posted an interesting article this week about the Google Adsense programme. Google's AdSense a bonanza for some Web sites lists a number of cases of people who have successfully used Adsense to
generate a decent income, like Eric Giguère who is now writing a book
about his experiences and Chris Pirillo, of Lockergnome, who reckons he is clearing more than
$10,000 a month. This example is very much in the minority and tales of people
making such large amounts are rare.
There remain others, like Search Engine Watch’s Danny
Sulivan, who are a lot more cynical about the Adsense programme:
"This is a program that rewards people not for creating
the best content, but for how to create sites to attract more
advertising," says Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Watch online
newsletter. "AdSense has nothing to do with search. It effectively turns
the Internet into a billboard for Google's ads."
many other Internet phenomenons, like blogging, Google Adsense has also sparked
interest amongst those looking to make a quick buck and “click fraud” is getting
more of a problem for both Google and Yahoo! Click fraud ranges from getting
your mates to click on adverts to programmes, called “clickbots” or “hitbots”,
designed to click all day. John Batelle, professor at the University of California, blogger to boot (Searchblog),
says that Adsense has:
a "growing, extremely sophisticated offshore industry."
"There are more of these sites than you can imagine," he says.
"The robots click on the ads and then none of the clicks turn into leads
for the advertisers. That's not how it's supposed to work."
In the blogosphere this is actually quite old news (it appeared a couple of days back) but I just didn't have time to write about it. It looks like Yahoo! is testing a product to rival Google's Adsense. Silicon Valley Watcher reckons that this information came from an "informed source at Yahoo!". Furthermore, Andy Baio on his blog points visitors to the blog of Yahoo! product manager, Ken Rudman, which features contextual ads.
"His homepage shows the vertical two-ad format, monthly archives show a three-ad horizontal format, and individual entries show another variation of the horizontal format. The ads have decent relevancy, especially considering its early state."
Andy has identified that the ads are served from a Overture server - further proof that Yahoo! are tesing the market?
There's an interesting story on Search Engine Watch about how people view the search results on Google. The actual research itself was carried out by search marketing firms Enquiro and Did-it and eye tracking firm Eyetools. The result shoudl certainly make marketers sit up and take notice.
It would appear that most searchers see information in the shape of an "F", with people's eye movements starting from the top-left of the search results and moving down, then jumping across to the right (where the first Google Adwords appear). Here are some of the results:
Organic Search Results Viewed:
Rank 1 - 100%
Rank 2 - 100%
Rank 3 - 100%
Rank 4 - 85%
Rank 5 - 60%
Rank 6 - 50%
Rank 7 - 50%
Rank 8 - 30%
Rank 9 - 30%
Rank 10 - 20%
Chris Sherman points out that though Organic Search Engine Marketing is far more popular with web searchers, many firms are ignoring its potential in favour of Paid Google Adword listings.
Eyesite (Seth Godin)
If you're a Google Adwords Advertiser, it would be worth your while popping over to Seth Godin's blog to hear about a recent experience he had with Google Adwords. It starts off like this:
I lost the keys to my Toyota Prius (actually, someone stole my shoes
when I was skiing on the snow-covered bike path, and my keys were in my
shoes, but that's another story altogether--why would someone steal my
In order to solve his dilemma he thought he'd turn to Google. Typing in the search words "replacement key toyota prius", it appeared to Seth that one of the AdWords matched his criteria. However, his relief at finding the right match was soon tempered by the fact that the Toyota parts site he ended up at had no keys for a Prius!
Seth believes there are 2 problems here:
The first is that the company is too lazy to buy just the right keywords.
The second is that the web guys are probably not the same people as
the folks who are buying the ads. If they were, the entire online
buying experience would be centered around me and my need for keys, not
them and their need to accurately describe the hierarchy of their store.
I'm sure we have all had similar experiences with Google Adwords and other forms of banner advertising . The truth is that both advertiser and visitor lose out from such an experience - the advertiser loses money through a wasted click and the visitor wastes their time and are forced to retrace their steps to find what they're looking for. As Seth points out in his article - it's not rocket science and Google even offers people advice on how to go about it: Google AdWords Support: What are keyword matching options?.
Put simply, when you enbark on a Google Adwords (or similar) campaign, you must succeed in taking your visitor to the destination page that matches their search criteria. Looking for Apartments in Sienna? Then take visitors to a page that has Apartments in Sienna and NOT to the Tuscan Apartment Page.
If you can't exceed people's expectations, you should at least match them.
Interestingly, it would appear that this Adword is no longer being displayed on Google. Ah! the power of blogs.
Looks like Google are testing out animated GIF ads for use on Google Adwords. The Clickz website reports in their article Google Testing Animated GIF Ads that the company will only use these ads on websites of Adsense Publishers who accept GIF images to be displayed.
When I first mention Google Adsense, or Overture for that matter, to my clients practically every one says that it would be a neat idea to click on their competitor's Adwords to inflict some sort of financial damage. Guess what? Google are wise to it and just to reinforce this message you may be interested in reading an article from Clickz about how they intend to take one of their publishers to court - Google Sues AdSense Publisher for Click Fraud. Google AdSense Publishers are people who place Google Adwords on their site and gain a few cents when someone clicks on the ad. Well, in this case, it looks like a company employed people (50 of them!!) to click on adverts on their site to drive up their Google Adwords revenue.
Six Apart, the people who developed Typepad (which Marketing Tom uses), have signed an agreement with Kanoodle a provider of sponsored listings for search advertising. The agreement means that Typepad subscribers will, from the first quarter of 2005, easily be able to add Kanoodle's sponsored links to their sites. More information can be found on the Kanoodle site: Kanoodle and Six Apart to Offer First Integrated Weblog Publishing and Monetization Service
Here's an interesting article on Google Adwords from Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Watch. Entitled Google Lays Out Content Guidelines, it discusses Google's decision to publish its content policy. The company has been much criticised in the past for not letting advertisers know the reasons why their ads have been rejected. This will hopefully answer the critics. You can find Google's content policy on their website: Content Policy and you may be interested in Google AdWords Editorial Guidelines, too.