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Subjects to Stay Away From
What Does NOT Work with AdSense?

 7:01 am on Apr 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Okay, don't flame this newbie, I'm not asking something dumb like "what are the best keywords?" I'm simply wondering if there are topics that flat-out don't do well with adsense. I have some passions as well as some existing sites and I'm wondering if it's worth making the adsense leap. I read on another thread that jokes/games don't do well. Anything else a known no-no?

Thanks, and thanks for providing such a great resource.



 8:22 am on Apr 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

files upload
forums (with a grain of salt)
children games

non supported languages
copied content
zero text sites
good content that no one else is interested in..

just to get you started ...

And flame flame you newb you!

Added: Welcome to WebmasterWorld!


 8:48 am on Apr 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have a site of original poetry, it's huge - nobody ever clicks there...


 9:38 am on Apr 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

In general, every niche that is publicly known to be high-paying, will actually not pay so well at all for most publishers. Millions of gold-diggers dive at high-paying keywords, thus creating more and more demand for ads, but the supply of high-paying ads will remain the same (At least, the supply will not grow significantly because of more demand).

The result is that most publishers who are active in the "high-paying" niches get very low paying ads. Only some very smart and talented publishers get the high paying clicks. Some of them folks are right here at this wonderful forum...

However, the beauty of the system is, it's not only the niche that determines the paycheck, it's much more subtile. If you have for example a high volume jokes site with good quality content, I don't rule out the possibility of decent earnings. If the ads match the quality content well, you might convert high and smart pricing could reward you with more than average ECPM = good cash!

So, my advice would be to make websites about things you can write good quality content about. So if you're funny you make a jokes site, if you are a lawyer you make a site about legal issues.
If you are a funny lawyer... well, you get the point.

When it comes to Adsense, there are only few things we are pretty sure about, one of them is:

Cash follows Quality.

However, that doesn´t rule out:

Cash follows Trash.

But it does mean that providing the Internet with quality content will improve your chances at decent earnings dramatically!


 11:20 am on Apr 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

"Cash follows Trash"

and it rhymes too!

I would add cash follows tons of visitors (sorry no rhyme there)
But that's like saying if you have lots money you are rich, with tons of visitors, AdSense or whatever network will bring you the money, if the question is less general and about adsense, then the contextual game dictates good quality text in addition to a good number of visitors.


 5:15 pm on Apr 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks guys, BTW, you mentioned "The result is that most publishers who are active in the "high-paying" niches get very low paying ads."

In general, why is that? Because their content doesn't draw the better paying ads in that niche?


 5:25 pm on Apr 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

overcrowding dilutes earnings.


 5:48 pm on Apr 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Cooking topics don't do that great - the ads are very low paying. Kid's toys don't do that great - none of the advertisers has a clue how to write a good ad or optimize a landing page. They just say what everybody else is saying and dump off at their home page.


 5:55 pm on Apr 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Seems to me that things that seem to do well (without having massive traffic) are where there's a good relationship between the content of the site and a product that could be sold. For example, product reviews can lead to someone wanting to buy the product listed in the ads. "So You Want to Be a Mortician" could lead to users clicking on Mortician School ads. A site about making model nuclear submarines could lead to a user clicking on ads selling models, model supplies, nuclear warheads, etc.

From what I've seen, forums don't tend to make money simply because people are there to use the forum, not to click ads. Games sites don't tend to make money because there isn't a lot of text content. Same for jokes and lyrics sites: someone might click to "Buy Janis Joplin on eBay" but those would be lower-paying probably. That's not to say these sites CAN'T make money, it's just that the money per impression tends to be a lot lower.

Honestly, if you have a passion for something, and a lot to say about it, I think you should put up a website, and the heck with how much money it will make or not. Give it a try, create some good content, put Adsense on there, and just see how it does. If it doesn't do well, try something else.

If nothing else, you'll have gotten some experience in what works and what doesn't. :-)



 5:58 pm on Apr 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

just type in some of your keywords into the preview tool, enter $100 as the price, and you will see... if its below $1-2, then its better to stay away from this


 6:04 pm on Apr 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

More bad topics/sites...

kitten porn
mud recipes
poison candy
reviews of web sites that do reviews
reviews of the site above
sites exclusively in Latin or other dead languages
elevator music lyric sites


 6:12 pm on Apr 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

kitten porn shows 2,950,000 results on Google, scratch off that one from the bad list, amazing!


 6:42 pm on Apr 10, 2006 (gmt 0)


OK, substitute "kitty litter" for "kitten pr0n" then...



PS. Or is that meant to be a top-paying one? I can never remember. "Kitty litter" ad arbitrage is the career for me...


 6:49 pm on Apr 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

topics that flat-out don't do well with adsense.

Topics with no Advertisers

Hard to make money when there's no money to be had. But this takes some research. You could Google for "widgets" and see 0 AdSense ads (or only generic ads beside the resulting SERPs, and then conclude that there's no advertisers for "widgets".

In fact, it might be the case that "widgets" is too popular and generic for advertisers to get a decent CTR rate on. It might turn out that there are still lots of advertisers for "widget repair", "widget training", and the like.

One solution is to search for competing sites on the desired topic and study their AdSense ad inventory. Lots of relevant advertisers? Ads showing up all day long, even in the wee hours of the morning?

Of course, only looking at competitors will preclude you from finding a sweet topic where there are no competitors. So that puts you back at the Google SERPs, poking around different keywords related to your topic, looking for where the ad money is being spent.

