over 500 minor updates a year to their secret search algorithm. But when the Big G makes a big change, users at the popular Webmaster World forum name them as if they’re hurricanes. (They also name changes after ab counts and fluffy animals.)
The first-named change was Boston (as the update was announced at SES Boston back in February of 2003). Since then, Google’s updates have been named:
Panda 3.7 – June 2012
Penguin 1.1 – May 2012
52 Pack – May 2012
Panda 3.6 – April 2012
Penguin – April 2012
Panda 3.5 – April 2012
50 Pack – April 2012
Panda 3.4 – March 2012
Search Quality Video – March 2012
Panda 3.3 – February 2012
40 Pack – February 2012
Venice – February 2012
17 Pack – February 2012
Ads Above The Fold – January 2012
Panda 3.2 – January 2012
Search Your World – January 2012
30 Pack – January 2012
10 Pack (Version 2) – December 2011
Panda 3.1 – November 2011
10 Pack (Version 1) – November 2011
Freshness Update – November 2011
Panda Flux – October 2011
Panda 2.5 – September 2011
Panda 2.4 – August 2011
Panda 2.3 – July 2011
Panda 2.2 – June 2011
Panda 2.1 – May 2011
Panda 2.0 – April 2011
Panda 1.1 – February 2011
Attribution Update – January 2011
Panda 1.0 – January 2011
Social Signals – December 2010
Negative Reviews – December 2010
Caffeine 2.0 – June 2010
May Day – May 2010
Caffeine 1.0 – August 2009
Vince – February 2009
Dewey – April 2008
Buffy – June 2007
Universal Search (now called Blended Results) – May 2007
False Alarm – December 2006
Big Daddy – December 2005
Jagger – October 2005
Gilligan – September 2005
Bourbon – May 2005
Allegra – February 2005
Nofollow – January 2005
Brandy – February 2004
Austin – January 2004
Florida – November 2003
Fritz – July 2003
Esmerelda – June 2003
Dominic – May 2003
Cassandra – April 2003
As this list demonstrates, Google started off introducing a major algorithm change maybe a few times a year. But recently, there have been major updates every month or so.
Clearly, Google is at war against us. Their AdSense slaps have either severely slashed our AdSense payouts (or have banned us from their revenue sharing program altogether).
I see many frustrated and angered webmasters voicing their hate publicly. Some call for class-action lawsuits against Google. Others are venting their outrage that their once-loved Google is now public enemy #1.
Here’s how to fight back
against the Big G…
For me, the ultimate payback is to ignore Google completely.
I now make decisions based on what’s good for me, not the Big G.
For example, Google says they’re rewarding us with more traffic (and more AdSense revenue) if we provide high-quality content. And that sounds great on paper…
… But the dirty little secret that seasoned online marketers know is upping the word count (and the quality) on their websites actually shrinks the size of their bank account.
Think about it. If your content thrills your visitors, they’re much less likely to get distracted and click on AdSense ads.
And upping the free bar (i.e. giving away amazing nuggets of wisdom) is a surefire way to kill sales. Give too much away, and it almost always distracts prospects from converting into paid customers – especially so in the infoproduct marketplace.
Google AdSense is dead to me
I’ve carefully watched Google closely since 2003. And the more I get to know them, the more I realize Google is bad for my online business.
Don’t get me wrong. If Google wants to continue to send me their search results’ traffic, I’ll gladly take it. But I’m no longer a slave to Google’s “recommendations” and “suggestions” on how to provide “quality information.”
Cutting ties with Google helps me focus on the two most important needs of my online business: traffic and revenue.
Burger King to the rescue
Many of my clients ask, “Should I first work on traffic or monetization?”
For me, the answer is the money…
… And that reminds me of my first taste of monetizing content when I was a sophomore in college. I drafted up a newsletter mockup and approached the owner of a Burger King to sponsor my new publication. This was my first taste of the dreaded door-to-door selling process.
I pitched him on the idea of me hand delivering my newsletter to the residents of my college dorm. I would slide my freshly-printed newsletter under each door. And after reading my series of articles about surviving the first month of college, my dormmates would clip the coupon to save money on their next Whopper.
The owner interrupted my sales pitch and asked how much I wanted as he grabbed his big checking ledger. I was SHOCKED. This was too easy. Yet, I didn’t want to blow it by getting greedy… so I asked (while swallowing hard) for $50.00 an issue. In a blink, he wrote out a check and handed it to me.
This was my first taste of selling my own private advertising. It would later set the scene for how I make my living today.
Unfortunately, my fledgling publishing career came to an abrupt halt…
… It seems delivering newsletters inside my dorm was very much against my university’s official policy. And not a single recipient clipped out a Burger King Whopper coupon for redemption.
But still – the concept of corporate sponsorship always appealed to me.
Revealing the Internet’s money mirage
Since then, I’ve tried almost every imaginable way to convert my content into cash.
And of course, this included Google AdSense. It started back in October of 2003:
I had to pinch myself as this seemed so awesome.
If only it were that easy.
