Reader Poll: How Is Your Google AdSense Performing?

It’s been exactly two weeks since we talked about Google redefining what a clickable area is in an effort to combat click fraud, so I figured that was adequate time to let the change soak in and examine some trends. At the time of the change, it made sense for Google and advertisers, but it fueled a lot of speculation that sites that depend on Google AdSense to generate income would likely lose out on some of their monthly income.

Something that a few publishers speculated on is that with lower fraud rates, publishers would likely be willing to pay more per click to get their advertisements seen. We are also approaching the holiday season, meaning that advertising budgets are going up and a lot of other businesses are launching seasonal advertising campaigns.  If this theory holds true, Google AdSense publishers should still be seeing consistent income.

In looking over my analytics and AdSense reports, it looks like my income from Google AdSense has dipped some, despite a heavy increase in traffic.   Is this due to the clickable area change?   Unfortunately, that isn’t something that I can be sure of.  As David points out, a lot of things can factor into a change in pay-per-click advertising.   Thats why I decided to poll my readers and find out how AdSense is performing for you over the past two weeks.   Has your income remained steady?  Have you noticed any trends?

Google PageRank Penalty Confirmed, Causes Blogger Panic

It looks like the buzz all around the blogosphere today is the recent confirmation that Google is now penalizing sites for paid links. Google’s interest in paid advertising comes from how Google PageRank is calculated, which uses inbound links to determine page relevance. While this has been rumored to be in the works since Google announced that it was against their policies to have paid links and sponsored reviews, it seems to have taken many bloggers by surprise.

So, now that the penalty has been confirmed, what does this mean for bloggers? I think it is to early to tell, but I have noticed several bloggers dropping Text Link Ads all together and quit doing paid reviews over the past few months in preparation.

The problem is, this doesn’t leave a whole lot of options for part time bloggers who rely on Google to send them traffic. If you don’t feel like sacrificing Google PageRank in order to monetize your blog (beyond Google AdSense), it looks like you are going to have to use rel=nofollow with any of your banners, text links, or other advertising to avoid possible penalties.

Part of this site’s income actually comes from Text Link Ads, so I definitely have an interest in this. About a month ago, I noticed my Google PageRank actually dropped from PR5 (which I had been at for over a year), to where it is now at PR3. I thought it was due to a major overhaul I did to this website, but now it looks like I could have been penalized. At this point, I don’t have any plans to drop TLA, as it encompasses a large portion of my income, but I will definitely be looking into this further.

Has your site been penalized by Google over the past two months?

AuctionAds Improves Affiliate Payouts

Last month I featured AuctionAds in my post make money online with AuctionAds. In it I talked a bit about the AuctionAds product, as well as the AuctionAds affiliate program they have to bring in new publishers. Today AuctionAds announced some changes to their program and affiliate system.  These changes look to be the result of the recent purchase by MediaWhiz, allowing them to be more streamlined with their other companies, Text Link Ads and ReviewMe.

The two major changes you’ll immediately notice are an increased payout of 5% on all affiliate referrals (previously 2%), as well as a minimum payout now going to $50.00 (from $10.00 previously).  AuctionAds also announced that they will be paying out $25.00 to each new publisher that signs up using an affiliate link. Here is the official announcement:

AuctionAds Publishers, we have a great way for you to promote AuctionAds and earn 5% affiliate referrals. Spread the word (using your affiliate link) that we are offering an instant $25.00 balance to all new publishers who sign up for AuctionAds! New publishers just need to sign up and they will receive a balance of $25.00 automatically.

Please note if you signed up with us previously and have never earned a payout we will bump your current balance to $25 too! Our minimum payout is also being raised to $50 but everyone who hasn’t earned a payout to date will be halfway there already! By publicizing this promotion on your blog using your affiliate link you can take advantage of receiving 5% of all revenue generated by new AA publishers you refer for a full six months. Thanks again and look for more AA news soon.

It looks like they are raising the minimum payout to $50.00 while this promotion is going on so they don’t have to pay out the $25.00 to new publishers unless they actually earn an additional $25.00 from users clicking on advertisements.

I still think AuctionAds has some work to do, but the potential is here. If you do try AuctionAds, you owe it to yourself to at least give it a chance before deciding if it works for you or not. That means try ads in a prominent section of your blog where people will see them. I see to many people placing ads really low below the fold then saying how it doesn’t work.

Sign Up With AuctionAds

Tips to Maximize Your Google AdSense Revenue

About a month ago, I wrote a post titled Make Money Online with Google AdSense in which I covered several different ways to try to maximize your Google AdSense income.  Because Google AdSense does not guarantee any money and will vary greatly from month to month, I believe it is important to listen to others experiences with Google AdSense and take those tips into consideration. 

