In the past, Google, a company who's informal company motto is "Don't be evil," has been conspicuously tight-lipped when it came to disclosing how much AdSense revenue it shares with its publishers. This lack of transparency has led to some criticism of the search engine company. Such complaints over Google's business conduct come at the same time as pressure from the Italian government, which recently launched an antitrust investigation arising from allegations of gouging from a local newspaper against Google. Perhaps in an attempt to restore some of its squeaky clean image, Google recently disclosed its revenue shares for AdSense for content and Adsense for search.
AdSense for content is Google's most popular advertising platform and consists of contextually-based advertising units that are displayed along with content published on third-party websites. Advertisers can bid competitively on this ad space through the AdWords Pay-Per-Click (PPC) program. When users click on the ads, the advertiser is billed a certain amount per click. According to the recently disclosed information, 68 percent of this revenue goes to the publisher who hosted the site where the ad appeared whereas the remaining portion goes to Google. For example, if a blog owner generates $100 worth of AdSense revenue, he or she would receive $68 while Google would pocket $32. Meanwhile, publishers receive 51 percent of the revenues from AdSense for search, a service which places a customized search box on the publisher's website and displays ads next to the search results.
Google states that it invests its share of ad revenues towards improving the technology and paying for operation costs. Google is continually working towards providing more relevant ads and attracting more advertisers, according to its blog.
Google's motives for a move towards more transparency have been a topic of heavy discussion throughout the media and within industry circles. Many point towards the increased interest that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has shown in online marketing, which came to head recently in its ruling that bloggers and affiliate marketers must disclose their relationships with the products they are endorsing. Since then, and in light of the recent government actions against Google and online advertisers and Internet marketers, Google has called for greater self regulation of the industry. As regulators across the globe begin scrutinizing the online marketing and search industries more closely, we may see even more companies transitioning towards greater transparency.