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Financial Blogger Abandons AdSense

Posted By Darren Rowse 20th of December 2007 Adsense 55

There’s an interesting post over at The Simple Dollar titled – Why I’ve Decided To Abandon (Virtually All) Ads On The Simple Dollar. The post outlines Trent’s reasoning on why he’s taken AdSense off his blog – in short, the lack of control that the program gives him over who advertises on his blog.

While this problem will no doubt be helped by the recent introduction of an Ad Review center in AdSense – this only fixes part of the problem as it only gives you the opportunity to review those ads specifically targeted to your site and not those ads that AdSense just serves contextually from their non targeted pool of advertisers.

Thanks to Jeremy (no link supplied) for the heads up on this one.

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.
  1. It is happening more and more.

    Less clickable ads. Not enough control. Smaller payouts.

    I wonder if a better alternative will ever emerge?


  2. D-

    Isnt the adreview center just for cpm/site targeted? You still have no control in Adsense for geotargeted or other right?

  3. You can see something familiar on our blog post too

  4. Could use referral ads only

    Could mark ads as sponsors ad adevrtisements.

    We have commented separately on his blog

    Tech For Novices

  5. It’s still my biggest earner, so I will persist and see how these new ads work

  6. Trent at Simple Dollar makes a very good point in his article about how you really don’t have any control about who pays Google through Adwords to place ads on your site using Adsense

    I had a great article written up only a few months ago detailing why pay day loans were completely unethical and preyed on the already poor and desperate, also comparing the relevant laws in the USA and Australia …

    Until I realised that as soon as I published it, the embedded Adsense ads in my blog template would be filled wall-to-wall with ads promoting those same scummy pay day loans :-(

    In the end I didn’t publish it

  7. Sounds like he considers most of the ads as a kind of AdSense spam – low quality, relevant for his visitors, but slightly shady and not something he wants to be associated with.

    Possibly the best bet is to start looking at direct ad sales. It’s a shame there aren’t too many ad buying networks targetted toward high profile blogs. They would be an excellent partnership.

  8. It’s interesting that the “straw that broke the camel’s back” was an ad with a scantily clad woman. Sort of a double standard on Google’s part that they won’t allow questionable sites (nudity, gambling, etc.) to be publishers, but they’ll serve an ad like he describes on a finance site.

    I’ve also noticed that the ads I see seem to be influenced by the other sites I’ve visited recently and not just by the content of the specific page. The “Google cookie” at work? Were his readers seeing the same ads he objected to?

    Also, I can see quite clearly the context that resulted in his getting some of what he objected to – he has categories on music and marriage, posts about love and his little about blurb talks about fighting debt. I’m not criticizing the blog – if that’s the style and substance he was going for, great. But a little tighter focus and a little more staid writing style probably would have meant more of the staid ads he apparently preferred. Blog in a loose, congenial, less serious style and it shouldn’t be surprising to see that sort of ads.

  9. When I started mine I thought I’d try adsense – but the ads that were coming up were going against the grain of the site… so I took them off. This holds true for any site that is talking about an ideal. It is almost fun to read a political or religious site that has adsense running… More often than not the ads are for something against the very ideal trying to be promoted. Thanks, Trent, for showing others the light!

  10. The more people that drop out, the more advertisers will pay for those who remain..

    I hope his comments get tremendous circulation and that hundreds of thousands of bloggers follow his lead :-)

  11. Darshana says: 12/21/2007 at 12:24 am

    I agree with the guy personally, for I have seen many sites which I trust to give good advice have extremely crappy adds that totally go against what they preach. What saddens me is its not only Adsense adds but others like banner adds which I feel must be under the control of webmaster( correct me if I am wrong, I am little new to all these).

    The obvious problem with this decision to remove adds is the loss of the income, and I know some of us can’t remove the adds even if we want to especially at the beginning(most beginner bloggers primary monetizer is Adsense).

