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October 03, 2003

Temperatures Rising Over Google AdSense

Google Green DotGOOGLE -- Count me as a satisfied customer of Google AdSense. It works just like Google said in its terms and conditions and its monthly cheques pay three weeks of medication that my mom needs for thinning out her varicose veins. I can understand some of the current discontent over Google red-flagging microcontent sites that have too many click-throughs from the same IP block because that's how a spider would crawl a site and click the links. But I can't understand how some AdSense users fail to read the terms and conditions of the programme before they sign up. As much as we would like transparency in all parts of the business world, clever crawlers can pervert click-through systems. I have seen it, lost money to it and can empathise with Google's technology team as they try to combat it.

That said, there are several clever ways of working around even the Google anti-fraud algo and even though the AdSense Terms and Conditions forbid talking about the work-arounds, they're openly discussed as effective techniques on two Search Engine Optimisation fora where I lurk. The guys who are whining the loudest would make better use of their time inside the quiet space used by professional content creatives. But if they did that, what would they blog about? Once you know how to reverse-engine the algos and program clever bots that emulate Googlebot, Scooter, and Slurper, you're not going to blab about it. The web intelligence professionals certainly don't let the world get inside their part of the Web spider kingdom.

Google AdSense
Comments to Russell Beattie's observations
Andrew Orlowski -- "Google shafts blogger"
Cory Doctorow -- "AdSense Terms of Service gag critics"
Aaron Swartz -- "Shut up and serve ads"
Joi Ito -- "New Google AdSense Terms of Service Suck"


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Before you can confidently form an opinion on whether Google AdSense is evil, you need to ask Dave Winer's opinion.

i think you will find the AdSense advertisements are dropping off for blogs. at least it looks like that from a browser's vantage point because on sites where there used to be 2 or 4 ads there's sometimes only a single AdSense advertisement now.

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