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Google’s Top Secret Advertising Network

written by John Chow on November 28, 2006

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Almost everyone knows Google owns the AdSense network. Google AdSense has been credited with bringing the Internet back to life after the dot com burst of 2001. Some people may even know about AdSense for domain. This is Google’s network for handling advertising for large domain name holders. Recently, Google started a new ad network but is not telling anyone about it – the Google Display Advertising Network.

The Google Display Advertising Network was created so Google can go after Fortune 1000 companies, which buy advertising to build a brand more than to sell a product. Google already dominates text and CPC ads so going after display and video ads is the next logical step. Google offers display and video ads to AdSense publishers on CPC and CPM format already. However, the formation of the Display Advertising Network is a clear signal that Google really want to push this forward.

How do you join the Google Display Advertising Network? You can’t. Google won’t even acknowledge it exists. You won’t find anything written about it in any of Google’s web properties. The only way to get into the display network is if Google invites you, which is how I found out about it.

Google has been hand-selecting sites (no word on how many sites has been chosen) that they want to put in front of Fortune 1000 companies. The goal being to sell these big companies display and video ads at a very high CPM – unlike the AdSense network, the display network is 100% CPM based.

While Google won’t tell normal AdSense publishers what the revenue split on their account is, they are much more open with the display network. As a matter fact, every display network members negotiates a flat CPM rate with Google. The contracts are one year long and publishers have to guarantee Google that they will provide a minimum amount of ad inventory each month. Publishers can serve more than the minimum amount and still receive the same CPM rate for the overage.

Reporting by the display network is currently via weekly emails from Google. The information is extremely limited. The only information shown is your weekly ad impressions and page views. Take that ad impression figure, multiply it by your CPM rate and you’ll have how much you made.

I am not allowed to reveal CPM or any financial data of the Google Display Advertising Network. However, I can tell you that the 300×250 display network ad running on The TechZone is my most profitable Google ad.

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