10 reasons why Adsense sucks for your blog

By | October 30, 2007

Adsense has been around since 2003 in its current form, and for many users represented the best option for webmasters to make money from their websites. For a long time, though, blogs weren’t permitted to add Adsense. Eventually, Google relented and a boom followed in Adsense. There have been a number of stunning Adsense success stories, too.

Now, though, after using Adsense for a number of years, I’m becoming rapidly disillusioned for a number of significant reasons. (As this story updates, and gets comments, I’ll be adding links throughout the story updating facts as far as I can).

1. Revenue per click is falling. While Adsense TOS prevents me from telling you what it is, I can tell you: From the first year to the third year, the revenue per click has dropped by more than 33% for my sites, AND IT IS STILL dropping. In the second year, it dropped by 10%, then in the third year, it dropped by nearly 27%. And since the beginning of the fourth year, it has dropped by a further 2% in only 3 months.

2. Adsense takes your advertisers and gives you pennies on the slot. For many websites, using Adsense allows advertisers to use your blog to reach your audiences rather than pay a lot more: in many cases, you can get your ad (albeit amonth others displayed for a few cents a click compared to purchasing a proper link or a larger ad block or image). It’s like a one-night stand, except in many cases, it doesn’t even last one night. It’s displayed and it’s gone. Many larger blogs now forgo Adsense because of these problems.

3. Their advertisers compete with YOU. If you are using your blog or website as a way to sell your own services or business or products, often you will find not just related products, but also directly competing products and competitors, who are paying you cents to steal customers who would pay you dollars. Does this make sense?

4. You don’t get paid when Adsense ads are not clicked, but the ads still get ‘viewed’ by individuals. In many cases, the ads are given prominent spots, but the reader doesn’t click. Does the reader see them or not? The readers have read many ads, but never clicked for a variety of reasons. But they have read the ads. You don’t get paid, usually. Occasionally, you will be paid for impressions, but not usually.

5. Clicking on Ads takes readers away from your blog. Do you want your readers to leave? Of course, you’d rather they didn’t, but if you place the adsense blocks in the ‘optimal’ positions, you are virtually guaranteeing that your readers will leave by clicking on an Adsense link. But usually readers won’t come back after viewing the linked site. They may, as I do, view the advertisers site, note the URL and either go to a search engine or close the window entirely.

6. For low-trafficked websites, Google Adsense just not generate anything more than peanuts for your traffic. With pageviews in the hundreds or low thousands per month, there is hardly enough traffic to earn more than a few tens of dollars per month. In fact, using the valuable advertising space for Adsense actually will not help to add value to your blog or generate much revenue.

7. Inappropriate ads often appear on your blog. On my ESL website, I’ve had links to all sorts of weird things; and on this blog, I still get weird links to websites completely unrelated to anything on the website page. I’m not talking pharma ads or adult ads, which Google prohibits. But still, the webmaster can’t choose what ads do appear on the website. This means that webmasters and site owners rarely have control of who is advertising. This is not a good thing.

8. Google is very strict on click fraud. To the point that one suspects they are even taking legitimate clicks and counting them as invalid. Of course, you aren’t able to monitor which clicks on your ads are invalid, or any statistical information, leaving you to guess about how many clicks are being discarded.

9. Google also bans Adsense publishers for instances of click fraud. Though many may deserve the banning, I’ve read of a few webmasters who would likely never commit click fraud, yet were banned for no apparent reason. Additionally, they weren’t notified of the particular infractions, discouraged from appealing, and the whole affair was conducted in secrecy, a secrecy that does not befit a major US corporation. Of course, when you are banned, you lose your account, your money, and your reputation is slighted. Google, of course, offers no proof. You are banned without a trial, or even a specific charge. And there are serious issues with the security of Publisher’s accounts.

10. It’s not smart to put all your eggs in one basket. Why? Because if you are serious about developing your blog as a separate income and business, you MUST develop multiple sources of revenue. Relying only on Adsense is perhaps the dumbest decision you can make, especially because you put your business at the mercy of just ONE supplier, Google. As many bloggers found out this week, this can have disastrous consequences when Google, who also provides search engine traffic, website rankings and a variety of other services, also provides a large percentage of your traffic. Many blogs were subsequently stung by Page Rank downgrades, resulting in lower earnings potential and possibly less traffic. In some cases, Google even deliberately removes websites from the rankings because they claim the website master is abusing the Google search engine.

Looking forward to your comments.

Disclaimer: This website currently uses Adsense on its pages, has about 5% of its traffic from Google and may utilize some other Google services, such as gmail, analytics and so on. But InvestorBlogger is seriously unhappy with Google’s recent performance on its Adsense, PR rankings, and the way that Google is becoming a ‘Be Seen to Do No EVIL’ force.

