There are times Google's heralded ad affiliate program isn't in your long
term business interest. Oh no I said it!
AdSense isn't the unstoppable revenue engine for every eBusiness.
Before I am taken out and flogged by the eCommerce pundits -- please let
me explain what I mean in my defense.
I make revenues from AdSense at a very high click-through rate. I
experience high click-through rates with AdSense without resorting to
questionable tactics like tricking site users with photos (the AdSense
trick and tip dujour).
So my perspective is from one who has made decent income from AdSense
to fund aspects of his business like advertising seminars -- and
outsourcing to his virtual assistants. Yes, AdSense is a legitimate and
significant revenue source. However evaluate AdSense with some type of
By now you may have heard about people like 6 figure income with
AdSense, or Jason Calacanis of Web logs being on his way to generating 1
million dollars in AdSense revenue. Google's Ad revenue sharing affiliate
program for publishers certainly seems to be an eSales Nirvana for many
But there are obvious and not so obvious times not to use AdSense ads
on your sites. Let's list - examine - and explain them below.
1. On Sales or Mini-sites
This is a no-brainer. If you are trying to sell a particular product
that is important to your bottom-line, you don't want AdSense ads
distracting your customers from either joining your email list, or
hindering your site's online sales process.
However I do see hybrid sites that are mini-sites or full scale
eCommerce sites, with AdSense at the bottom of their pages. This might not
be so bad since only 1% - 15% of your site visitors will either buy from
you or fill out a form.
The thinking with this approach is you might as well make money from
disinterested parties using up your server's bandwidth.
2. SEO Business Sites
If your livelihood depends on search engine optimization or marketing
for a living you might want to think twice about displaying AdSense Ads on
your site. I can tell you this from personal experience. I once was on top
of MSN for search engine marketing in my local area. I concentrated on my
local area because I found people felt more comfortable hiring an
eCommerce consultant locally.
One day my site fails totally out of the MSN index. After intense study
I noticed that I obviously had a filter on my site from MSN.
I analyzed all the top ranking sites in MSN and noticed the only
difference between me and the other top ranking sites was I had Google
AdSense ads on my site. Someone at MSN felt that my AdSense ads, and
perhaps to a less extent, my book on SEO, was getting a free ride in the
MSN search engine database.
In fact I noticed that there were no sites with AdSense ads for at
least the first 3 pages. Plus the sites with AdSense were only using 1 ad
unit at the bottom of the home page (there were very few of them in the
top 5 pages).
I knew it was strange to not have AdSense ads on the top Internet
marketing sites. This prompted me to scan other industries where I noticed
the same trend.
Many of the leading SEO gurus have sites that have been banned from the
top listings by the search engines. It seems the more visible you become,
the more of a target your sites are to the search engine auditors.
Some of my sites are still on the top of MSN with AdSense ads but that
doesn't mean they won't also be targets in the future.
Let's face the facts. MSN and Yahoo! have competing ad networks to
Google's, and this competitive situation is rife for a potential backlash
against SEO sites with AdSense ads.
Many SEOs will point to exceptions to this position. However you have
Think about it, how long will MSN and Yahoo! sit back and watch SEO
driven websites use their search indexes to fund Google? Did you know SEO
in MSN and Yahoo(!) --- is much easier to obtain.
Therefore optimized sites are creating an ad sales wealth transfer from
MSN and Yahoo into the pockets of Google! It won't be long before Yahoo!
and MSN begin to devalue ranking on AdSense sites in their databases -- if
not outright ban them.
If you are in the search engine business stay search engine neutral, or
create multiple sites for different search engines.
3. When AdSense Becomes Your Only Business Model
When you become so myopic in your thinking that you build a business
solely on AdSense revenue -- think again my friend. Why build a business
solely on the largess of Google?
I don't know if your realize it or not, but the sites making the real
big AdSense money usually have a following that doesn't depend on the
search engines. Internet mavens like Chris Pirillo or Joel Comm have been
on the Internet a while and have followings for their websites. Therefore
they can consistently make six figures with AdSense.
These content powerhouses are an asset to Google and not the other way
around. But do you think Google is going to sit back and watch just
anybody make big bucks off of their top rankings?
If you do a search on most keywords you will notice many of the top
ranking sites are news sites, .gov sites, or .org sites these days. The
only exception is in industries where these sites don't really exist like
eCommerce industries (clothing, shopping, etc.).
No doubt in most industries you will notice a conspicuous scarity of
AdSense sites in the top rankings. In other words don't bet your future
fortunes on AdSense.
An IPO based on projections of AdSense revenue isn't in the future for
the average eBusiness. Think of Google AdSense as supplemental income.
Building a business solely on AdSense revenue isn't just silly -- it's
just plain stupid.