This week saw a very public battle (it’s still going on, I think) over the current state of AdSense.
AdSense is Dead … AdSense is Alive.
We’ve had thousands of passionate words written, hundreds of comments and conversations, forum posts go into melt down and bloggers abuzz with this. There’s even an mp3 commentary (mp3 file).
So what in God’s name is it: Is AdSense dead or is it Alive?
I spent some time last night trawling a decent amount of forums, blogs and Google’s blog search – Technorati kind a sucks – to try to come to a conclusion – all I got was a damn fine headache.
For you see, just as much as there are haters of AdSense out there there are just as many lovers of it. One can get easily confused.
Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of AdSense. By putting too much power into the hands of writers (aka bloggers) into advertising selection can lead to only one thing: greed. To feed that greed one must get lots and lots and lots of eyeballs. You do that by producing quantity. Are you getting where I’m heading – the old quality over quantity argument.
That’s why in traditional (old) media there is a clear line (well most of the times) between editorial and advertising. They’re different departments. Writers write – Ad reps hawk around for advertisers. But these are new times we are living in. We are all publisher, writer and advertising rep all rolled into one. We’re all run our own one-man mini media empires.
And oh yes, I have and do, dabble in AdSense – heck, a hundred dollar check here and there is a cool thing to recieve. I’ve even caught myself at times thinking crazy dreams of $10 grand plus AdSense checks.
But now I read (in “AdSense is Dead”) that smart pricing has effectively killed off decent AdSense earnings for content sites (ie: blogs). But the guru’s who are pushing information products on AdSense have not been letting this fact on and keep on selling the dream. Shame on you if that is so.
I’m no expert on AdSense but if that’s true – that there is one bid for AdWords placements on search returns and another (much smaller) for placement on the content network – then I’m not surprised.
As I more and more dabble with AdWords I’ve come to the conclusion that for me the ONLY value I get is when my ads are placed on search returns on the Google site – and not on any content site (ie blog). It’s sad, but that’s the facts of doing business – unfortunately I think many bloggers forget that real businesses – many small ones – put their hard earned money into AdWords with the goal of getting qualified visitors. Bloggers that simply plaster their AdSense ads all over the place just to get that extra click potential are turning AdWords users off.
But back to this week’s “Dead or Alive” soap opera.
At first, I thought this was all a well-planned game plan by both sides to generate buzz – and buzz it has generated – and heck, it may just be, as nothing would surprise me in the internet marketing game.
But the real winner has been the author of “AdSense is Dead”. By going after the AdSense guru’s he’s played them all for a joke and reached a critical mass in quick time … 30,000+ subscribers can’t be wrong.
So what does one do when reading up on AdSense because it seems that every second piece I read in this debate there appears to be a conflict of interest – how many posts have I read and then a short note at the end: “btw, a small disclaimer, I personally know … blah, blah.” or “here’s my super-dooper-amazing, get-rich-yesteday product…”
A cynical, jaded audience might be thinking “who the hell do I believe … because it’s all a bit funny … I think I’ll take each side with a grain of salt”. And so you should, becuase the author of “The Death” piece is obviously selling something, not now … but soon – you can mark my words on that. And the AdSense guru’s, headed by Joel Comm, are protecting their turf.
So are the arguments in “The Death” piece somewhat diminished becuase just as Joel Comm is holding the fort for the AdSense is Alive club so is this guy who will be selling something contarary to AdSense – smart marketing gimmick? Yes! Conflicted? Yes!
But at the end of the day, AdSense is not dead, but it ain’t what it used to be. Competition in the blogosphere and smarter AdWords users have made it harder to earn a decent check from AdSense. I’ve asked a few prominent AdSense users who privately say that this is so. That they have seen a gradual decline in earnings coming in from AdSense.
“The â€œgurusâ€? have had an easy time selling stuff to people over the past few years because what they were selling actually worked. Itâ€™s not as easy anymore and a lot of them just wonâ€™t stop.” (via)
To put it all into perspective (ie: if you’re a wannabe guru you are playing with people’s lives here … remember that!) a commenter …
Iâ€™ve lost thousands upon thousands of dollars and have gone through bankruptcy trying to make money online. Why, because Iâ€™ve listened to these so-called Guruâ€™s and was hypnotized into buying EVERY damn product they put out. For the average Joe like myself its down right difficult to succeed online especially when yourâ€™re trying to educate yourself and trying to decide whoâ€™s honest etc. and who is not.
Think about that guru’s…
At the end of the day, surviving purely on AdSense is risky. Google can, and have, changed the rules and they will continually do so. That is not a good foundation to base your business on.
AdSense is not dead but it ain’t healthy.
(Tip of the hat goes to Duncan for sharing all the fun that’s been going on)
* * *
Update: Shame on you, Joel Comm.
This email from him was recieved earlier this week and said effectively if you DON’T release his AdSense is Alive report then your credibility will take a hit…
“Many have been mislead by the AdSense Death reports, and as their friend you should expose them to the TRUTH (this is especially important to help you maintain credibility if you have previously promoted the Death of AdSense)“
Wow! Do some of these guru’s think so little of us that we can’t think and decide for ourselves! Some of these so-called “Guru’s” just have no shame.
Martin Neumann blogs at The Blog Columnist