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What did Adsense mean to you over the years?

     
7:04 am on Aug 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure if this is a farewell letter or what. I'm certainly at a point now where I'm speaking about Adsense in the past tense. It was great to me. It made working on sites worthwhile. Etc.

I think when I see my totals for the last 28 days, I'm seeing the end of the road. It's the closing of a chapter of sorts. Perhaps a small webmaster such as myself can find other ways to monetize, but in the end, for what I do, I require organic traffic. The combination of organic traffic and Adsense income reliance is a poison cocktail from my perspective. It's bad and badder. It's a bad idea in combination with another bad idea.

But I'm just going to say the program is almost dead to me, and with that feeling, I need to say how great it was. I'm not a big hitter like some around here but it made writing worthwhile. It made updating a site worthwhile. Nothing really was better. Make money while I slept. I would wake up with some excitement checking stats, knowing that a good start meant a good day. I could cash Adsense cheques and never have to worry about business expenses. I could always say that the risk vs. reward was always in my favor.

That was then. Right now, I will just say that it's the reverse or opposite of that previous paragraph. In todays reality, I really could care less about the deposits in my account. I spend my time considering other avenues rather than my next website project. It's so miniscule, it's going to force a shutdown in my business plans. Oh well, this is life. I hope to have the biggest month in earnings in August, but Adsense will play zero role in that. That is my new reality.

But I would be curious if anyone thinks of Adsense in the past tense like I do. If not, congrats. However, if you're in past tense like me, what has the program meant to you over the years?
1:58 pm on Aug 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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However, if you're in past tense like me, what has the program meant to you over the years?


Oh I've been past tense for quite some time now however their image grab of 28th January 2013 was the final straw for me and the ensuing months whereby my traffic reduced by 90% was their last insult.

It's been an interesting experience and one unlikely to be repeated. The first 6 years years saw some great earnings even though Google tried to smack me down several times I simply bounced back, however the past 5 years has seemingly seen nothing but an attempt by Google to destroy my traffic and keep it for themselves meanwhile not monetising their image SERPs.

Whether Google will ever explain why they did this to so many image sites is doubtful even though it still leaves me perplexed unless it was to stop all those generic image grabbing sites.

There was an easy solution to that though, cancel their AdSense accounts!

Meanwhile I have removed many non/low paying ad slots and sites that do not earn a minimum $n per month have had AdSense removed and I do expect to be removing ad slots from at least another 5-6 sites before the end of the year.
3:16 pm on Aug 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Adsense has changed, but mostly the people and internet culture consuming our information, what they expect, "trends" and such. Adsense became quite boring to me, lower incomes but still part of my monthly thoughts. The idea was "monetize your site", meaning a site you already own but over time it became "hey guys let's create a site about anything, Andsense will cover the expenses", ok if that worked that's fine but if not we had a bunch of lazy people trying to use whatever they can get their hands on (our content) to build something, that ruined everything.

I still remember the "blog" era and G saying would put attention to that, many blogs got indexed fast and positioned well on SEs, also remember the predictions and complains of old school webmaster becoming a reality, can't separate the idea of Adsense going wrong among the same time blogs got steroids attention from G, never was my content so copied, stolen and rebuilt. Enough of complains.

MrSavage: But I would be curious if anyone thinks of Adsense in the past tense like I do. If not, congrats. However, if you're in past tense like me, what has the program meant to you over the years?

In the past it meant extra income for work already done. I built a few website that due to personal view were online for the sake of it, not concerned on online income except from one selling stuff. The income was great but made my biggest effort to avoid thinking Adsense was a permanent income, to me it was a healthy way of seeing things.

It got interesting trying to understand it, seeing pushing here meant this and that, Adsense was understandable, there were nice discussions around this forum, and even if you didn't understand: reading, researching etc meant understanding a bit later. Lower income became a challenge to overcome, but then it became BORING, impossible to understand, everyone was complaining except from some old school "kinda experts", nicknames you saw on this forum also giving very good advice on positioning and traffic.

Then the experts got hit too, lower income, for them Adsense also became a thing impossible to understand, the challenge was bigger. I went back to "average" no matter what I did. Past efforts meant increasing the income but not anymore, it was impossible and reading those members complaining about the same give birth in general to doubts if the program was legit or if some algo pushed some members to NEVER earn more than the same every day no matter what. Adsense stopped being science anymore. The average low income became a rule even that some of us were having the highest peak of traffic and growing.

