Google Goes Cheap with AdSense Affiliate Program

I just got an email from Google concerning changes to their AdSense affiliate program. The program pays you to refer other publishers to Google AdSense. The current pay structure is:

  • $5 when the referred publisher makes $5
  • $250 when the referred publishers make $100
  • $2,000 bonus for referring 25 publishers earning $100 or more in any 180 day period

Google is doing away with the above setup and will be paying just $100 when a referred publisher brings in $100.

We are writing to share some important information with you about referrals to the AdSense product. As part of ongoing efforts to optimize revenue opportunities for our publishers, we are constantly experimenting with new revenue-enhancing features as well as tweaking those products already available to our publishers.

In this spirit, we will be making some significant changes to referrals for the AdSense program in the coming weeks.

As some of you may remember, in February 2007, as an experiment, we raised the bounty paid (from $100 to $250) when a publisher you refer brings in $100. We have decided to conclude this experiment and return to the original paid bounty amount of $100. In addition, we will no longer be offering the $5 bounty for the first $5 that a referred publisher brings in or the $2,000 bonus for referring 25 publishers earning $100 or more in any 180 day period. $100 will be the only bounty paid for referrals to the AdSense program.

If you’re currently displaying referral units on your site directing users to sign up for AdSense, read on below for details about what to expect in the coming weeks.

In early January, your AdSense account will be updated to only note the $100 payment for referring users to AdSense. You will continue to be paid under the current bounty structure ($5, $250, $2,000) until late January, after which you will receive $100 once a referred publisher brings in $100 within 180 days.

Thank you for referring users to AdSense in the past. We apologize for any inconvenience this news may cause.

I never made much with the Google AdSense affiliate program. I expect to make even less now. If anyone signed up to the AdSense program through me, please try to make your $100 before this month is up. 😐

50 thoughts on “Google Goes Cheap with AdSense Affiliate Program”

  1. Sucker says:

    I was just reading this earlier today. I never made much with it either but it still sucks that the payouts are dropping.

    1. Well not only that sux the payout has been dropped, but they have also put out of the game lots of continents, Europe and Australia included.

  2. It seems like google has bee screwing publishers a lot lately. Looks like you were way ahead of the curve on this one John when you dumped adsense all together. I have been contemplating doing the same.

  3. Mubin says:

    Thank God its just adsense I thought they were doing away with firefox referrals as well.

  4. Your Simply Stupid says:

    Same here, the adsense payouts always been very very low for me too, so i guess i need to find a higher paying one

  5. Seopher says:

    It makes you wonder what they’re doing. I wasn’t a big fan of their change to the Adsense terms (changing what is clickable) and how they completely revamped Pagerank to screw over monetising publishers.

    They’re not doing me any favours lately.

    1. Alan Johnson says:

      Indeed, most webmasters are not exactly thrilled with G’s decisions lately but I guess that it just comes with the territory as far as they’re concerned though personally, I’d say that their approach will end up doing more harm than good in the long run.

      Alan Johnson

  6. I got the same message.

    “ongoing efforts to optimize revenue opportunities for our publishers” – Nobody is commenting that they are making more money… so what does that mean exactly ?

  7. That’s not easy to make $100 in just one month.

    But John you are luck because you live in Canada. If you’re outside of North America, Latin America, and Japan, AdSense referrals will be retired. 😈

    1. Seopher says:

      Very true, we get to keep them in the UK (for now) but US patrons no longer get the option.

      I do wonder what Google are up to sometimes, I really do.

      1. Uh, no, you don’t get to keep them and yes, US patrons do still get the option. Did you even read the post?

  8. Domprofesor says:

    Not only they got cheap with the referral program but they retired the referral program from Europe, Australia and others. 👿

  9. Simon says:

    That’s a very bad news for people like me who make most of the money from refer other publish to AdSense. I think I cannot make over $500/mo from AdSesne referral any more. I used to make over $600/mo from referral. Click here to see the story if you can read Chinese :mrgreen:

    1. That’s why it’s never good to rely too heavily on Google (or any other single source) for the bulk of your income.

      1. Alan Johnson says:

        I definitely agree that putting all of your eggs in one basket is never recommended since an unpleasant surprise such as this one can have quite a negative impact on your income if you do.

        Alan Johnson

  10. Kabatology says:

    Well, if we all stop using GOOGLE, what would they do? 😆

    1. Seopher says:

      Buy us back. Probably. They’re about as likely to form their own country at this rate. If Apple, Microsoft and Google joined together they could buy their own country and live there happily.

      Listening to iPods, searching maps and stuff. Or not.

    2. I dont think it would affect them much, or would it? Being as big as Google is.

      A drastic change there, will definitely cause affect thousands of bloggers!

      1. Kabatology says:

        A remember very well when Yahoo was the big guy, -They never saw Google coming; they come-up with nofollow nonsense – what next? Lets give Yahoo a hand to fight against google. .

