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This 119 message thread spans 4 pages: < < 119 ( 1 [2] 3 4 > >     
AdSense common thread in the AdSense threads: Me, my, mine
A shift in theme: Them, their's (The advertisers, silly)

 2:58 pm on Mar 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

I just scanned the AdSense posts to confirm a nagging feeling and, I regret to confirm that what I knew intuitively was confirmed: ~ 85% of the discussion is about "me": My income, my money, my stats are down, how do I make more money, how do you make money so I can learn how I can make money, me, money, me, money.

Dear AdSensers: Why isn't your discussion, thread after thread after thread, about "What can I do to generate qualified leads that will convert well for advertisers so that advertisers are happy and that brings in more advertisers and there's more money in the pot . . ."

If AdSense is not about making money for the advertisers then it will fail. Miserably. Promise. Lot's of $.01 clicks, if that. A system in decline, maybe saved by SmartPricing - if all the advertisers aren't scared away.

Anyone get that? 95% of the threads that read "What's good for advertisers is good for me". 5% "Me, my money, my stats today".

No, a better yield for advertisers hasn't been the theme. Instead, it's incessantly me, more money for me, my income is down, my income trend is bad, I must make more websites so I make more money.

Me, me, me, me, me. This business of "now you can talk about your income" simply heightens the frenzy.

What is an advertiser to think?

Wake Up!

Folks, for this to work it needs to be about the advertisers. Not about "me", "my income", etc. IMHO there's a real need to shift the focus or locus of the dialogue.

Every day, in some way, 5 out of 7 posts need to be about delivering better results for advertisers, or AdSense will suffer in some way and so will you.

I challenge everyone of you to make a post a week, or even a month, that is about the who-what-when-where-why-how of generating a better ROI for advertisers.

This business of me-my-mine is poisonous. Every book I've ever read about the essentials of business success has stated this same proposition most pointedly: If it's about 'you' and not your customers, you will not succeed. If it's about "what's in it for me" not "how can I do this better for them" it will fail.

Yes, capitalism.

Enlightened capitalism.


[edited by: Webwork at 3:01 pm (utc) on Mar. 19, 2005]



 3:02 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

As an advertiser who is rapidly going off the adwords content network I can say that much of the problems with the content network is largely to be placed at the door of google, not the publishers.

We track ROI & I know that certain sites don't create conversions for us. But, we can't remove non productive sites from our account.

It really is rather frustrating because the non-productive sites block out what may be more productive for us because they use up our whole daily budget. End result: we kill off the content network from our campaigns. Everybody loses, the publishers who might be able to get a ROI for us, google because they don't get their cut & worst of all us because we lose out on some customers we would otherwise have gained.

Come on google, give the content network users as much control as the adsense publishers.


 3:21 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Good thread, though I believe the initial post and criticism of publishers was a bit high-handed.

Publishers are naturally going to be interested in making money. Do you think Conde-Nast, Pulitzer, Hearst, Gannett, et. al., were in it for their health?

Publishers PUBLISH. The good ones have quality content and to this point Google has made no effort to differentiate those from the scrapers and directories and that's hurting both publishers and advertisers.

When Google (they created this mess, after all) steps up and begins to kill off spam sites en masse, creating a minimum standard, publishers can get back to creating quality content AND getting paid what it's worth for it.


 3:36 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

When Google (they created this mess, after all) steps up and begins to kill off spam sites en masse, creating a minimum standard, publishers can get back to creating quality content AND getting paid what it's worth for it.

I wonder if Google even wants to kill off the spam sites en masse or create a minimum standard. Maybe the current mess is a setup for "bait and switch." Advertisers who want the maximum number of clicks at the lowest cost will continue to use the current run-of-network offering (spam sites, gmail, DomainPark, and all), while advertisers who want qualified leads or who care about their brands will be wooed into paying a premium for greater controls or a subset of the network. That's as good a hypothesis as any, and it makes more sense than believing (as some do) that Google will be satisfied with owning the low end of the market while future competitors offer higher quality and and/or more choices.


