Wednesday, December 26, 2007

AdSense Advertising Pays - Finally

This week, just in time for the holidays, I received a check for $107 from Google. This blog displays Google Ads on the side panel, and in exchange for my displaying these ads, I receive a couple of pennies every time a reader clicks on one. While I'm certainly not going to complain about a $107 check, I do feel compelled to ask, "Why did it take so long?".

Here's the truth about the Google AdSense program: unless you are one of a very few blogs who attract thousands of unique visitors everyday, you're lucky if you ever see a penny. Google and the media have been touting AdSense for years as the future bastion of the advertising industry; that it will empower individuals who post content on the Web by offering them an easy avenue towards making money for their efforts.

But at only a few pennies per click, and considering Google's method of only issuing a paycheck after you've accumulated $100 worth of ad-clicks, most people are lucky to ever reach the threshold and receive any money at all. The same holds true of rivals such as Yahoo and Facebook Ads. And it's really not that hard to understand why this is the case. After all, how many Google Ads do you usually click on during your daily Web surfing?

While these online advertising programs can be frustrating, it also happens to be an instructive case of market forces at work. Because most people won't make any money, the vast majority of bloggers who produce a crappy product will quickly lose interest and give up. Think of it as Darwinian "survival of the fittest" for online content where the better sites will thrive while the rest will succumb to an extinction for which many Web surfers might actually be grateful.

Although the Nerfherder plans on continuing serving Google Ads (again, a hundred dollars is still a hundred dollars), the lesson to be learned is that if you want to make any serious money through blogging, you better plan on 1) finding actual sponsors who, after you make your brilliant sales pitch, agree to pay you a set monthly fee, or 2) attract thousands of click-happy regular readers in a hurry.

And besides, in the Web 2.0 world where websites like YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, and Craigslist thrive based solely on user-generated content (in other words, in a world where people seem all-too-eager to post tons of content on the internet for free), am I at risk of sounding extremely outdated by even raising the specter of financial incentive?


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