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Why I Don’t Use AdSense on ProBlogger Anymore

Posted By Darren Rowse 3rd of October 2007 Adsense, Video Posts 0 Comments


One question that I’ve been asked regularly since launching of the redesign of ProBlogger is ‘why don’t you use AdSense any more?’

AdSense has been used by bloggers almost religiously to monetize their blogs over the last few years. It’s for good reason too – many bloggers make a lot of money from AdSense – however it doesn’t work well on every blog and bloggers should consider their options and experiment with a variety of other income streams to see which works best for them.

Without this experimentation you could be limiting your earning potential.

While AdSense remains my equal highest income earner from blogging on my other blogs (here’s how I make money from blogs) – I decided to remove it here on ProBlogger for a number of reasons – this video explains more of why.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Thanks… That’s three prominent bloggers I know who have ditched Adsense… wonder who else?

    I’ve had very poor results on Adsense on all except my first page. I removed it because it just didn’t do much $2 per month!
    Why bother?


  2. Great video Darren. Out of all your blogs, which blog works the best with Adsense?

  3. If you’re in the metablogging or problogging field, AdSense just won’t do much for you, I’ve found, and for the reasons you say, Darren. It works much better if your blog is about specific things (things which are bought and sold online).

    What you bring up about other advertisers distancing themselves from bloggers who run AdSense is interesting. AdSense has become a kind of “lowest common denominator” method. It does look cheap. We have developed chronic AdSense blindness.

    The thing to really remember is that while it may pay you a little money and cost advertisers only a little money, in the end it’s really only good for Google. I never liked the “black box” it operates in, where you have no idea how much you’re not getting — you only know what Google decides to pay you.

    Great video! Love the videos.

  4. Yep, I enjoyed the video! Would be nice to have some comparison data to make your point! But well thought out comments.

  5. I’m not a big fan of Adsense for 2 reasons, #1, for my blogs it usually generated zero results, and #2, Adsense is used on splogs all the time and Google never seems to remove it – I’d rather not be associated with something like that.

  6. One of the things that I don’t like about AdSense at the moment is the way Google tends to “experiment” with the design (randomly putting “show more…” type links and lists of categories in, for instance.

    I’m currently “phasing out”AdSense. I still have them, but other ad sources (particularly selling ads directly) now make more money than than AdSense.

    Darren – I know you’ve done a post about how to do an “About Us” page – how about a similar one on how to do an “Advertise With Us” page – and how to work out what rates you should be charging?

  7. I remember a post you wrote in the past re: “blogging about blogging” not working well as a topic for Adsense. This is the first that I’ve heard of Adsense cheapening a blog, that’s interesting. There’s obviously a visible difference between a splog and a blog, and I never thought Adsense made a blog look cheap, perhaps I’m just used to seeing it.

    In my own experience, Adsense does ok in the health category, but I think it’s important to remain open minded and test out new income streams.

  8. Interesting post Darren! I’m glad you brought this up because I have been rethinking using Adsense on my own blog. For one thing, it’s not performing very well at all. I’m getting a few clicks a month which add up to about $1. At the rate I’m going, it’s going to take years to get my first check from them.

    I’ve also hearing more and more negative things about Adsense and their business practices. Many bloggers have reported working hard to earn that first $100, and then for no reason, Adsense drops them and they don’t get paid.

    So right now I’m in the process of looking for a new form of advertising for my blog.

  9. Adsense do well for me. Especially since it shows related links to my blog or to the niche of my blog. However, of course there are times that Adsense only gives me less than 1$ a day.

  10. Adsense does fairly well for me. Not enough to retire, although I am getting a decent check every month (which helps pay for some of the bills).

    In my opinion, Adsense works the best around tech blogs and medical sites that are VERY specific in their field.

    Example: Instead of starting a blog about social networks, I simply decided to start one on a very popular one outside of the US owned by Google (called Orkut).

    The blog does fairly well in AdSense, although on my other weblogs, the affiliate links seem to be kicking butt.

  11. Unfortunately, AdSense does just well enough. I must admit that it doesn’t payout very well, but $30-50 a month in revenue is a necessity. I wouldn’t be able to run the website, nor have the motivation to do so, without some sort of reimbursement/payment for my time. If I could sell a few 125 x 125 ads, I would gladly have those take the spot of Google’s AdSense.