One site died, the other ones stayed and one grew to solid, doesn't mean it grew and grew, it just became kinda standard with solid income. Lower income became normal to me and I just lost interest, removed ads, ignored lots of advice specially from Adsense. The sites continue because to me they are not income dependent, Adsense independent. From a business perspective is questionable but from a mental health angle and hobby-mission-like is what kept me from trowing the towel. Lots of members associated with nice advice and income are gone, not to be seen on the forum anymore.

How viable it is or was for many members? I don't know but I can tell you some members let some info slip away and it wasn't a secret any more some were making US$4K but were spending US$3K+ on hosting, writers, etc and their final income was not to be admired compared to people who built something that worked with little expenses. I think some people lost the perspective and dimension despite their posts of 10K pages on content, 20K daily traffic etc. Questionable.

Then the worst era came to light when Adsense became something like "Nonsense", the "doesn't make any sense" chapter and the "you silly I know how to but I won't tell you" posts we see more than often, it's not that it bothers me when people don't share what they do, they don't have to, it's their attitude and non sense, this is the thing that I hate the most around Adsense: reading stuff that doesn't make any sense... like

Mr.Savage: you surely don't know how to make the best out of it
Mr.Savage: Tried updating code slots with inverse colors? can't tell you more details
Mr.Savage: Understanding Adwords + the weather and host time response is the key, can't tell you more
Mr.Savage: Obviously someone didn't do the homework blah blah

It's like Adsense gave birth to the blog cloud steroids and then the Adsense nonsense trolls.

It's like a sick fight club with posts that doesn't make sense, we could as well delete them and nobody would miss them.

To me Adsense is still to this day the same thing: residual income and a plan E, the income doesn't fully qualifies to be my plan B, and even that the income itself is not bad, I know for sure giving it an "E" is the best idea because no matter what you do or what you earn, things can change and even vanish overnight, so due to stability it's an plan "E" that still goes on. While the income is nothing to be proud of, helped me to keep expenses and also means something over the years. So, drops over the years can also make a river.

At the end I'm still curious about many webmaster expenses. But also know Adsense it's a personal experience.
4:00 pm on Aug 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Excellent explorador, you've reminded me quite a bit of AdSense history I had locked away!
4:09 pm on Aug 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I still use them, but not enthusiastically. The big problem for me came a bit differently and has to do with how they're delicately propping up their model. The possibility for abuse is inherent, so they have trigger-happy "wild west" kind of rules to prevent it, rules that put me as a publisher in an awkward position. I lack confidence in their ability to identify the good guys vs. the bad guys.

For one thing, their rules are difficult to follow in the world of expanding social promotion. How the heck am I supposed to share my page with my social circle and assure that nobody Google perceives as connected with me clicks on my ads? If I tell everyone not to, that both brings attention to the ads - also a no-no - and then defeats the purpose of getting it out there to make money.

And then there were the updated FTC guidelines about disclosures a couple of years ago. My new disclosures for affiliate links had to somehow dance around the fact that the pages also had AdSense links, 'cause AdSense policy dictates you can't bring attention to their ads. I was expecting AdSense to make some allowance for this, but nope.

I feel a lot freer to control my pages that don't have AdSense. Because it's so easy to be yanked from the program, it caps the amount of income I want to rely on from them.
10:49 pm on Aug 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Some months back I read this article about Google Search, its impact over recent years on smaller web sites, and by inference its impact upon AdSense/Affiliate incomes.

I found it quite interesting and as I said on another site:

"This article I believe best sums up what has happened with Google over the past few years, and why search traffic has dried up for most smaller web sites."

Google Search Sucks
[bluetechstorm.com...]

Everyone is bound to have their own "subjective" opinion of course. But it can't be denied AdSense income has been redistributed. Good or Bad is the subjective component.
1:03 am on Aug 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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3 years ago I was making in excess of $50,000 a month from Adsense (just one site) - Today that figure has halved despite higher traffic numbers. I am what you call a "premium publisher" - what Google Adsense calls a "beta tester" - There are several different levels of "premium publisher" depending on earnings etc. All "premium publishers" have to sign a NDA with Google so unfortunately we cannot divulge too much info.

To me, Adsense has granted me the privilege of being a multi-millionare, to travel the world, buy a nice comfy home in cash - support my kids - and most of all granted me the freedom that only money can buy. Though with money also comes problems - as any lotto winner will tell you.

The majority of earnings I banked/invested and at age 56 could retire today... But the game is too much fun to do that just yet...