Author: InvestorBlogger

Investorblogger.com takes you on a 'Random Walk To Wealth' through money, investing, blogging and tech. We'll explore my insights, mistakes, and experiences together.

43 thoughts on “10 reasons why Adsense sucks for your blog

  1. Kenneth Post author

    TextLinkAds, Payperpost, ReviewMe, Affiliate Sales, Selling Content… dozens of ad networks that don’t use CPC, etc… I’m just naming a few ideas…
    Have you tried any of them?

  2. Tina Kubala

    After two months and 55 cents, I removed AdSense from my sidebar. I wanted to use the space to give blogrush a chance. I was super frustrated with the ads picking up my last name and displaying weird German ads. I also don’t like the spammy look of the ads on a personal blog like mine.

  3. Court

    Yeah, what’s up with the revenue dropping? No matter what Google is saying, it’s happening. This is brilliant stuff.

  4. Frank C

    I consider Adsense the standard when it comes to site monetization as in if an advertising program can’t make more than Adsense in the same slot on a site, it’s useless.

    I’ve also found Adsense to be more profitable on static HTML niche mini-sites than blogs. For example, OpTempo made about $8 on Adsense in October but my static guitar site made $45 with about 1/3 of the traffic.

  5. Melissa

    Interesting article especially from someone who has adsense all over their blog. Adsense may not be the best moneymaker for bloggers but from experience it is the best way to advertise for advertisers.

  6. Kenneth Post author

    Yeah, I’ve been going through a bad time with Adsense. On top of that I nearly forgot to bank Google’s last check! I hope it’s good for six months, because I just mailed it today!

    Google Adsense success depends on a lot of factors, including location, type of ads, and audience as well. The best Adsense users put a lot of work into it! I’d rather put a lot of work into my BLOG! Makes better reading, right?

    BTW, thanks.

    Kenneth

  7. Mara Alexander

    I agree AdSense sucks. What cracks me up the most is seeing “anti” this or that blog posts, and yet the AdSense ads are *advertising that very product*.

    My main reason for avoiding AdSense is that they look TACKY as all hell.

    I do find it amusing that this very post…has AdSense, front and center.

  8. InvestorBlogger

    Yeah, you got me! I was on the point of removing them when I found a plugin that helps me to manage them. I added the image one because my blog needed an image to add visual color at one point. With increasingly bad ctr, payments … I am likely to remove them.

    Kenneth

  9. bdurfee

    Nice post – I’m not seeing Adsense so I hope you found a good replacement. Not that I would insult you if there were Adsense ads; you have every right to criticize and question the practices of any service you use. How could you speak with any kind of authority otherwise?

    Thanks for the thought-provoking article.

    bdurfee’s last blog post..Are You Thinking Rich or Drinking Kool Aid?

  10. Kenneth Post author

    Thanks for the comment. Yeah. I had an advertiser request a lot of slots, so that gave me the push to find the right application to manage the blocks he needed. I just gave ad-sense the push.

    Kenneth

  11. Tom

    Have you tried Chitika? Over the last year I compiled some statistics of my earnings and I actually earned twice as much with Chitika compared to AdSense. For those of you considering Chitika – try it! You can check out this Chitika review for more info and some cool screenshots.

  12. InvestorBlogger Post author

    Thanks, Chitika. I think I tried to sign up with them a while ago, but they didn’t accept my site … I can’t remember why. I’ll try again. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Kenneth

  13. InvestorBlogger Post author

    bdurfee,

    Thanks for your comment… I didn’t see the comment until just now!

    Yeap. I replaced them temporarily, but then I thought I ‘d try the Adsense image ads… but now I’m getting smartpriced on those, too. Who wants 5c a click? And I’m dropping lots of clicks, too. Over 50% by some estimates…

    Kenneth

  14. Tabrej

    You are right.

    But I hope adsense will look into it for us as more and more players are enterin g in the market. Yahoo, adcenter and bidvertiser.

  15. InvestorBlogger Post author

    Adsense is still the #1 in the market, but it just isn’t right for this blog at the moment! i keep getting smart priced by their system … And the number of uncounted clicks is just quite high!

    kenneth

  16. Mitoman

    We’ll see what microsoft has to offer very soon, I doubt it will be any better than google

    Mitoman

  17. Tom OKeefe

    Great post!! Startups & websites listed on Bizak.com who have Google Adsense as their revenue model earn only $0.06 per visitor (EPV). Definitely not a profitable business model. Even with those low numbers 21.5% of all startups listed (on Bizak) rely on Adsense as their primary revenue source. Even Mahalo with 4 million monthly visitors is having trouble monetizing with Google Adsense.

