Another Google (NSDQ: GOOG) advertising product bites the dust. For years, it was almost unheard of for Google to pull the plug on one of its advertising offerings. But lately, it’s been doing a lot of that. The search giant is dumping its AdSense video units program. By the end of April, publishers will no longer be able to sign up for the revenue-sharing service. Google was careful to note that publishers would still be able to embed YouTube videos onto their pages, but they would have to do it the old-fashioned way — by going directly to the site and pulling embed code from individual videos. The move follows Google’s jettisoning of its Radio Ads program — so that it can concentrate on a streaming audio ad product — last month. In January, Google said it was shuttering its Print Ads service for newspapers. The decisions reflect Google’s view that it can’t work miracles anymore as it struggles with the deteriorating economy.
Under the current AdSense program, publishers sign up through a dashboard provided by Google where they can choose what videos to be included in their AdSense player through a user-friendly menu. According to a Google blog post , the program didn’t perform up to snuff. Presumably the click-through rates were low, which isn’t a huge surprise; while consumers have become accustomed to clicking on links embedded in web pages, that’s less the case with video.
Google’s AdSense Video Units service, as it’s called, didn’t have a long life. It was introduced in beta form in February 2008 as a way for publishers to increase the amount of video content on their sites and earn a little money doing it. As with the more traditional Google AdSense programs for text and banners, Google served cheap overlay text ads onto its video content that were relevant to the video being played on the player and split the revenue with the publisher.