Give your Feedback for Google about Adsense – They’re Listening

Late last week I found a surprising email in my inbox – from Google.

One of the product managers at Google’s Adsense said she’d found ProBlogger and wanted to know if she could ring me to talk about my experience with the program. At first I was excited – then I was a little cautious – I asked for proof that she was really from Adsense as I didn’t want to give any information away to anyone who shouldn’t get it – she provided me with details of my earnings that no one else could know. We then set up a time for her to call me – yesterday morning Aussie time.

The conversation was pretty interesting – I wasn’t sure what to expect or how to prepare for it. Without giving away all the details of our chat – Google was largely interested in hearing about how I’d started blogging, how I’d found Adsense, what impact it had had on my business and my tips for optimizing Adsense ads.

All up we must have chatted for 30 to 45 minutes in which time we covered a fair bit of ground.

At the end of the conversation the product manager invited me to email them with any further thoughts on the Adsense program as they were interested in any more thoughts that I had.

This got me thinking that perhaps I should open up the question to readers to answer.

  • What feedback would you like Google to hear about Adsense as a publisher?
  • What have you found that works well with Adsense?
  • What do you wish they’d add to it?
  • How would you improve any aspect of the system that they currently have?

Have you say in comments below and I’ll email a link to your comments to my new Adsense contact for her perusal. You never know – you might just say something that gets implemented in the future?

Google PageRank Update Analysis

Search Engine Journal has a useful post analyzing the latest Google PageRank Update in which they speculate as to why many sites have decreased in their visible PR whilst increasing their backlinks:

‘The most current PageRank update will undoubtedly cause a larger stir than usual in that many sites have shown drops in their visible PageRank while at the same time showing significant increases in their backlinks. This fact reveals that one of three things has occurred in this latest update:

1. Google has raised the bar on PageRank, making it more difficult to attain a high level, or

2. The way they are displaying their backlinks has changed, or

3. The way they calculate the value of an incoming link has changed.’

Blogs as Blogs or Websites?

Duncan points to a study by Nielsen Netratings that finds that 13% of blog visitors don’t know what a blog is and that 66% didn’t realize that the blog they were on was in fact a blog.

This does not surprise me in the least and connects with my experience of blogging for the last couple of years. It’s amazing how many people ask me what a blog is and then are amazed that they regularly visit a number of them when I point out some of the more popular ones.

Duncan asks – ‘is it really a bad thing that the majority of blog readers don’t actually realize they are reading blogs?’

I have two answers: [Read more…]

ProBlogger Slashdotted

Well I never expected that would get Slashdotted (it’s not unusual on some of my other blogs) – but tonight it happened. They linked to my post where I talked about my last Google Adsense cheque. Let me start by welcoming Slashdot readers. I hope you enjoy your stay.

As per usual with a Slashdotting there are a number of impacts upon a blog.

1. Traffic – Lots of it. Last hour was close to 4000 visitors. It being the weekend has curbed this.
2. Server Problems – So far so good. My host tells me its hardly a blip on the radar and everything is holding up very well.
3. New Readers – The influx of readers brings with it a variety of perks. Subscriptions to my free weekly newsletter are up and there are some positive comments being left across the site.
4. Slashdot readers on the whole are a great bunch – but the comments being left over at Slashdot itself are as per usual ‘mixed’ to say the least with a lot of misinformation and generalizations.

Let me try answer a few of the questions and comments quickly:

  • It is not against Google’s TOS to reveal your earnings. This changed a few months back. You are not allowed to reveal other details like Click Through Rate, Impressions etc – but income levels are fine.
  • Yes I do pay tax on my earnings. the Aussie Tax Office makes almost as much as I do from my blogs.
  • I do not use automated blogging tools to run my blogs. I work 8-12 hour days and have been at it for 2.5 years. In that time I’ve posted almost 12,000 posts on a variety of topics.
  • I do not make the majority of my income off this blog. Some of the comments cast doubt on the fact that I earn what I do because of low traffic of this site. I’ve always been totally honest about the fact that this site usually earns me very little. Most days it’s enough for a coffee or two. My earnings come from other blogs – some of which are linked to from this site – others which are not.
  • This is not a front for me putting the hard sell on readers. Whilst I’ve considered compiling some of what I’ve written into a book – at this stage I offer free advice to bloggers here. I figure I can earn a good living from what I do so I’m happy to give information away freely where I can.
  • A side note to those who complain about blogs being passe or don’t believe blogs should have ads. You might want to look at the site that is sending me all the traffic today. Slashdot is a blog – it has ads. It would be making significantly more than I am.
  • Yes I did earn between $10k and $20k in the month of May. If you want to know how much I suggest you start counting at $10k and stop counting a few hundred dollars short of the halfway point to $20k. As I said in the post everyone is coming in on – it was a particularly good month and June’s cheque won’t be quite as high (although July will be in the same region. I know a lot of commenters are doubting the figure – I’m not sure how to prove it and don’t feel I really have any need to. I know of quite a few other bloggers who earn well in excess of $10k per month. Whilst it’s not the norm by any means (and I’m realistic to my readers about this – most will never make that level of income) it’s not completely unusual and is becoming increasingly common.