    3. Alan Johnson says:

      I doubt that people will stop using G anytime soon and, as such, they can afford to make decisions such as this one or especially the paid links one, knowing that webmasters with business models which depend on search engine traffic will just have to comply.

      Alan Johnson

  11. It’s just not very effective to use the google adsense affiliate program…

  12. sir jorge says:

    Convincing all the google users to stop using google would be a gigantic task that no one could accomplish.

  13. You didn’t even mention the biggest news, that they are not going to allow any referrals from people outside North America, Latin America, and Japan!

    1. Alan Johnson says:

      This is just plain foolish on their part: let’s face it, if you don’t value partners such as Darren Rowse and are willing to let go that easily, that says a lot as to what type of “long-term partner” you want to be.

      Alan Johnson

  14. When you are rich and powerful, you can do whatever you like. It’s called capitalism! LOL

    1. Alan Johnson says:

      Yes it is and yes, they can make whatever decisions they feel like making. Such decisions however do tend to have negative consequences in the future which may just make the potential short-term gain not seem like that much of a great deal.

      Alan Johnson

  15. Chip says:

    I use AdSense a lot and it’s making me decent money, even if I the traffic on my sites isn’t as big as would have liked. But I’m working on advertisement, promotion and SEO. I think Google is trying to strengthen its position, as more and more ad networks popped up.

    The referrals problem is not as big for me as I did not earn anything using it. And I mean USING it, heavily. It seems that they are not working as good as Google wants, so they retired them.

  16. Britt Malka says:

    I’ve made $210 on AdSense referrals … Not much, but something all the same.
    But you are lucky to keep something. I just received a letter from Google telling us that the AdSense referral program will discontinue. At least for a couple of weeks.
    They send a Danish text that was not … exactly Danish. Perhaps auto-translated? I don’t know, but their excuse to withdraw the program was that the experiment had shown that other referral programs were more profitable for the publishers … Seems that they are forgetting that they themselves are the publishers here.

  17. Jacob says:

    I can’t understand why Google is doing this. The way I see it with this offer:

    $2,000 bonus for referring 25 publishers earning $100 or more in any 180 day period.

    If Google is getting 25 publishers all earning $100 in a 180 day period, then chances are, they are making MUCH MORE than $2,000. Why they would want to cancel this out makes no sense. It just takes more of an incentive away from us to try and recruit more publishers.

  18. Blogosis says:

    John Chow… Begging for money? How old is this news anyways? I thought most were done posting about it a week ago. Come on Chow… this post is ridiculous. You are already making what… 30K plus a month and you need to beg us to work?

    Justin Dupre

  19. Dustin says:

    What more can I say, I had a feeling it was coming. AdSense needs to think about the publisher and not just the advertisers although some of their concepts are good, others suck totally.

    1. Martin says:

      Ever heard of Problogger ? The news was on the site January 9th and it was even earlier available in Webmaster forums.

      1. Yeh I read this at ProBlogger, but John had only just received the email, so I’m guessing John had not checked the other blogs. 😉

  20. First of all, Blogosis > Where exactly did you “read about it a week ago” when all the rest of us have received this news today? You don’t look like you are on the Board of Directors of Google, so zip it, please. :mrgreen:

    I would say I am happy they changed this because it forced me to reconsider some of the places where I had previously placed their ad “This site recommends….” 😉

    Change is what the internet is all about, and when something doesn’t pay, I simply quit it. If and when CPCs drop too much other opportunities will show themselves. 🙂

  21. Google is once again fiddling with their product and the publishers pay the price. Time to look for other referal programs. 🙁

  22. John, one cant just sign up and make 100$ that quick! took me agesss before i got my first payout but now i get paid on a monthly basis. I think google knows it takes time for people to make money so they promise money even though it might not come.

  23. Navin says:

    When you made, you made lots of money from Google. I’ve seen your interviews and now you are telling us, you never made much from Google. That’s not a good way to pay gratitude towards Google when they said they are lowering their payouts. This article is bit discouraging for new comer who wants to use adsense.

    1. John Chow says:

      I said I didn’t make much from the Google AdSense affiliate program. That is different than Google AdSense.

  24. Mike Huang says:

    That’s actually some dough that they’re spending to get more members…


  25. rodel says:

    mmmm.. i wonder what could be google’s next initiative after this.. i doubt if they’ve got plans of raising the bars and lowering the standards knowing that a lot of adsense clone has been promising to date..

  26. Contest Beat says:

    I doubt anyone is making much money with it at all

  27. Google adsense not only dont pay well for the affiliate thing but i see from the clicks is also paying very little. 😥

  28. I also got this letter and feel very bad that googel slashes the referral remuneration for adsense. Actully very few visitors are clicking on ads and very narrow percentage signup with adsense. And the trager $100 dollar in the given time also not eary for new publishers. Any way let us wait and see.

  29. I also got this letter and feel very bad that googel slashes the referral remuneration for adsense. Actully very few visitors are clicking on ads and very narrow percentage signup with adsense. And the trager $100 dollar in the given time also not easy for new publishers. Any way let us wait and see.

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