How Google AdSense Could Make You Poorer

Ryan Tate · 10/13/09 07:50PM

Not only does Google AdSense pay badly, it can wreck your unemployment benefits. The State of New York cut one woman's benefit checks and told her running the ads was "self employment." AdSense earned her $1.30 per day. [TechDirt] (Pic)

Google Sees Right Through Julia Allison

Owen Thomas · 02/13/09 05:35PM

NonSociety, Julia Allison's experient in making macro bucks from microcelebrity, hasn't come up with a clever way of paying the bills. So she's running cheapo Google AdSense ads! Do they ever tell a story.

Misplaced Prop 8 ads sparking Google boycott

Owen Thomas · 11/03/08 04:00PM

As the election approaches, more bloggers are noticing ads from backers of Proposition 8, the gay-marriage ban appearing on Californians' ballots, courtesy of Google. The search engine's algorithm is mindlessly matching them to phrases like "gay marriage," regardless of whether the blog in question is for or against. Scott Beale, who blogs about Internet culture at Laughing Squid, has blocked the yes-on-8 ads, and, for good measure, taken Google's ads off his site altogether until after the election. He's not alone; one fashion website adminitrator tells Valleywag she's taken similar measures.I haven't heard of any cases of the opposite happening, but I wouldn't be shocked if some socially conservative bloggers were similarly offended by no-on-8 ads placed on their blog by Google. Which returns me to my original question about these ads: If Google's algorithms are so good at placing ads, why aren't they able to gather whether a blog's audience generally supports or opposes gay marriage, and target ads where they'll do the most good? (Screenshot by Scott Beale/Laughing Squid)

Google's scary reassurances

Owen Thomas · 10/31/08 12:40PM

In tough times, overcommunicate, says Kleiner Perkins partner John Doerr, doing an inadvertent impression of so-sharey-he's-scary videoblogger Robert Scoble. One Kleiner portfolio company has gotten the message: Google! Kim Scott, the company's director of online sales and operations for AdSense, the company's system for placing ads on other websites, has sent a mass email to Web publishers who use the product. The letter refers to "recent economic turmoil" and reassures publishers that the company is "continuing to invest in innovations" — as opposed to, say, milking publishers for everything they're worth. The question Scott's letter really raises: Who's Google afraid of?Surely not Yahoo. Microsoft and AOL don't even play in the AdSense market; of Google's rivals, most have large pageview minimums which smaller publishers won't meet. Perhaps Scott is worried that small Web publishers will simply throw in the towel? Her memo:

Sexing up Sarah Palin with Photoshop draws AdSense ire

Jackson West · 09/04/08 06:20PM

A photo that may or may not depict a young, nude and brunette Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska and the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee, has made the tabloid rounds after being featured on blog Hollywood Newsroom. It was sent in as part of a Photoshopping contest, but looks legitimate enough as a photograph (though not necessarily of Palin). Either way, it's too racy for Google — which strictly forbids placing its automated advertising next to "adult or mature" content.Naturally companies like Wu Yi Source, which had an placed by AdSense when I dropped by, would certainly be offended that their ancient Chinese weight loss secret might be associated with a display of svelte bodies. The blog is now looking for another advertiser, and have promised that their next photo compositing contest will feature Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in compromising — and AdSense-unfriendly — positions.

AdSense video unit, presumed extinct, discovered in the wild

Jackson West · 08/07/08 09:00AM

YouTube has an embeddable player with features that might feel familiar to publishers who've used's show player — it's not meant for casual embeds, and isn't accessible from the standard embed code found on most video pages. It's meant for static placement on Web sites for featuring multiple videos from a single partner, and can carry both the standard in-video overlay ads as well as a text ad block from Google. It was released last October for AdSense customers, but isn't in particularly wide use. Why mention it now?Because an appearance on a political blog was enough to surprise the New York Times's Saul Hansell into remarking on an instance he found "festooned with ads." Though the screenshot featured a video taken from television news and therefore the thumbnail itself was already overly busy with infographics, which contributed most to the impression of the "gaudiness of MySpace." The fact that one of the Times's technology bloggers took so long to take note of an AdSense video unit in the wild tells the real story — even with the promise of a slightly less pitiful revenue sharing check, nobody is using the thing.

Google testing video AdSense for games

Paul Boutin · 07/30/08 04:40PM

VentureBeat's Dean Takahashi did the reporting so I don't have to: "Sources close to the matter said that Google has developed an in-game advertising technology that allows it to insert video ads into games. In demos of the technology, a game character can introduce a video ad, saying something like, 'And now, a word from our sponsor,' before showing a short video at the end of a sequence in a game. Since testing has been going on for some time, Google could launch the technology fairly quickly, if it so chooses." Microsoft bought Massive, a company which inserts ads into games, in 2006, and Google bought AdScape, a similar startup, in February 2007. Sony's also getting into placing ads in videogames, but most past efforts have dealt with still images, not video.

