Some Background First
A company called Asterpix (www.asterpix.com) have a cool tool (Searchlight) for websites (such as this one!).Â They analyse the page you are on, include any recent search terms passed in (eg. from Google) and the website you are on and generate a Tag Cloud of words and phrases that seem to be interesting, by means of search terms or frequency of occurance or other weighting.
When a user clicks on one of the phrases in the tag cloud, they are taken to a fairly plain looking Google Search Results page with a (Google Adsense) ad block at top and bottom. While the search page is hosted on Asterpixs’ website, the Google Adsense account is the original site owners.
A visitor clicks on an ad, the revenue goes to the site owner – what could be simpler?
The Problem is ….
Now I’m sure that Asterpix makes some kind of incremental income from this due to a relationship with Google, but the fact that it works and generates a lot more click throughs than normal has made it very popular (with me at least).
So imagine my surprise when I get the email from Asterpix….
As many of you have noticed, you are no longer earning revenue from SearchLight.Â This is because Google has stopped showing your Adsense Ads on SearchLight pages.
Please follow up with your Google representative to remedy.
–The SearchLight Team
Now, the Google search results page comes up, but no Google Adsense ads are displayed.
I have no idea what a ‘Google Representative’ is, if I have one or even if they exist – just try finding a phone number for online companies these days – despite being a ‘customer/publisher/supplier/affiliate’ of Google since 2003, I have yet to speak to anyone from the behmoth that is Google these days.
Google helpfully tell you to search their helpful help blog if you have a problem – they don’t specify what to do if the answer is not there.
Amazingly, there is almost nothing on the web about this. The only reference I could find was this:Â http://axcessnews.com/index.php/articles/show/id/20026
(AXcess News) Reno – Asterpix.com, a website that provides users the ability to display tags below content that uses a patented search technologyÂ was put out of business Tuesday when Google shut down Asterpix’s adsense account for sharing revenue with publisher sites.
Nat Kausik, CEO, told AXcess News in a telephone interview that his company “had been an Adsense publisher for two years”, having served over 1 billion ad impressions over that time.Â He indicated that many of Asterpix.com’s publisher sites where suffering greatly from the loss, some even unable to make payroll as a result.
… but it wasn’t even certain that this was referring to this issue or the one they had (and resolved) about 6 months ago.
In the absence of any other information, it seems to point to one of two scenarios:
1. Asterpix has been doing Bad Things (Google Bad Things are a whole universe of difference to reality). Perhaps they’ve been sneaking in their own publisher id every ‘nth ad impression – or maybe just ignoring the phone calls from their ‘Google representative’ (see above).
2. Google is just pissed that someone is using it’s tools in the way that it doesnt like (today) – expect to see the ‘Google Astropix Spotlight’ featureÂ in Beta soon.
Asterpix/Google isn’t saying anything – if you have any info, please let me/us know!
Sept: 23 @16:50 – This just in – Asterpix must have resolved it’s beef with Google as the site is up and serving Google ads again. It’d be nice to know what the problem was though….