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It Pays toPlay AdSense Clean and Hard



12:04 pm on May 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

Continued from: [webmasterworld.com...]

I registered my domain seven years ago to present my business to the web. I got the idea that I could attract potential clients by writing articles and posting them on my website. They were at first very focussed on what I do but eventually ended up covering a wide range of topics.

This worked very well for me, because hundreds of people who have read my articles linked either to one of them or to my homepage, and so some of my articles are now very popular. Every now and then someone who needs what I offer reads an article and then realizes I'm for hire and inquires, and maybe then I get a contract.

This ended up working so well for me that these days I have to turn away business. My website as a whole gets over a hundred thousand hits a month. My homepage is PR 6, and all my articles are either PR 4 or PR 5. My pages are in the top ten for hundreds, if not thousands of relevant queries, and many of my pages are #1 for lots of queries.

I had some health problems last year and was unable to work enough to get by, so I finally tried adsense. I put it on all my articles, but not my homepage which still is meant for my clients to see. My first month I made over three thousand dollars. I could see from my ad performance report that this was going to happen within a few hours of publishing my first ads. It made me break down and cry.

I have not always made that much. Last month was only eighteen hundred, but April started up again in the last week, coming out at $2100 and I can see how I might make $3k in May.

It's not simply a clean, honest site, my whole reputation as a businessman depends on it. With the expenses I have, I'm not able to quit working (yet!), so I have to run a very clean operation.

I have also worked like a slave on my website on many occasions. A couple of my articles took more than a month to write.

I had this crappy old half-baked HTML design, with poor navigation, inconsistent colors, invalid HTML, formatted with nested tables and the works, but I suddenly lost a contract a couple months ago and was in a really hard way. To get back to work quickly I started paying for advertising with money that was very scarce.

My wife, who used to be a web designer before she went back to art school, had made a really nice XHTML+CSS design for my site, with easy navigation, consistent colors, a nice theme, but when she realized there were over a hundred hand-coded static HTML files on my site, most of them in ancient, invalid HTML, she was too intimidated to roll out her design across my site.

Her templates sat on her computer for over a year until I started paying for advertising. I began to fear that people would click my ads - costing me money - see my half-baked homepage, and just press the back button without even reading what I had to offer. So I spent three solid days, and nights, without sleeping, on a marathon HTML coding session to implement her design.

All I did at first was to redesign my homepage and each of the pages that were directly linked from my homepage, but there were quite a few of those.

My hard work, and advertising gamble paid off. I got back to work quickly enough that by the time I could earn a paycheck we hadn't starved or become homeless yet.

Since then I've been redesigning an article each week. I have about a third of them done now.

So yes, clean, honest hard-working webmastering pays.

I'm now paying to advertise my articles. When I have a new one redesigned, I pay for ads for it. I had adsense on all of them at first, but have been removing it from the non-performing pages. My objective in my advertising is not to drive clicks to my ads, but to bring repeat visitors to my site, and over time build even more traffic as (hopefully) some of these people give me links.

Now, it took six years to get my site to where I was able to earn $3k in my first month of adsense. But I didn't have the first clue about anything when I started out. It wasn't for several years that I really started to devote much time to my articles, when I realized what a difference they were making to me.

I think that if I were just starting out with a totally new website, knowing what I know now, I could get it to $3k in adsense after a year. It would help to have an ad budget, but that's not the most important thing, it's having a site that's worth someone's time and effort to link to. It's having a site that makes people WANT to link it.

My advice, if you're just starting out, is to not post ANY ads on it at all. Not even one! Not for at least a year. Why? I think ads discourage linking. Once you do publish ads, test them for a week or two and then remove them from all the nonperforming pages. A page without adsense still gets linked, drives up the pagerank of your site and is a gateway to your other pages.

When I'm done redesigning my articles, there will be just ONE adsense unit on ONE web page. That single ad unit is responsible for all but about ten dollars of my monthly revenue. I think the other pages will be better at building traffic to my site if they didn't have ads, and I would have already removed their adsense but I have so many that I just don't have the time.