Google's Ad Planner no threat to Nielsen, ComScore

Nicholas Carlson · 07/01/08 01:40PM

Media buyers and major publishers say that despite ComScore shareholders' worries, Google's Ad Planner, which provides Web metrics and demographic data to online advertisers, won't dislodge Web-traffic measurement leader ComScore or its rival Nielsen. “[Google needs] to add so many things, it’s not even a consideration at this point,” Mediasmith CEO David Smith told Mediaweek. “It’s absolutely not ready for prime time.” And publishers say Ad Planner won't provide advertisers a more accurate look at their inventories. “Their numbers are as bad or worse as anybody else’s out there,” CEO Jim Spanfeller said. So why bother? Google just wants advertisers to pay more attention to the sites it reps through its AdSense network.

Is Slide worth half a billion? Only if Facebook buys them

Jordan Golson · 03/24/08 12:40PM

In January a pair of money managers, Fidelity and T. Rowe Price, bought 9.1 percent of Slide for $50 million. Fortune asks, "Are these widgets worth half a billion?" The mag doesn't come up with anything more than "maybe," but I'm willing to go a little further. Slide worth $550 million? No, despite its huge traffic numbers. While it's true that advertisers are desperate to reach the 18-24 market, I hardly think SuperPoke is what they had in mind.

Googlers vent: Working here sucks, too

Jordan Golson · 03/03/08 02:40PM

Last quarter, Google hired 889 people, bringing the total headcount to 16,805. What do all these new employees do? Stab each other in the back, apparently. A tipster writes: "The management within Google, especially AdWords and AdSense (the money making machines of the entire company ... engineering gets the glory but advertising brings in the big bucks) are completely disorganized and chaotic (in a BAD way- because Google sometimes tries to spin the whole 'chaotic' thing in a good way)." There's much more:

26 million publishers commit click fraud — get over it

Nicholas Carlson · 02/22/08 04:20PM

Fraudulent clicks accounted for 28.3 percent of all clicks on ad networks like Google's AdSense and the Yahoo Publisher Network during the fourth quarter of 2007. After some approximations, Freakonomics puts the number of publishers who are theoretically complicit in click fraud as high as 26 million. Which means advertisers need to get over it. Buy ads on a cost-per-action basis, where you only pay when clickers turn into buyers. Or do your own math and discount what you pay for a click accordingly — which is, in effect, what Google, Yahoo, and the like are already doing to publishers. Whining about the problem gives zero ROI. (Photo by Jason Upshaw)

Trojan targets Google's AdSense revenue

Tim Faulkner · 12/20/07 05:40PM

Google is the target of a trojan that could be more damaging than the worm that has affected literally dozens of Orkut users. This new trojan, however, hits Google where it hurts — its ever-swelling advertising revenues. It redirects Web ads from the AdSense program to a rival ad provider. Bitdefender, the Romanian security-software maker which identified the trojan, does not specify who is serving these third-party ads or how the trojan is propagating. Researchers do say that Google may be powerless to stop the attack, because the malware affects personal computers, not the company's ad servers. Google is unlikely to lose substantial sums, but the search giant cannot enjoy being this helpless. No wonder it's pushing antivirus software.

ChaCha turns Indiana University into its billboard

Tim Faulkner · 12/07/07 06:39PM

Hoosier-powered search engine Chacha is turning to an unlikely source to fund its already cozy deal with Indiana University. Chacha is introducing Google AdSense ads to the university's search results. ChaCha already features both Google and Yahoo ads as sponsored links, on its public search, but until recently IU had a strict policy against advertising:

Another Googler takes credit for AdSense

Megan McCarthy · 11/16/07 05:56PM

Fortune is reporting that Google engineer Gokul Rajaram is leaving the Googleplex for a stab at his own company. Rajaram's greatest achievement? Oh, this little thing called AdSense, you heard of it? The ad system that places Google ads on blogs and Web 2.0 apps, keeping them financially viable against all business logic? After being hired in 2003, Rajaram supposedly worked to create the ad publishing network which now brings in, Fortune writes, "one-third of Google's revenue." Let's get this straight, people.

How to get real Google bucks from fake press releases

Tim Faulkner · 11/13/07 05:35PM

Phony press releases have become the grist for the newest Internet profit mills. If you're like Chris Anderson and us, you don't read press releases. But several tech blogs were taken in by a dubious press release issued by a nonexistent company allegedly backed by real investors who may or may not have invested in several fake companies. Huh? Exactly. How the scam was uncovered, how it works, and how to avoid falling victim after the jump.

Jordan Golson · 11/13/07 05:25PM

Google has changed the clickable area within AdSense ads to include just the title and the url of the ad, rather than the entire ad box. This should raise the value of ad clicks in the long run by reducing the likelihood of accidental clicks. [Google Blogoscoped]

Facebook SocialAds revealed!

Nicholas Carlson · 11/05/07 10:10AM

Facebook updated its code over the weekend and, according to reports, Facebook's much-anticipated SocialAds are now officially part of the ones and zeroes. Based on the updates, Allfacebook created this mock-up of what a SocialAd might look like. Hmm. Looks like an ad. Here's a more revealing shot.