If you’re already an affiliate or associate for Amazon, Commission Junction, ShareASale, LinkShare, ClickBank or other affiliate programs, you will understand easily Google AdSense Referrals, which currently launched as beta phase. AdSense Referrals uses the same business model that what internet marketing and online advertising industry called CPA (Cost per Action) or PPA (Pay per Action). CPA works in such a way that advertiser only pays for the ad (and hence web publisher only earn from the ad) when an advertiser’s pre-defined action has occurred. An action may include purchase of product, conclude a sale, newsletter sign-up, form filling and etc which determined by advertiser.

Google must has been spending quite some time to come out with a name to describe the CPA network of Google AdSense. AdSense Referrals is obviously named so from the perspective of advertisers, where web publishers refer customers and clients to the advertisers, and get paid for doing this. It’s completely different with the current norm that calls the web publisher as affiliate or associate, instead of referrer.

The basis of AdSense Referrals program is the same with all other CPA ads networks. Publishers search or browse for products and services that they would like to display on the websites. One advantage for AdSense Referrals is that publishers can also specify keywords to allow system to automatically include all referral units that matched the keywords, including ads that are later added to the system.

However, AdSense Referrals have its disadvantages too. Currently it’s not possible to hyperlink a certain keyword on the article to turn it into affiliate link. The only chance you have is by using text link ads format, which unfortunately, is in JavaScript code. Putting more of JavaScript for a few text links ads will likely mess up your page.

The CPA referral ads from AdSense uses the same size and format with the existing AdSense image ad formats. Google will automatically rotates the referral ads selected in your referral unit based on their performance where the ads that perform better will be displayed more frequently in order to maximize earnings while still maintaining variety for visitors.

Implantation of referrals ads is as easy as the existing Google AdSense ads. It’s exactly the same process to copy and paste the generated ad code to the website, and if you have do it before, it won’t be any problem. The existing Google AdSense referrals products – Google AdSense, Google AdWords, Firefox with Google Toolbar, Google Pack and Google Checkout – have also comes under part of AdSense Referrals program (in essence, it should be Google expand the AdSense Referrals that originally just contain Google products to include other advertisers’ products).

Web publishers should earn more with each click through that generated into sales with the AdSense CPA network. However, whether it can beat the earning provided by existing CPC and CPM ads is mystery, and publishers can only know it by trying out. A point to note is that publishers will not receive payment for conversions that occur for users outside of the U.S. unless explicitly enabled by the advertiser (refer to FAQ). So if a Canadian or European customer does a purchase, publisher may end up giving away free ad space as he or she doesn’t receive anything in reward.

Sign up and join AdSense Referrals beta here (AdSense Referrals has been discontinued). Invitation needed, and only selected publishers will receive an invite. Beside, if you really into affiliate marketing but don’t like the messy and time consuming task of linking each products, take a look at Amazon new feature Context Links, which dynamically link the content of your page to the product page.