In a past life I was a car mechanic... So anyone who puts their mind to it can do it

Just my story...
7:41 am on Aug 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@IanCP Some people might be very upset with the valid points from that link. That part about Google murdering the independent web is close to what a lot of people have been saying for some time now.

Regards...jmcc
8:13 am on Aug 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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As a small publisher my Adsense has grown to a level where it makes me a reasonable income, that I can live on (no where near the $25,000 of the previous poster) - I now work hard at improving usability and content of my sites and have seen a reasonable growth in traffic over the last couple of years.

I always look a competitor programs and try some of them, none have yet got the upper hand over Adsense apart from some brief spells on some ad slots with Media.net

This is unlike the commerce venture I was involved in that was pretty much wiped out traffic wise by panda and Amazon coming into the field.
10:15 am on Aug 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@IanCP I also have to concur with that article - those factors rather than Adsense itself have been the reasons for my income decline.
1:49 pm on Aug 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Interesting conversation here. I am a newbie compared to some of you guys, been doing AdSense for the past two years now, and approx 98% of my income comes from AdSense. But maybe I'm just incredibly lucky that Google gave us top rankings, so 85% of my traffic is organic. August will be my biggest month so far with around $27k, but I'm not sure how long it will last.

AdSense gave me the freedom to live without worrying about money, and gives me the opportunity to live from a position of "#*$! you", if you know what I mean. I am 23, will quit my job in the next two/three months and go into ecommerce. I could only do that with the help of AdSense.

For those of you with largely organic traffic, how do you guys monetize other than with AdSense? After trying numerous networks, nothing comes even close to beating my AdSense eCPMs...
4:07 pm on Aug 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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A few things to consider, I started Adsense quickly after it was open to everyone, it's so different now. My best performing site was an ugly duck that refused any kind of redesign pretty or not so it always came back to what it was. Shockingly I had 400 unique visitors per day and that was just amazing. Traffic grew a bit but not the earnings, that's ok.

My other websites grew in content and pictures (all original) and my traffic on those went up passing the 400 uniques per day, soon I was on 1,500 uniques per day pure organic traffic but didn't perform as well as the other site. Later we all discovered the "no matter what you do you CANT'T earn more", then penguin, panda, etc. Many sites where hit and murdered, mine didn't but the revenue changed to the opposite, the big earner went down and the others went up.

Past and present: can't quite understand how today a site with 3,000 uniques PER DAY with pure organic traffic, pure original content and lots of emails per week can't produce in scale what other sites with much much less traffic did, yes it performs well but as I said not in scale. That's about 7.5 times more traffic. No, at this point I won't think too much on "every site is different, diff nature, etc" and that's just one site of my network.

I'm a one man band, writer, photographer (that's how it all started basically) and have some interesting hobbies (that's how things grew) but at this time over the years I'm still intrigued by those with stories of "I have 50K pages of content on just one site" and the others "gazillion dollars per day", the ones who made sense to me with good webmaster advice are gone, the others who never made sense come and go. Webmaster world makes impossible to talk specifics (and I understand, I'm fine with it) combined with this nature of business those winners will never talk specifics, just drop the "I write about puppies and I make millions", still just for human nature and not money ambition I can't turn off my curiosity on how they manage so much being me a just one man band.

LuckyD: good for you, keep it up, just one comment in all goodness regarding the one of your post, be careful and don't get used to that freedom because things can change overnight, wish you the best, just can't get off my head the many horror stories I read on this forum over the years, more than the two you have been running it. I guess some webmasters focused on growth, some forgot things can change, and some grew in the wrong direction (just adsense).

Image sites, many stories without specifics had that clue all over "Image sites", and I remember many performed well, one of my own did, then not anymore, adding more content didn't make any difference and just as mentioned here, those sites never made it again. Bummer because Google likes to show those pictures all around and make it easy for others to search and steal, there are other branches of the webmaster reality that had complains on how ugly things look in that sense. I just made a big change on one of those sites of mine with a huge image library... now is different, I don't want everyone just grabbing the pics anymore, specially G.
4:48 pm on Aug 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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August will be my biggest month so far with around $27k,


I've come to the conclusion I haven't a freakin' clue what I'm doing any longer, maybe it's time for me to retire and stop reading posts such as this since it depresses me as to WTF?
10:11 pm on Aug 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@jmccormac and @glitterball

For me, the most compelling observation from that article was this aspect - my emphasis added:
"But how was it before?

Before, your search would bring exact or near exact matches. And no, we aren’t talking about exact match of title and keywords here – we are talking about content.

