Hunderdown, that's exactly the point.
What can be considered an average / median experience?
I think Ronburk is not far off. His "Adsense secrets revealed" guide to newbies is far more realistic than Markus' one. As you put it, Markus had a "possible experience" but it's not the experience the average newbie should expect to have.
Sure, if you start from Ronburk's data, but if you succeed in having a 2x ePCM, a 10x traffic, a particular skill that will give you the chance to have content with less work, the game can be played in a very different way.
So, let me add a chapter to Ronburk's thesis.
Get out from the average
Ronburk's hypothesis is a good guesstimate of what will happen if you do everything the average way.
It can be done different, sure. You just need to be a not-in-the-average person with some not-in-the-average ideas.
Make an Excel with the following values
hours per page: 2
number of pages: 500
pageviews per page per year: 1000
years considered: 3
Do the maths, and you should have values similar to Ronburk's.
Now, play a game. Try and change any of those amounts, see the difference it would make. Ask yourself what you can do to have a similar value.
And no, don't change the $5 eCPM to another value. That's a factor out of your control. Actually, you CAN change it to get some motivation, but only if you enter "dream mode" and don't save the Excel :-)
You will soon see what's needed to make Adsense a profitable game: show that Ronburk was wrong, be better at it than the average guy.
Probably, you will find that the best way to do that is to capitalize on something you alredy have.
That's why a very good suggestion that is often given to newbies asking for profitable niches is "write about something you know and like. That means: capitalize on your passion / hobby, and turn the $3.53 per hour of work into a $3.53 per hour of playing. That already sounds better.
But that's just a suggestion for you only if you don't have any other advantage. Read this forum, and when you see someone explain how he did it try and understand what was his/her advantage.
I will exemplify here some cases I read on this forum
JH: a professional niche journalist that had a lot of old articles in a rather well-paying niche. He probably has an eCPM better than the $5, but that's not the point (remember, you can't play with that number). His advantage was having a good deal of contents to start from (cut the 2 hours per page), and probably very good writing attitude (again cut the 2 hours per page)
SL: the owner of a hobby site for a hobby, started selling plans for the ones doing the same hobby. After some time she turned out being the authority site for the hobby. So, if I understand well, she first capitalized on her passion (so yes, I guess at the beginning she got the $3 per hour we were speaking about), and later, when she found herself with a LOT of good traffic, she just capitalized on that.
Markus: read the thread, but he certainly capitalized on his extreme technical skills that gave him an advantage in a lot of other points, plus he found a way of having contents written by the users. Multiply that for zilions of pages, zilions of pageviews, and you get to a LOT of money. Maybe not $10.000 a day, someone will say, but even if it where "only" $1.000 a day that's something the average adsenser likes.
Hunderdown: (see above) said "It's been around 10+ years". That's a TREASURE to capitalize on. Have a good, a decent content site that has been around for 10 years, and you will have the key to cuccess!
Myself: I realized I had 20.000 pages of good content sitting unused on my desk. I decided to put them online for free.
I capitalized on my know-how (as a publisher and a programmer) and I was able to draft a site around that contents with maybe 1-2 months of work on my side and a few hundred dollars of paid labour.
After two years from starting the site, I am going on $600 per month, with 1-4 hour per month of maintenance work.
So, in my case, for example, the "$ per year per page" is lower then Ronburk's data, but my "hours per page" is FAR FAR lower then Ronburk's. That's what made the thing profitable.
Sure, those are not "2 hour per page" pages.
And no, I didn't write them myself, those pages were (and still are) freely available for anyone who wanted to use them.
BUT I was the first to use them, my site is now an authority site in that niche, so it will take more that "the average adsenser" to take the niche away from me.
Also, what I did in a couple of months would probably take around a year to "the average adsenser"
My suggestion is: read the forum, enjoy the experience, try to understand how others are are doing, and try to exploit what is "extra-ordinary" (i.e. better than average) in you.
[edited by: frox at 7:23 am (utc) on Mar. 28, 2006]