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Betting it all on AdSense
AdSense changed my life?
Stevo_UK




msg:1405678
 11:41 pm on Jun 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've been using Google AdSense for about five months now and to say that it has done nothing short of changing my whole financial situation and life in general would be an understatement and a half.

I run a high volume web site that has been up and going for about a year and a half now. Until the start of this year I was relying on donations and my own bank balance to keep the site going. This became harder as time went on and the site became more popular - until the day I discovered AdSense.

Not only has it covered the cost of running my site, it has also given me a lot more spending money to play with. It is actually so successful that I'm earning more from running the site than I am from my full time job. What started as a hobby has now become a source of income that might allow me to make some life changing decisions.

About two months ago I was on the verge of packing the full time job in, starting up a couple of more sites, and living the flexible and exciting life I've always wanted to lead. That was until I came across the large number of posts here and on other webmaster related web sites about ďThe Dreaded EmailĒ.

Now, I've been around long enough to know that not every post about getting kicked off AdSense for fraudulent clicks is totally genuine but the sheer number of them that I've seen leads me to believe that there are more than a few that have got kicked off the program through no fault of their own. I even remember a post here that paraphrased an email from G saying that yes, they knew the webmaster didn't click their own ads, but they still had to remove them.

Of course G has to protect the integrity of their system and of the advertiser at the other end forking out their hard earned cash. However, there must be a method that is both fair to the advertiser and the publisher. For example, automatically ignoring any duplicate clicks from the same IP address on the same advert over a 24hr period. I haven't been around online advertising long enough to know if this isn't feasible but it seems like a damn good solution to me.

The one very negative signal that Google is sending out is that income from Google AdSense can not be relied upon. In other words, it's just not feasible to setup and run a business that relies on it. If a person can be removed from the system on the whim of someone who is either trying to "help" or a competitor, or any of the other possible scenarios that are out of the control of the webmaster, then it's just not a system that people can bet their house on. Is this the type of message that G wants to get across?

To anyone that is planning to reply about chilling out and not worrying about it - I don't lose any sleep or hair over the thought of getting kicked off the program but having a life changing opportunity within reach will of course lead me to question the stability of the income that would finance it.

I'd be interested in hearing anyone's opinions on the above. Iím pretty sure Iím not alone. Has anyone here actually taken the plunge and bet it all on AdSense?

 

bts111




msg:1405679
 12:00 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi Stevo,

I was reading your post and thought how good your situation was until I saw "the dreaded email".

I do worry that my account will get cancelled as I had a situation earlier this year where my CTR was at about 90% for 2 days.

I emailed Google and they did not give me the boot. I was lucky I guess as it was obvious that I was generating fraudalent clicks.

My sites models where not originally set on Adsense revenue so if one day it does go I will still have revenue coming in.

I enjoy being able to display Google ads on my sites and love going to my PO Box to pick up a cheque, once a month, from Google.

I wish you all the best and can strongly recommend to all media owners to never put all your eggs in one basket ;)

Cheers
BTS111

ogletree




msg:1405680
 12:02 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

It is very scary. We make a lot of money and it is scary to think that could just stop. We have started running aff stuff as well to diversafy.

ogletree




msg:1405681
 12:03 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

You do know they don't send to PO boxes any more. You may not get your next check in a timely fashion if you don't correct that.

bts111




msg:1405682
 12:18 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am not in the US so I don't think that it will be a problem.

Thanks
BTS111

mquarles




msg:1405683
 12:26 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Stevo,

I can relate. I am afraid to take the dive heavily, so I continue to focus the majority of my efforts elsewhere while AdSense is growing quite nicely.

If it were not for the environment of fear they have created, where I worry I could get booted for something over which I have no control, I would be sending them at least five times as much business as I am, and I'm sending them a lot of business already.

In fact, if they were just fair enough to say that if you got booted you would get to keep the money you had already earned, it would be enough. But the idea of getting booted at the wrong time of the month and losing the better part of two months of revenue scares the hell out of me, and prevents me from giving AdSense my best efforts.

