So I’m trying out some google ads on the site. This blog has been up for nearing 3 years now but in that time I’ve never meddled with advertisements. Mostly because the only thing I hear consistently about google ads is that they’re not worth it. And this will probably be proven true. The majority of you would have no idea about the ads because you are reading this through a feed or you are using firefox + adsense which conveniently strips out almost all ads including Googles’s.
There is some minor entertainment value though at watching the google ad-matching algorithm attempt to cope with the admittedly sometimes obtuse content of this blog. Ads for social services or psychology something or other, ads for electric cars under my post about electric fishes etc.
I used to wonder why ads never became the virtual tip-jar of the internet. When you read a blog post or article you like, do you ever click on a nearby ad as a tiny (but free to you) token of appreciation. I know I usually don’t because a) firefox+adsense I never see them b) I usually don’t think of it. The internet being something I like everybody has been trained to rapaciously enjoy for free and move on.
Which could explain a lot about the content we see on the internet. Blogging anymore is hardly it’s own reward anymore, at least directly and monetarily unless you can a) reach a very large audience b) keep your costs very low as far as your “talent” or “editorial” side (USG is good for this) c) have some other agenda to push (hence the trend to marketing, pr and company blogs)
As a vehicle for micro-payments ads should be a great way to sustain a tip economy on the internet.
For every ad, each click earns the webmaster some amount of cents or even pennies in revenue. It depends on the value of the adword though. They say it pays to write about really expensive or exotic patented drug treatments or home mortgages and insurance. Thrilling subjects to be sure.
Things might be different if there was a social norm around clicking on ads to tip a content site. A tip economy could be great for supporting (remember the dream of the long tail?) a lot of blogs/bloggers or webapp developers or any other content with less else to gain. However in the long run the system probably wouldn’t work as it should eventually devalue click-thrus if those clicking-thru are not really sincere.
On the other hand, we are kind of there already. Having also experimented with buying google ads, the non-search-related clickthrough rates of one click in a zillion impressions look a lot like the rate only those internet surfers with rare motor-skill deficiencies who of course meant to click on something else.
In the end Dave Winer probably had it right. Back in late 2005 he told me that anyone putting ads on a blog is a fool chasing nickels and dimes, if there is a real value in it, it’s the connections, recognition and whuffie you earn from it.
Anyway, I will report on how this nickel and dime experiment goes.
Previously: bogging as a dead media on thomaspurves.com