Having just revamped their Google AdSense referral program to put the screws to its affiliates by reducing (or eliminating) commission payouts, Google is now reducing the payouts for Google Pack and FireFox downloads.
Google Pack: Currently, you can earn up to $2 when a user downloads and runs Google Pack for the first time after being referred through your link or button. Starting the third week of February, each successful Pack referral will earn up to $1. This change will apply to all referrals for Google Pack and is independent of user location or publisher location.
Firefox: We will also be reducing payments for Firefox referrals from China during the third week of February. This specific referral payment change will only affect installations from users in China. As with referrals to AdSense, this is independent of your location as a publisher.
We understand that these changes may decrease revenue for some of you currently participating in these referrals programs. While it is our goal to help publishers earn as much as possible with the AdSense program, like any other referrals advertiser, we are constantly evaluating our campaigns to make them effective and sustainable.
We understand that these changes may decrease revenue for some of you? Doh! Google did add one piece of good news. They’ve decided to allow AdSense referrals from Japan and Latin America. Affiliates in Europe and the UK are still out of luck.
My gut feeling tells me that Google revenues are down and that they’re doing everything possible to post a good quarterly report, even if that means taking it from the affiliates who help them build their business.
I believe Google’s trouble started when they made their ads less clickable. Many AdSense publishers saw their revenue dropped heavily because of the measure. Markus at Plenty of Fish reported that his click rate has declined by 60% in the past two months. If the AdSense publishers aren’t making money, it means the AdSense program isn’t making money. Google AdSense accounts for 40% of Google’s revenue. It’ll be interesting to see how much that goes down by.
I guess what I said about not putting your eggs in Google’s basket is coming true.