I have become very well aware that I'm sitting on top of a gold mine, just beginning to tap into the vein of ore. I am very inspired to read so many posts here from people who say they were able to quit their jobs because of adsense. I'm not there yet, but it is my objective to quit working my original job within a year and instead make a living - a good, comfortable living - writing content for my site. I've been in the same line of work for seventeen years, and have been self-employed for seven. It's not an easy way to live. I wish I could go back to my younger self and shake some sense into me. But now I see a way out.

So there you have it. Clean, hard work is indeed the key to success on the web.


[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 11:54 am (utc) on May 5, 2005]
[edit reason] it was such a good post - it deserved it's own thread. [/edit]


12:12 pm on May 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


I too am very keen to "give something back" to the Net. That is what all my sites have been about really. My main one (see my profile) is just about to hit US$500/month this month, with plenty of scope for more I hope.

The main point is that the site existed to be helpful to users and then I have *tweaked* it, hopefully not too much, to increase ad revenue potential within that framework. But any money that does come in from ads is going straight back into the site anyway, so it really depends what you want to get out of the site. As I've said before, if this site pays enough for me to spend more time on it instead of doing some other work, then it is earning me a living, but that is not its goal, just a good side-effect.




12:38 pm on May 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

We have two content sites, each about 5 years old. Never made any money until we added AdSense about a year ago. All original content, useful information, easy to navigate and read. We are now earning about 3K a month, which is a nice change from the days of eating tuna every night. We constantly tweak and add new, relevant content, and as the sites grow, so does the revenue. We have other affiliate sites, too, so all eggs aren't in one basket. But playing it clean and honest, in my opinion, is the only way to do this and be able to sleep at night.


4:47 am on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The only consideration is that playing it clean doesn't mean instant earnings. You'll often have to wait longer than those that play dirty, but the rewards do eventually come.


7:05 am on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

...but the site only gets about 150 visitors/day.

There have been many posts like that saying 100 to 200 or so visits/day is not good.

IMO it is really quite good so I do not understand why some of us say that? I would estimate 90% or more of all websites get less traffic than 150/day. In fact, the number may actually be even more than 90%.

It's also easy to make good money with that traffic and low 150/day traffic domains have real good value in the resale market, especially if the traffic is from natural typeins and/or links.

About playing it clean, agree, that's the only way to go for long term success, and best way too.


7:14 am on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I just wanted to chime in and say that yes, it is possible to make good money, even a full time living, from clean sites. Since AdSense policies now allow people to publish their gross reveues, many bloggers have been reporting their revenues. I have started a website where webmasters can post their earnings into a database which can be queried, and there are examples of good, clean sites that make plenty of money.


9:59 am on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

The only consideration is that playing it clean doesn't mean instant earnings. You'll often have to wait longer than those that play dirty, but the rewards do eventually come.

That's definitely true. As I said it took me six years to build a site where I can earn half the money I need to live from adsense. On the other hand, my site is sustainable - I'm confident that my site will continue to do well, even better actually now that I'm devoting significant time to adding content.

Maybe one can get a quick payoff by spamming and scamming, but once Google figures out what you're doing, either they'll boot you from AdSense, or worse, remove you from their index, and all your hard work - and scamming is STILL hard work, just dishonest work - will be for naught.


1:18 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yes you can. I have only been with adsense for 4 months and April I broke 1000 for the month. I had the site before I found adsense and had never done anything like this before, so I am sure that there is still a lot I could do to improve my sites revenue since I really dont know what I am doing. Either way I am convinced that playing the straight and narrow is the only way for longevity in the program.

And reading this forum


2:17 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm going to be the only one on the other side of the fence here. I used to be a whitehat webmaster, spending hundreds of hours building a website part time, even hundreds more acquiring links. After 6 months my main website I worked so hard for started getting some decent traffic, to the tune of about 50 uniques a day (on a high paying niche - meaning thousands of dollars per conversion).