 3:40 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've got to say.. it is largely about *me*. *I* create a site that scores highly for certain terms, *I* go about the expense of hosting and promoting it, and all *I* want are some AdSense banners that are in some way relevant to my content.

Consider this - I might be #1 in the Google SERPs for Widgetmaster 2000. If I search for Widgetmaster 2000 in Google I get all sorts of relevant ads. And yet AdSense will still not understand that my page is about the Widgetmaster 2000 despite all attempts to inform it through page titles, header tags, ALT text etc. It's frustrating, because I want to connect visitors with advertisers, but Google just isn't playing along.

Instead, Google tends to serve up ads which sometimes are only vaguely related to the topic in the page.. perhaps because these advertisers are bidding more for general terms. To be honest, I'd sooner have more relevant ads at a lower PPC than high-earning ads which aren't relevant.

The bottom line is that Google often does not delivery the advertisers that publishers need.


 3:47 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Maybe the current mess is a setup for "bait and switch."

shudder.... There's a rather unpleasant thought. Not exactly the advertizers I want on my site.


 4:01 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Webwork, you are simply confused. Have you ever ran ad campaigns?

The quality of the content does not have a direct relationship to the success of the advertiser. I have the experience of putting up both total crap pages as well as nice sites. The total crap converts equally as well for affiliate programs across dozens of industries.

A user searches MSN for say, auto widgets. They get boiler plate content about auto widgets. No real value. They click an ad for auto widgets. This is very targetted traffic.

The assumption that content rich sites convert better for ADS is false. What REAL experience do you have that would suggest otherwise? If you were a mortgage lender you would not want clicks from a below average site that was generated its traffic from people searching for mortgages?

Actually, some of the best converting pages are parked domains with listings...how would you suggest one improves the advertisers ROI for this?


 4:18 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

"We track ROI & I know that certain sites don't create conversions for us. But, we can't remove non productive sites from our account. "

That would be nice. Problematic, though, with probably hundreds or even thousands of publishers running ads from specific areas (many of whom would be scrapers and directories, I would guess)

If advertisers really started looking at some of the sites that carry their ads, they might blanch and pass entirely on the content network. Would google risk that can of worms?


 4:34 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Here's where this began and allow me to return to the basics:

1. If you scan the AdSense forum posts you will see that the vast majority posts are about "my money, my earnings stats, getting more clicks, etc."

2. There's very little (if ever?) discussion of "what, if anything, are we AdSensers doing to improve the delivery of high value, high ROI clicks to advertisers?"

3. I raised the question of a hypothetical advertiser scanning the AdSense posts. What would a potential or existing advertiser conclude from reading the long history of "me and my AdSense money" centered posts? Is it "It looks like they'll do anything for a click. They don't give a hoot about the quality or qualities of the traffic. Just get them clicking is all they care about. Almost no one talks about sending quality, qualified leads."

4. This evoked the issue of the quality of the website as it relate to the quality of traffic. IF quality of content IS related to quality of traffic, then "Where's the data, the educational materials, etc?" Where is the focus on that issue? Nothing concrete and persistant appears forthcoming from Google. Why? Does quality not really matter?

IF quality matters then why hasn't Google stepped up to lay it all out? IF it's the case that quality matters then it's my assertion that Google needs to get more proactive on the issue - delivering educational 'materials', concrete example, data, etc.

IF all that matters is 'the click' then - in that scenario - all the talk about money money money IS the right conversation. The heck with everything else, just get the click. The persistence of scraper sites supports that conclusion in the absence of a more robust Google-publisher-contextual advertiser dialogue.

Google is populated by very bright, often passionate people - people quite capable of grasping the issues and addressing the isseus - so what is to be inferred from the absence of a robust, continuous, expanding "quality counts" dialogue?

