Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Why Google Needs to Rethink Adsense Policies

Have you ever noticed how many irrelevant websites you find when you do a search these days. You might get a result that says something like "Top 10 Sites on Your Search Query. The resulting page will have several different links to pages that vaguely resemble your search. So, essentially you are getting a search page after your initial search just so the owner of that website can get a piece of the Google pie. While it is marketing genius on Google's end, it is a pain for both the Adwords advertiser and the user attempting the search.

A few months ago this wasn't that big of a problem. Only a few entrepreneurs were innovative enough to come up with these "junk" websites with little to no useful content, chock full of Adsense and other ads. Unfortunately, now, several "get rich quick" schemes have promoted and guided users to make their own money on the web for doing practically nothing. The result is a complete mess. One unethical entrepreneur boasted that he maintains 75000 junk sites to generate $10,000 a month in Adsense revenue. As if the internet was not cluttered enough.

What Google had originally intended to be a benefit to Adwords advertisers, such as myself, is actually creating competition for the same Adwords advertisers. That's right, Adwords advertisers are in competition with the Adsense advertisers. For example, say I sell Widgets. I want to pay a maximum of $.50 per click. Someone does a search for Widgets and clicks on an ad that says something like, "Don't Buy Widgets Unless You See This." Most users would be intrigued enough to click on it even if it is towards the bottom. This junk site probably pays $.10 for this click. The resulting page would have my ad displayed on there for the full price of $.50, netting them a $.15 profit (Google keeps about half). So, essentially, having more advertisers for a certain keyword drives the cost per click of that keyword higher and higher, so in reality, I am competing with myself to pay someone who doesn't want to work for a living.

Fortunately, there is some recourse. Google does give advertisers the option to opt out of the "Content Network" which is where these Adsense ads are displayed. The only problem with that is my competitors would have to opt out too, otherwise I am losing potential customers. Until Google disciplines these junk site advertisers, this problem will only get worse.

Andy Johnson is a educator, notary, web programmer, videographer, graphic designer. For more information please go to Andy Johnson's Website.

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