Jeff Jarvis has an interesting post titled Should Google be the citizens’ ad agency? where he questions whether Google is the best ‘ad agency’ for citizens media and writes:
‘But it makes me wonder whether we’re foolish letting Google be our ad sales agent. For Google undersells the value of citizens’ media: Google sells the coincidence of a word on a page when the real value of citizens’ media is in its conversation, its relationships, its influence.
Mind you, we should bless Google for taking the cooties off of citizens’ media and showing that, indeed, real people have a message and audience worth attention.
But now I think it’s necessary for citizens’ media to find its own path, its own sales agent who can sell its own value.’
Jeff makes some valid points which are worth taking on board – as usual he sees both side of the story. My opinion? It is getting late so let me attempt a few points:
1. Google Adsense is the main way I make a living – so I’d better declare that up front. What I earn from them pays my rent and is well on the way to getting us a deposit for a house – so whatever I say here is going to be biased. Having said that my experience proves to me that blogs are a viable way of earning an income and that Adsense has the capacity to deliver that income.
2. Whilst I am a fan of Adsense, I am also really cheering for the new advertising programs that have been springing up lately because they are providing new alternatives, some of which are perhaps even more suited for blogging than Adsense (for example see the latest news from Blog Kits). I’m particularly excited about this because these emerging blog advertising programs are rising out of the blogosphere itself and are doing so with experience in and knowledge of the way in which blogs operate. In the long term I see a bright future for some of these programs. Some of these newer Blog specific ad programs include:
3. Having said this and despite the fact that the signs are promising in the long term, I’m yet to see real return so far on the new programs that I’ve tried so far. I’ve not tried them all yet and am hoping to do so shortly but my experience to this point is that in comparison to the massive stockpile of advertisers that Adsense has that the new programs cannot compete on the types of blogs that I run. Of course this will and I trust is slowly changing as blogs become more popular, but until one or some of these ad agents get to the tipping point I suspect that Adsense will continue to be the dominant go to program for most Bloggers serious about making a living from blogging.
On a positive and encouraging note is that some of the above systems (if not most of them) are compatible with Adsense (please check the Adsense regulations when signing up for other ad programs). I think that this leaves us as bloggers with a way forward – lets give some of the new programs a go and encourage them – even if in the short term they may not make us big dollars I think its worth us supporting them because as we do we actually help them to find advertisers willing to sponsor blogs and we’ll all do better as a result.