If there are more questions that readers would like to check with me I’d be more than happy to answer them.

As a result of the many comments (and emails) which are doubting that I could earn what I’ve said I do and asking for proof I’ve decided to post a screen shot of my Adsense stats. I’ve blacked out some personal details and the details that I’m unable to share as a result of the rules that Google sets that forbid sharing of impressions, CTR, CPM etc.

You’ll see from the following that from 1 May – 31 May 2005 I earned $14,436.45. I know some will accuse me of doctoring this but this is all I’m giving you. I can’t think of any other way to prove what I earn and feel like I’ve stooped a little in doing it anyway. Hopefully in doing this I answer a few questions and dispell a few myths.

Right now though – I’m headed for bed!

WeblogsInc Network Hacked

WeblogsInc was hacked in the last few hours. has the news and screenshot.

Their sites now seem to be up and running again. Not a nice experience to go through I’m sure for the WeblogsInc team.

Yahoo! Health Expert Blogs

I wondered how long it would take for the Search Engines to get into blogging themselves as a commercial endeavor and it seems that Yahoo! have decided to get in on the act with Yahoo! Health Expert Blogs.

As Steve points out this is probably a strategy that they’ll roll out on a larger scale which could be seen as something of a threat to many entrepreneurial bloggers (especially the networks).

I always did wonder what the ethics were of a search engine having it’s own content sites to drive traffic to are – any thoughts?

Changes at Gizmodo

Megablog – Gizmodo – is going through some changes at the moment with the leaving of editor Joel Johnson who is leaving to pursue a freelance career and plans to find a new Gizmodo team (apply via that link).

It will be interesting to see how the changes impact the blog. Joel is a great blogger who has built Gizmodo up incredibly over the past couple of years. I wonder if the new team can build on his success.

Good luck Joel – it’s been a pleasure interacting with you over the past year or so – best of luck with the new ventures. Joel will be able to be contacted through his own site here (currently down as he’s moving servers).

Responding to Blogging Criticism

Thanks to Robert for linking up to while I slept last night. It’s always nice to get a positive link from a larger blogger who sends an influx of new readers into your blog.

It’s been an interesting week here at ProBlogger for this reason – after the exposure I had in the Aussie Press and a few link ups from bigger bloggers I’ve ridden the roller coaster ride of publicity. With it comes some amazing opportunities but also a few hard knocks.

I’ve been on the receiving end of a few critiques of my blogging style this week – some of which have been quite valid and helpful – others of which have been quite scathing and verging on personal attacks (and of course quite a few of these are anonymous as per usual).

So what is my response to an ‘unfair critique’? Firstly I’d say don’t ignore it – I like to see every critique/threat/attack as an opportunity to better your blog and to win over more readers. How do you do that? Over the past couple of years I’ve developed the following type of process in responding to them:

1. Take a deep breath and give yourself a little space from the criticism – One of the worst things you can do when getting a critical comment or email is to respond in the moment out of the anger, fear, confusion and hurt that you might feel as a result. Go for a walk around the block, have a coffee, ring a friend or just take a few minutes to cool down before responding. At times I’ve even left responding until the next day when I’m thinking clearer.

[Read more…]

Blogging Tools Compared

Susannah Gardner has written an article comparing blog tools that is a good read for anyone considering starting a new blog and wondering which platform is right for them. Accompanying the article is a very useful chart that compares the features of some of the more popular tables.

This is a chart I’ll be recommending clients take a look at.

Read more at Time to check: Are you using the right blogging tool?