Monday, January 16, 2006

I hate folklore

Yet another post by Stephen Baker over on Blogspotting is worth commenting on. His post entitled "Does Google's Adsense pays 78% to everyone?" repeats a piece of folklore that suggests that somehow some set of Google AdSense publishers (which could include me) are getting 78.5% of the money spent by advertisers on each Google AdSense ad click. This dubious statistic comes from a NY Times article entitled  "Google's Shadow Payroll Is Not Such a Secret Anymore" which claims, without any source, that: and the company's foreign search sites contribute more to Google's bottom line than AdSense, because for every dollar the company brings in through AdSense and other places that distribute its ads, it pays roughly 78.5 cents back to sites like Digital Point that display the ads.

Guys, what we all need is lots of more verifiable facts, and less rumor, gossip, and unsubstantiated claims. No more folklore, please.

I personally run AdSense ads on my web sites and blogs and I honestly have no clue what percentage Google keeps or gives to me. It is not a number that is disclosed to us AdSense publishers.

I read all sorts of wild claims about the percentage, ranging from this claim of the NY Times to a claim that the percentage claimed by NY Times couldn't possibly be correct.

So, what's the truth here? Who knows, but making unsubstantiated claims one way or the other is completely counterproductive, although in the case of the NY Times, it might help them sell more advertising. But even that suspicion amounts to mere folklore as well.

-- Jack Krupansky


At 5:50 PM EST , Anonymous steve baker said...

Jack, My post was not to legitimize the number, but to ask if it was true

At 6:20 PM EST , Blogger Jack Krupansky said...

Granted, and it wasn't my intention to suggest that Blogspotting was materially at fault, but the reality of the blogosphere is that the more times we repeat a "question" about a dubious "fact", the more the folklore spreads and since now everybody has this number, what else are they going to do than simply keep on repeating it, as if it were fact? Sure, we can attach caveats such as "just asking whether this is true or not or what the actual number is", but somewhere along the way the caveats are likely to be dropped or muitated (either intentionally or inadvertently), and then the question suddenly has a new life of its own as "accepted" fact.

The fault here is the NYT for stating an alleged fact as gospel, with no attempt at attribution and not even any representation as to the imputed reliably of the source.

My objection was simply that Blogspotting could have handled the issue a bit differently to emphasize more clearly the degree of uncertainty about "the number".

In short, whether each repitition represents the number as a fact or as "merely" a question doesn't change the overall impact very much at all.

If I were doing my own post right now, I would edit out the actual number so that nobody could say they "got it" from my post.

-- Jack Krupansky


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