    Nice vid,
    -Sam from MarketMatador.com

  12. This was a great video. I had a feeling that putting adsense on a blog like this would not do very well as others. A large percentage of people visiting this blogare familiar with the ads themselves. Good move. Keep up the great work man.

  13. Darren I do have a question. I know you’re making more now that you switched away from AdSense, but what do you use to scale how much you re-sell ads for?

    For example on a website I run I have 2 major ad spots (filled by AdSense currently). Last month the first one made me $864.01. If i were to sell this directly to an advertiser, should I bump it up to $1000 for the month, or more or less?

  14. The soundclip at the beginning of the vid made me giggle. ;)

    For Center Of Muse – My main aim with the advertising on the blog is for the blog to pay for itself. So, I can do that without being ultra-aggressive.

    I have one very thin adblock immediately under my header, and another big one in the footer. That’s about it for Adsense.

    Though, I heard rumors that Google is starting to penalize those that don’t put a “nofollow” on advertising links. Not sure how much credence to give Google rumors.

    I run one CJ block & a few experiments, but the majority of my sponsorship is from PayPerPost. And yet, I still only average about one targeted sponsored post per month. I don’t believe in accepting any paying sponsor that comes my way. It has to fit.

    I’m going to be experimenting with private ads, in the next couple of months. Selling inexpensive sponsorships where one fee buys a month almost everywhere I write. Good value for the advertiser and I get to try out privatizing. Win – Win – what could be better?



  15. I’ve heard a couple of other people mentioning that using adsense has affected how other advertisers view their blog. I am currently thinking about using adsense, but my blog isn’t about problogging, and the topics I talk about are quite varied. I wonder if this would be more of a help to getting revenue?

  16. AdSense works really badly on blogs with readers who know what it is. That is why I too made the switch to private advertising.

  17. Good post on why you removed Adsense. I think you are correct about how Adsense does not perform as well as before anymore. Each day more and more people know about Adsense. Readers like us are very aware of Ads and we are less likely to click on them. I don’t even remember the last time I clicked on an Adsense or any other contextual advertisement. My brain is just ignores the ads anymore. I can’t even see it anymore unless I think to myself, “Let me see whats is showing in Adsense”.

  18. You’re very right, it depends on the nitch. But it also depends on the placement.

    You may however see some benefit from at least one ad (and a rearrangement of them). I wrote an article on how to take advantage of the highest CPM’s from adsense a while back. I’ve tested this on a few nitch sites that receive close to 5000 visitors daily. Hope it helps.

  19. I agree with darren . Going for adsense on your blog is not very important. You should always look for better income stream which one is better. Always look for better.

  20. I have been using Pay Per Post to monetize one of my blogs and I must say that the earnings are satisfatory.
    I recently signed for adsense, but I’m not sure if I can get some money with that.

  21. Darren,

    I was wondering my self why you removed it but then again thinking that your design isn’t that good for adsense at all. I mean it is for 300×255 between the posts but not on sidebar etc….

    I will remove adsense from my blog as well once I receive enough advertisers, but untill then it is no.2 resource to make money.
    I just posted my monthly income for September.

  22. I second Dom’s question….”how about a similar one on how to do an “Advertise With Us” page – and how to work out what rates you should be charging?”

  23. I only use adsense ad blocks on posts that perform really well search-engine wise.. so ads only appear on old articles.. this has two advantages:

    1- The blog has a cleaner look
    2- My readers are not annoyed by my blatant commercialism

  24. What’s up Darren? For me adsense is not making much yet. I got to get more traffic to make some money.
    thanks. Great post.

  25. I’ve never had any success with AdSense on a “tech-savy niche blog” like you said, but I get a great CTR for my guitar blog. And those ads are way down at the bottom of each page.

    I’ll say that I have made more with AdSense than any other program, but I’m looking forward to working some affiliate programs the right way.

  26. Great video. I guess he took out adsense, because it wasnt generating enough money, as other types of ads do. John Chow is not using any adsenes on his blog.

    Only blogs/websites that have their no 1 target consumers are good to be monetized by adsense.

    Where you have tech/business people they wont click. I dont, as long as I dont find something that really stands out of the crowd.

  27. I have been becoming very disillusioned with Adsense as well. I have a tendancy to talk about politics and ended up with a lot of political ads from one party in particular. It looked like I was on a platform and I lost subscribers when I put it up. If there was a better way of controlling content, I might not be looking at other options. Then again, the lack of funds coming out of it might be another reason.