Maybe this: 1) Quality is of marginal importance; 2) Clicks matter more than quality; 3) The relaxing of the TOS - immediately resulting in people talking more about money than quality - is a sign that 1 & 2 are true.


 4:40 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Any blame that you may have should be directly squarely at Google's doorstep, as they are the ones that set the pace and terms of the Adsense program. The advertisers and the publishers alike are mere pawns. In the absense of credible competition, Google can (and does) do what it likes. The Adsense forum is about getting the highest CTR, the Adwords forum is about getting the most traffic for the lowest bid. Google plays off one party against the other and quietly takes a cut of the action.


 4:44 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

This has been an issue with the focus of discussions on here since the beginning of Adsense. Whether it was publishers who didn't want their users to leave their site ("Why can't Adsense open a new window?") or publishers who wanted to intice clicks ("Why can't I put visit our sponsors under Adsense?"), that's what this forum has focused on since the start.


 4:59 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

The quality of the content does not have a direct relationship to the success of the advertiser. I have the experience of putting up both total crap pages as well as nice sites. The total crap converts equally as well for affiliate programs across dozens of industries.

If editorial context and audience didn't matter, advertisers wouldn't pay a premium for targeted mailing lists, special-interest magazines, and other handpicked media.

Also, why the reference to affiliate programs? Affiliate sales represent a tiny portion of total consumer and B2B expenditures.

A user searches MSN for say, auto widgets. They get boiler plate content about auto widgets. No real value. They click an ad for auto widgets. This is very targetted traffic.

This may work for mass-market purchases, but things get trickier when you're talking about high-end products and services (especially those that fetch high PPC bids). For example, a travel agency that's selling $700-per-diem cruises doesn't want to waste several dollars a click on unqualified leads.

The assumption that content rich sites convert better for ADS is false.

Again, it depends. If the content-rich site is prequalifying leads by giving users information before they make the decision to click, it stands to reason that the leads will have a better chance of converting. (And if you don't agree with that, then you might want to share your wisdom with the advertisers who pay billions of dollars a year to have their ads seen in enthusiast and trade magazines.)

Again and again, we see a "traditional PPC mentality" here at Webmaster World. But there's a lot more to the advertising industry than commodity widgets, eBay, and hotel rooms. Online advertising represents only a tiny fraction of the total advertising market, and PPC's share is smaller still. Google's real opportunities for growth will come from the larger market--including advertisers, ad agencies, and media-buying services that are waiting for something better than AdSense 1.0. Ultimately, Google will have to give those advertisers more choices if it wants to move beyond the existing (and mostly lower-end) PPC market.


 5:04 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Excellent points Webworks. I think people like to sit around and pretend/hope/believe that quality information content = better conversions for advertisers, but that is a completely unsupported assumption (and perhaps the real answer is that, like so many things, it is true in some cases and not in others).

Furthermore, I would add something to this point you listed:

2. There's very little (if ever?) discussion of "what, if anything, are we AdSensers doing to improve the delivery of high value, high ROI clicks to advertisers?"

and that would be, How? I don't have any data on ROI for advertisers. Google doesn't share it with me (and may not have it). The advertisers certainly don't share it with me. The only input I have as to ROI is that certain terms pay better than other terms, so I assume that they have better ROI. Does that mean that MY traffic for the particular term has good/bad ROI? No. I have absolutely no way of knowing. I just have an idea of average ROI due to what people are bidding for that term. Personally, I'd love to have more information on this, but right now I don't see any way that a publisher can have the slightest clue whether their traffic converts well.

Allowing advertisers to block individual sites, as has been mentioned in this post and in the past, would have the effect of negative/positive reinforcement with respect to this issue, especially if you were told who was blocking you. That would actually be pretty interesting: If you knew who was blocking you (operating under the assumption that they were blocking you due to low ROI and not because you are a competitor or because of objectionable subject matter) you could get an idea of who your traffic was valuable to, and who it was not valuable to. Maybe that would help you target certain niches better.

