Adsense is Evil

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.

Yeah, painful.

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.

  1. GeorgeBGeorgeB05-04-2006

    I echo your statements. I had a site yesterday that had over 150 adsense clicks and made less than 5 dollars. The rates we are letting advertisers (and Google) get away with for advertising on our sites will soon dip to below a cent per click I forsee.

  2. Jon HenshawJon Henshaw05-04-2006

    I couldn’t disagree with you more. I too have been using AdSense since its inception, and the ups and downs of their pricing have more to do with increased popularity, not a scheme to trick early adopters into doing their marketing. It’s also affected by the time of month, holidays, the type of active campaigns, etc… In other words, it’s seasonal.

    To me, AdSense has brought balance to an overpriced overrated industry. In typical Google style, they brought online advertising to everyone — not just the small publisher, but also the small marketer. However, it can work quite well for very large websites that have a specific type of content, and for those who position the ads well in their layout. There are many sites that make a killing using AdSense, and there are many advertisers that make a killing on conversions using AdWords — many of which who aren’t 100,000 page spammers.

    Your article seems way too one sided, and I don’t think it’s the reality for many other publishers and marketers. I don’t think it’s evil, and I think it’s done more good than harm to the entire industry.

  3. John ScottJohn Scott05-04-2006

    >>There are many sites that make a killing using AdSense

    I don’t know of a single Adsense publisher making $50 CPM. Most Adsense publishers that I am aware of are making much much less. Sure, some people are happy with it, just like some people are happy with $7.50 an hour at McDonalds.

  4. John ScottJohn Scott05-04-2006

    >>Your article seems way too one sided

    Probably true.

  5. aaron wallaaron wall05-04-2006

    >>I don’t know of a single Adsense publisher making $50 CPM.

    I could point out sites pulling a $150 – $200 CPM, but what incentive do I have to do so?

  6. John ScottJohn Scott05-05-2006

    Aaron, you spamming SOB. :P

    Yes, I am aware that there are sites that can make that kind of CPM, but they are few and far between. You really can’t deny the fact that Adsense is lowering CPM across the board.

  7. Paul WallPaul Wall05-05-2006

    I make a killin from Adsense and only use a blog. I make from anywhere between 50 cents do a dollar a day from doing nothing! w00t!

  8. GeorgeGeorge05-06-2006

    I think we all are being hurt by mass generated pages which are using Adsense. I can only assume that each company has limited advertizing budget. This means that more pages with Adsense will continuously delute our earnings.

    I hope Google will create a new advertizing ranking. Let say if you worked hard and your website has a fresh content and ranked within first 100 pages for your main keyword, you will get much better payout from Google.

    This will create very competitive environment and really will punish mass generated pages. I think it is only fair to all of us who are playing by the rules.

  9. Aaron PrattAaron Pratt05-07-2006

    I have just a couple environmental blogs with very low traffic, I make from $15-$20 are day in Adsense and think this kinda rocks. My goal is $100 per day by the end of the year. Average CPC is currently .40 cents, not bad for blogs with only a couple pages eh?

    My only complaint is that when I finally am making $25 a day there is a change in the serps and I drop back down to lower levels again, it is almost as if my cap is $20 so I understand your frustration, seems to be extremely difficult to earn big money from Adsense in non shoemoney ways. ;)

  10. Mason ShoesMason Shoes08-06-2006

    Search engines are flooded with Made for Adsense websites, and Google do nothing about it. I have reported many MFA websites, no action. I think Google also like MFA sites, because they have very high CTR, and good dollars for google.

  11. manuelmanuel04-16-2009

    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.AdSense has brought balance to an overpriced overrated industry. In typical Google style, they brought online advertising to everyone — not just the small publisher, but also the small marketer. However, it can work quite well for very large websites that have a specific type of content, and for those who position the ads well in their layout.Google Adsense is doing the same thing to web workers.i found this informative and interesting blog so i think so its very useful and knowledge able.I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article manuel

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