Monday, May 28, 2007

The dark side of adsense

The New York Times has done a story on companies that own vacant web sites with generic names, and which are earning obscene amounts of money from advertising including adsense.

Called the direct navigation market, this maze of vacant shopfronts with generic names as (and as many variants possible), did a business of more than $800 million in advertising in 2006 and is slated to earn $1.1 billion through advertising support from Google and Yahoo.

The NYT story says about these domain squatters plan to add content in alliance with relevant sites and I wonder what Google has to say about duplicate content.

Last year, Google’s revenue was $10.604 billion.

One company, NameMedia owns more than 725,000 Web sites.
Moreover, some of these companies may go for IPOs as well - yes indeed, things are that good.

But, this is as serious as spam blogs.

In case of spam blogs, genuine content owners suffer, and with direct navigation advertising, advertisers have to deal with yet another gatekeeper.

Consider these facts about Adsense:
1. Adsense is not effective on quality columns, opinion pieces, and long investigative pieces.
To make adsense work, you will have to have a single focus blog, meaning one blog per topic, making lives of good writers really difficult.

The hugely popular Guy Kawasaki (How to Save the world) blog did not make Guy a rich guy and Guy is a savvy self-promoter.

2. Adsense enriches spammers and rewriters more than anybody else – watch the spread of gadget and gossip blogs.

3. Clickability is a curse, seducing site owners to create sites tailored for the old, kids and newbies – designing pages in a way that makes it hard for unoriented people to distinguish between content and advertising.

It leads you believe that Google’s ‘Don’t evil’ is a smart PR slogan, and nothing more.

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At 10:07 AM , Blogger Richard said...

There are actually 3 forms of AdSense: AdSense for Search, AdSense for Content, AdSense for Domains. Most people think of AdSense for Content when they use the term AdSense. The Google AdSense for Domains program has different rules for inclusion than the "traditional" form of AdSense.

The reason these companies make so much money off of AdSense is because AdWords advertisers have no idea they're advertising on these sites. I think that will change and Google will be forced to change the way it distributes ads via its AdWords platform.

At 10:15 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with these sites!!! I am an advertiser and I get good conversion on average (I track a few of Domain Sponsor sites where most of these domains seem to be parked...)

At 4:59 PM , Blogger Pramit Singh said...

Thank you Richard for Pointing out The Adsense Variants.

I also wanted to take a look at whether serious sites can make money from Adsense or is Adsense only meant for the Reference web.

While some Advertisers may benefit from Adsense for domains, domain squatting does not do well for the spirit of the Internet.

Imagine moving on a street where there are no shops only a poster pointing to where the shops are.

Why would anyone go to such a street in such a place.

It also makes things difficult for the small players who cannot afford ad budgets.

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