In May of 2010, I signed up for Google Adwords and placed them on my main site, my bookblog, and, once I got it going in December of 2010, on this blog. I never expected to make a living from adsense, much less a fortune. After all, what you earn per click is small, and only a very small percentage of visitors to your site ever click on an ad. One downside to the Adwords program is that unlike most affiliate programs which pay out when you earn $10 in earnings, they don’t pay out until you reach $100 in earnings.

That finally happened last month. By the end of August, I had earned US$104.30 from Google Adsense, which they will deposit into my PayPal account at the end of September. (Why they sit on your money for 30 days, I have no idea, but that’s what they do.) That seems like an awfully long time to wait for my money after it took so long to reach the payment threshold. Once I thought about it, I started to question the wisdom of even carrying ads on any of my sites. Like I said, it was never my intention to earn a living from them, although it would be nice if they could at least earn back my hosting fees. I’ve been cluttering my pages with ads for fifteen months to earn back less than half the hosting fees I spent in that time. It didn’t make sense.

Upon further reflection, however, these ads aren’t really cluttering my pages up at all. I don’t design web pages to maximize ad space, and neither does the Graphene theme that I use on my blogs. In fact, if you look at the ads on this post, there is a lot of white space around them, because there isn’t a standard ad size that will fit conveniently in there. I realized that compared to other web sites, many of which are pretty much nothing but ads, I’m not cluttering up my pages at all.

So instead, I’m going in the opposite direction. It would be nice if I could earn enough money from these blogs to make back my hosting fees, and to do that, I need more readers. I refuse to go the SEO route (SEO is the Loch Ness Monster of the internets, as far as I’m concerned, and I’ll be writing a blog post about that before too long), but I also refuse (i.e., can’t afford) to buy ads from Google. In fact, after reading this post from Bob Cringely, I realized what a lose-lose this was for me. Besides, what I really want are readers, not just people to come here and click on my ads, but readers who read and think and comment. If they click on an ad, fine. If they don’t, that’s fine too. It just matters that they’re there.

After reading Cringely’s post, I went and signed up for Clickochet. In essence, I’m trading ad space on this blog for ad space on other people’s web pages. I’m keeping the Google ads because if nothing else, they do pay out after a year and a half. Not a lot, but some. After a few months, I’ll see how both programs are doing and report back.

If you’re wondering, the title is stolen borrowed from Parry Gripp, who sums up my thoughts on all of this pretty nicely:

You and your poodle gonna own the google…


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