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Google AdSense Forum

This 85 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 85 ( 1 [2] 3 > >     
Fallacy of AdSense Failing
insignificant sample size of complaints

 2:11 am on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

People are constantly saying AdSense is failing, going down the toilet, and of course everyone claims absolutely everyone is having these problems. The only thing is "everyone" is just the limited finite group of usual complainers constantly complaining which assumes the AdSense universe is only comprised of all of their complaining peers.

Have you ever wondered about the thousands or most likely millions of AdSense publishers out there that you never, ever, hear complain about AdSense?

We have people from WebmasterWorld like Markus Frind who make so much stink'n money [webmasterworld.com] you're more likely to read about them in a magazine article [inc.com] than bellyaching in a forum. I personally know a site making upwards of $50k/mo. but they won't be online chatting about whether it's going up or down either because it's chump change to them. Then you have a bunch of people that slapped up some website just to subsidize paying for mama's weekly box-o-smokes, bubbas beer, or someone thrilled they added anything to their income and just happy to see the extra money.

There's lots of people making money, but ask yourself why aren't they discussing AdSense?

Where are all the so-called AdSense gurus, why aren't they speaking out?

My guess is the AdSense gurus figured out long ago that the minute you tell someone how you're making money, a bunch of wannabes try to duplicate your site instead of doing their own thing. Some simply try to scrape the site to hopefully get a slice of that pie, buy knock off typo domains, anything and everything just to cut into someone else's income, therefore the common sense thing to do is simply keep your mouth shut. Who needs the grief of more competition when they try to simple help the community by showing them how to make an AdSense success story.

That's why I don't think you'll see those stories anymore, they're out there all over the place and they're keeping their mouths shut because of the sheer competitive nature of the internet.

The time for show-and-tell is long over.



 8:03 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

One of my websites is part of a large health vertical from a direct advertising company which sells some of our ad inventory.
There are several websites with UGC like my site in the same vertical and the same niche but no other site in this vertical even comes close to what I earn with AdSense on my given traffic.
In particular there is a health website receiving over 4 mio pageviews / month (editorial content) which is nearly 10 times the traffic I get (UGC) but they roughly earn 2 times my revenue only.

Traffic and content has its influence on earnings but two sites with the same content and traffic can have major differences in revenue even if they occupy the same niche.

I am not a complainer, I do my best to constantly optimize my business.


 8:23 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

@martinibuster great comments! (the voice of reason)

I agree that it depends on the match between the content of the site (and ads) and the users' intent. It's the same as any other conversion on your site (purchase, email sign up). It's about the "right" traffic, not just traffic.

Just as I'm sure there are lots of people who have had difficult to explain drops in traffic, there are also those who constantly test, tweak, and adapt to keep the level of earnings up. I've had everything from sites with great traffic that get 0.01% CTR on AdSense to sites that get 7-8%. It all depends on why the user is on your site and how close they are to the point where they may convert (though testing different ad creatives doesn't hurt).

I wouldn't style myself a guru by any stretch though my network of sites (no I won't tell you what they are) makes 7 figures from AdSense. If I had one tip for those that are using AdSense it would be - don't use the default creatives AdSense gives you. Test, test, test, different creatives, colors, ad sizes.

Also, you're crazy if AdSense is your only source of revenue. If it is, diversify into affiliate, CPM, etc.


 9:13 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

martinibuster hit the nail on the head. Although I assume there are other good scenarios, the one that works best from my experience is having loads of traffic from one specific type of visitor. Will I tell you what type that visitor is? Nope, sorry, but many of you probably already know. I just figure there's no good reason for me to blab about it. Still, if your site attracts that group of people, and your site can attract more and more of them, your adsense earnings will almost always go up and up and up.


 9:33 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

What kind of visitor works best with AdSense?

That's hardly a secret. AdSense gave that bit of news away years ago.

Visitors that are in buying mode, preferably, "right now".

So guess which kind of content might draw them the most...

1: Pictures I took with my new digital camera.

2: How to take great pictures with a digital camera

3: Digital camera reviews

4: How and where to get the best price on a new digital camera.

Oh gosh, this is hard!


 9:34 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

@dazzlindonna would that type of user be morons...I mean "unsophisticated users" ... who don't know an ad when they see it?


 10:19 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Good read and comments everyone...
Just thought I'd throw my .05 in here on the 'why not copy these?' question.
(Nickles are the new pennies, you know...)

why there is no another twitter or facebook?

Because those would take WORK, Technical Skill and Time to reproduce, unlike content which can easily be scraped and distributed to 10, 100, 1000 sites in a matter of minutes...

Which is more cost effective? Spending the time, energy, money to reproduce a site which requires a high degree of technical skill OR swiping the content someone else has created and slapping your own AdSense code on it in a matter of minutes.


