Does This Make Good Sense?

Published Date
01 - May - 2005
| Last Updated
01 - May - 2005
 
Does This Make Good Sense?
Let's have a small Q & A session. There are three alternatives to pick from. The question is the obvious; which one of these would you choose?

a] You get a lot of money, but work very hard for it.
b] You get a decent amount of money with a little bit of effort.
c] You pluck money off the trees.

The answer is a practical no-brainer. Option [c] is what we all wish could happen. But it seems implausible, as long as the incumbent divine force decides otherwise. Now, if you are working very hard for the money in option [a], chances are you won't get enough time to spend it. That leaves us with option [b], the one option practically everyone chooses.

A universal fact, this has been exploited by various Internet companies. But the big daddy of all new forms of simple innovation is Google. And they have put the above fact into the heart of their AdSense programme.

What Is AdSense?
Small time Web publishers never had it so good. With falling bandwidth and Web space prices, and now, a free classifieds tool! If you have a small website or a blog, which a clutch of people visit regularly, then you could make some money out of it.

After we are clear with what this AdSense is all about we shall jump to next obvious question-how much money can I make, followed by how much more?

A few details on how to start-the programme can be roughly divided into two-steps:

Step 1: You register with Google for the programme. Give them the URL of the site where you want the ads… and wait.
What happens behind the scenes: Once you do this, Google's bots pay you a visit. Reminds you of the Matrix? Anyway, these guys crawl all over you site collecting relevant information. Once the information is evaluated, your site/blog is approved or rejected.
What are the criteria for approval: The approval/rejection is based on the site's content and quality. AdSense does not accept sites, which contain porn or promote the use of tobacco and drugs. If your site steers clear of these then it's likely that your application would be approved.
How long does this process take: "They approve the sites real quick vis-Ã -vis other advertising programmes, considering the large number of applications they get," says Ganesh Siddamali, who runs www.rupya.com, a site that focuses on the Indian stock market including daily performance updates. Rupya.com was approved within a day. However, in some cases, the approval may take as long as seven days.

Step 2: Once your site is approved, you are mailed a link directing you to your account. You can login and customise your ads (pick the colour, placement, and number of cells per ad). Copy the HTML code that's generated and paste it onto your site or template, and sit back… but remember the caveat 'a little bit of effort'.

Money Matters
Now that you have the banner or footer or any of the other ad placements done how do you pull in the money? The process is really simple-click the ads to rake in the moolah and increase the page-views of your site.
How long does it take for the first cheque to come into your account? Google starts paying you once you have crossed the $100 mark. According to Babychen Mathew, editor of www.dancewithshadows.com, a news and current affairs Web site, "It takes around four months for the first payment to come in. That's if you have a fairly decent number of visitors, say, around 10,000 a month." Others like Siddamali, whose site deals in Indian stock market news and figures at the top of a lot of searches, got their first payment within a month.

Trial And Error
Your site's content decides the type of ads that feature on them. All ads do not pay the same. The amount varies from as low as five cents per click, per ad, to as much as $5 per click. The well paying ads are mostly tourism, pharmaceuticals and online gambling. You can also play around with your content to attract specific advertisements.

Mathew agrees that it is possible to tweak your content to attract high revenue ads. "If you keep playing around with your content to get such ads, you can be chucked out of the programme. But once you are out, there's no coming back," cautions Mathew.

On a more rational note, it's unwise to make your content advertisement-centric. "You risk losing your readers," says Kiruba Shankar, blogger, who runs www.kiruba.com-one of the most widely-read blogs in India. "I once had an ad for Sri Lankan tourism on my site-it attracted a lot of clicks, which gave me a decent sum. However, if I keep displaying ads on Lankan Tourism alone, how many readers would I get?" aks Kiruba.

Mastering The Game
The wisest thing to do is to stay focused on the content of you site/blog. Chances are, if people are interested in the data you're offering, they may be inclined to click those relevant links, which is actually what the ads really are. While, you're unable to determine what kind of ads show up on your page, you can filter out the ads that you do not want, say, competitors' ads.
You can include the Google search on your page, which is a good value-add to your site. Now, if you are wondering whether using AdSense increases the number of hits, the answer is "No, it doesn't". The bot that searches your site for content to place the ads is different from the one that visits your site to rate it on the search. Google has made sure that using AdSense is not a criterion for turning up high on the search results.

The Ayes And Nays
A clean, transparent, non-intrusive advertising service that let's you earn some shekels without investing a cent. That's probably why we have the Internet, right? Well, there are no free lunches, but this one comes really close. All the same, don't expect to  generate all your revenue by using affiliate advertising services. It's good to have AdSense as it's free, though a high number of page-views is just what the doctor ordered.

AdSense is a good instrument to supplement the income from your site. But if your Web site is your prime source of revenue, then you must consider other advertising and/or marketing sources. Mathew adds, "AdSense can't be the only source of revenue. We are also part of the Amazon Associates programme, and sell ad space on our site directly to companies."

If you are the owner of a Web site or are a prolific blogger, it's sensible to have AdSense as a supplementary source of revenue. Even popular sites like Indiatimes and Sify use AdSense. Don't expect to start with a five-figure packet using AdSense-a couple of thousands every month is more realistic and achievable.

Competitors Any?
There are other affiliate advertising programmes such as the Amazon Associates and the Yahoo Overture Affiliates. Nevertheless, users claim that Google's AdSense pays far more than any of these-as much as 35 per cent more. It has fewer caveats, and is prompt with payments.

 Amazon Associates claim that the Amazon brand ends up getting a lot of visibility but doesn't necessarily translate into revenue for the Associates. AdSense, on the other hand, places ads of third parties so the relevance increases. Yahoo's Overture programme needs your site to have a very high number of page-views to get an approval. This is a major deterrent for smaller sites and bloggers.

On the flipside, in other affiliate programmes, the parent company provides you with the contact info of the person, who was referred by you and made a sale. This helps you in making future sales. However, AdSense does not give you this information. Still, this is of mere academic interest to most AdSense users who are by and large, small Web site owners or bloggers.

As a medium that places relevant text ads on your Web page or blog, AdSense is fast becoming the de facto advertising and sales tool for small time Web publishers. With rumours of how people have made $1000 a day by using AdSense, hundreds more are queuing up. Don't lag behind-get ready to make that extra buck.


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