For the second time in one year, I got an email from Google’s outbound sales force, on account of being the band manager for Boing Boing, which is a pretty high traffic site. Clearly, Google’s cold calling sales force has been mining Alexa or somesuch for lists of prospective new AdSense clients.
In her emails (the first of which came via BB’s founder Mark Frauenfelder), Google’s rep told me that Google had some special programs for Boing Boing that I might want to take advantage of. Well, I’m open minded, and willing to try it again (for more on the last time we went around this bend, read this.)
Google’s salesperson was very pleasant and responsive, but it seems to me she had not run my name through, well, Google, nor did she have the data from the last time I spoke to an AdSense sales rep, in which I disclosed that I was the dude behind Searchblog and that Boing Boing had some issues with AdSense, not the least of which was performance and AdSense’s TOS. Now, I’m not looking for special treatment, but had she used Google or had a history of Google’s contacts with Boing Boing, she might have realized that I was, well, a bit engaged in this discussion. What follows is an edited, rough paraphrase of our conversation. Caveat: We talked about more stuff, but not all of it was worth reporting here…
Me: Hey, nice to meet you.
Me: So what are these cool advertising programs that Boing Boing might take advantage of?
Her: One is called AdSense, and one is called AdSense for Search.
Me: Yeah, I know about those. But what’s the special part?
She: Well, it works like this. You put code on your….
Me: Don’t mean to interrupt, but I know about how it works. We’ve tried it before on Boing Boing and it doesn’t work too well for us.
She: Really, why not?
Me: Well, Boing Boing is pretty eclectic, and it’s hard for networks like AdSense to figure out what ads to run. I am sure if we ran it for months on end, the permalink pages might start to have better CPCs, but..
She: Well part of what we can do is help you to optimize your site for AdSense.
Me: Really? What does that entail?
She: Well, we can give you tips on where to put the ads, what placements work best, how to best categorize your site, things like that.
Me: Right. Well, I’m aware of that kind of stuff. Can you provide me with a better deal?
She: A better deal?
Me: Well, one of the things that publishers wonder about AdSense is what is the split? How much of every dollar goes to us, and how much to you?
She: Well, we don’t divulge that information, but if you look at our SEC filings, you can see our numbers…
Me: Yes, I know about your TAC, and it averages in the high seventies to low 80s, but that number is very difficult to understand – I know that you have set deals with sites like Ask and AOL, and those probably skew the overall TAC. I wonder if you are making up that high TAC by, well, dialing down the TAC with smaller publishers like Boing Boing. I mean, we have no idea if you are giving us high seventies, or taking 60 percent all for yourself!
She: We can’t get into numbers, but we can say that we give the majority of the revenue to our publishers.
Me: Huh. That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that – so more than fifty percent?
She: We can’t give exact numbers out.
Me: Sure. I understand. That’s your policy. Well, it’s great of you to contact us, and we’ll talk about it, and get back to you. Thanks.
She: Great! Let me know if there is anything I can do.
Me: OK, bye!