    The solution is for Google to give more control over what is displayed to webmasters, I think in the long run this will profit Google too, as adds that strike a chord with the audience may have better conversions.

  12. Is there no type of advertisement out there that gives you control over the content? At least as far as a service like Adsense goes. Seems like the decision was very hard for Trent and the decision was not one made lightly. I commend him for that definitely.

  13. I’ve run into the same problem, even having some of my visitors complain about the hypocritical nature of having shady credit consolidation lenders advertising on my site where several of my more popular posts condemn them for the most part.

    But for the time being all I can do is juggle myself in the way he described. It’s the best way to build capital early on, I’ve found. A domain name and a nonblogger webspace is going to cost money.

  14. My only gripe with adsense is the lack of controls on what link might appear in the adsense box which I found difficult since I had to monitor my site constantly/daily. I’ve also heard that adsense is even now seen as “secondhand advertising” and is not as lucrative as others but I don’t have proof to this since I’m very new to blogging.

  15. true- most off the ads are not related – google should let the puplisher controll theire ads

  16. Maybe in the future AdSense will give publishers more control over the types of ads that are shown, not just individual advertisers. I don’t know how it could be implemented, but maybe something as simple as a checkbox saying “allow sleazy ads!”

  17. It would be nice to have more control. Sometimes the Google ads are competing directly with your own sales objectives.

    It’s also a little scary worrying what may pop up, especially on a children’s site.

  18. There is an emerging group of bloggers who are having problems with adsense advertisements in their blog. Well since number is growing day by day, I hope adsense will review this problem for the bloggers.

    Lets hope adsense brings up some good advertisements for all of us.

    Happy Blogging.

  19. When you are big enough, you can abandon any ads.

  20. I think it would be nice with some more control over the program. But that’s never gonna happend.

  21. Its a really very bold decision, lets c how the results come


  22. I won’t really be abandoning AdSense anytime soon. The main reason being, well it’s the best CPC network out there. I mean, seriously, its closest rival isn’t even close!

    And plus, I don’t think any network for that matter gives you so much freedom…

  23. I edit a religion site as well. I’ve placed adsense on it, like most people, hoping to pay for the hosting, but I am considering taking it off. Too little control of what at times is different than what is being promoted. I believe Darren mentioned that Politics and Religion blogs didn’t seem to be suited for adsense. Obviously this is an issue in a lot of different areas.

  24. People CAN control who advertises their site and who not. You can block any advertiser through Competitive Ad Filter in AdSense settings.

  25. I thought you could control (to a small degree) the types of advertisements that are displayed? Anyways, I like adsense because I feel it is the most professional company out there for ads.

  26. Yes i do like adsense and i think its the best around to promote

  27. Most interesting…
    I actually just recently re-designed my blog and got rid of AdSense.
    It had only brought in $5.95, so what’s the point?

    Now I’m trying to sell a 170x125px add slot and trying to keep an eye out for some other form of advertising.

  28. I also went away from using Adsense… I think people are starting to get to much use to them…
    Its easy, but now I’m trying much harder promoting books and other affiliate programs instead, and seeing an increase in that instead…

  29. I’ve recently cut back the amount of Adsense units running on some of my blogs. It looks a lot less cluttered and far less “pushy” & the amount of clicks hasn’t dropped too far. I suppose I’m concerned that it frightens off other potential advertisers but it’s been great for getting started.

  30. There’s even a bigger story here that I’m interested in…

    The site, has only been around since 2006 and has over 29,000 RSS subscribers. Trent obviously knows about a lot more than just finance.

    Maybe you can get him to guest blog on how he did it!

  31. I also thought to remove ads from my blogs soon coz i dont wanna loose my readers though recent ads crappy not related to this topic too –

  32. When your website is big enough you can be picky with your advertisers.

  33. Adsense is still my bigger earner. Until I find something that works better this is what i will use.

  34. Trent has good reasoning, but it surprised me that he didn’t replace the ads with some other ads that would work well that have personally been “vetted” by him. Here’s hoping he finds another way to make money from his blog…hopefully enough to quit his day job, as I would love to see him post more often.

