Back in the mid-90s, burned out, with a hatred for retail and the telephone that took several years to subside below seething, I decided to see about turning a computer slash programming slash DB design hobby into a business. So went to college as an ancient student in CS (three quarters of my class were over 30).
It's all in the timing. And my timing was atrociously delightful! I went with several final year classmates to a job fair for programmers: 5-solid offers in March evaporated by May. Only one of us (not me) still had one left on the table. Bust went the dotCom boom. So I dusted off a class assignment business plan and went into the webdev business for myself.
A couple years later I heard excited chat about something called AdSense. In November 2003 I trialled it. And simply could not believe the numbers. I kept running tests and they kept handily out performing the control (existing affiliate revenue stream) tenfold. It was truly mind boggling. By February 2004 AdSense was 99% of revenue and I'd thought the relegated 1% decent for the time and effort. AdSense changed everything.
It shrunk the time I'd planned to need for full (English) build out from never ending to 4-years. It covered upfront translation costs for French and Spanish language sites in the 3rd through 5th years. It paid for the shift from stock to custom imagery. For multimedia.
Mostly via AdSense revenue I could sell out of my then major niche for an amount that allowed the undertaking of my Great Chinese Adventure in 2012, which has become almost as rich a lode as the English language sites.
Yes, there is no AdSense on the Chinese language sites. And over time AdSense has largely been replaced on all other sites by direct ad space sales such that what was 90%+ of their revenue is now less than 9. However, the growth in site number and size since 2003 means that even now AdSense provides a comfortable income stream. While having paid the cost of truly explosive business growth for the past 14 years. A growth that would have been far far slower, if possible at all, without it.
* thank you, CS technical writing class, for requiring a webdev business plan.
* thank you, dotCom bust, for vanishing those programming jobs.
* and thank you, AdSense, not simply for making dreams come true but for making them both greater and sooner real than I'd ever imagined possible.
It's been a truly wild, AdSense primary booster fuelled, ride to date.
Here's toasting heartfelt thanks to the past and great cheers to the future!