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Publisher Surveys


© July 2006 Anthony Lawrence

I've recently been invited to participate in two surveys. One was from Google, the other from Yahoo. Both are very obviously looking for ways to increase their presence on sites like this, and to find out what we publishers think about them.

Both surveys were extremely similar. One difference: YPN paid me $15.00 for my time; Google said "Thanks". Hmm.. which would you rather have?

Both surveys were badly done. I don't know if YPN just blindly copied Google, but the questions were very similar - maybe even exactly the same in some areas. If either or both of them paid someone to develop these, they got ripped off badly.

Parts of both surveys ask you to rate a bunch of things according to how interested you would be in adding something to your site, They use words like "Most compelling" and "Least Compelling" sometimes, but at other times they use rankings where you have to rank ten or eleven items in terms of their relative interest. The problem with that kind of thing is that there might be one or two things that I could assign relative value to, but the rest are all equally of no interest.

For example, they might (and did) ask me to rank a list of sidebars I'd like to add to my website if they were to offer such services. One of the sidebars might have something to do with technology, so I'd rank that first, but what am I supposed to think about ranking a Sports or Weather sidebar? Neither of those have any relevance at all, nor does Finance or Entertainment. Yet the survey required that I assign a rank, so some computer will later infer that I think Weather is a little more interesting than Sports or Entertainment. How stupid: none of those would ever appear in a sidebar here. But there's no way to tell them that.

Well, at least the surveys weren't interminably long. I'm willing to spend a few minutes, but some of these things are just ridiculous: I'm not going to give up an hour of my time to answer questions. I also don't like sef-serving surveys: my web hosting company sends this kind out now and then: the questions have no real value and it's impossible to indicate dissatisfaction. I won't waste my time helping a marketing department to pat its own back.

I was pleased to see that both Yahoo and Google at least seem to be aware that they both do a bad job with reporting. I've whined about this before at Tracking Google Adsense and Asrep Review, but these surveys are the first indication that anyone is even thinking of giving complete reporting of ad revenue. Both surveys had questions where I could indicate my interest in improved reporting, and even got into the details such as source of each click. I've said before that I'm willing to pay for that level of reporting, and the surveys offered that as an indicator of interest ("I want this enough to pay for it", "I want this if it's free", "I don't want this at all"). I was very happy to see that.

Oh, and I was pleased with the fifteen bucks, too. That was about a dollar a minute, which is OK pay for such light work. I would have done it for nothing (I'd especially like to see YPN give Google some real competition), but it's nice to get paid for my time.

Here at aplawrence.com, I've pretty much given up on anything but Google Adsense. I still run a few YPN ads just in the hope that they'll improve, but they are so unimportant and insignificant that I don't even check the stats. Same with Chitika; I keep a few running just out of principle, but it's very obvious that Google is the 800 lb gorilla.

That the gorilla is nervous enough about the teeny little marmosets to request survey responses from its publishers is interesting.


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