  28. totally true darren what you say about your problogger audience, which is just not matching the adsense clientele.

    i am in your blog on a daily basis but honestly speaking i never clicked any of your adsense ads, main reason being that i am here to learn about blogging and how to improve my blog! i did not even scan your adsense ads. so it was the right move for you to do.

    adsense ads on my hawaii blog and sites, are OK so far, as they match my search clientele who is looking for information on hawaii vacation, deals, packages and such. so google adsense ads match my blog posts with additional, supplemental information for the hawaii traveler.

    when (if) my blog will do one day the giant leap as your problogger blog did – still a dream to come true with lots of hard work for me down this road – then i can say ‘i don’t need adsense anymore’ because publishers will contact me. i bet you don’t have to contact them!!!

    just my humble thoughts from the average blogger. pua

  29. Well I manage about 4 websites, 3 are normal news websites and the last one is my personal blog which i started under a month ago. Infact i have not started monetizing my blog since i dont have so much content.

    One the other hand all my three websites are doing good with adsense. I get decent 4-figure value from adsense.

    Tribal-Fusion, Value Click Media, Clicksor and BannerConnect are my other incoming earning streams and all these combined give about a quarter of what i get from adsense every month.

    So for me Adsense is no that bad.

  30. Darren,

    Just to let you know that your video blogs are not working for me.

    I figure that I could have picked up all the points in this video in about 20 secs by scanning some of your succinct well-written text. Instead the video took minutes to download (on my broadband cable) so I went and read the SMH till I heard the audio. Now, I’m writing while you’re still talking in the background. The talking head vision isn’t compelling for me. You could have just used an audio file.

    I know that you are taking the first steps into video blogging, and learning the ropes so to speak. The next step could be to use it for MUCH more interesting presentations – perhaps we could watch you brew coffee in your kitchen while you natter on about why blogging is like making coffee – (three key points: quality ingredients, tried and true technique, plus discipline).

    It’s gotta be more fun than a talking head saying the same stuff we could have read in 20 secs.

    Thanks for sharing the journey. Good luck with the next steps.

    Cheers, Gillian

  31. Haha! Darren, we must be thinking along the same lines. I just published a post on my blog yesterday with the title “Why I don’t Use AdSense”. Good to know I’m on the right track I suppose ;)

  32. Great video post, Darren. I also don’t use AdSense on my blog (well, it doesn’t help that Google banned me for no reason), but nonetheless. :)

  33. As a consumer website and blog that exposes many scams I could not filter out the ads that I know are scams. AdSense could not help me with this problem to my satisfaction so I had no choice but to drop AdSense.

    I even wrote a blog about how so many other consumer websites use AdSense with ads that include the “get rich” and “work-at-home” nonsense.

    Don’t you believe we all have the responsibility regardless of the type of blog we have to protect our readers by investigating the ads that AdSense provides?

    Thanks for another interesting blog topic.
    Max at http://ConsumerFight.com

  34. Darren I think its GREAT that you removed Adsense and your reasons all make wonderful sense. I wish more bloggers would realize that you don’t have to depend on Google for anyyyything. I don’t run Adsense on any of my blogs, it just doesn’t seem to be as profitable as other methods even for a small time blogger like myself.

    The new layout here is wonderful, I love it :)

  35. I’ve used AdSense on one of my sites and it didn’t do well. I noticed that Google appeared to be retracting clicks from my monthly report so I got rid of it too.

  36. Just a quick chime-in that I agree entirely with Gillian. These videoblogs just aren’t doing it for me. I listened for 3 minutes, and by then you seemed to have most of your points made. I didn’t bother with the rest. I liked the video where you showed everyone your office, because the video actually helped demonstrate your points. But most of the other videos could have just been a couple of paragraphs and bullet points which I can skim through quickly rather than use precious bandwidth and time waiting for a talking to head to deliver the content.

  37. I too don’t use AdSense on my blog. Great Video Daren

  38. Darren, you say adsense for you rely’s partly on impressions and page views.

    It doesn’t for me or anyone else I know, it’s all click throughs. Is google giving you some benefit for impressions and pageviews? You clearly state there is a benefit for that as well as clickthroughs.

    I think you may have let something slip, just a thought.

