Expect ad earnings to drop as Adsense, WidgetBucks revise rules

James Ryan Jonas

Online earners, especially those from the Philippines, are about to take a hit as two online earning opportunities Google Adsense and WidgetBucks recently changed rules that could possibly decrease a site publisher’s earnings from online advertising.

Adsense shrinks clickable zones

ProBlogger.net broke a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with Google this week to announce that Adsense’s ad units will soon have smaller clickable areas. Until now, ad clicks occur when a person clicks anywhere on the Adsense unit. But with the change, clicks only happen if a person clicks on the actual title or URL of the ad unit.

See below a comparison of the old and new clickable zones (highlighted in light pink) in Adsense ad units.

New Google Adsense ad units will have smaller clickable areas.

Google’s reason for the change:

This new format will match the changes we’ve implemented on Google.com to help decrease the number of accidental clicks and increase the number of ad conversions. A reduction in accidental clicks will keep users on your pages, interacting with your content until they choose to click on an ad. This change will enhance the user’s overall experience with your websites and improve advertiser campaign value, but it’s likely that your click-through rate will decrease.

In the short term, this will surely affect publishers who receive additional earnings from accidental clicks. Google theorizes, however, that in the long run publishers still benefit because advertisers will decide to spend more on online advertising supposedly because of higher ad conversion. That remains to be seen though.

WidgetBucks to credit clicks from Canada and US only

In a similar attempt to increase ad conversion, WidgetBucks will no longer credit ad clicks originating from outside US and Canada starting today, November 15.

WidgetBucks blamed non-converting clicks by users outside US and Canada for bringing down publishers’ revenue per click (RPC) across the board. In a blog post, WidgetBucks said the change supposedly will:

positively impact publisher RPC levels, and the change does not affect earnings from October (just posted) or the first half of November.

International site visitors will be redirected to mpire.com — the online meta-shopping service and company that is behind WidgetBucks.

In addition, starting next week, applicant publishers will need to submit and have their sites approved by WidgetBucks first before they can join the program. Current publishers, though, are not affected.

These changes by Google Adsense and WidgetBucks will certainly negatively impact the ad earnings of most site publishers, especially those from the Philippines. Publishers thus need to diversify their sources of income or totally drop Adsense and WidgetBucks and replace them with a better online advertising program.

But which are the best ones? Any ideas?

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.