After working so hard, paying for advertising in many different sources, I bought a link at business dott com. That was the end of my whitehat days. The link I bought from business dott com replaced all of my hard earned yahoo slurp listings which was sending me a majority of the traffic, due to a 302 redirect hijack. I pleaded with yahoo to bring me back into their serps, but they did nothing.

I then had to take a different course of action. How can I replace 6 months of hard work to bring me back up on the search listings? The answer, re-upload my whole site on a new domain, make changes on the wording, and spam like there is no tomorrow. I then proceeded to acquire 20,000 yahoo backlinks in 1 month, and my website shot to #1 for all of my targeted keywords. Of course, this was short lived, but I was able to make a killing for 2 months while I had my website at #1 all across inktomi engines. The ease of which I was able to accomplish this made me go all out on the search engine spam game.

I now can generate a website in 20 minutes with thousands of pages, targeting thousands of key words and phrases, and get about 10,000 uniques per day from 80 different throwaway domains.

I had commission junction earnings last month of 25k, adsense earnings of 5k. This an improvement over 10k/3k for the previos month. This month I expect to make 30k/8k for cj and adsense, and I expect to take a vacation from my 6 figure job to focus solely on
generating more domains and sites.

If you are curious as to how I do this, i use every trick in the book. Cloaking/doorway pages/blog posting/wwwboard posting. Yes, it might not seem ethical to many of you, but i can never see myself making this much money using "white hat" techniques, and I am not breaking any laws by doing so. If a domain gets banned from the serp, i'll have 50 more ready to take its place.

On another note, most people are "white hat", for the simple fact they do not know the best black hat techniques that produce money, or the best software to use when doing so. I'm sure if many of you learned to do the things I do, you would all be in the same boat as me making 20k+ per month.

Of course I know this won't last, but I have a high paying job to fall back on in case this stops working, but I honestly don't see how it will stop working, unless search engines hire 10,000 employees for the sole purpose of manually removing serp listings every day, there is no way they can remove my sites, at least until 6 months later when I have milked them for all they're worth.

Sorry if I have upset anyone, but that is the truth about search engine marketing. You need to take big risks to get big rewards.


2:38 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Upsetting? No
Interesting? Yes

I for one won't be going down the route you have, but thanks for adding an opposing view.


2:51 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


How do you handle being banned from CJ, AdSense, etc? I am sure you have had a site or two banned or flagged, no? Wouldn't you run out of family/friends to create accounts under? Or are you just a lucky sucker in that regard?

I'm going the "white hat" path but I always love a good "heist" story! :-)


3:03 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I am not breaking any laws by doing so.

Oh, haha. That's just too funny to even respond to.

Throw away domains and sites that are designed to burn out in two or three months make the web a crappier place. I'm not as much concerned by the dishonest money you make (let's face it, there are so many dishonest people making money in dishonest ways in the world today it's utterly pointless to oppose it even on strictly moral grounds), as I am with the fact that the more people who go your route, the worse surfing for information on the web gets.

I build an honest, white hat, content rich site because I am so incredibly, entirely, utterly sick of spending hours online looking for information, only to cull through page after page after page after page of useless, scraper garbage. This way I know that at least one site in my niche will be a safe haven for users seeking my type of information. And I firmly believe that in being that haven, I draw visitors back again and again.

Granted, my motivation is apparently different from yours.

To bad there can't be two internets...one for people who are interested in providing a valuable service or useful information in a user-centered, user-friendly environment, and another where the scrapers can hoot and holler and throw digital sticks at each other like a pack of chimpanzees.

I wonder which one the general public would use the most...? ;)



3:07 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"I build an honest, white hat, content rich site because I am so incredibly, entirely, utterly sick of spending hours online looking for information, only to cull through page after page after page after page of useless, scraper garbage. This way I know that at least one site in my niche will be a safe haven for users seeking my type of information. And I firmly believe that in being that haven, I draw visitors back again and again."

