I never thought this would happen know that Google is trying to move away from CPC and slowly pushing the CPA model but today, it announced that they will be retiring the AdSense Referrals program during the last week of August.
Google started introducing the AdSense Referral Program back in November 2005 where publishers can get $100 bonus when they successfully referred someone into the AdSense network.
They slowly continued this program to include Google products (AdWords, AdSense, Picasa) as well as FireFox with Google Toolbar. And though western publishers get $1 for every Firefox downloads they refer, Asian publishers like in the Philippines only get 10% of that referral fee or $0.10 (I know it’s unfair and is tantamount to racial discrimination *hehehe*).
Then, Google finally expanded it globally with hundreds of 3rd-party affiliate products from airline tickets, to hotel reservations and several other commission-based sales.
For some unknown reasons, they started killing the AdSense Referrals back in January of this year and though they’ve somewhat retracted on that announcement, an email from Google AdSense just a couple minutes ago confirms my suspicions — Google is terminating AdSense referrals:
We’re constantly looking for ways to improve AdSense by developing and supporting features which drive the best monetization results for our publishers. Sometimes, this requires retiring existing features so we can focus our efforts on the ones that will be most effective in the long term. For this reason, we will be retiring the AdSense Referrals program during the last week of August. We appreciate your patience during this transition and here are some alternative options to consider:
- Google Affiliate Network: As part of the integration of DoubleClick, the DoubleClick Performics Affiliate Network will now operate as the Google Affiliate Network for advertisers targeting users located in the United States. Similar to the AdSense Referrals program, the Google Affiliate Network enables publishers to apply for advertiser programs and get paid based on advertiser-defined actions instead of clicks or impressions. For further details, please visit: http://www.google.com/ads/affiliatenetwork/.
- AdSense for content ads: If you have less than three AdSense for content ad units on a page, you may wish to replace the referral ad units with standard AdSense for content ad units.
If you currently use referral ads, either to promote Google products or offerings from AdWords advertisers, AdSense Referrals code will no longer display ads beginning the last week of August. We encourage you to take the following steps before the product is retired:
- Remove the referral code from your site(s): Please take a moment to remove all referral code from your sites before the last week of August, so you can continue to effectively monetize your ad space.
- Run and save all referrals reports on your desktop: Create and save all reports related to the referrals program on your desktop, so you continue to have access to your valuable campaign information.
For most Publishers, this move is inconsequential as not many are actively using Google Referrals. The big players though (bloggers like Darren Rowse earning thousands of dollars from referring the AdSense program) who are in specific niches that get volumes of conversions will lose a passive income stream.