Or how about this: Advertisers being able to block by channel. Of course, that's pretty impractical in reality for many reasons, but the idea is interesting: It is very possible that some of the sections of my site are more valuable to a given advertiser than others (you can't expect ad targeting to completely resolve that -- the pages could be on the same topic but have a very different demographic because one is say, a product review page, while the other is a forum).

There are tons of things that could be done if publishers had more data, but we don't, so I don't see that we can do anything right now. Suggestions?


 5:04 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

If advertisers really started looking at some of the sites that carry their ads, they might blanch and pass entirely on the content network. Would google risk that can of worms?

well, it is in googles interest because advertisers like me have already passed on the content network as a consequence not being able to make it pay.

I really don't think that adsense publishers can do a whole lot about it.

It is the advertisers with the help of the adwords content network system that needs to change.

If I found a website where I was getting a positive ROI I would create an adgroup just for that site with it's own budget. As it stands at present I can't do that. Either I take googles idea of the sites I should run on, or nothing at all. I've plumped for nothing.

People have been talking about this since I first came on this forum. I just don't understand why they haven't done anything to redress the problem. Isn't it blindingly obvious that advertisers should be able to control where their ads are shown?


 5:10 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Jack_Hughes, out of curiosity, since I have done very little on the AdWords side of things, how much difference do you find between different sites? And, is it a normal distribution (bell curve), or do there appear to be generally just some good sites and some bad sites?

And by the way, this may be an issue that competition will solve. It sounds like this has a major effect on ROI -- which is the bottom line. If so, if MSN or Yahoo start offering this ability, I don't see that Google will have much choice -- it's just too big a deal.


 5:11 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Mfishy, are your sweeping conclusions are biased by your sampling techniques? ;0) I don't know your model but I'm going to infer you have wisely chosen a tightly focused business model.

I don't disagree that people who are searching for a specific topic - mortgage refinancing quotes, kitchen remodeler in Oswego, listing realtor in Shamokin, etc. - will convert by force of their status when they search: They are focused, primed, ready to buy, etc. If your focus is that segment of the market then you could put of the proverbial "Big Red Button Site" (a one page site with "Buy Widgets Now") and it will work/convert. People at that stage will fill out forms, etc. Yes, even the BRBAdSenseSite will get clicks, clicks that convert, because a certain segment of people searching are ready to "do it now". They aren't in think mode or any other mode.

Positioning yourself as a honeypot for that category of 'searcher' is an efficient, high-yield strategy that is also a perennial SERPs battleground. Your market isn't the "I'm thinking about this" market. Indeed, if there's one thing I understand about this market segment is that the model forcused on this sub-set designs websites specifically so that the visitor doesn't even have to think. Thinking is bad. Reading material is a distraction. Focus dammit! Click the button now and get instant pain relief!

Great model. Small segment. Important, profitable, but small. Great market to target. Fair game for AdSense. What flavor of AdSense? BRBSite with AdSense as the BRB?

But what if 90-95% of the market isn't quite at that point on the consumer buying cycle? Do you nonetheless force the click for that 90%+? Make a scraper site where the only exit or the most immediate exit is a high yield click "off campus" to a site where the visitor really isn't primed to buy?

Who knows? Maybe the irritated visitor will remember the fact that he/she was irritated when he was thrust out into XWidget site and won't go back?

So, quality doens't matter sometimes? I got that. Sometimes "Buy Widgets Now" works. That describes what percentage of the market? You'd never guess that it's ~2% of the market at any moment by looking at the SERPs, would you? An important 2% nonetheless.

OBTW - Where's the stats on the "buy widgets now" market?

The question remains: Does quality matter? If so, where, when, how?

If not then is the future simply more and more scrapers with BuyMiamiVacationNow buttons as the only exit?

Decreasing ROI.


