Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Google Opens the Black Box a Bit

One of the longstanding gripes about Google’s AdSense platform: Publishers have no idea how much money the search giant is generating from the ads it displays on their sites.

That’s going to start changing, Google announced this morning. The company is laying out the revenue splits for both its content and search partners: Publishers will receive 68 percent and 51 percent of revenue, respectively. And Google says it will start providing more detailed accounting to publishers going forward.

Plenty of caveats here: The splits don’t apply to all the AdSense products Google offers (games, for instance, are not included). They don’t apply to big publishers, who get to negotiate their own terms with Google (GOOG). And Google isn’t promising to maintain the splits indefinitely.

But some transparency is better than no transparency. And Google feels confident it won’t lose any accounts in the process. But just in case you were considering shopping around:

When considering different monetization options, we encourage you to focus on the total revenue generated from your site, rather than just revenue share, which can be misleading. For example, you would receive $68 with AdSense for content for $100 worth of advertising that appeared on your site. If another ad network offers an 80% revenue share, but is only able to collect $50 from ads served on your site, you would earn $40. In this case, a higher revenue share wouldn’t make up for the lower revenue yield of the other ad network.

That’s a gauntlet thrown down to rival ad networks: Just to try to beat us. Anyone want to take the bait?


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik