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Sunday, January 18, 2009

AdSense One Week Anniversary

It's a little more than one week since I decided to put a Google AdSense widget on my blog. As I mentioned before, if you don't like it, you're free to install the FireFox AdSense blocker extension. Alternatively, you may write a script that gets my RSS feed, strips out the ads, and republishes it. Some spam sites republish my content without citation.

For those of you saying "I'm going to boycott FSK if he puts AdSense on his blog!", well you aren't reading this, now are you? I suppose there should be no more "FSK is evil for putting AdSense on his blog!" comments. You're also free to go ahead and start your own blog.

It appears that I'm going to make $0.005-$0.02 per site Visitor. I'll have a better estimate when I get more data. That's close to what Barry B at Debt Prison said he gets. I have a very non-optimized layout. I'm going to stick with what I have for now.

With AdSense, most of your revenue comes from ad clickthroughs, and my ad clickthrough rate is 1% (which actually seems high). That means there's a lot of noise in the results. My highest single day was $11 but my second-highest day was only $2.4. My lowest day was $0.38. Throwing out the $11 statistical outlier, my average appears to be $1/day, which is $0.005 per site Visitor. Including the statistical outlier, my average is $2/day, which is $0.01 per site Visitor.

This past Friday, Google credited me with $2.90 for a single ad clickthrough! I want to know what site that was! I wonder if advertisers consider my audience to be much higher value than a typical site? For example, I can imgaine an online gold and silver dealer would be eager to advertise on my site via AdSense. Even if "a very low percentage of FSK's users click on ads" is true, I might still benefit from "Advertisers are eager to target FSK's niche audience."

I'm also curious to see if Google's ad placement algorithm improves over time, learning my blog's readership's interests. "The AdSense algorithm learns over time." appears to be true. For this reason, only click on an ad if you're actually interested in it.

I configured AdSense for RSS, which has been 7.5% of my total income. I thought it would be higher. I'm still glad I set it up. I hadn't solved any hard technical challenges in awhile. I'd been wanting to start using FeedBurner anyway. I have two words of caution for AdSense/FeedBurner:

  1. You must use FeedBurner from your gmail account and not a plain FeedBurner account, in order to include AdSense for RSS. There are two separate versions of FeedBurner.
  2. FeedBurner only checks for new posts every 30 minutes. When testing FeedBurner, this "feature" can trick you into thinking that FeedBurner doesn't work! There's a "manual ping" feature, where FeedBurner can be forced to immediately check your blog for updates.
FeedBurner is nice. According to Feedburner, I have 115 Subscribers, 71 of which use a Google-sponsored reader. That is surprising. I thought that Google had only 10%-20% of the RSS reader market. Maybe that indicates the power of "Google Reader Shared Items", allowing other people to find my blog?

According to FeedBurner, someone only counts as a subscriber if they fetched the feed in the past 24 hours. Does that mean that, if I don't open my RSS client for a day, then FeedBurner no longer counts me as a subscriber? For this reason, my subscriber count goes up and down every day. I always wanted to be able to track my RSS subscription counts, so I'm glad I started using FeedBurner.

AdSense has two types of ads, "pay-per-click" and "pay-per-view". For me, the pay-per-click type has been more profitable on average. The pay-per-view type can only be had if someone *SPECIFICALLY* chooses to advertise on your blog. This is an incentive to not put your AdSense widget at a low-visibility location on the page. Plus, pay-per-view is about $0.0005 each, while you get about $0.25 per ad clickthrough.

Of course, I have no idea what % of ad revenue that Google pays me. It's still better than any other system out there. (DixieFlatline suggested text-link-ads, but I decided to go with AdSense for now. AdSense is a non-exclusive deal, so I can try other things later, especially directly selling ads.) When/if I get more popular, and get my own domain, directly selling ads might be more profitable. Even if I directly sell ads, I don't have to take down AdSense! I'm most interested in selling individual ads off-the-books to people running agorist businesses. That isn't viable yet.

I enabled the "Google Analytics integrated with AdSense" feature. That shows the breakdown per page. As DixieFlatline predicted, my homepage has led to most of the AdSense revenue. Ironically, some people who use NoScript to block Google Analytics have clicked on an AdSense ad! (Alternatively, there is a bug in the AdSense/Analytics integration. I'm assuming that if you block Analytics but not AdSense, and click on an ad, then there'll be a discrepancy.)

One disappointing feature is that AdSense won't let me see which specific ads were clicked on. I'm curious which sites were clicked through.

You might say "$1/day. That's not worth it." First, it's $1/day more than I'd have otherwise, because I'd be blogging anyway. Second, $1/day pays for hosting. I want to move to my own domain, switch to WordPress, and start writing my own PHP code. Third, my blog had 10x traffic growth from December 2007 to December 2008. If I can keep that up for a few more years, I'll have a viable business.

