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AdSense - what can you control?

I see frequent posts on 'My AdSense revenue/EPC/eCPM is/are down, what's going on?' - the conversation often degrades into a slam session asserting that it's all a conspiracy or the phases of the moon may be factor - so, I've been thinking of some of the things that a webmaster can control, and those that can't be controlled.

Here are things I have discovered over the years: It is important to focus on the things that you can control, and not worry too much about the things you can't control directly. I find it more productive to focus on the things that I can change, rather than dwell on something totally out of my reach, such as Google's motives or need to increase this quarter's profits.

Google AdSense - Balancing supply and demand in a dynamic network

A strange thought just popped into my head: What if Google's content network pricing algorithms (smart pricing, etc.) are at least partially driven by the need to ensure adequate inventory ('supply') of ads to run on publisher sites on any given day?

In other words, in order to prevent showing blank ads or PSAs on lots of sites, they need to drop the actual per-click payout rates across the network in order to ensure that advertiser daily budgets are not exceeded too quickly... in order to have the ads shown across the network throughout the day.

Another Anti-virus related SNAFU

In the news: another SNAFU related to malfunctioning anti-virus software. See: Symantec breaks Chinese XP systems due to a false positive.

HD DVD Cracked; firestorm of controversy ensues.

A huge legal battle is forming around the HD-DVD crack posted on numerous websites, including Many sites have pulled the crack (which consists of nothing more than a series of hexadecimal digits making up a decryption key) under legal duress - It appears that started to comply but has reversed its position, citing pressure from the reader base.

So, it appears that a legal battle is brewing, and may be the one to challenge the vastly hideous DMCA in court.

My Favorite Source Code Editing Fonts

Here's my shortlist of fave fonts for editing source code. Some of these are built in to MS Windows, others were supplied with Corel Draw 8 (my favorite illustration tool.)

I prefer monospaced, but some times I switch to a proportional font for variety - modern editors do a pretty decent job of dealing with them.

You're pre-approved!

Every time I get a spam snail-mail from a bank or credit card company telling me I'm 'pre-approved' for some loan or another, I keep in mind that the prefix 'pre' means 'before' - so, pre-approved means that you are not yet approved. Your loan is in the 'pre-approval' state: before approval.

It's a word game. A weasel-word. A slimy form of disclaimer - so, if you don't have adequate credit, they won't be legally bound to give you a loan.

Microsoft's marketing message is as clear as mud.

What is Microsoft? What position does it occupy in the consumer's mind? When you think of Microsoft, what's the first image that pops into your head?

In my mind (as a software developer) Microsoft is a company that provides the Windows OS, and software development tools and APIs for it.

My mental image of Microsoft does not include:

Microsoft hurts own market dominance - WPA, WGA

[ed. note: this was originally posted on 6/30/2006 09:21:00 AM]
There were stories going around about Microsoft having the ability to 'pull the plug' on XP installations if Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) is not installed on a user's machine:

Apple Spin Cycle

Herb Greenberg's blog at has some funny, albeit harsh observations about the recently-announced Mac OS and iPhone delays - doing a little 'spin translation'.

Know thy enemy

This paper on is an excellent discussion of web application security issues. Read it and weep.

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