How Google’s Adsense is killing content and ruining the Internet.
In The Beginning
When Google Adsense first came out many webmasters were thrilled, and rightly so. The per-click pay out was respectable, and the ads were relevant to the content of the pages.
One forum we operate ran Adsense when Adsense had first come out, and the monthly income was comparable to income we had generated from dealing directly with the advertisers.
At that time, we ran limited banner ads, and generated $2,000 ~ $3,000 per month in income for that site. Adsense numbers were similar.
Bait and Switch
But it appears that Google’s initial respectable pay-out rates were simply a way to generate positive buzz in the webmaster circles and send more webmasters their way.
And it worked. Many webmasters, myself included, recommended Adsense to friends, family, complete strangers and the occasional homeless person.
In a matter of months, however, Google lowered the per-click payout so drastically that many webmasters were scrambling to replace Adsense with their previous advertisers, only to find their previous advertisers unwilling to deal with anybody but Google.
It was as if Google had a monopoly on the ad space market; they knew it, and exploited it.
Devaluing the Impression
In the golden age of advertising, I could quote an advertiser $50 CPM and it would result in a paid insertion order. Nowadays, the only advertisers consistently hitting $50 CPM are Yahoo and Google search results pages.
Back in my youth, I was a contractor. I started out with a crew of mostly Caucasian labor. They wanted decent wages to support their families. But as time went on, my competitors started using 100% import crews from South of the border. In order to stay competitive, I too turned to 100% Mexican crews.
This was the devaluation of construction labor, and if you were in construction it meant your wages dropped dramatically. In the Seattle area, lead framers who were making $35 an hour are making $15 an hour now.
Google Adsense is doing the same thing to web workers. Adsense has destroyed the value of the impression and the quality of content on the web. In the past, no self-respecting advertiser would sponsor a scraper site with 1,000,000 pages of crap content, but that is exactly what Google Adsense is doing, and if advertisers get clicks from scraper content, then that’s where their budget goes.
In the construction industry, workers can protect themselves with unions. I don’t see that happening on the web. What I do see happening is the continued devaluation of impressions.