 5:19 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you just think about "monetizing for adsense" then what happens if adsense ever stops its program, or drops you? You will most likely stress, have to re-monetize for another program, and thats alot of wasted time. If a website is "quality and optimized" it will automatically be profitable with adsense, and other programs. If you optimize for just adsense, your website may not be compatible with other future money makers, and your income would be very unstable, because you would just be relying on adsense.

Instead of just "taking as much as you can get" why not just create a quality site that is optimized of course? This way your site will be compatible with other programs. You may make a little less money, or even alot less, but in the long run, it probably would be more profitable and very stable. I would rather be making 50 dollars a day for 2 years, than 300 dollars a day for a few weeks. You also don't have to worry as much about Google dropping you for stupid reasons if you take this approach. If you just try to target the high paying keywords, or most of your traffic is shady, Google probably will become suspcious, and you might get dropped.

It is about the advertisers, because without the advertisers, Google wouldn't get paid, and neither would us. Although in reality, it is not our problem to worry about, it is Google's problem neverthless, which is the main reason why Google can and will drop anyone without reason. This is why I think this concept should be respected and understood. Alot of us are probably making "free money" anyway using this adsense, and should not complain. Thinking about just "me" will only work in the short term, and it can be equivalent to spamming the search engines, and raking in as much money as you can for a few weeks, then getting banned.


 5:27 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

The question remains: Does quality matter? If so, where, when, how?

More to the point, if any advertisers believe that quality matters as much online as it does offline, then why would anyone think it's a good idea to deny them a choice?


 5:38 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Once more, EFV, I find that your capacity for incisive comment stands out, a sign IMHO of someone who thinks and cares a great deal about the subject.

Now, if only we could get a little more discourse from the lords of contextual advertising.

What exactly is the risk of stating what's behind behind the status quo? A culture of playing things close to the vest? That strategy isn't universally successful. Sometimes it's downright self-defeating.

My best guess, from far away from Palo Alto and its surrounding communities: As more players enter the search and contextual advertising field a lack of transparency to advertisers and publishers will be a detriment, not an asset.

Here's a hopeful inference: The lack of dialogue may be as much a matter of technology as it is policy. Every policy change requires concordant technology changes, so the silence may be a reflection of the amount of development work that must take place first to initiate the policy 'automatically'.

If that's the situation then statements of "emerging policy" would still be welcome.

That still doesn't address the possibility of a more proactive role in the building of a quality content network of publishers. (Okay, so they do examine all first time applications and do have a button to report lame results. However, that's more reactive than proactive.)


 6:24 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have been on both sides of the fence (selling/buying) and I think we may have missed the big point.

AdSense is just ad banners of 4 years ago. It will build up, make a lot of people money, lose its appeal and will decline.

What we have to be left with, as web publishers, is quality sites that attrack viewers/members. Those sites are fad-proof.

If you are only running mini-sites with no real content, pile away your money because this is will ebb and flow as the world of advertising always does.

Personally, the next big thing in web advertising needs to be branding. Clicks are easy to track but hard to quantify. We need to bring in the magazine/tv markets where just SHOWING an ad is good enough.

We shall see.



 6:37 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Finding better leads for advertisers is Google's job. I publish content. Google determinees if the content is a good place to put ads.


 7:24 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

The solution is simple - migrate to a Pay Per Action basis.

AdSense need to see how they can change their format so more people are creating actions, not clicking.


 7:25 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

When an Adwords advertiser emails Google about a "made for adsense" scraper directory site stealing content from that advertiser's pages and Google continues to let that advertiser use Adsense, that pretty much answers all the questions any one would have, eh?

I dropped content from every Adwords campaign I manage after the above occured. Wait three months, analyze search network and realize everything but AOL is garbage, drop search network from every Adwords campaign I manage.

The whole ball got rolling because of the tone of many threads in the Adsense forum here. They spurred the investigation.


 7:41 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

google will take care of the advertiser and make sure they convert. They have so many checks in place, like removing advertisers that fall below a certain ctr. Its up to the advertiser to produce a product that will convert, its up to google to display a targeted ad on my page, and its up to me the publisher to produce content so that we can feed google. Google traffic now comes almost 80% form its adsence partners.
With out us there would be alot less clicks to the advertiser and alot lower conversion rate. The advertiser is worrried about him self, google is worried about themself (lowing the cpc) we the publisher needs to look out for him/her self or none of this will work. If these advertisers have moeny to spend on leads then I dont feel too bad for them, and I really dont feel bad for google. Adsence has saved content sites who cant even cover the cost of running the site.


 7:55 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

In an effort to keep this on theme, I'll ask again:

Does quality of content, from the advertisers POV, matter? I'm happy to see some advertisers weigh in. Any more?

Does quality of content, from the perspective of a given publisher evaluating "per page of quality content creation ROI" - matter? Does ones ROI - for the effort of generating quality content - go up? Or, is it simply a battle for the most pages and placement of AdSense boxes strategically "to get the click"?

What's the proof? The black box called SmartPricing? Anyone see concrete proof that SmartPricing is smart? That you get a higher ROI for "quality content" versus "regurgitated crapola"?

If quality matters then where's the regular posts about akin to "how do I improve the quality of my content", "how do I judge the quality of my contnet".

Or this: "What exactly are the characteristics of what has been called 'quality content'"?

What are the qualities of quality content, in the context of publishing that features contexutal advertising?

There's plenty of room for drift when one gets down to discussing AdSense. I'd like to stick to the question "Does quality matter? How? What's the proof? Where's the data? Where's the support for quality content?"

[edited by: Webwork at 7:59 pm (utc) on Mar. 21, 2005]


 7:58 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Does quality matter? How? What's the proof? Where's the data? Where's the support for quality content?

If these are your questions then this is a discussion for advertisers in the Adwords forum, not for publihers in the Adsense forum (since publishers can't track conversions).


 8:09 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Does quality matter....What's the proof?

The proof is in the CPM rates charged by special-interest magazines compared to weekly shopping supplements, or the cost of renting a targeted mailing list vs. a general-interest or occupant mailing list. The basic rules of advertising and direct marketing don't become inoperative when the message is moved from paper to the Web.

If you want high-quality leads, you need to target by audience, not just by keyword, and the only way to come close to doing that with PPC networks is to zero in on the right kinds of sites or, at the very least, the right type of content.


 8:14 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hugh, taking you up on your suggestion you'll see that I ventured into foreign territory - AdWords - to raise a related question and to invite the AdWorders who are strangers to the AdSense threads to participate here.

Maybe the reason that there's been so little dialogue about ROI for advertisers in the AdSense threads is that no one ever extended the AdWorders an invitation to comment?

Hugh, maybe you're on to something. ;0)


 8:25 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

There is very little that publishers can do on their end to help build and maintain the viability and profitability of the AdSense program. On the flip-side, there are many things Google can do. They aren't doing them, just putting smoke-screens like "smart-pricing" that serve no real purpose whatsoever except to drive away good publishers into effect.

As long as publishers are kept in the dark about virtually every aspect of the program why should anyone expect expect them to be able to make changes that benefit the program? Google is taking the easy road to shareholder appeasement at the expense of the betterment of the program in the long-run. And it will bite them in the end when the real competition arrives.

Assuming a 50% revenue split (which may or may not be the case), Google has already lost several thousand dollars per month from my two best sites due to the failings of smart pricing. I have actually gained because I was able to replace the income from AdSense and more with ads placed directly by the former AdWords advertisers (they contacted me, I didn't contact them). I doubt that my experience is unique.

The interesting thing is that I still run AdSense on most of my sites, many of which I wouldn't place my own ads on. They're doing better than ever after more than a year in the program. I'm earning more than ever from AdSense on them. Smart pricing at work.


 8:41 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

An earlier message indicates that scraper sites convert better than content sites.

IF TRUE, then, indeed, quality on a page "enhanced" by AdSense ads HURTS both the advertiser and the affiliate.

The advertiser gets fewer qualified clicks because the content of the site does for the visitor what they would otherwise have turned to the advertiser for.

The affiliate serves fewer clicks and receives less income because there is less reason for the visitor to leave their quality-content site.

Why do affiliates use AdSense or ANY third-party advertising?

Just as in meatspace; to earn a buck. No other reason.

Magazines depend on advertising revenue to exist, because they would be out of business if the entire weight of production expenses fell on their subscribers.

Television stations ... same thing. Newspapers, radio, etc.etc. Same thing.

How about websites?

Some websites offer content, but nothing to sell. Others offer things to sell, but not much in the way of content. Some offer both content and items for sale, usually related (i.e. educational content about useage of the items for sale).

If your site exists ONLY to make money, then you (1) offer something for sale or (2) run ads. Possibly both.

Scraper sites don't bother with the content, because their business is in getting the money for the ad clicks, not for providing any other service. That may be why they convert better than content sites: because there's nothing BUT ad clicks going on ("Get me out of here! ... oh ... this looks interesting ... click").

Content sites that wish to monetize by placing ads on their site are naturally concerned that the ads reflect their site's vision and purpose, but the ads are there for the same reason as they are on the scraper sites ... to get clicked on and make some dough.

I am (1) a content site operator with no ads, (2) a content site operator with AdSense and other ad agreements and (3) an aggressive AdWords investor.

We only use the Content Network for very cheap, extremely targeted 4-7 word search phrases. Same with Overture. All of the more generic terms simply generate too many expensive clicks that don't pay off when they come from the Content Network.

Our content sites with no ads drive revenue when an offline sale is completed, often months after the initial contact from the websites. There is NO WAY Google or any other advertisement provider will get data about our sales.

Our content sites with ads do very well, but not in the 6-figure range boasted about by some in these forums. The ads pay us to keep improving the sites, as more visitors = more ad clicks AND the authority gained by using good content on those sites translates into a higher level of trust in our company when the visitor discovers one of our ad-free sites.

Our AdWords campaigns generate excellent traffic, on the order of 12,000 visitors per day, and excellent ROI ... again, data which nobody but our employees will ever have access to, so forget about it!

To sum up:
Quality site content HURTS AdSense ad revenue.
Content sites with ads work best for small returns.
Ad sites generate better ad returns than content sites.

Either run your "business" as one of those free ad-clusters-disguised-as-newspapers or as a reference resource ... but don't expect either to perform the duties of the other.

The key issue is this:

What do you expect from Google? They provide you with ads qualified by something in your site's content from a variety of vendors you are very unlikely to have access to, or at least are very unlikely to strike ad deals with.

You can always drop the ads contracted for and distributed by Google in favor of ads provided by those companies you have reached out to and established ad contracts with ... and it's up to you to keep track of the clicks, the revenue, and maintaining the performance agreements with all of those advertisers.

AdSense is a silly little program that dumps (probably) relevant ads on your site with almost no effort from you. Deal with that, or strike your own deals with the hundreds or thousands of advertisers Google delivers to you every day.

And then drop all of your quality content, because it gets in the way of the ads ... :)


 8:47 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

interesting way of putting it in perspective from the advertisers point of view , slightly scary from publishers point of view

My problem is I would love to disagree with your idea's but my gut says you are probably correct



 9:00 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Maybe the reason that there's been so little dialogue about ROI for advertisers in the AdSense threads is that no one ever extended the AdWorders an invitation to comment?

As an advertiser and publisher, I have visited and learned a lot from both forums. I know how both AdWords and AdSense work. Take advantages of this knowledge, my earnings from AdSense and Affiliates sales improved significantly. There is a big flaw in the ad placement and cost calculation for ads placed on the content sites. I don't know how many advertisers have used this flaw as their advantages to improve ROI. The end result for publishers will be a drop in AdSense EPC. My point is that if the advertisers want to improve their ROI, they should know how the AdSense works.

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