I received an email from Google, informing me that the AdSense referral program is officially kaput. Unlike the major “make money online” blogs out there, I never had much luck referring people to the Google AdSense program. As you know, making use of affiliate and referral programs like this can be a great source of passive income, but it does take a little bit of work to get people to go through the application process.

Even then, it may be challenging to make that much money from the Google AdSense referral program in the first place. I didn’t follow it too closely, but I remember hearing that they revamped the program not that long ago, effectively cutting into the incomes of many online entrepreneurs. This was around the same time that they adjusted how AdSense ad units — like the one embedded in this post — were displayed and operated.

Is Google getting a little too cocky for its own good? Does it know that we rely on its services a little too much? Maybe. In any case, check out the email that I received below. If you are an AdSense publisher, you should have received the same note. It goes through some of the alternate options you may have and the steps you should now take.


Thank you for participating in the AdSense Referrals program. We’re writing to let you know that we will be retiring the AdSense Referrals program during the last week of August. We appreciate your patience during this transition and here are some alternative options to consider:

* Google Affiliate Network: As part of the integration of DoubleClick, the DoubleClick Performics Affiliate Network will now operate as the Google Affiliate Network for advertisers targeting users located in the United States. Similar to the AdSense Referrals program, the Google Affiliate Network enables publishers to apply for advertiser programs and get paid based on advertiser-defined actions instead of clicks or impressions. For further details, please visit: www.google.com/ads/affiliatenetwork.

* AdSense for content ads: If you have less than three AdSense for content ad units on a page, you may wish to replace the referral ad units with standard AFC ad units.

If you currently use referral ads, either to promote Google products or offerings from AdWords advertisers, AdSense Referrals code will no longer display ads beginning the last week of August. We encourage you to take the following steps before the product is retired:

* Remove the referral code from your site(s): Please take a moment to remove all referral code from your sites before the last week of August, so you can continue to effectively monetize your ad space.

* Run and save all referrals reports on your desktop: Create and save all reports related to the referrals program on your desktop, so you continue to have access to your valuable campaign information

Why is this happening?

We’re constantly looking for ways to improve AdSense by developing and supporting features which drive the best monetization results for our publishers. Sometimes, this requires retiring existing features so we can focus our efforts on the ones that will be most effective in the long term. For this reason, we will be retiring the AdSense Referrals program. If you have any additional questions, please visit our Help Center: http://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/topic.py?topic=14882


The Google AdSense Team

Your thoughts?