PageRank/AdSense Clarification – I’m not Funny

A quick clarification. In my post announcing that I’d taken a PageRank hit last night I mentioned that perhaps it was because I’d taken AdSense off my blog. I included a little smiley face next to that because it was something that I said – not believing was true for a second. There’s no chance that this is the reason.

I thought it was obvious that I was joking and not serious – but unfortunately I assumed incorrectly that people would see this and today have seen 10 or so bloggers reporting that this is what I think.

I’ve since updated that post to remove the smiley face and include a ‘joking’ comment. Sorry for the confusion – I think I’ll leave the jokes for others in future.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. runs on the Genesis Framework

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  1. Vagelis says:

    English is not my native language, but it still looked pretty obvious to me…

  2. CompuWorld says:


    Darren you better think thousands time next time before joking

    that was *joke* again please ;)

    (just to let the controversy going) removing adsense could very well be the reason or your PR going down.. :D

  3. I thought it was good.
    I guess there’s just people out there that don’t have any sense of humor.

  4. mariam says:

    Just shows how influential you are ;)

  5. I thought it was funny. :)

  6. Dan says:

    People will post anything if it gets them traffic…

    It was obvious you were joking.

  7. 45n5 says:

    Darn, i’ve added adsense to every site I have now thinking it would improve my pagerank because of what you said. Back to the drawing boards.

  8. I understood your joke. The rest of those bloggers who didn’t need to get out more. :p

  9. Rule #17 of Internet Communication:

    No matter how obvious you make it, someone out there will not know you’re joking.

  10. Bad part of the internet is it is hard to tell when someone is joking.

  11. Michael says:

    Google is pretty self serving but I don’t think they are to that extent. Funny that people thought that is what you meant though.

  12. maneesh says:

    I thought that was kind of obvious.. maybe you should add a section that “my smileys mean this” should save you some time at least the next time around :p

  13. dharana says:

    If you have almost 35000 readers its logical to have a 0.02% of people who have their humor sense turned off.

    English is neither my native language and it was still pretty obvious for me too.

  14. Karthik says:

    lol, now this is funny!

    Darren, I was over at Shoemoney’s blog where he mentioned that one of his friends told him Widgetbucks may have been the reason why he got hit. I think you would have been hit for a similar reason – for “promoting” Widgetbucks! I can’t be sure of course, but I would say that the top blogs needn’t be hit for the same reason – if one is hit for paid links, another may be hit for hidden text, yet another may be hit for promoting “bad neighbourhood” services. Widgetbucks doesn’t rank for their own name – they certainly look like they’ve been penalized to me.

  15. Alain says:

    Here’s the way I see it. Your blog reaches how many thousands of readers a week, right?

    Inevitably, no matter how clear you are in your intent, someone somewhere is going to take what you say out of context. That percentage of people may be extremely low, and for that small percentage, you should ask yourself “Is it really worth it to adjust or modify the way I wish to communicate on MY blog to appease a couple of people who are too dumb to get it?”
    Don’t leave the jokes for others if you’ve got a joke to share. Some of us will get it!

    That’s my $0.02

  16. Dan says:

    Correction: More humour rather than less humour would make a better fix :)

  17. Armen says:

    Alain makes a valid point (sort of). When so many read your posts, a few are going to pick you up wrong, now and again. But, you can’t blame ‘people’ exactly. Many are trying to get through dozens of posts in the feedreaders everyday. It’s just part of blogging.

    It’s good to clarify it though. Especially something like this, which, could have been seen as bad-mouthing Google.

  18. beza1e1 says:

    Maybe you should write a full-fledged post about humor in blog posts? I also learned the hard way that subtle humor is often misunderstood and may hurt your credibility as a blogger.

  19. Jerry Khoo says:

    In case some people took it too seriously, my Pagerank post that linked back to your original post was also made in jest. Who believes in conspiracy theories nowadays. ;-)

  20. Mauro C. says:

    ahahahah :-)

    but it was a really cool joke Darren!
    my english it’s far away from perfection and i understood it :-)

  21. Jack says:

    Yeah, you can guarantee if you joke online, someone will either take offence or not get it. Or both. My own personal take on this is that if people don’t get my joke, let them be seen as not having a sense of humour.

    And by the way, if it has a smiley or winky next to it, that’s universal for joking…

  22. Anthony says:

    I personally advocate the use of irony mark (؟) in blog posts. It is a legitimate punctuation symbol thought up by the French.Helps for those without an inbuilt “attempt at funny radar”.

  23. Funniest thing I’ve heard all week. You shout, they jump. Oh what it is to be an oracle [JOKE!!!]


  24. Dave says:

    For some reason, people find it hard to spot the humour sometimes. Perhaps its time to re-introduce flashing gif banners proclaiming every funny note/comment/thought as being a joke, for the terminally blind and terminally dumb.

