Earlier this week, Google announced that they would no longer accept referrals to their AdSense program from publishers outside North America, Latin America and Japan.
However, in response to the utter disappointment and responses from publishers, Google have decided to reconsider this decision!
Now Google have agreed to pay publishers for targeted referrals, regardless of the publishers location:
The changes to referrals promoting AdSense will now depend on where your users are located, regardless of your location as a publisher. You'll earn $100 for every user you refer to AdSense who is located in North America, Latin America or Japan when they generate $100 in AdSense revenue within 180 days and they remove all payment holds. You'll no longer be paid for users you refer who are located elsewhere. These changes will go into effect the last week of January. (From the Google AdSense blog)
This does mean that you should target your AdSense referral ads to be displayed only in North America, Latin America and Japan, as you will not earn anything from referrals to people in other continents.
If any of you have noticed your recent referrals do not show in your AdSense account, this will probably be due to an error in the system which Google are currently working to fix (I was rather surprised to see a big drop in my earnings for this month, and finally know the reason why!). So don't worry: you will still receive referral credits for previous referrals, even if they are not currently displaying in your dashboard.
One final note: there will be a reduction in the earnings for GooglePack and Firefox. Currently, we can earn up to $2 for GooglePack referrals, but from the third week in February, this will drop to only a $1 maximum.
Many would complain that halving the revenue earned from GooglePack referrals is unfair, but for me, this is a small price to pay in exchange for AdSense referrals which have the potential to earn far more.
Google will also be reducing payments for Firefox referrals from China during the third week of February. This specific referral payment change will only affect installations from users in China.
There is no specific reason for this on the AdSense blog, though I suspect this change may be due to China's restrictions of the Internet and external media.
For more information about these changes in Google referrals, you should take a look at the AdSense blog. You may also be interested to read Problogger's open letters to AdSense (highly amusing reads!) which you can find here and here.
I will of course post news of any further changes to the AdSense program here to inform you of anything which may impact your own advertising revenues.