MQ

europeforvisitors




msg:1405684
 12:31 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

The one very negative signal that Google is sending out is that income from Google AdSense can not be relied upon. In other words, it's just not feasible to setup and run a business that relies on it. If a person can be removed from the system on the whim of someone who is either trying to "help" or a competitor, or any of the other possible scenarios that are out of the control of the webmaster, then it's just not a system that people can bet their house on. Is this the type of message that G wants to get across?

If it isn't, it should be. Why? Two reasons:

1) No publisher or Webmaster should rely on a single revenue source.

2) Google obviously has no interest in being on the receiving end of complaints such as: "I lost my house because Google pulled the plug on my account" or "When Google introduced 'smart pricing,' my income dropped so much that I've had to sell my car."

It's great that you're doing well with AdSense, but you should be looking for other revenue sources, too--either that, or you should consider keeping your day job and regarding AdSense checks as a way to build a nest egg for the futre.

arrowman




msg:1405685
 12:54 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

No publisher or Webmaster should rely on a single revenue source.

That would make sense, if Google was an advertiser.

But it's a man-in-the-middle, or rather: no-man-in-the-middle. And how many no-man's that provide an income do we have to choose from?

europeforvisitors




msg:1405686
 1:32 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

[quote]But it's a man-in-the-middle, or rather: no-man-in-the-middle. And how many no-man's that provide an income do we have to choose from?[/quote)

More than you might think. For example, a publisher can try other ad networks, affiliate programs, and selling ads or sponsorships direct.

There's nothing wrong with relying on a single income source if you don't need it (for example, if you have a day job and the site is just a sideline). But if you want to turn Web publishing into a full-time occupation and you've got bills to pay every month, having one revenue source is like being a consultant or freelancer who earns all of his income from one client who could leave at any time.

annej




msg:1405687
 1:34 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

You do know they don't send to PO boxes any more.

It turned out that you cannot sign up with a PO address now, but if you are already established with a PO box they don't make you change it.

blaze




msg:1405688
 1:39 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

EFV makes a good point. If anything, Google will probably encourage it's customers to rely less rather than more.

Visit Thailand




msg:1405689
 1:51 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think most of us feel this to a certain extent and I imagine the more earned per month the more the worry.

I try not too worry too much but do regard it as a regular income.

Unfortunately if you are earning xx xx or x xx xx per month through AdSense that can be a good percentage of revenue earned even if you do have other income sources.

I recently bought my first optical mouse and the cursor was jumping around a page and I accidently clicked an ad, I panicked and immediately (within a couple of seconds) shut down the computer with the on/off key!

While I do regard it as a regular income I also know it could be turned off at any moment so have to continue to build the other revenue sources so I would not notice it too much if it were ever turned off.

Add in:

Had to edit as three X's turns is censored.

Hunter




msg:1405690
 3:05 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Why not consider putting away 3-6 months of living expenses in the bank (from adsense) before making it a full time job. That will buy you some time to get another job should it all fall apart.

ogletree




msg:1405691
 3:31 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Oops sorry annej I guess I missed that thread.

ownerrim




msg:1405692
 3:35 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

stevo,

I commend you for what you wrote. You managed to handily sum up what many hundreds of webmasters are certainly feeling. Adsense is an incredible boon, but the climate of fear that has been generated is not conducive to production in any sense and weakens the program--though, taking the optimistic view, I think Google will work out the bugs and make it much less likely to get booted for less than legitimate reasons in the future (ie fraud and TOS violations). *btw--I am in north carolina and I just got my check at my po box, so apparently that is not a problem.

ownerrim




msg:1405693
 3:40 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Forgot to address a question. I've been itching to quit the old 9-5 and focus solely on my own web stuff using adsense as the primary revenue source. But...it's been the semi-regular postings of "I just booted and I don't know why" that's kept me from jumping into the wild blue yonder. Hunter's idea occurred to me months ago. To basically keep a reserve in case it all fell apart. At the very least, I would do that much before blazing out.

cyberprosper




msg:1405694
 4:20 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Do not quit your job based on adsense.

