It has been a month since I succumbed to the advertising devil in disguise. But in retrospective Google Adsense is indeed impressive and makes perfect sense for small-time publishers. Regular bloggers have achieved the tag of informal journalists and are publishing czars in their own right. But there is no free lunch in a capitalistic society. I moved to Typepad couple of months ago from Rediff for greater flexibility and customization of my blog. This additional coolness comes at a cost; $8.95 per month to be exact. Google Adsense gave me not only a way to cover the costs, but also superceded my expectations by making some more. In a nutshell, all visitors see the ads on my blog, some click on them, and advertisers are happy to get traffic on their commercial websites, even if the visitors don’t buy anything. They pay Google for customizing the ads, according to the content, for my blog and Google pays me a share. How much is Google paid and the percentage of my share is not clear yet.

But like the Discover Card ad smartly puts it, why not make money for the things you would do anyways? The ads are neither an eyesore nor impede the reader’s experience of my blog. It just sits there, waiting to be clicked. Everyone wins when the visitors click. Some regulars at my blog have been clicking, I presume, helping me to pay for my blog. Unfortunately, Google expressly prohibits me from posting my exact earnings (the few online terms of contract you have to actually read), so I can’t share that information.

Ever since I installed Adsense, I wanted to understand the relationship between the ads and the amount of money it generated for me. Initially, I thought it was the number of clicks and I was almost tempted to click away myself (damn! Google prohibits that too) but later on, I realized that it was the content of the ads that mattered. This is evident from the fact that Google prevents me from writing anything about gambling, online casinos or poker since those ads generate almost $8-10 per click (imagine the possibilities). Now I can never write about that report I did couple of years back on Internet Gambling. Certain other subjects also generate more revenue than others for e.g. electronics, cable television, marketing strategies, science, etc.

The basic fundamental is customizing your website or blog for keywords which are “low in supply and high in demand”. The topics I generally write about do not rank high in terms of revenue but I don’t think I will want to change the topics I cover. But for someone who already does write about stuff that generates high revenue, they would make a killing. My brother’s alumni site makes more than double than what I make on my blog although I have more than three times daily visitors. The fact that he refuses to move the high-earning keyword from his front page is another story. I cannot do that on my blog nor would I because it would defeat the entire purpose of my blog. Although the system is prone to fraudulent clicks, Google claims to have monitoring algorithms to keep an eye on abuse and they threaten to terminate the contract if they find anything suspicious. But so far, Google hasn’t troubled me so I think that everything is fine so far.

Finally, I cannot ask my visitors to click on the ads so I will not do that too. It is fun to see the customization of ads depending on the post; my rants on Bush display anti-Bush ads, book reviews display book vendor or fan sites ads, and so on. But if you have a blog/website that needs to be supported financially, check out Adsense. It doesn’t need any monitoring or maintenance jhanjhat although checking your earnings everyday can get addictive.