Wise words, my site was started for the exact reason. I was sick of every other related site being so hell-bent on money making, the user was suffering. So I've made my site the best out of my type of site and in turn made other sites noticably step their game up, put out less ads and more content. Feels good to say I've done my part to improve the internet.


3:27 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

How do you handle being banned from CJ, AdSense, etc? I am sure you have had a site or two banned or flagged, no? Wouldn't you run out of family/friends to create accounts under? Or are you just a lucky sucker in that regard?

A: That is where you need "cloaking". You would only get my ads if you came from a specific search engine query, not from another link or by manually typing it in. That is the only way I differ from most people. I don't try to create unique, useful content. I try to send them to a site which already has that, and get paid for it. The traffic I send is extremely targeted, and that is how I am earning so much.

My adsense ads must be converting extremely well, as I am getting $70 ECPM, and I guess I have been flying under the radar, but so far received $12k in 3 months with them. You can't be reported on CJ for having high search engine placement or using doorway pages. They only ban you if you send email spam.

As far as developing "unique, useful content", I really don't have the time for it. I need to put food on the table for my family, and I need to go the route that pays the most. Most "unique content" on the net is derived from other websites anyways. So we are all having the same effect on the web, just go about it in a different manner.


7:49 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Most "unique content" on the net is derived from other websites anyways.

Somewhere in the back of your mind I'm sure you know this is largely untrue. Someone has to create the unique content for scrapers to steal. I mean, it has to come from SOMEWHERE, doesn't it? One of those somewheres is ME, so forgive me if I'm a little uptight about people taking it without asking.

So we are all having the same effect on the web, just go about it in a different manner.

Let's see. I write content that is specifically useful to people in my niche. It is original (in that I wrote it), and unique (in that no one else, except of course for the scraper who steals it from me, has content like mine). Scrapers take enough of other people's content and put it on their site(s) under the guise that it is their own, in order to trick SEs into listing their site(s) so that they can serve high paying ads to visitors who are not looking for ads, but useful information. In this way they clog the natural serps with largely useless pages that are entirely driven by commercial interests and disseminate little or no information of value to the user. Yet you say we are having the same effect on the web?

This is like saying that movie pirates who video tape a newly released movie and sell it on the street are having the same effect on the movie business as the producers and directors who make the movies to begin with. One is a producer, the other is a parasite; their effects on the industry are significantly different.

I'm not claiming to be the savior of the net. I'm not saying that my site is the single thread keeping the web from teetering over the brink into self-destruction. But please at least have enough respect for honest webmasters, who create the content that allows you to black hat food onto your family's table, to recognize the real value in what we do.



8:02 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

kiladen, go do what you do. Just don't try to justify it.


8:27 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I don't produce scraper sites or steal other people's contents. I just produce pages that rank high for thousands of keywords.


8:34 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's statements like
So we are all having the same effect on the web, just go about it in a different manner.

that I object to. Sorry, but we are NOT all having the same effect on the web.


12:57 am on May 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

no large square banner before content etc.

Is this not a clean an honest way to make money? Just because it is in your face doesn't mean it is dirty or dishonest.

Think about TV commercials...7-10 minutes per 30 minutes is a LARGE percentage...My box is right in the middle of the text so people HAVE to read around it.

How is that different from a TV commercial being right in the middle of the screen so you HAVE to watch it?



2:25 am on May 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

DARTH: "Luke, ...search your feelings....you know it to be true"



5:00 am on May 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The key to making lots of "white hat" AdSense income...


That place is a gold mine if you know how to use it. Spend some time there (just add a dott com) pinning down high-traffic keyword phrases and add content built around those phrases. It truly is not any more difficult than that. If you're diligent and add a couple of pages every day (say 10 new pages/week), pretty soon you'll get the traffic and the AdSense revenue will follow. Just place the ads in the hot zones and you're done.

After following this simple model for 14 months, we make $3000+ per month from AdSense on 8 sites (of which, only 6 have lots of pages ranked).