Because I struggled for years to find the right combination of content, number of ads shown and the most appealing position on the page to maximize my AdSense earnings.
In the beginning, I struggled… generating mere pennies per click. But I focused and invested an entire month on improving my conversions. I reverse engineered a few under-the-radar online marketers who were making tens of thousands of dollars every month with Google AdSense and borrowed their tactics.
My hard worked paid off, because my earnings started to rise. It worked so well, I even took my notes and offered it up to my private clients:
Affiliate riches gone awry
Over a decade ago, I fell in love with affiliate marketing…
… I got my first taste of “affiliate riches” when I promoted Yanik Silver’s growing line of infoproducts.
I used to hang out with Yanik (before he became the internet marketing rockstar he is now). And I remember my excitement when I had the first of many big paydays recommending his infoproducts. During that time, I quickly banked over $1,000.00 in net affiliate cash.
And I’ll never forget what he said to me when I told him about my success promoting his stuff… “Isn’t that great! Imagine promoting 10 more similar products and adding a zero to your commission total!”
On paper, this sounded like wicked awesome advice. And ultimately, I promoted over 200 different affiliate products over the next few years…
… The problem was the vast majority of affiliate programs were flat out scams. Today, I’m still owed a small fortune in affiliate payments. Because for some odd reason, affiliate programs hate their affiliates.
There are only two affiliate programs that never missed a payment to me in all of my years online (since 1997) – Google and AWeber Communications. Five others were late a few times. And more than 200 others flat out stiffed me.
Dirty little secrets (revealed)
Almost out of nowhere, a new type of affiliate program surfaced to provide an alternative to affiliate programs. We know them now as CPA networks.
Instead of getting paid a bounty when our referrals bought stuff, we got paid for sending leads to companies. Affiliates LOVED this because it’s a heck of a lot easier to pass along a lead than a buyer. And even though the payouts were lower, the conversion rates were higher (or so we were led to believe).
Gauher talks about CPA extensively on this blog… including their dirty little secrets.
I never promoted CPA offers… and avoiding it has paid off as today there’s a never-ending parade of bankruptcies in the CPA industry. And many affiliates are (once again) not getting paid their rightful commissions.
Who can you trust?
Looking back, it’s easy to see a pattern.
Any time I let someone else have control of the money, I got burnt. This violates the golden rule (“He who owns the gold makes the rules”).
But any time I collected the money, it’s ALWAYS worked out for me. Every time.
Today, I don’t trust anyone but myself. All money is handled on my end. I’m in total control of everything from content creation to distribution to delivery.
And as a result, I sleep well at night knowing as long as I pay my webhosting and autoresponder bill, I’m not going to get slapped, banned or stiffed out of payment.
Time to sell out?
I absolutely ADORE selling information products.
Doing so gives me a TREMENDOUS boost to my ego. People are paying for my pearls of wisdom. Yet everyone else is giving away their golden nuggets merely to please Google.
But the reality is everything changed in January of 2011 (and once again in January of 2012).
I’ve seen across-the-board spending freezes since then. I’ve never seen anything like it.
In fact the only industries that continue to prosper are the industries that cater to gaming, anything to do with saving the earth and those promising a dream.
Heck, even the MMO (i.e. Make Money Online) marketplace is taking a big hit these days.
To confirm these findings, I look to ClickBank. Affiliates use them to sell infoproducts. Take a look at the overall sales trend since 2008:
ClickBank once bragged about having hundreds of thousands of digital products up for sale. But the reality is there’s just a fraction of that amount (about 14,000) at last count.
Need more proof of a massive economic meltdown?
Take a look at this live graphic from the St. Louis Federal Reserve site:
I’m not sure what this graph really signifies, but that thin blue line soared (for the first time in history) just a few years ago. This can’t be good.
How to thrive (and survive)
during a Depression
Let’s just call a spade a spade.
The economy (for most of us) is awful.
The rich continue to get richer and the poor get poorer.
But, if you’re a history buff, you know this is nothing new.
The idea that small business is the engine of economic expansion is a whopper of a lie.
For it’s ALWAYS been the PPPs (i.e. Public-Private Partnerships) that truly thrive in either good or bad times.
Yes, Google is a PPP. (But hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of a great rags-to-riches story.)
It’s been this way since the first corporation was formed – when The Swedish copper mining company Stora Kopparberg in Falun was granted a charter from King Magnus IV of Sweden in 1347.
Google AdSense once leveled the playing field – allowing us little guys to play online matchmaker between our visitors and the bigger companies flush with cash.
But today, the Big G is bumping the little guy off a cliff. And Google makes no apologies for this.
The good news is there’s a void that needs to be filled. Because these same corporations are BEGGING to pay website owners like us for sponsorship.
I keep thinking back to my Burger King experience… it’s basically the same – except today’s content providers (like us) deliver our pearls of wisdom over the Internet (instead of on printed paper).
… We serve up content to attract readers to our webpages. And big companies have marketing budgets that they must spend on branding.
