Google Adsense does not like small blogs! Plain and simple. It amazes me that there is no real alternative to Adsense. Yes, if you search for alternatives, you will find some… but none of these are as good as Google claims to be (on paper). I dabbled with AdBrite last year, and I might end up using it again if Google bites me in the ass like it did recently to a friend who runs a small gaming website.
It’s probably taken him over a year to get the click-throughs to finally reach the minimum $100 payment level that Google Adsense demands. But that’s not a guarantee that they’re going to pay you anything. No… in his case (as in another that I’m all too familiar with from last year) Google has deemed that his site posed a significant risk to [their] AdWords advertisers.
Now I completely understand that Google has to protect the integrity of its program, and that click fraud is a problem… but I think that when you run ads on your website for over a year and then only just barely manage to reach the minimum payout amount… that chances are you’re not running a click fraud scam. Sure, you may have people occasionally click an ad who really don’t have any intention of purchasing the product, but in the grand scheme of things, whether you make a purchase at that time or not… the advertising value should not be arbitrarily negated by Google’s heavy-handed policies. If I sit down to watch a new episode of House, I generally have to suffer through 4 separate commercial breaks, running 3-5 advertisements each. Many times that ads are repeated… sometimes back to back! Do advertisers expect me to stop what I’m doing and run out and buy their product? No. But the impression has been made. They are getting some measure of value just from presenting me with their message. I don’t see how that differs from online advertising. If I click a link that takes me to the latest Thesis WordPress premium theme, yet I don’t make the purchase.. does that necessarily mean that I won’t do it later?
And why does it take Google so long to assess whether your site is complying with their terms of service? I’m sure that my friend was quite excited as he approached the $100 point after such a lengthy period of time. Surely Google has the ability to do periodic assessments of sites displaying their ads. It just doesn’t make any sense!
I’m quite skeptical whether I will ever see a dime from Google from the ads on my blogs. It’s taught me another valuable lesson… don’t put all your eggs in one basket. I already knew that, but it certainly reinforces that lesson.[Update: Yup! Google did kick me out of their Adsense program for supposedly violating their policies. Not impressed.]