 12:04 am on Feb 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

ken_b, your forgot this:

5: Have an online store and replace the "add to cart" buttons with adsense ;)


 12:13 am on Feb 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Traffic does not equal high earnings

We don't receive a lot of traffic, either, but the traffic we do receive is high-quality. Adsense seems to like that.

fallacy: the only way to build good content is to choose a topic you love

I have no love for our topic. The topics I love make no money. So I chose one that I knew would and became an expert in it. Better than loving it and being poor.


 12:18 am on Feb 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Totally agree. The last thing I as a successful publisher want to do is to tell others how I do it or stop others from doing something stupid that is hurting their business.

Business students learn it on the first day of class: competitive strategy.

As brutal as it sounds, we want to see our competitors literally dead and there is nothing immoral about wishing that your competitors went out of business because they were clueless or followed a wrong strategy.

I'll remember your nick - skweb - the above should tell members of this forum something about the quality of your posts.

Me? I'm willing to help the newbie not make a mistake I've made. I really don't care if they're a competitor because my traffic came from something like 250,000 key phases last month. I've a seven year head start on a newbie and I'm not standing still.

Besides, there is so much money to be made on the web, I don't think anyone is going to cut into my share. I'm willing to share the tens of billions of dollars Adsense pays its publishers. I don't need all that money.

When I first was thinking about the website, I found a wonderful site I thought was successful. I thought to myself, that's something I could do too. I never took a single scrap of information from that site. I had ideas of my own. Even though we compete in the same space, that site is getting tons of traffic.

There is plenty of room for newbies that want to work hard.


 1:06 am on Feb 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

ken_b, your forgot this:

I was trying for subtlety :)


 1:11 am on Feb 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

BillyS, I totally agree with you. I thought I was alone in helping the competition etc.


 1:58 am on Feb 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

The success stories are out controlling their businesses.

Or maybe just watching Star Trek reruns while the sites run on autopilot.


 3:18 am on Feb 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I thought I was alone in helping the competition etc.

I know some of my competition is in this very forum and go to PubCon. One of them even posted about something very close to my site once, short of posting the URL, it was very amusing and really hard not to comment. Whether they know who I am or not, I have no clue, but it gets really interesting at times!

Not that I consider myself an AdSense guru, I just know what I know if you know what I mean, and it happens to make coin. However, knowing who's reading what I'm writing means I often have to be very cautious about what I'm saying. Which means some things I could share get watered down or not shared at all because of prying eyes.


 3:55 am on Feb 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Lame_Wolf - I hope you're being sincere, because I know I am. My daughter was watching me type that post and she smiled when she read it. She knows I like to help people.

incrediBILL - I understand what you're saying too - makes sense to me.

I've been lucky. Google reached out to me about some optimizations, even showing me mock ups of my site with the new ad placements. I was skeptical, but I tried it. I don't remember the exact value, but revenues increased something like 20% after making the change. I've shared those learning many times here.

I've thought about exiting this forum a lot lately, then I see a post that I think I can help with, so I come back.

I'm not a guru by incrediBILL's definition, but I don't think that kind of money is out of the question either. I would probably keep posting even if I reached that goal - so I suspect we may have some gurus in the crowd.


 4:01 am on Feb 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

ken_b, nope. that's the not group I meant. sorry to bust that bubble.

robdwoods, yep. that's a whole lot closer to the group I was referring to. (slightly different, but darn close).


 4:04 am on Feb 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

In response to the helping / not helping portion of this thread...I'm not spiritual but karma seems to exist for me...help people with no agenda and it really does seem to come back to you. There are billions of $ to go around. Also, I'm confident enough in my abilities that I know I can help out a newbie and not worry about them eating my lunch. Help the newbies out. You never now which one will be the next expert.


 4:14 am on Feb 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Lame_Wolf - I hope you're being sincere, because I know I am. My daughter was watching me type that post and she smiled when she read it. She knows I like to help people.

Very much so. In fact, two sites that I helped are doing better than me for that SERP. I don't mind because there is plenty to go around.

I do a lot (thousands of hours) of pro bono work too.


 4:21 am on Feb 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

@dazzlindonna that's what I'm finding...if you drive a ton of traffic you need to appeal to the lowest common denominator to make $. I like to quote Henry Louis Mencken "No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people." Find a stream of customers who are performing searches with "purchase intent" then make your AdSense ads look as little like ads and as much like the rest of your site as possible.

There...for those of you that say the gurus never give up their secrets, that's as close as you're going to get.


 5:06 am on Feb 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

For any aspiring publishers who want to get ahead with AdSense it's important to remember that ....

the AdSense TOS is your friend.



 2:02 pm on Feb 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I believe we will take incrediBILL's advice and be more clandestine.

These are open forums and anyone can come in and analyze our posts and smell the money and start up the scrapping engines and typos.

Topics like these I believe should be cut out to the supporters forum.


 4:42 pm on Feb 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Supporters can be scrapers too. As a rule of thumb it is usually best to not show too many of your cards.