Amit over at Digital Inspiration is a full time blogger and spends a lot of time talking about Google AdSense on that site, so I tend to heavily weigh any suggestions he makes to further maximize this site’s income.  Yesterday Amit posted some simple tweaks to increase Google AdSense income.

While reading through his post, one of the tips that jumped out at me immediately was the very first one: 

1. Turn Low Performing Units into Image Only Ads

Say you have a skyscraper in your sidebar or a leaderboard at the bottom of the page. It may exhibit a very poor CTR because it’s so out of sight and visitors often tend to miss the ad unit completely.

In that case, an alternative is to use Image Only Ads for that using – Image ads are generally CPM ads so you will generate revenue each time the ad makes an impression. Image ads are also effective in places where the visitors are Adsense publishers themselves and less likely to be interested in clicking your ads.

Image only ads are CPM (pay out per impression)?  I’ve read conflicting stories that say it is better to run fewer AdSense advertisements on a page to help maximize income when clicks are made.   I can’t help but wonder if that wouldn’t effect image only ads, making it beneficial to add image only advertisements somewhere below the fold.

In another tip, Amit argues that Google Customized Search Engine (CSE) performs better than the standard Google AdSense search, which is something I will be looking into further and possibly be implementing here on this site.  

Overall this is a really useful post if you use Google AdSense, so for additional tips on maximizing Google AdSense revenue, I recommend checking out Amit’s post!

Today I Removed the In-Text Advertisements

I knew it would happen eventually, and it looks like today is the day.   After careful consideration, I decided it was time to remove the Kontera in-text advertisements. 

A big part of trying to make money online is constantly trying things that are new to see what works and what doesn’t.   Otherwise, how else will you know if you are maximizing your income?  

A few quick observations from running inline text ads over the last roughly six months:

  • People tend to understand and forgive advertisements, but many really have a lot of hostility built up towards advertisements invading text.   For those people, make sure you are using the Disable Text Ads Greasemonkey script, which will prevent any of these advertisements from showing up on any sites in your browser (requires Greasemonkey to be installed).   Services blocked included are VibrantMedia(IntelliTXT), Kontera and Linkworth. 
  • Inline text advertising can be profitable, but may be at the cost of readership (although everyone should be seeing posts via a feed in my opinion, where inline ads won’t be displayed).   I found my Click-Through-Rate was pretty comparable to Google AdSense and enjoyed some success with the program. 

Going forward, I probably will not recommend using in-text advertising as a way to monetize your blog.   Even if you get 20,000+ hits a day, the income probably won’t be worth the loss of readership. 

If you’ve tried in-text advertising, I’d love to hear your impressions of it as a method of advertising in the comments below!

AuctionAds Website Gets a Revamp

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post titled Make Money Online with AuctionAds, where I covered the AuctionAds service and how to make money online with it.

One of my biggest complaints with using their service is the poor setup of their website, which offered a lot of headaches when trying to navigate it. Rumor had spread last week that a new look was in the works, and today it looks like that new look went live.  Along with the look for the website comes a new look for the ads themselves (if you get the new code off the website).

Here is what the AuctionAds team has to say about what is new:

  • New “Web 2.0″ Ad Creative’s: Login to your account and go to the “Get Code” page. You will notice a sleek new ad design with multiple color schemes to choose from that we think will increase click-through rates to your ads (which will result in you earning more money).
  • Optimized Ad Images: Our ad code is now optimized so that the auction images are no longer stretched or distorted. This makes for a cleaner ad appearance and should also improve clicks. (Note: This feature will become fully available as the cache updates over the next few days.)
  • Better Ad Network Performance: We have doubled the size of our hardware infrastructure and optimized it to ensure near 100% uptime of ad serving (and to make sure your ads are served lighting fast).
  • AuctionAds.com has a Brand New Look! Stop by and check out our new design of AuctionAds.com where you will notice a cleaner look and feel that’s fun and easy to use!

The new look is very similar to the old one, but with vastly improved navigation. Better Ad performance is a welcome addition as there are times when it can slow down a pages load time a little bit.  Overall I’m impressed with the additions and hope they continue to work towards improving the product.

How To: Hide Your Affiliate Links on WordPress

There is no doubt that if you are interested in using your blog to make money online, it is important that you take advantage of the income potential that is available through the use of affiliate links. You can generate additional income in a variety of ways depending on the service, ranging from set payments for each qualified referral, to making a percentage of any referrals income for an established period of time.

There are many different theories covering the most optimal ways to display your affiliate links, but the most common ones involve a variety of methods for hiding your affiliate links. The idea behind using this theory is that readers will click on it thinking it is an internal link on your site, rather than taking you to a third party site. But, as we found out yesterday, there is an additional benefit! When all your website’s links point toward an internal address on your domain, you can control and update the URL easily. This helps avoid dead links whenever a company changes a URL and makes it easy to update your affiliate links when the need arises.