Do not quit your job based on adsense.

Do not quit your job based on 1 site.

When you have other sources providing you money equal to your current salary in ADDITION to adsense, then consider it. And yes, you should save as much as you can.

Adsense will not be around forever. However, advertising will. It sounds like you have a pretty good site. Make a few more of those and you will be in a better situation.

One more thing, if you are only gambling with your own life, you have a lot more freedom. If you have a family that relies on your income, you may want to suffer with that job until you have other sources of money.

Powdork




msg:1405695
 4:45 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

They don't have to drop you either. Should smart pricing bite you in the arse your revenue could easily drop by 50-70%. Can you imagine your sole employer telling you that instead of $60/hour, they think you are now worth $20/hour,... Oh and by the way, about that paycheck. We're not really sure when you're gonna get that.;)

I did quit my day job. But I still have my trusty Subaru.

diamondgrl




msg:1405696
 5:30 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Stevo_UK, based on your initially positive response, I'm curious what you mean by a "high-volume" Web site. And what your click-through rate is.

adnonsense




msg:1405697
 9:50 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Lemme add my bit. Like everyone else I was dead scared of my accout being disabled for no fault of mine and the first thing I would do every morning was log into Adsense and see if my account was still running. Well, my fears did come true when my account was disabled after I used some autosurf programs to generate traffic.

I spent a month feeling low and beaten and then submitted my website to Marketbanker. The income hasnt been bad at all and I know thy have a freindlier approach which means I can sleep in peace knowing fully well that should there be any problems I can get a positive response from them.

After my second website was ready Google was my first choice and it runs Google ads now. I am thinking of quitting my job but not before I have a couple of more sites which are signed up with different programs like Vibrant Media or ****.

Yes it is possible to live of adsense revenue because after all the whole purpose of making a website is to earn from it. If the money from adsense is more than the money from subscriptions or other means, I dont think theres any harm.

If anyone does want to live off Adsense, having a handful of websites signed up under different programs would be best. You always know if one program gives you the boot, you can survive with the help of the rest of the websites. No one would be that unlucky to be kicked out of all programs in a month unless one does something really really stupid.

Having a handful of websites with different programs is also the easiest way to stop being scared to death of Google disabling your account. It kind of puts you on a equal footing with Google. If they got lot of publishers, then we arent short of other adsense programs either!

blairsp




msg:1405698
 9:52 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Stevo

Think EFV and many of the other posters make a very fair point. Have you considerd any other alternatives as G could pull the plug at any time, earnings could drop (bearin in mind you are at the "mercy" of your "surfers") etc etc.

Speaking on behalf of myself, my brother was one of those who got the "dreaded" e-mail and it was a real wake up call. I have since diversified by using some banners (no pops, no fly ins etc) and also using one of the adsense "clones" - can't use the name here or my post will get deleted (you can sticky me if you want my honest views on its performance). I feel I have the best of many worlds. At the moment google is doing well for me, the banners APPEAR to be OK as well and the alternative is providing enough to cover my hosting. So I'm not really "relying" on any one particular company who may or may not fail in the future.

Diversify using an easily changeable coding on your pages (I use php includes-although more technical people could probably suggest better) and all the companies provide alternative urls now.

adnonsense




msg:1405699
 10:12 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have since diversified by using some banners (no pops, no fly ins etc) and also using one of the adsense "clones" - can't use the name here or my post will get deleted

Huh? I didnt know menttioning other adsense programs was considered to be blasphemy here. I wish I could edit my post back there and remove those names. Silly me!

blairsp




msg:1405700
 1:32 pm on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Huh? I didnt know menttioning other adsense programs was considered to be blasphemy here.
Wouldn't put it quite as strongly as that, but I have had two posts deleted and a (friendly but firm) "warning" regarding using the companies name.