For example, your specific news search would bring exact articles matching your search query, even if it was from an obscure alternate news outlet.

Your computer hardware modification search would bring up forum threads from widely known enthusiast forums, matching your exact computer hardware modification search, complete with photos, detailed descriptions and tutorials.

For your specific SQL search, one page from an abandoned 5 page blog of an unknown datacenter technician would come up, and it would be the exact specific and rare case you have been searching for. The guy encountered the same situation sometime, somewhere at 3 o’clock in the morning, and posted the exact solution to his tiny blog. And that would be your salvation.

That all changed in 2011-2012".

That loss of search traffic ultimately, led to the loss of AdSense income which in turn led to that informative site being abandoned.
12:04 am on Aug 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I agree with the quote above on how search results changed, let's not forget the space "sponsored"... started to move relevant results down and down. I've seen pretty skewed results in G where some abandoned websites with nothing but a map is on the first result - first page while relevant content is way down, more intriguing in this case is... the owner has like 10 pages on that site with little to no content, I would say the double size of the quote above (imagine that!) and worse: it's a dup, there is another website with exactly the same content (by the same owner) and both are dominating the search results, don't ask me why...

There is one thing...
Ian: That loss of search traffic ultimately, led to the loss of AdSense income which in turn led to that informative site being abandoned.

I can't say I disagree, yes I agree, but in many cases (have a few sites like that), the content is well positioned, is exactly what you expect, it's pure organic traffic... but the Adsense conversion went down and stays there. I mean there are also cases where the traffic is solid but little to no conversions, serious sites. We can only speculate because we don't even know if all the clicks reported are the real ones.
3:49 am on Aug 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Adsense has always been, for the most part, a volume game. The problem is that Google employed people who never created any website of worth and who do not understand the nature of the web to create "algorithms" in an attempt to solve problems that Google's own faffing about created in the first place. After that, search quality on Google nosedived and many small sites and businesses were murdered. This is what has happened over the past few years. The Wikipedia scraper (let's call it by its proper name rather than "knowledge graph") was intended to keep users on Google properties rather than sending them off to Wikipedia. It might be a better thing for the owners of information based sites that are not converting to create a subscription-only area and lock Google out completely. That way, they can make money from their own content.

Regards...jmcc

[edited by: jmccormac at 3:51 am (utc) on Aug 22, 2015]

3:49 am on Aug 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I joined the AdSense party REALLY late - sometime in the middle of 2012. Prior to that, I was happy filling my inventory with crap ads and collecting a decent four figure paycheck per month. I always thought AdSense was just a CPC/text ad thing and those types of ads don't work well on my site. Anyway, I did join, found it to be much different than I thought and I was kicking myself for not doing it earlier!

Along with using DFP, I am generating more revenue than ever before and I hope it never ends!
2:57 pm on Aug 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I have somewhat of a unique experience, having started with AdSense in the beginning, and then going through the "Back to The Future" experience.

I enjoy what I earn with AdSense, but I'm prepared/OK with whatever happens. I have no idea how these responsive/ad blocking things will turn out.


FarmBoy
5:25 pm on Aug 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Interesting that I should see this question this morning.
I think I may have the MOST COMPLETE answer to this question.

Just Google my adsense adventure. Or my adsense demise. I am #1 for these searches.
I offer the answer to many unanswered questions.

And by the way. I am DONE with AdSense forever. Read why, if you wish.
It centers around being beaten senseless.
7:08 pm on Aug 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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That's a really scary story. Remarkable how some of the usual pro-Google sentiment is absent on the thread.

Regards...jmcc
4:31 am on Aug 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Sally, followed the suggestion, whoa, terrible horror stories, yes many match my personal experience. Yes my earnings went down while my traffic went up more and more, what troubles me is having among my sites, one that's really strong, well positioned etc but performing quite bad, sure Adsense is a nonsense. I surely believe there are categories for sites, how G puts us on categories? I don't know.
6:40 pm on Aug 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I am told that the 4 stages of grief are denial, depression, anger, acceptance.
I am still on #3. And it directs ALL my actions, if you get my drift.
Bing is looking better every day, and they are climbing. Media.net pays me 4 figures/ month now.
The only reason I still check the Borg, is to further observe and document their inferior results, and questionable decisions.
Just today, Bing images was ALL OVER the Virginia tragedy, when results on Google images were nowhere to be found.

Because, yes, I have clearly been relegated to the "$hit-bin" category, with overwhelming proof.
I am now working much harder on my book.

Best of luck to all. Watch out for that "bin".