As for setting this up, it is actually pretty easy if you have a self-hosted WordPress blog. Here are the steps I took when I hid my affiliate links for this website:

  1. Create a folder called “Go.”
  2. Create a .php document (this can easily be done with Notepad) and name it after the appropriate affiliate link you are using. Now paste the following code into the document: <? header("Location: http://youraffiliatelinkurlhere"); ?>
  3. Save it into the “Go” folder created above.
  4. Repeat steps 2-3 until you’ve created a .php file for each affiliate link.
  5. Go to your FTP and upload your “Go” folder directly to the public_html folder.
  6. Update all your affiliate links to point towards your new redirect!

Your redirect will look something like .

There are other ways to do this, such as not using PHP or altering your .htaccess file, but this is how I created mine. Any questions? Feel free to post them below!

Reminder: Update Your Text Link Ads Referral Links

If you have a Text Link Ads account, you probably have a referral link placed somewhere on your website, if not multiple places. If this applies to you, TLA is making your life a little harder. According to their e-mails going out, they are replacing your current referral link with a TinyURL link, which can now be found on your account.

What does this mean? Obviously, you will need to go through and update any of your referral links on your website or in your feed. If you have it placed all over, this can be quite a project. Another problem is that all old posts you’ve done that reference your old referral link will be dead links next Friday once this change happens.

What is the lesson to be learned from this? Those of us that hid our referral links using a redirect have it easy. In my case, all of my old posts and all of my links on my site link to http://www.slickaffiliate.com/go/tla.php. That means all I have to do is quickly update my .php file with my new referral information and I’m all set!

YouTube To Add Advertisements to Videos

Remember when Google purchased YouTube for 1.65 billion dollars?  At the time, that seemed like a lot of money to spend for a free video service, but the potential for YouTube to generate income has always been there.  

Well, that time is finally here for Google to begin integrating their advertising into their videos, and the New York Times has all the details.  Google’s goal is to integrate their advertising program into the videos in an unobtrusive manner while keeping users in full control of what they are seeing.  Here is the plan:

The ads, which appear 15 seconds after a user begins watching a video clip, take the form of an overlay on the bottom fifth of the screen, not unlike the tickers that display headlines during television news programs.

A user can ignore the overlay, which will disappear after about 10 seconds, or close it. But if the user clicks on it, the video they were watching will stop and a video ad will begin playing. Once the ad is over, or if a user clicks on a box to close it, the original video will resume playing from the point where it was stopped.

It looks like, at this time, they are only placing these advertisements on video clips from the 1,000+ companies that have licensed their videos with YouTube.  This means that, for now, people that upload their “home movies” to YouTube will not notice a difference.  The advertising will be similar to the “bottom line” we see on channels such as CNN or ESPN.  

In my opinion, there is a lot of good news that comes out of this announcement.   First of all, users are not required to view any advertising, they only have the option to by clicking on the advertising to stop the video.   This also opens up a lot of opportunites for the people that upload these videos to YouTube, as YouTube is currently splitting all generated revenue between themselves and the video creator.   This could allow home movies to generate income, as well as encourage more companies to place their content on YouTube as an additional source of income.   

For those of you that spend a lot of time on YouTube, will this method of advertising bother you?

Tips to Optimize Your AuctionAds Income

Through a lot of trial and error with ad placement, blending, and more, I’ve managed to bring in about 50% of this blog’s income using Google Adsense. Overall I am very happy with their targeted advertising service, but I’m always on the lookout for other ways to generate income.

AuctionAds has been receiving a lot of praise lately because people are having success with it.  I, on the other hand, have not had any success displaying auctions on this site.  I think the big reason I haven’t had much success is due to the subject matter covered here, which doesn’t tend to mesh well with eBay auction ads.  I talk a lot about free software and web-based applications, so there isn’t really anything to target and sell.

Today I ran across a post by Scott Andrew Bird entitled 7 Ways to Optimize AuctionAds, where Scott covers several things that have helped him find success using AuctionAds. One of the ideas that I found particularly useful is his tip to Display AuctionAds alongside Adsense:

When it comes to placement, the usual rules apply (take a look at Google’s ‘heat map’ to see the highest-earning areas of your site). Taking this a step further is the placement of ads in relation to their competitors.

I’ve found that placing AuctionAds alongside their Google Adsense counterparts to be particularly effective.

The ads seem to feed well from each other, and the ad content is always good.

I suppose this is probably allowed by Google because they don’t look very similar.  Have you found success with AuctionAds?  If so, what tips do you have to recommend?