Last night I received an email from Google notifying me that they are changing the required action of a user, for a click to occur on an AdSense ad. Google said previously, if you clicked anywhere on an ad, including the background of the ad, that would constitute a click. Now, a user must click on the ad title or URL for it to constitute a click.
Google said this is being changed to "reduce accidental clicks and increase value for advertisers."
Does this seem like any old change? Well, it is, kind of. Google implemented the same thing back in April for ads that display on Google.com (i.e. AdWords ads). Yes, this did have a significant impact on advertiser's spend and earnings. But it obviously is working, because both advertisers seem to have been happy from the change and Google is now implementing this on AdSense ads.
You can imagine that AdSense publisher won't be as happy with this change. Why? Simply because less clicks translates into less money. Google realizes this and told me:
Although we recognize these changes may result in a RPM decrease for some publishers in the short term, we expect these improvements will lead to increased advertiser spend in the long term. By investing in the long-run health of the relationship between AdSense publishers, AdWords advertisers and your sites' visitors, we're ensuring your continued success as an AdSense partner.
I will be watching the forums when they launch this ad change and report back on how AdSense publishers and AdWords advertisers react to this change.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.