OK, so the Google Ads Experiment of 2007 is a couple days old. Average revenue per day: couple bucks and change. I could live well in the Black Hole of Calcutta on those wages.
To pay my current living expenses, the 800 “page impressions” recorded yesterday from every page at my site would need to morph into 16,000. If everybody who stops by visits two pages, I’d need 8,000 visitors a day.
Are you bored stiff yet? Actually there’s a lot to learn about the history of e-commerce in the agreement you sign to join Google’s ad program. Just about every sneaky, underhanded way ever devised to drive up page counts and clicks has been attempted on Google’s ad program — and outlawed. You get maximum of three banner-type ads per page, and you can’t click on your own ads. See, advertisers who pay pennies for page views pony up quarters for clicks — the black gold of banner advertising.
Google knows this and forbids AdSense publishers from actively encouraging people to click on ads. Google wants people only to click on ads for products and services they might be in the market for actually buying. Advertisers figure “if I can get ’em to my site I’ve got a fighting chance to snare ’em in” but they also figure an ad of theirs coming in eyeball range of a Web surfer is roughly akin to a highway billboard. Might be noticed, probably can’t hurt, but folks on the highway are thinking about driving while chatting on their cellphones and yelling at the brats in the back seat to shut the hell up. Lots o’ noise between Joe Adman’s Message and his Audience, so Joe Adman isn’t hot to pay much for that privilege.
Google tries to match ads with content — yesterday there was an REI Fourth of July Sale ad on the page for awhile. General Motors wants us all to buy one of their new trucks — you know, to haul all our hiking gear.
All well and good, but hardly anybody ever clicks on these ads; can’t say that I blame ’em. Ads are the tax on our attention span, and just Bush the Senior got elected on the simple promise of no new taxes (the Younger getting elected by saying “cut me some slack, I had a traumatic upbringing because the ol’ man was always running for office”), almost nobody wants to willingly bring an advertisement into their world. We’re bombarded with these things, why would we voluntarily seek to look at another one?
Google’s rules forbid me from putting a message next to an ad that says “please click here.” I guess I can say “you know, I make a lot more money if people click on the ads” but here’s the thing: If all the sudden 1 out 10 people at my site are clicking on ads rather than one out of a hundred (the norm), their computers will record the click spike and a minion will be assigned to check out my page, find out I’m up to no good and get me booted from the program. (A heartbreaking loss, that $2 a day).
Having said all this: if you like this blog you can repay my efforts by clicking on one of those ads. Has to be something you might buy anyway, and maybe you’ll discover something cool (first time for everything, you know). You can also tell everybody you know who likes to walk upright on dirt to stop by and join in all the fun.
You could even add a comment saying “you know, Tom, you’d have a lot more visitors if you weren’t always (insert transgression here).”
Or I could just move to Calcutta — I hear India has lots of great trails.