Too Much Competition

Who cares if there's lots of advertisers if you'll never rank for any worthwhile terms and get the free SE traffic? Too much competition can make a great AdSense topic lousy -- for you.

As usual, the actual equation here is complex.

  • Maybe so much advertising money is being spent that you can make a tidy profit off the lower-traffic keyword dregs that the "big" competition does not deign to compete for.
  • Maybe the advertisers are paying such a high per-click rate that you can afford to purchase your traffic via AdWords or some other means and still make a tidy profit.
  • Maybe you can get good free SE traffic for a non-competitive topic that lets you "two-step" each visitor onto the "money" topic.

    Example: I can't rank well for "earthquake insurance", but I can rank well for "moving to Sacramento". So, my landing pages for terms related to "moving to Sacramento" don't display AdSense ads -- instead, they display an "in-house ad" that says "Pros and cons of earthquake insurance", which takes visitors to an article that will display AdSense ads for the money term that I could not rank well for myself.

In general, if there's a lot of money being spent, then there's probably a way to beat the problem of too much competition -- if you're clever and willing to settle for a fraction of what the big boys are getting.

Topics You Can't Make/Buy Content For

It's getting tougher all the time to make AdSense money without delivering something of value. So if it's a topic you can't build, buy, or steal plausible content for, it's going to be a bad bet.

Topics that are Nevergreen

AdSensers generally hope for "evergreen" content -- pages that you can write once, put up, and then reap an income from for years with no changes. The opposite end of that spectrum is "nevergreen" content -- stuff that requires constant updating and research to be useful to visitors.

Want to target your favorite pop star? Then you may have to constantly revise past material. Childless? Not anymore. Just out of rehab? That was 6 months ago.

This partly depends on traffic's sensitivity to "freshness". People searching for a pop star's name are likely doing so because of something that just happened.

This is another case where a drawback can be turned into an advantage. Can you highly automate "nevergreen" content production so that you can do it with less time investment than any of your competitors? If so, then maybe you've found your niche.


 1:44 am on Apr 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Comic books.

I'd love to do a whole site on nothing but comic books, could generate tons of content myself, but it pays pennies and the traffic is pretty sad compared to so many other, similar fields. IMHO. If there's someone out there making big bucks in the field, I'd love to know.


 5:38 am on Apr 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

" I read on another thread that jokes/games don't do well. Anything else a known no-no? "

There is a site in India catering to the Non Resident population and the local people which is primarily a portal for jokes/fun/humour . It is going in for a public issue of shares to raise Rs 60 cr ( USD 13.5 Million) . It claims a profit of USD 300,000 anually from google adsense only.

I think , the trick is 'Traffic' .


 5:43 am on Apr 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Potato bugs. Don't even mention them in passing.
PB are just amazingly ugly, a total put-off.


 7:00 am on Apr 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'd love to do a whole site on nothing but comic books, could generate tons of content myself, but it pays pennies and the traffic is pretty sad compared to so many other, similar fields.

If you're not putting together a top notch, original, content filled site based on the assumption that you might not make a lot with adsense, then you are thinking sort of backwards.

You make the site for users, not for potential adsense earnings.

If you can truly make that kick-A comic book site, you'd be crazy not to make it.

If it dominates its niche, you could get the traffic for being an original resource. That means you'd have to be the best at what you do, or do something totally original with the topic.

If you can create that site, then adsense would be the least of your worries. With that much targeted content and the traffic that comes from making a truly original resource (and marketing as such), you can make money from a variety of sources (including adsense).

Now, this is probably more true with a topic like comic books (which has an actual commercial market) and less true for a site with a topic like potato bugs, but hey, maybe not. I hear potato bug farmers have a lot of disposable income.


 9:52 am on Apr 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

just type in some of your keywords into the preview tool, enter $100 as the price, and you will see... if its below $1-2, then its better to stay away from this

This is ABSOLUTELY not true. I have first hand experience making quite a bit of money with collectible christmas ornaments. This is niche that pays 30-40 cents. BUT, people who collect ornaments click EVERY ad. I'm pretty sure this is a case with all collectors' topics, where goods are in short supply. People who collect stuff are insane. They click every ad, visit every site, write thousands of e-mails talking to other nuts like them all over the globe. You can make decent money for topics that aren't "hot".


 11:24 am on Apr 11, 2006 (gmt 0)


Well, I had a very brief "CTO" stint at a recent startup, now defunct, for quite a promising "collectables" site (in the Sci-Fi area). The bloke running it was sensible and well connected but could not make it pay, but he was trying to monetise the trading aspect directly, and thus in direct competition with eBay et al IMHO.




 1:02 pm on Apr 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Since SEs index on a page by page basis, as do AdSense Ads, what do you suppose would happen if you did a site with each page being about a different totally unrelated subject?


 2:25 pm on Apr 11, 2006 (gmt 0)


AS seems to blend in page and site components, eg it can make a half-decent guess at a completely new page on the first visit based on its position in the site directory structure.

Different stuff on each page will simply render that element of the targetting element useless, reducing targetting "quality".

It might also be a signal to G that, unless there is something else especially good about the site, that the site is a dictionary/DMOZ/Wikipedia clone or an MFA...




 3:50 pm on Apr 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I guess e-cards and greeting cards websites also dont pay well from adsense. Same goes for the cooking websites. Their ads are also very less paying.

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