I've been running a site for about 9 months now, which allows users to receive a share of advertising revenue their content generates. It is a similar model to many huge sites such as Helium, Hubpages, Associated Content etc all of which use Adsense.
The response to our site has been overwhelmingly positive, with strong growth each month to the point we are now a pretty decent size in terms of number of authors, pages and traffic. We've actually created a great new community, where most users enjoy the interaction more than the money they earn.
We've tried various different advertisers but none generate anywhere near the income that Adsense delivers. Why? A few reasons:
- The biggest advertiser base, hence highest bids
- The widest advertiser base, hence there is nearly always a relevant advert - remember, my site has content on every legitimate topic
- They have the best geotargeting around, and as our audience is global this is critical
- Their adverts are served quicker than many competitors, hence the users see the adverts without an annoying pause
So we stuck with mainly Adsense for revenue as I simply do not think there is an alternative:
- There is no similar scheme run by Yahoo/Microsoft/ANOther (why?!)
- Smaller text ad operators deliver tiny returns in comparison
- We cannot work directly with advertisers as our content is way too broad - there would be too many relationships
- Affiliate networks (tried CJ, Tradedoubler etc.) seem to lack the ability to geotarget, manage adverts so that they are up to date, provide any kind of dynamic ad matching tool that works etc.
This feels like putting eggs into one basket... but I don't blame Google as they are brilliant at what they do. I blame the other huge web corporations for not pulling the finger out and offering a competing product in a market that is worth a fortune.
What do others think? Are there alternatives? Is this monopoly bad for the web?