You can do it part-time, easily. The key is to work SMART, not HARD. Smart means spending your time building worthy content pages built around words (phrases are almost always better) that people actually search for.


7:18 am on May 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If you don't have money in mind when making a site the odds are slim that you will make $1000/month.

If you are talking about alot of money, than not true. For example, I put in $10/year for my domain, and $5/month for hosting. Thats a grand total of $70 for the year. After about 9 months of marketing my site for free and by myself, I am almost at $1000/month. True, it took me 9 months, and starting from scratch not knowing anything when you start out can be brutal. But nevertheless, I am still close to the goal of $1000 without spending big bucks on my site.


3:19 pm on May 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I don't think he meant investment money but rather a "mind on money" while you are developing and maturing the site. Designing the site with an intent to make money as opposed to just present content (i.e. doing the things that help monetize a site). For some this can come natural (as long as they are half-way intelligent and maybe read a few things here and there) but for many, it requires lots of rework to monetize a site that was put together without monetization in mind.

I am sure you knew that though. I was just clarifying what I think the poster meant.


7:24 pm on May 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

kiladen, I make that kind of money every month from relatively whitehat sites. I need to put food on the table too but I do it in a sustainable way. I can take a six month break tomorrow and that will likely not have any discernible impact on my earnings.

I think the point of the original post remains.

I have nothing against what you do but given a certain level of income would you prefer it came from a stable network or one that constantly needed to be recreated? Which option requires the greater skill?


7:45 pm on May 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

so can anyone show me how to build a back-door, get a lot of traffic, show the surfers to good content driven sites, and make lot of mullas?

haha. yo, like the guy previously said, just do what a doer's do, no need to justify it.

if you are making the most mullas, you are the man.


8:19 pm on May 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Maybe one can get a quick payoff by spamming and scamming, but once Google figures out what you're doing, either they'll boot you from AdSense, or worse, remove you from their index

Sure, but not everyone has the skills to create useful, profitable content or to run a legitimate Web-related business. And not everyone has the vision to look beyond the next 90 days.


8:29 pm on May 5, 2005 (gmt 0)


I got the idea that my original post in this thread, the one that prompted Brett_Tabke to give it its own thread, could get wider exposure if I published it on another site that I'm a member of. Would it be inappropriate to post a link here? It's not my own site, it's a general interest community site.

I put a Creative Commons license on my post there because I also wanted to encourage people to copy it.

It's homepage, where the intro to my piece appears, is PR 7. Front page articles typically get 20,000 page views during the week or so they're on the front page, and often rank in the top ten for years afterwards.

Let me know if it's OK and I'll post the link. If it's not I won't.

I spent several hours thinking about how to respond to the black hat seo here. I posted my response at this other site. I'll go copy it here for you now.


8:41 pm on May 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Here is my reply to kiladen that I posted at that other site.

I didn't want to say at first what the health problem was that drove me to try AdSense. It's a mental illness called schizoaffective disorder. Because it's like being manic depressive and schizophrenic at the same time, it's very hard to treat. The symptoms include paranoia, hallucinations, depression, and a euphoric state called mania.

When I'm healthy, I can earn a lot of money through my regular self-employment. I made over a hundred grand in 2000. But when I'm sick, it threatens my family's livelihood. We almost became homeless in 2003. We managed to sell our house before the bank took it, but we had to live off the money from the sale because I couldn't work. I ended up in the emergency room paranoid and hallucinating. I'm lucky I didn't end up in a mental hospital. I've been there before.

I'm saying all this because I want to help people understand that AdSense offers real hope for people who have no other options.

But if you also want to have security, you have to run a legitimate site. No Black Hat SEO, no spamming. Not even popups - you WANT visitors to link your site, such links are far more valuable than ad clicks. I know.

My post:

Playing it Clean: Security for You and Your Family

I spent a couple hours thinking about how to respond to a black-hat SEO named kiladen who responded to the original thread at Webmasterworld that he games the search engines to feed his family. He claims he makes twenty thousand dollars a month.

