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Google AdSense : Pitfalls and Alternatives

Copyright 2006 Character & Wealth LLC Google AdSense, since its launch in mid-2003, has been a boon to web-publishers world-wide, allowing them to display a wide-array of advertisements that are relevant to the content of the site. And for each click on the advertisement made by a visitor, the web-publisher is suitably compensated - from $0.01 to $

1.00 and more per click. Several web-publishers have joined this bandwagon and there are many individuals earning from $1000 to $5000/month, with the exceptional ones pulling in $15,000-$40,000/month. There are many good information sites about succeeding with Google Adsense on the web, and some excellent forums (webmasterworld.com, digitalpoint.com to name the best). There are however some open issues with Google AdSense: 1. Click Fraud: Click Fraud occurs when some web-publisher fraudulently clicks on advertisements displayed on his or her own web-site, or automates this clicking process through a software program. Because of the increasing prevalence of this type of fraud, Google has become stricter - and has inadvertently kicked some legitimate web-publishers out of this program.

2. Ad Blocking: Some offices and similar work-environments are now actively blocking Google AdSense advertisements from showing on their browsers. Google has responded with server side publishing of ads for some large web-publishers. It is too early to tell if this trend of Ad Blocking will rise and seriously affect the number of impressions of Google Ads and corresponding income potential for web-publishers.

3. Poor Quality Websites: Owing to the low barrier of entry for web-publishers to display AdSense advertisements, several poor quality websites now freely display Google ads. This does not always please the advertisers, especially if their advertisements show up on adult or hate sites. The complaints have been consistent, but so far no particular action has been taken to raise the barrier to entry. This may happen in the future. Of these, click fraud remains the largest, imminent issue facing Google AdSense, and the possibility for any web-publisher to be effectively barred from participation remains the biggest single point of failure for this system. Fortunately, alternatives do exist for web-publishers. 1. Yahoo! Publisher Network - Yahoo! has introduced its own equivalent program for web-publishers, the Yahoo! Publisher Network. This program is still young but maturing rapidly. You can participate in both the Yahoo! and Google programs simultaneously if you get approved for both. 2. If you have a reasonable amount of traffic and page views already, then ad-brokers such as BurstMedia, FastClick (now merged with ValuClick), Chitika, Kanoodle, AdBrite and so forth are available for displaying advertisements. 3. CPM (Cost per Thousand Impressions) models of advertising with banner ads, or page sponsorships continue to play a significant role in the web-publisher's world.

4. If you are careful to collect e-mail addresses from visitors and develop a weekly e-zine, e-zine advertising remains a good option (once you have more than 1000 members on the list)

5. Affiliatships remain an important threat to Google AdSense. Well-written content on a website often brings good return traffic. However, this traffic is often interested in reading the content, rather than clicking on an advertisement. The content on the site is now acting effectively like an affiliate for the ads that do show up on the site. But real affiliateships pay much more than what a Google AdSense advertisement would. Google is becoming more sensitive to this by also tracking the conversion rate from a given website, and may potentially start serving higher paying, higher quality ads at those sites. Thus, as a web-publisher and a smart business-person, do not rely on only one source of income, even if you follow an advertisement model. Keep the doors open to multiple sources of income.


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