That's one thing I've noticed about blogging. Organic growth and patience over time pays off. You might say "I want 1M pageviews within the first month!", but that's venture capitalists tainting your thinking. It's much more realistic to get 5%-10% steady monthly growth for several years. Plus, I'm becoming a better writer over time. There's no expense other than my time, so my blog isn't a resource drain. If AdSense revenue covers hosting costs, my blog is fully profitable. I estimate the total size of the Remnant to be 1M+, so I haven't come close to maximizing my audience yet.

Some people complained "Putting AdSense will taint FSK's blog." Paradoxically, the opposite effect may have occurred. Seeing that my blog could be a viable for-profit business in 2-5 years has increased my motivation!

I also noticed on AdSense's help forums that AdSense only works on pages with static content. If I make my own forum engine with dynamically generated pages customized for each user, then AdSense won't work on those pages. Google's AdSense bot has to "crawl" your page ahead of time, to determine which ads to serve.

I've noticed that "other people promoting my blog" is now more beneficial than "FSK directly promotes his own blog". I'm better off spending my time writing good posts instead of actively promoting my blog. Besides, I'm tired of debating pro-State trolls on other forums. Most forum engines have a defect where "several pro-State trolls can shout down one reasonable person". If I post the truth and several pro-State trolls publish anti-truth, that gives the superficial appearance that I'm in the minority and therefore wrong.

I'll probably attempt promoting my blog on other forums from time to time, but I don't feel like it right now.

Another weird thing is that, after I told my parents that I'm making $1/day, they're acting like I have my own newspaper. They keep saying "You should write an article on X."

Overall, I'm satisfied with my decision to include AdSense. Interestingly, putting up AdSense has increased my blogging motivation! AdSense isn't going to send me a check until my credit reaches $100. I might wait for that to purchase hosting, or I might try sooner. Based on the "$0.01/Visitor" revenue statistic, I only need 100x more traffic for this to be viable as a job. When you consider I've had 10x readership growth compared to a year ago, that seems not that farfetched.

You might say "Working for Google via AdSense supports the State!" It still would be better than a wage slave job. At least via blogging, I'm raising awareness for free markets and showing a profit at the same time! I'd prefer to work full-time in the free market, but that isn't viable yet. I'm going to utilize the State slave economy, even though my ultimate goal is to establish a free market.


Anonymous said...

i don't see the ads. i see where they're supposed to be, but all of them say that they are blocked by trend-micro pc-cillin, my virus software. i have no idea if that is a good virus blocker, but it came with the computer and does the job (i haven't had a virus problem during the entire two years). i am not sure how to change this to where i can see the ads, though. i actually want to see them.

FSK said...

Your antivirus program probably has the option to whitelist certain sites and override the behavior. If you add an exception for "", then you'll see the ads.

It's actually a javascript program that fetches the ads (do "view source" if you know html). If you block this script, then I believe you don't see the ads. That's why I don't get the AdSense anti-privacy complainers. If their browser blocks "", then they're blocking AdSense.

"Google improves your site's ad targeting over time" appears to be true. If both Google and I get paid per ad clickthrough, and Google pays me a fixed % of revenue, then the algorithm that maximizes Google's profit also maximizes my profit. Of course, I don't know the fine print of Google's ad algorithm.

Google's AdSense terms are non-exclusive (so I can put other ads). When/if I get bigger, and if selling ads directly is more profitable, I'll drop AdSense. I believe AdSense has an option that allows advertisers to specifically target my blog or specific pages on my blog.

Anonymous said...

thanks man, that worked! i found where to do it. i shut the browser down, reloaded, and they're appearing.

fritz said...

Fsk,,Find out which adds on your blog pay you when someone clicks on.Tell us, and I will make sure I click them. Anything to help the cause.!!!!


FSK said...

The amount Google credits me varies from $0.25 to $4 per clickthrough. Google Analytics tells me what page but not which ad. The ads are geographically targeted, so the ads you see may not be the same as the ones I see.

Actually, I'd prefer if you didn't distort the AdSense statistics. Only click on an ad if you're interested in it. I want to see if Google's AdSense algorithm increases in quality over time. I feel like I'm "gaming" the system if people just click on ads to give me a few cents.

Also, I want to see my ad revenue statistics honestly, without people intentionally distorting them. This gives me an idea of expected revenue when I move to my own site. For example, if I get 5x as many readers I should get 5x as much revenue, but that is distorted if one person clicks on a whole bunch of ads.

FSK said...

Also, Google has an "automated abuse detection" algorithm. If you blindly click on every single ad, Google will suspect me of intentionally clicking on my own ads, and kick my out of AdSense for abusing it.

Anonymous said...

This is the anon saying stop writing about adsense and post content. This is a good post because it is actually about something and has actuals stats. I wouldn't mind one of these a month.

Anonymous said...

I am seeing mostly "Make Money Online" scammy ads. I would think if Google gets your blog to show more Gold and higher end investment type stuff your revenue will increase. I have blogs that make 10 cents a click and some that make well over $1. But mine usually work out to around $10 per 1000.

This Blog Has Moved!

My blog has moved. Check out my new blog at