None of his sites last longer than a month or two before the search engines remove him from their index, but he ownes eighty throwaway domains and has software that can roll out a new website with thousands of keyword-rich yet meaningless pages in twenty minutes.

He acknowledges that he's not likely to get away with even this for more than six more months before they figure out who he really is (it would be worth google's while to hire a private detective) and shut him down permanently, because he has a high salary job to fall back on.

He just wants to make as much money as he can as quick as he can and is somehow able to justify this to himself because it enables him to provide for his loved ones.

Well, I hope he's got a good life insurance policy because he's not going to leave much of a legacy for his family if he's hit by a truck tomorrow. The money that feeds his children will dry up in a month or two once all the search engines remove the last of his sites from their index and he's kicked out of AdSense for violating their TOS.

Even if he's not killed, if he is injured or should become too sick to operate his "business", he won't have either his ad revenue OR his salary to fall back on. I hope he doesn't live in the US because the streets of America are filled with homeless people who never thought or could afford to buy disability insurance, or whose spouses didn't buy life insurance.

The whole reason I tried AdSense at all is that I was too sick to work, and now I know that, even if I'm not getting as much money as I need to quit my job from my website, if I couldn't work for a whole month there would be enough for rent, utility bills and food.

This really got me to thinking about how my website could provide some security for Bonita if something should happen to me. Even if she did nothing to maintain my site, it would provide ad revenue for years, possibly decades. Even if Google folded and she couldn't run AdSense, there would be new search engines that would still send my site a lot of traffic, and new ad networks that she could live off of with a minimum of effort.

On several occasions I haven't had the time to work on my website for several months, yet found traffic to my site increased as those who read my articles gave it links.

I realized that when I discuss this with Bonita (in a few minutes, she just called from Spain and asked me to call her back), she's going to protest that she won't be able to write any new articles, so traffic likely would eventually dry up as interest faded in the old ones, or they became technically obsolete. And I thought that I would tell her she could commission writing from...

[edited because the guy I decided to commission writing from is a member here.]

Well I just spoke to Bonita, and when I did, I started crying. "Why did you have to tell me now, when I'm away and you're home all alone?" she asked. And I said, "What if I'd thought of this today, and went out and got killed in a traffic accident before I could tell you? It might never occur to you how you could keep people coming to my site."

She made me stop talking about it before I became uncontrollable. She said I got so upset because I'm so lonely that she's away. We don't spend much time apart.

You see, right after our wedding in 2000, I bought a million dollar life insurance policy. She would have been set for life if she lost me. It was doubly expensive because of my illness - I'm lucky I could get insurance at all, most mentally ill can't - but I didn't care because I made over a hundred grand that year, the last year before the dot com crash.

Well, the dot com crash happened, and although I did everything I could to keep paying on that policy, eventually it got to be too much for me and I had to let it lapse. It was canceled.

Bonita has been very worried either that I might get sick or get killed. She'd have to drop out of art school and get a job. She probably couldn't afford to rent a place where she could keep our dogs, who she loves as if they were her own children.

But now I know - and she knows - that it doesn't have to be that way.

Maybe next month I can afford to get a new life insurance policy, maybe even disability insurance. Getting disability insurance will certainly be costly, as I already have a disability. I might not be able to get it at all.


8:41 pm on May 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I personally know several black hat webmasters who wore hats as white as the driven snow until algo changes dropped the sites they had worked on for years into the abyss as victims of "collateral damage".

I would hazard a guess that Google's policy of throwing the baby out with the bath water and never looking back has caused thousands of white hats to turn black.


8:56 pm on May 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Michael, my hat's off to you for talking so openly about your personal life. It's an inspiration--and a reminder that we should all have relevant URLs, usernames, passwords, and other such info. pulled together for our loved ones in case anything happens to us.
This 69 message thread spans 3 pages: 69

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