There’s a red-hot need for an online matchmaker here…
… As Google bans tens of thousands of its advertisers and publishing partners from “hooking up”, there’s a wide-open opportunity to serve this need.
It’s called private advertising.
On the surface, it’s just like Google AdSense. Website owners attract visitors to their site and sponsors agree to pay for interruption advertising.
The difference with private advertising is WE control the most important part – the money collection.
And as a result, we’re typically rewarded with MUCH higher payments.
The case studies of successful private advertising campaigns are starting to surface.
Google HATES this guy…
One of the most inspiring (and ironic) examples of private advertising success comes from one-time darling of Google and poster boy of AdSense – Tim Carter of AskTheBuilder.com.
He was recently banned by Google AdSense for the “potential” of producing invalid clicks.
Since this ban, Carter has gone back to offering private advertising. (Although it seems his AdSense account has been since unbanned.)
In fact, it’s hard to believe he ever abandoned it. Carter’s first sponsor prepaid their advertising for a staggering $15,000.00. (Even more amazing is Carter’s site wasn’t even attracting 50 visits a day at that time.)
Fast forward from 1997 to today and Carter is now charging $29,997.00 for a single private ad placed on his site:
How to skip Google AdSense and
get paid to display sponsored advertisements
There are basically two ways to host private ads on your blog or website:
The first way is to do all of the work yourself.
With this method, you’re in TOTAL control. And the best part is you get to keep 100% of the money you collect (minus credit card processing fees).
If your site gets at least 500 visits a day, you’re going to get a steady parade of inquiries. Just add a link to each of your webpages saying something like, “Advertise on this page”.
If you’d like to get a bit more aggressive, you can funnel more sponsors to your offering with a more systematic reach out campaign.
For example, you could email your mailing list, post in forums, submit blog comments… even send out media releases to spread the word about your new, private advertising opportunity…
… But I find the hand’s-down, best way to find lucrative corporate sponsors is to track down big spenders already advertising in Google’s AdWords’ network.
Yep, I just said it. I suggest poaching Google’s current list of pay-per-click advertisers and claim them as your website’s own sponsors.
That’s what I do. And the response is strong. Really strong.
Here’s how I do it:
Look for related AdSense ads
If you’re still enrolled with AdSense, you could look at each of the ads displayed (and write ‘em down for followup).
But I find these ads aren’t always precisely targeted. Even worse, Google only display a handful of ads…
… Instead, I head over to the search function at EzineArticles.com and enter a search query that matches the theme of my blog post or webpage.
In this example, I search for the phrase low carb diet:
Even better, these advertisers are already familiar with private advertising. They already know how to register an advertising account. They already know how to submit ads. And most important, they already know how to submit their credit card numbers for payment.
All we have to do is show up. And since most advertisers are always on the lookout for more branding and lead-generating opportunities, selling them is a cinch.
Show up. Ask for money. Rinse and repeat.
My #1 secret to contact
big-spending sponsors (revealed)
Times sure have changed.
Before the Internet, it was next to impossible to track down people in their corporate offices.
But today, finding decision makers is almost child’s play (if you know a few secrets which I’m about to reveal to you).
I find a website’s “contact us” page often reveals at least a big hint on how to track down the ultimate decision makers. Everything from Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to email addresses and contact forms are found there.
Most websites have a link to their “contact us” page… look for anchor text such as:
Some sites hide their contact information… and if I REALLY want to contact a particular site, I’ll cycle through these webpages until I hit gold:
Contact forms rock. Because they forward our messages by email directly to a gatekeeper. And when you word it just the right way, your message goes RIGHT to the person who places paid advertising.
Install this robotic toll booth on your site
I know, I know. This all sounds like a ton of hard work. And it is.
But the good news is technology turns hours worth of hard work into child’s play.
I took every aspect of matching up corporate sponsors with website owners and automated with software.
This system is installed on your website. It does all of the heavy lifting including advertising outreach (contacting advertisers already advertising on your competition’s websites), automatic approval of ads – even automatic processing of the payment via PayPal.
My software starts working as soon as you submit your PayPal email address.
It even self installs itself on every blog post and webpage on your site (while making a backup of each page just in case).
But the best part is you control EVERYTHING…
… Google can’t ban you, mess with your earnings or even tell you who (or not) is allowed to advertise on your site.
Wanna have the 3 dubious Ps of business (pills, porn or poker) sponsoring your site? No problem because Google can’t stop you for taking that dirty money.
I have two of the best website coders in the world working full time to complete this software. And I’m going to make it available publicly on Saturday, December 22nd of this year…
… However, if you’re interested in using my software for your own gain (and getting it sooner), you might be interested in crowdsourcing it to the finish line.
Here’s the bottom line…
There’s no reason for you to struggle with making money with AdSense. Because offering your own private advertising opportunity frees you from Google’s shenanigans.
It’s also way more profitable hosting your own sponsored ads…
… If you’re ready to put a lot more cash into your bank account, I suggest you ignore Google and instead focus on putting up private ads on your blog or website.Share