  39. Simon, as far as I know Adsense also has CPM ads, which don’t rely on clicks.

  40. I have found that adsense works best when you put it on blogs specifically related to a product or service. Problogger is about all aspects of blogging which is just not very specific.

    If you had a site on how to get gum out of your hair (or something that addressed a real need) and google displayed ads on how to get gum out of your hair then people would be quite likely to click on the ads.

    Adsense works best when your content is specific and is about how to resolve a specific problem.

  41. I’m not terribly impressed with AdSense. My CTR is so low (.1% usually) that it hardly makes sense to use it at all. The problem is that smaller blogs don’t have many choices when it comes to advertising. I’m excited to see and try out things like Chitika and WidgetBucks, though I haven’t used them long enough to say that they’re working any better than AdSense.

    I was also bothered recently by AdSense because there was a major discrepancy between my AdSense stats and MyBlogLog stats. MyBlogLog was showing up to 150 clicks per day on a single AdSense unit (extra traffic from StumbleUpon) while AdSense showed 2 or 3 clicks. I brought this up with the AdSense team and they told me that their stats were highly reliable and they can’t go by 3rd party stats. Maybe MyBlogLog is showing an inflated number for some reason, but that type of discrepancy still leaves me uneasy. After 8 months of blogging, I’m still pulling in the same $ as I did at 2 months.

    Long story short, I’m about ready to give up on AdSense.

  42. I’d be interested in learning more about what you said that some sites were targeting the site, and that in doing so they were finding how to do so for less and less…
    Is there any way we, as publishers, can figure out who is doing so? A post on tips on how to deal with that would be cool.

  43. Darren,

    I removed my adsense google ads last month because of the fact that the ads that were served on our blog looked quite cheap. I also found that we were not getting money from our ads, which means that these advertisers were getting exposure and not paying much for it.

    You said something quite important. If you are trying to build a “brand base blog”, then you’ll have to either sell ads direct or use the services of an ad agency to give you status that you will never get from serving google ads.

    That was an excellent video Darren!


  44. Yep, I’ve been testing adsense to my site and I haven’t made money from all the ton of clicks I’m receiving. I guess its because my blog is in the Internet Marketing and as you said… all my visitors are more tech savvy with having adsense ads on others sites.

    Nice insight Darren.

    Carlo Selorio

  45. I think that adsense is a good start for someone who has just started their site. Once a site is more established and there is a lot of traffic coming in, then maybe you should try to look at the other alternatives. Frankly speaking, at the end of the day, it is whether the ads you show gets your audience clicking on it and interested in it. It can be adsense or other alternative ads for that matter.

    ishykiel – From SGFrens.com

  46. To be honest I just started to take blogging seriously this month, so I am still not in the position to comment about the performance of my Google adsense.

    But to me it is interesting to know that there are other method of monetizing my blog, maybe in the future I will do the same with my blog.

    Thanks Darren for open up my mind.

  47. I have a love-hate relationship with Adsense. With certain keywords the ads that are served up match very well with my readers needs. With other multiple-meaning keywords I may end up with something completely unrelated.

    I wish we had category control or some other way to better tune the ads. Without it I sometimes have to restrict words that I use or eliminate certain topics altogether.

    You really have got me thinking about other alternatives, Darren.

  48. Yeah I keep getting just blog ads and money making garbage ads all the time.

    Why can’t Google stop this? The ads pay like .02 cents even if someone does click on them.

    I don’t understand how people are making thousands a month with adsense. I kinda don’t believe it really.

  49. One of the biggest decision makers, why I signed up into Google AdSense was the fact that they are willing to make their payments directly to my finnish bank account.
    If I were to cash international check, Finnish banks would take heavy fees for it (at some point they were 11EUR, which currently translates to USD15).
    Another factor was that it doesn’t take any real effort to try it out. You simply register, get necessary html codes to be attached into your web page and off you go.
    Currently my photo albums (with finnish captions, etc.) give me around USD50/month, which I think is pretty decent.
    While Google Ads work relatively well for me, AdSense is not good solution for all places. I’ve been practising taji for 5+ years. During that time, I’ve shot few taiji events and made photo album about it. Google AdSense doesn’t work with it, because it was either showing ads about financially competing taiji groups or DVD’s, which are supposed to instruct people on how they can learn taiji on their own. At the end I removed some taiji albums from public view and took all Google ads out from rest.

  50. I second the request for an Advertise Here page primer, great idea.

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