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It all depends on the topic and the traffic.
The beauty of adsense is that because the ads are tartgetted to content, they are highly relevant and much more likely to get a click, and most importantly, much more likely to convert for the advertisers. Therefore earnings on Google stack up a LOT better than earnings elsewhere. I've tried adsense, and I've tried untargetted ads and there really is no competition.
I know actual earnings are dependant on many factors, but I'd say that you could probably do a lot better than $5 per year for a quality article that gets only moderate visitors. One of my articles that gets only moderate traffic earns me at least 100 times that anually.
Today i was thinking to start a program to let's users post content for about 0.50c... maybe waaay to low but i'll be happy when i earn 5 dollars a year with one page. So maybe it's worth it if the articles stay online for 10 years or more.
((annual traffic to the page) / avg ctr) * avg EPC
You'd only need 167 clicks @ 3 cents a click to earn $5 per year.
I personally wouldn't waste my time writing articles that had such low EPC, unless they were directly related to the theme of a well-established site with decent traffic.
I'm not advocating targeting only high dollar keywords, but if I had the choice between putting up fifty articles on Armenian folk music or fifty articles on, say, some sort popular electronics widget, I think I'd go for the widget articles.
So you are not that interested in your visitors and what they might like to read?