Google AdSense Referrals 2.0 Review

Posted on 6th July, 2007

As you may know, Google has rolled out AdSense Referrals 2.0 program for the international AdSense publishers recently.

This main different between this and their “normal” AdSense program is that, you only get paid when your visitor click on the ad AND perform certain action.

This is also known as pay per action or pay per lead. In this case you get paid when your user completes an online lead form, make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, download a trial software and so on.

The good thing about Google Referral program is that you can select offers available in specific countries, reducing the chance of sending unqualified lead to the merchants. For example, if your website is targeted towards the American audience, you can choose to display offers valid in the US only.




The downside for this is that, if you have a website that caters audience from all over the world, you’ll have to dig deeper to find offers that available internationally.

Currently, publishers have to navigate down the categories to find suitable products. Oddly enough, products don’t always placed in the correct category. For example, what is the diet pill product doing in the “Telecommunications” category?

I find the process of selecting products a little cumbersome. Basically, you have to specify an Ad format in your Ad Shopping Cart, then drill down the categories to find suitable products and then add them into the Ad Shopping cart. Then select a custom channel if any then get your AdSense code.




You can choose up to 15 products or specific ads to rotate in the referral unit. Now when it comes to pay per lead ad, I am not a fan of rotating offers so this feature is redundant for me.

What I’d like to see is the ability to click a category, or sub category for that matter, and see the list of companies in that category. The screenshot below was taken from my CJ.com member’s area to show my preference.




If I am interested in a company, I can just click it to see all their ad formats. This feature is available at CJ.com as shown below.




Google Referral’s “Add to Add Shopping Cart” idea sounds good in theory but in practical it makes the process of finding products sluggish.

While the number of AdSense referral advertisers has increased, it’s still smaller when compared to other competing affiliate marketing companies such as CJ.com and LinkShare.com. So, I think it’s crucial for Google to attract more advertisers including the big names to maintain the program competitiveness.

Another enhancement that I’d like to see is the ability to view offers by sale or lead. Currently there are many pay per sale offers, but what I want to see is more pay per lead offers because they convert much better, at least for me. I found one software trial download, but it pays a stingy $0.01 per download. Now, who’s going to promote that?

Several gripes aside, the interface is clean but it needs some getting used to, especially if you are already familiar with feature-heavy sites like CJ.com. The ability to choose more text link ads is a welcome addition in AdSense too. I know Google Referral is still new, so I am willing to give them time to improve their offering.

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An engineer by training, Victor has been working full-time online as an Internet marketer, a programmer and an app developer since 2001. He has been blogging at Sabahan.com since 2006 sharing his experience and teaching people how to make money online. Click here to join his private Facebook Group for bloggers.

  • lilian says:

    I tried it for two days already and saw a drop in my earnings. I replaced the large rectangle contextual ads with referral ads and though there are clicks, nothing happen so no money. I reverted back to contextual already. If it works for others, then only I give it another trial run.

  • dott-com says:

    what do you think gaman – good or not these new 2.0 features.

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