  25. Erica says:

    I got the joke, seemed obvious to me :)

  26. Kate says:

    Well, if you will tell jokes what more can you expect – don’t you know some people have their sense of humour removed at birth ;-)

  27. Gavin Smith says:

    Well, I’m going to suggest that the joke was more intentional than we are lead to believe, a marketing ploy you could say; after all, it probably meant quite a few more hits (nevermind links) to your site.

  28. Rule of thumb : irony is more often taken literally than not.

    I once used a newspaper mockup that was doing the rounds to “announce” that Syntagma had won the first Nobel Prize for Blogging. I had quite a few emails congratulating me.

    Never again. :-)

  29. Fiar says:

    Darren, There will always be idiots too humorless or dense to get a joke. This leaves you with 2 choices: Write for the humorless, or ignore them. I would have ignored them.

  30. Patrick Burt says:

    Haha! This is one of them sarcastic posts right! Tell me people weren’t thinking that… ;0

    oh.. the internet.

  31. Sangesh says:

    Comment noted Captain.

    But it wasn’t that serious, or was it? else you wouldn’t have posted this article.


  32. Ginene says:

    Darren, you know what you say is law right. LOL. People believe anything you say. It’s funny how people can’t take a joke.

  33. NoviceSEO says:

    I am showing you at a PR6 on three different computers from my location in Kentucky…. no PR4 showing here for your homepage……….. Same for CopyBlogger

  34. Blaine Moore says:

    Keep joking; I think that it leads to even funnier situations than the joke itself (which was pretty good, you have to admit.)

  35. KimC says:

    This reminds me of my favorite line in the movie “I Robot.” Will Smith is trying use humor to charm the female lead, and she turns to him with an icy stare:

    “I’m sorry. Were you being funny?”

    Will answers, somewhat taken aback:

    “Apparently NOT.”

  36. tinymeme says:

    I got it and I linked. I hope others didn’t think you were seriously considering this as the cause.

  37. redwall_hp says:

    That’s the real reason Google is penalizing all things Text-Link-Ads! It’s an AdSense competitor! :D

    Note: ” :D ” means “joke”.

  38. Marc says:

    I can’t believe no body has commented on “There’s no chance that this is the reason.”……. Really, can you say that with 100% honesty!. They are in the business of selling clicks, what’s to stop them from nudging someone up 1 or 2 spots if they have adsense running on their site.

    One day, Adsense and Google will be required by law to be seperate companies……mark my word.

  39. Rick says:

    I dropped 1 full Page Rank in the crawl immediately after I removed AdSense from two of my sites. The number of sites linking to me had increased 25% on one site and 50% on the other.

    Google may not drop pagerank if you use someone else or drop AdSense, but I believe they do RAISE pagerank of AdSense sites.

    It’s all about profits – theirs, not ours.

  40. Jaime says:

    Watch this site.

    It has a video tutorial that show exactly what you have to do to be succesful in adsense.

  41. Heh “Adsense Decoded”. I love the spam you get here.

  42. Sapphire says:

    I got that you were joking, but it’s not a stretch to think Google could punish people for removing AdSense.

    That said, I notice you have an aff link to Text Link Ads, and so does Copyblogger. I’m wondering if perhaps that’s all it takes?

  43. b5media has a box on most of its sites offering to sell text links to buyers. As we now know these changes to PR were done manually “after review”, it seems Darren has been lumped into the whole b5 pot. That’s my guess.

    Incidentally, I’m noticing that still has the old PRs standing, while toolbars themselves are showing the degraded ones. I wonder if a flick of the switch will put them all back on again.

    Okay, I’m just a crazy optimist. :-)

  44. Caitlin says:

    Can someone please explain to me where you actually see Google’s rankings? I would like to look.

  45. Kate says:

    Caitlin – the Google toolbar includes a page rank indicator, but I think you need to enable it. Alternatively, there are a number of sites which will tell you, so if you do a search for something like ‘page rank checker’ you should find something useful.

  46. Mariella says:

    It was funny! People missed the smiley after the sentence =(

  47. Caitlin says:

    Thanks, Kate. Is it the same as Technorati’s ranking or does Technorati do its own?

  48. Caitlin – technorati rankings is completely separate from pagerank.

  49. Thanks for the help everyone. Unfortunately Google’s Page Ranking service is closed to new readers. You need a SOAP API key from Google and they aren’t giving out new ones as of December 2006.

  50. Caitlin, if you look at the small print at the bottom of the page you linked to, it says : “ is in no way affiliated, sponsored or in any way the property of or responsibility of Google Inc.”

    It seems to be a freelance outfit battening onto Google’s API which Google has now crunched. Could Google be retreating from the whole idea of PageRank?

    As for TLAs and other text link ads, we sold more yesterday than any day in the last three months. The low rankings don’t seem to make a difference. Many buyers of cheap ads, like TLAs, don’t pay much attention to PR. tell me that it’s business as usual.