You can be helpful without getting into too many details if your own business.


 7:58 pm on Feb 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

...discussion forums live often of the egos of people, even if they shouldnt, people like to brag,...


 9:51 pm on Feb 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'll vouch for traffic does not equal high earnings - I had 15,000 visitors per day to an old site - and in 3 months - I never sold ONE thing.


I think I could have sold the site though - instead I just pulled the plug. (the 15,000 were regular visitors which is important to note).


 1:11 pm on Feb 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

>>But is there enough postive trafic and threads traffic in this forum to support that?

nah, I have been successful since the beginning, years of very nice money and would not speak a word about it.

You want to know about a css sprite or a technique in Photoshop, fine I'll give all I know. But want my breakdown of why my Adsense is successful. No way.

I have no problem giving it up to family and friends in my circle of unrelated business niches but we are talking about posting on a worldwide public forum, a different animal entirely. Also, assuming I EVEN know why I am successful....


 2:22 pm on Feb 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

>>I had 15,000 visitors per day to an old site - and in 3 months - I never sold ONE thing.

The above statement speaks volumes about adsense.

It has been said on these forums many times and perhaps not stressed enough, the goal is understanding CLICK INTENT.

Click intent at a site about "1000 ways to fold a paper airplane" verses a site about "the best steel toed work boots" will likely be different. Now which one do you think will pay out a higher adsense revenue based on click intent?

On one site the click intent is to have fun making paper airplanes with your kid, the other about protecting your feet at work. Which site viewer is more likely to buy something from an adsense click? This is the goal of an adsense advertiser, to sell something.

But we know about this click intent thing, right?

Almost everything else is external and out of our control, i.e. advertisers bid prices and Google's payout percentage.


 5:59 pm on Feb 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks to incrediBILL for another provocative but absolutely non-educational thread.

By definition, so-called adsense gurus only sell their eBooks or software - they do not make money using Adsense.

Since they cannot market their eBooks or software on webmasterworld, they obviously have no incentive to post there false advertisement here.

When Google started the Adsense program, thousands of happy publishers shared their happiness and their findings on how to get the most out of participating.

This has stopped - and the reasons are obvious to every single publisher who has been using Adsense from the beginning.

Ever diminishing revenues combined with an ever diminishing brand value of Google.

It actually has come to the point where quality publishers remove Adsense due to the negative image transfer - i.e. having Adsense on your publication becomes more and more an indication of 'low quality'.

As a quality, brand publisher you don't really want to associate yourself with Adsense anymore. Especially when direct advertisement sales awards you with 20 times the revenue.


 6:37 pm on Feb 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks to incrediBILL for another provocative but absolutely non-educational thread.

It's only non-educational if you're blind to the lessons the thread holds, several good education posts, so I'd recommend actually reading the thread before offhandedly disregarding it.

Ever diminishing revenues

Thank you for proving the point of the thread, ever diminishing for who?

Revenues aren't diminishing for everyone, that's a blanket statement that is simply not true.

My RPM is now 2x what it was a couple of years ago and rising.

AdSense is just like SEO in Google. When 1 site loses a top 10 spot (or hits a penalty) in the index they start wailing that Google sucks, it's broken, yada yada yada, etc. However, the other 10 sites still listed in the top 10 don't complain at all because they're now getting the lion's share of the traffic and think Google is wonderful. Likewise, when a site gets smart priced into AdSense oblivion, those publishers cry AdSense sucks, it's broken, yada yada yada, etc. while some other site steps up and takes that revenue.

The problem is, mentioned a couple of times in this thread, there is no direct correlation between top tier placement in Google, maximum traffic, and top earnings in AdSense, which is what most would expect. For that matter, if your site doesn't convert with AdSense, there's also a high degree of likelihood it also won't convert with affiliates or direct advertisers either.


 11:41 pm on Feb 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am happy to learn your RPM is now 2x what it was by fine tuning your site(s) to please Google.

Does this make you an Adsense Guru and if so, please answer your own question and tell us why YOU do not share your secrets for sucess?

I agree that Adsense is like SEO - I just happen to have a lot more success in monetizing my site since I dumped Adsense (and SEO) and focused on audience and advertisers (read direct sales).

My RPM is now 20x what it was when I limited myself to Adsense.


 11:50 pm on Feb 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

please answer your own question and tell us why YOU do not share your secrets for sucess?

What, and then get loads of similar sites competing. Yeah, right.

If you knew where King Solomon's Mines were, would you tell everyone ? Guess not.

[edited by: Lame_Wolf at 12:42 am (utc) on Feb 15, 2011]


 12:22 am on Feb 15, 2011 (gmt 0)


Good point...and what exactly is the goal of this thread?


 12:38 am on Feb 15, 2011 (gmt 0)


Good point...and what exactly is the goal of this thread?

Just read incrediBILL's posts, and it should become clear. :)

This 85 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 85 ( 1 [2] 3 > >
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