  18. InvestorBlogger Post author

    Thanks, Tom. Which makes me wonder why sites like Technorati are using even more Google Ads. It seems that Google Ads are only successful in some circumstances, … Looks like Google Ads aren’t really that successful in the broadest sense, and with changes in the tos they are desperately trying to shore up the holes in the tub before it sinks.

    Could it be that while Google looks invincible, it’s actually creating huge new opportunities for those who dare to come up with better systems.

    I tried Adsense again briefly, but ended up having really crap results after being blackballed again, and getting worthless ads.

    Kenneth

  19. jen

    You guys should really try adbrite to make money. They’re even better than adsense and they do send you your money. you can make about 200$ a day if you really work on it and have a good strategy.

    http://webcashier.blogspot.com

  20. InvestorBlogger Post author

    I did have an account, but the reliability wasn’t good when I first tried, and the ads weren’t very relevant. I abandoned after making but a few cents…

    I’ll give it another try, soon.

    Kenneth

  21. Nav

    Hmmmmmmm the biggest problem with any form of advertisement is people get so used to seeing them that they stop clicking.

    The best place to earn money is righ in your content. Try sites like http://www.contentxn.com and write about your fav stuff and get paid!

  22. Joe Gewgle

    I had over 15,000 page views yesterday for google adsense and got exactly 1 cent… 1 penny per 15,000 page views (2 to 3 ads locations per page with google sometimes putting multiple ads in 1 location) 1 cent…

    Some days with less traffic I've brought in $10.00+ my average is around $5 a day… for 1 cent or even $1 a day it's not even worth it.

    1. InvestorBlogger Post author

      Thanks for your comments. I have had a little more success with Adsense since my post last year. But I have realised: with Adsense, less is more. Also, there is a huge amount of click fraud on sites (or at least what Adsense claims is clickfraud). I know this from monitoring my own stats via MyBlogLog with tracks clicks on your blog each day. For many days, Adsense was the #1 click, but I hardly got paid for anything. So I removed many of my ad blocks, added some more unusual units, alternated with non-google ads, and saw a slightly better ctr. But for smaller blogs, Adsense is not worth it unless you are prepared to pit it against something else for comparison. Only then can you figure out if it is worth it.

  23. Pop

    Well some of the points are good some not. I give an overall 7.5 mark to this post (out of 10).
    And the reason is because Adsense is STILL paying at lest. Some other programs may not (there were so many cases).

    O the other hand, I do agree with the fact that there should be no monopole in this industry. I hate it when I am forced (on my own blog) to advertise adsense ONLY and have my visitors ripped off my site for some pennies. The other way around could be affiliate marketing, which is mainly the best revenue for most successful bloggers.

    I could say Affiliate Marketing represent more then 60% of total revenues for bloggers. And is not even hard to tell why. You better sell a product and have a $40 a sale rather than 7c-50c a click.

    There are pros and cons with all programs but Adsense started good and dropping these days just like your revenues you spoke about.

    Adsense sucks, adwords even worse, and the only thing that remains fair is google SE which has its own issues too but fewer than others.

    At least this is my opinion 😀

    1. InvestorBlogger Post author

      I would say that the biggest issue for me was the unpaid clicks. I know that I was often getting 10 or 20 clicks in a day, but nothing in the Adsense at all or perhaps just one click. 9 clicks were going unpaid. While I have no way to identify which clicks were fraudulent, at one point the stats were just totally out of whack. It hasn’t happened so much recently as I stopped running Adsense on this blog, totally. There are other ways to create advertising revenue, and better ones, too. Sell your own advertising, and start small.

      Thanks for dropping by.

  24. Chris

    Ok, It's been a month now, and one day I actually made $4!!! (Wow). The rest of the days I made a little over $.20 and most days nothing. Granted, my sight is new, but I still get between 1000-1500 impressions a day. A lot of days, I'll have 20 or 30 clicks and still make nothing! I have a roulette forum and guess what? I advertised an online casino and made $30 with just one signup. Also, I use Linkshare as an affiliate ad supplier and they are great. You have access to hundreds of advertisers. The moral, Adsense isn't all it's cracked up to be. I'll never use it again.

    1. InvestorBlogger Post author

      Congratulations, Chris. $4! It's pretty much what I've been making… But the click issue is a serious one: And of course Adsense rules in their favor, not ours. Do try different methods, oh and give your forum a nicer look. SMF has some great themes.

      Kenneth

    2. InvestorBlogger Post author

      Congratulations, Chris. $4! It's pretty much what I've been making… But the click issue is a serious one: And of course Adsense rules in their favor, not ours. Do try different methods, oh and give your forum a nicer look. SMF has some great themes.

      Thanks for viisting. Do let us know how the adventure goes.
      Kenneth

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