Case you were wondering I didn't use a url or anything like that and they are quite well known.

europeforvisitors




msg:1405701
 2:09 pm on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

IMHO, the real reason for playing it safe isn't that Google might give you the boot. Sure, publishers get dumped, but the number must be quite small in the overall scheme of things. No; the real reason for not quitting the day job--or for having multiple revenue streams if you do quit the day job--is that times change. With AdSense, for example, any number of factors besides the "dreaded e-mail" could lead to a drop in income:

1) Stricter rules about content. (A lot of publishers would be affected if Google no longer permitted AdSense ads on certain types of pages.)

2) Changes in the "smart pricing" algorithm as Google acquires more conversion data for different types of content and for individual sites.

3) Falling bids in the publisher's subject category, or too many publishers competing for a finite number of clicks in that category.

4) A tiered AdSense network that assigned greater value to approved sites (or certain types of sites) than to others.

5) Greater advertiser control over where ads appear or don't appear.

6) Tighter integration between the Google Search and AdSense databases, so that--for example--sites with high "spam scores" in Google Search might have their AdSense accounts disabled or receive lower payments per click.

The AdSense network is only a year old, and we've already seen quite a few changes during the first 12 months. It's only reasonable to assume that more changes will occur in the future--and there's no way for individual publishers to know if such changes will benefit or hurt them.

mquarles




msg:1405702
 4:20 pm on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks EFV,

I wasn't paranoid enough before ;-). You make good points.

MQ

4eyes




msg:1405703
 4:35 pm on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Use the adsense revenue to develop other revenue streams as quickly as possible.

See it as a temporary financial 'grant' and you won't go far wrong.

HarleyGuy




msg:1405704
 5:57 pm on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Paranoid?

There is no such thing as security in this global corperate arena.

You can be fired from any job any time.

With Adsense my hard (white hat) work pays my bills and more, a lot more.

I focus my attention on the program 100% and it pays off.

If you are going to be great at anything you must give it your all.

Being scared and tring to cover your butt will only get you half a** results.

When the Adsense system dries up I will still sleep well at night because I will know that I did my best, made lots of cash, and put enough away for a rainny day or should I say year.

Keep your day job?

There is no glory when there is no risk!

blaze




msg:1405705
 6:29 pm on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)


There is no glory when there is no risk!

Actually, there is no glory when you hide and try to pretend risk doesn't exist.

There is always risk, my friend, no matter what you do.

ogletree




msg:1405706
 7:11 pm on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am pretty sure if you do everything the right way with adsense and you are getting 6 figures a year and you have been at this for over a year and G has looked at your site then you are pretty safe. No 100% but as safe as any other business or job. We got an email about kw density problems we fixed it and they said we were fine. I fell quite confident. This is all I do now is as and aff marketing.

europeforvisitors




msg:1405707
 7:16 pm on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

With Adsense my hard (white hat) work pays my bills and more, a lot more. I focus my attention on the program 100% and it pays off....Being scared and tring to cover your butt will only get you half a** results.

When the Adsense system dries up I will still sleep well at night because I will know that I did my best, made lots of cash, and put enough away for a rainny day or should I say year.

A year? That sounds like short-term thinking to me. I much prefer a long-term strategy that uses content as a platform for any number of revenue models: AdSense or another contextual ad nework, affiliate links, conventional ads, sponsorships, subscriptions, pay-per-view, syndication, and/or whatever else may come along.

Still, to each his own. Web businesses are like any other businesses: Some people like to ride the current wave and jump onto the next trend that comes along, like BBS owners who became ISPs or freelance graphic artists who switched from desktop publishing to Web design. Others prefer to build for the long term. (Guidebook publishing is a good example of the long-term approach: Some of the Blue Guides include text that was written more than 100 years ago.) If you prefer the "ride the wave" approach, just be prepared for change sooner rather than later.

This 80 message thread spans 3 pages: 80 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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