Report: Google To Bring More “Transparency” To AdSense Revenue Sharing

BuzzMachine’s Jeff Jarvis was part of a “private meeting” in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum with Google CEO Eric Shmidt and a handful of other top Google execs. Jarvis reports that Google sales boss Nikesh Arora said that Google “would consider giving more transparency about revenue splits in Adsense” (this is likely a paraphrase).

Traffic acquisition costs (TAC) for AdSense partners are roughly 72% in the aggregate, meaning the overall partner payout for the Google content network. Transparency is one thing; getting a “fair share” of revenues that Google generates from AdSense is another.

The latter is a particularly sore point among traditional media and newspaper publishers. At the recent DLD conference in Munich the CEO of conference sponsor Burda Media, Paul-Bernhard Kallen, chastized Google’s chief lawyer David Drummond for a lack of transparency and for not paying more to publishers:

Kallen [ ]  fleshed out his objections to Google, calling first for transparency, second for a “fair share” of revenues, and third – possibly the most ominous for Google – clear rules defining what kinds of businesses you’re allowed to be in if you’re an infrastructure company. He then rammed it home by reading out – in German – the relevant sections of Google’s AdSense Ts & Cs: the ones that say Google gets to decide how much or how little you get, and that it’s not going to tell you what percentage of the total take that it gets (more or less).

Google is walking a fine line, seeking to protect its competitive and proprietary interests but also increasingly needing to accommodate some of its critics and partners’ demands. Failure to do so will likely turn into regulatory problems in the near term — as governments, particularly in Europe, are unwilling to see their media industries entirely succumb to the disruptive force of the Internet (here synonymous with Google).

Four months ago, CEO Eric Schmidt also told Search Engine Land editor-in-chief Danny Sullivan that Google might reveal its AdSense cut.

Related Topics: Channel: Display | Google: AdSense | Google: Critics | Google: Web Search


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.

Comments are closed.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide