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The Future of Content Spamming
What's the outlook for "career" Adsensers- sunny or cloudy?
notredamekid

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6331 posted 1:07 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Several months back our small network of subject-specific blogs earned a grand in a month; now we're almost halfway to being in what used to be the "UPS Club".

You know the formula - find a topic with a high CPC, build a site around it, do some link building, then create tons and tons of content cheaply. The long tail combined with your topic's high EPC means you can get a high return w/out much "SEO risk" (i.e., it doesn't matter if we don't rank for our main keyword, as long as we rank for thousands of 2, 3 and 4 word variations).

So what's on the horizon for us white hat (or, ever so slightly gray) content spammers who make a living off of Adsense?

Positive Signs

1) Yahoo! Publisher Network

Lowers risk
What's kept me up nights is the thought of the dreaded email, "your Adsense account has been canceled because we've detected unusual activity". The existence of a competing, similar network that I could go to hugely lowers my risk.

Better services & payout
Competition should lead to new features and *possibly* higher payouts (though the Adsense payoff, at ~70%, is already high). Yahoo is pretty much our only hope to rival Google in the short term; other, smaller networks like Kanoodle don't have the critical mass of advertisers to deliver a steady stream of relevant ads, and they don't have a large, quality mass of publishers to attract these advertisers.

Negative Signs

1) Will my CTR eventually kill me?

We put large rectanges and skyscrapers on every page, which looks slightly obnoxious. This triples our CTR rate compared to "better looking" placements. But what percentage of people are clicking on these by accident since they are so prominently placed? Shouldn't smart pricing be discounting these clicks?

2) Will Advertiser Choice kill the little man?

The beauty of Adsense is that it doesn't matter who you are or what you reputation is-- you're basically paid based on your topic (CPC for those keywords), and the quality of your traffic (well, sort of, with Smart Pricing).

Now with these new CPM ads, the advertiser has power to target specific URLs. In the future it is likely Google will give advertisers even more power to do this. It seems the the system is beginning to favor large, prominent sites, since these are those most likely to be specifically selected by advertisers.

Think about it-- some advertisers have turned off contextual advertising because of low quality traffic and referrals from scraper sites. If they turn it back on because of URL targetting, they're likely to only pick 3 or 4 "best of breed" 800 pound gorillas in your sector.

The result is that your site that gets 10 or 50 clicks a day may just not be worth the trouble to research and URL-target (in the advertiser's eyes).

3) Google's War on SEO

I know some people don't like the word sandbox, but the truth is, Google has gotten quite aggressive in discounting what it *thinks* is link spam. This does neutralize some spammier new sites, but it also seems to nuke some new legitimate sites (they take out the "baby" with the "bathwater").

I'm sitting pretty with my one-year-old domains, but I'm loathe to invest time and money in new domains, that's for sure.

4) Click fraud

Google's network has certainly grown by leaps and bounds, and I can't complain that there's a lack of quality advertisers. But this issue really undermines the entire model in the long term.

--------

Looking above I see one *very* positive sign, but 4 negative signs. What do yah'll think? Should I start building an ecommerce site and prepare for the worst (d'oh! Then i would need "inventory")? Should I invest in building more and more content sites to reap rewards as contextual advertising explodes? Or will it implode?

What does the future look like to you?

 

elsewhen

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6331 posted 10:27 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

i think you forgot at least one additional positive: more advertisers coming on board. internet advertising accounts for less that 4% of current ad spending in the U.S. - there is easily room for this to double or triple.

and i think you forgot one additional negative: google can come up with more services that minimize the need for publishers... they are very aware that they get all the ad money from clicks that occur on their properties, but only say 20 or 30% for clicks on publisher's sites. look for more services like gmail, google maps etc so google can maximize revenue at the expense of us.

and my take on the other negatives...

1) Will my CTR eventually kill me?

i think high CTR is fine unless it is ridiculous. google openly tells you how to maximize clicks:

https://www.google.com/adsense/tips

2) Will Advertiser Choice kill the little man?

i dont think so... i think many advertisers are very happy with paying CPC because they want visitors not just branding. the site targeting is primarily designed to bring on new advertisers (think coke, nike etc who dont necessarily care about clicks).

3) Google's War on SEO

this is what i worry about. i always stay white hat, and have been thrown out with the bathwater in the past. the site in question returned to the SERPs as google continued to tweak the algorithm, but i consider this the most likely threat, especially if you get most of your traffic from google.

4) Click fraud

i wouldnt be too worried about this. click fraud is a real problem, but over 95% of google's current revenue comes from ad clicks, so believe me they will assign whatever resources necessary to mitigate this problem. it wont be easy, but ALL of their aspirations hang on this point, and i think you can outsource the worry on this front to them.

cyanweb

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6331 posted 1:44 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think that if one is building sites specifically to make money out of adsense - without really providing a quality service to people / business - then the future may not be so bright.

But if on the otherhand one is dedicated to building up a quality information service with quality content that grows and shows merit - then the "adsense" future is only as good as one's site is...

This will become more important as more and more advertisers begin chosing which sites specific they want to be seen on.

Just like the weatherman we can only forcast the next 7 days with any amount of certainty yes?

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 6331 posted 2:18 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Interesting thread. Nice post, Notredamekid.

Now with these new CPM ads, the advertiser has power to target specific URLs. In the future it is likely Google will give advertisers even more power to do this. It seems the the system is beginning to favor large, prominent sites, since these are those most likely to be specifically selected by advertisers.

Not necessarily, for several reasons:

1) Advertisers can already track where referrals are coming from, and some advertisers have noted publicly (on the AdWords forum) that their budgets get sucked up by high-traffic "premium partner" sites whose referrals don't convert. For niche topics, especially, savvy advertisers know that relatively small special-interest sites are likely to deliver qualified leads. (There's nothing new about this; that's why media buyers run ads in enthusiast publications and trade magazines.)

2) If Google displays lists of suggested sites (based on keyphrases and possibly on performance), advertisers won't even have to look at their referral stats or run a Google search to find quality niche sites.

3) If Google introduces blocking by domain, not just inclusion by domain, CPC advertisers will be able to simply dump non-performing ad venues without having to spend a lot of time studying unfamiliar sites.

notredamekid

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6331 posted 2:50 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

If the large publishers really are the ones that aren't performing, I suppose the new features could have a positive effect on the little guy, e.g., advertiser blocks big publisher that doesnt convert and then slightly raises bid.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 6331 posted 3:26 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

If the large publishers really are the ones that aren't performing, I suppose the new features could have a positive effect on the little guy, e.g., advertiser blocks big publisher that doesnt convert and then slightly raises bid.

I've seen posts on the AdWords forum about high-traffic weather and mapping sites that were delivering huge numbers of referrals with zero conversions. (That's right: zero.)

MaxM

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6331 posted 3:54 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

I agree with europeforvisitors this will be a good thing for many special-interest sites in niche topics.

I have a small site I run as a hobby with unobtrusive AdSense ads in a pretty low paying niche. I've been told it's a "pretty" site as mentioned in another thread might be more appealing to advertisers.

Just yesterday I got an email from a small company that wanted to advertise on my site. I replied that I don't do direct ads but he could check out this new upcoming Adwords targeted site feature. He thanked and would look into that.

I was thinking that I could probably put a short blurb on my contact/about page that any interested advertisers could use Adwords Site Targeting with a link to Google Adwords page. (Unless TOS forbids that?)

notredamekid

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6331 posted 4:05 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yes, it certainly seems a logical progression that Google will give publishers a "buy ads on this site" link we can put on our sites.

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