  35. Seth Godin says the typical clicker is female, lower-than-typical income, interested in sweepstakes and coupons. She’s probably not reading Trent’s blog anyway. I applaud him for taking control of his own site!

  36. i’m one that went back to adsense. i swapped out my 728×90 banner spot for some affiliate offers…came out zero. so i guess any adsense cents would be better than that.

  37. While this throws light that Adsense cannot be considered as the supreme earner for all bloggers……..his decision came just when the AdReview center is launched..

    He should have tried it …

  38. I’m not too surprised by this. It’s one of the reasons that I have not put AdSense ads on my blog. It’s too unpredictable what ads will come up when and I don’t have time to police all of the ads.

  39. I think AdSense can still be of use if the site is very much clear with its theme and targeted to an audience who are still beginners. They may appreciate the ads that they see on the site as it compliments the content (being keyword sensitive).

    However, for blogs, where everything can be discussed under the sun, the kind of ads that appear are too volatile. Like in one of my blogs on women empowerment, if a post contains the word “Asian” or “Filipina”, it will likely show ads on Asian girls dating sites which is very inappropriate. We saw this happened in my many blogs who joined our writing project lately focusing on the Filipina theme.

    One of the many suggestions, Google can consider to ask AdWords advertisers – for what audience groups are their ads meant for – or any other tool to figure this. For AdSense members, require the listing of blogs/sites and put an audience classification.

  40. Even with Ad Review, it sounds like you’re only able to limit advertisers who specifically target your site. For someone like myself who runs a real estate blog for real estate agents, I had to take off Google Ads because the most relevant ads were almost always from agents competing in the same market… even if they weren’t targeting my site.

  41. Thanks for the link, I have been thinking of putting adsense on after not doing this so far. So the post gives lots of food for thought. The relevance is really an important factor

  42. Adsense just doesn’t appear to work and when it does mum is the word. I’ve only hear of a handful of good things about Adsense, compared to a truck load of bad things. But then again it takes years to become a good source of income.

  43. Adsense is becoming more of a wallpaper on websites then the revenue source. All due to this junk ads that earns us 0.001 USD per click. ahaaha

  44. I use adsense, but sometimes the ads don’t seem to match my content. Maybe it’s my wishy-washy writing…lol

  45. Darren,

    I have spotted that there is still Adsense running here on your blog on certain pages, for example

    Just wondering if you knew this or if it was something that has long since been forgotten. Thought I’d point that out.

  46. I think we may all be missing the biggest advantage of Adsense here – you don’t HAVE to control every single ad. That’s a huge improvement over the bad old days when the only way to make money online was with labor intensive affiliate ads. “Your creative is expired!” and “New creative available!” Bacn in your inbox daily. The big names shaving sales/leads. Readers getting bad link messages if you were too busy producing content to mess with constantly changing the links. These are things I can live without, but if you want them and you insist on working with Google, try Google Referrals – Google’s version of a horrid, unprofitable affiliate program.

  47. What always kills me about adsense is that I get all kinds of off-topic and completely un-related ads displayed on my site.

    I realize that they are just serving ads based on keywords (and probably a bunch of other nebulous criteria) but it sure would be nice to be able to pick and choose the types or category of ads that are displayed.

    I think I’d be a better judge of the types of ads that would perform the best on my blog. Not some algorithm.

  48. I read his post when he did this. Courageous. Sounded like this was the bulk of his revenue stream.

  49. Interesting read. Bold move. I hope it works out for him!

  50. That’s the same reason I dumped adsense. I need to be able to carefully control what ads display on my blog. Otherwise I lose credibility to my readers. So I decided to go another route entirely and I signed up with BlogHer ads. I’m much happier now with that choice for my main blog.

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