I’m sure that most readers of my blog know that my nickname is “The FireFox Referral King”. For those of you that don’t know, it’s because when GrownUpGeek.com was only a few months old I had extraordinary success with Adsense Firefox w/Google Toolbar referrals. I had such great success that Adsense published the site as an Adsense Success Story. They also went on to include GrownUpGeek.com as an example of how to implement Firefox referrals in their online help pages. Since then, the type of traffic coming to the website has changed resulting in lower referral earnings – dropping from $150ish per day back in 2006 down to around $40-$50 per day for Firefox conversions for the last year or so. Even though earnings aren’t as high as they were way back then, I’ve still been pretty happy with the $40ish/day steady income from Firefox referrals..
So when overnight my Firefox referral earnings drop from $40 down to $5 for 3 days in a row I immediately assume something is wrong – several other publishers have posted seeing the same drop of 80%-90% in referral earnings at DP Forums and in the Adsense Google Groups, so clearly something has changed.
I sent an email to Adsense Support yesterday asking about this sudden, unexplained drop in earnings, and in less than 24 hours I had my response, which in part says:
Thanks for your email. I understand you’re concerned that you haven’t
received any earnings for some of your referral conversions. After looking
into your account, I noticed that you have some conversions that our
monitoring system considered to be invalid.
The email then went on to explain how important it is for Adsense to monitor activity, and that I can “Rest assured that your account is still being properly credited for all referral conversions we consider to be valid, as stated in our Terms and conditions.”
Well, I can’t rest assured of anything when i see an overnight drop in conversions of over 90% – CLEARLY SOMETHING IS BROKEN. I replied to the apparently automated response asking for a human being to look into the problem, but I don’t expect I’ll get much of a response. If referral conversions aren’t back to normal or near normal in the next few days I’ll be forced to drop them and replace their prominently positioned spots with something else. I will continue to recommend Firefox to visitors as it’s a great product, but if Google doesn’t want the Toolbar conversions anymore, I will probably just send everyone to Mozilla.com for a toolbar-free Firefox download.
Anyone else notice a drop in Adsense Firefox conversions?
UPDATE: Monday, March 24: I got another response from Adsense Support indicating they have escalated the issue to an account specialist for further review.
UPDATE: Wednesday, March 26: This issue has been confirmed as a bug.