Google is officially retiring the Google Adsense referrals program which enabled webmasters to run CPA ads on their site where they earned commissions per action by web users instead of the usual pay-per-click ad units.
Besides the announcement, Google also sent us an email informing that the AdSense Referrals program is closing down during the last week of August. They have advised webmasters to remove all referral codes from their sites and save all reports related to the referrals program for preserving campaign data.
As an alternative they are inviting you to join the new Google Affiliate Network, that enables publishers to apply for advertiser programs and get paid based on advertiser-defined actions instead of clicks or impressions. Its part of DoubleClick Performics Affiliate operations that Google acquired in March 2008. I hope it will be integrated with Adsense soon.
Google Adsense referrals were particularly amazing, and I fondly remember my first $250 referral commission. Though they were expanding the referral program last year, recently they initiated the process of limiting the referral program and reducing the payouts. Though we had limited success with Adsense referrals, there are a lot of success stories about it and optimized the right way, they could contribute significantly to huge Adsense earnings.
So get ready to remove all referral code from your sites before the last week of August, and find a better way to monetize those ad spaces. Did you use referrals? How much are your earnings affected by this… share in comments.