Google Adsense and Infopackets

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Phil C. write s:

" Dear Dennis,

I have been a long time subscriber to your online magazine (since early 2002) and have found your articles to be both informative and especially easy to read. And, although, I admit I don't have time to read all of your articles, there always seems to be an issue you've covered (more often than not) that deals with similar computing problems that I face on a day-to-day basis. For that, I am deeply gratified.

I'm writing you today with regard to some of the changes you've made to the site. I like the new layout (especially the links to related articles). Everything seems to flow together very well, and I am also looking forward to the 'RSS' you mention. However, one thing that has also caught my attention are the [advertisement] links alongside each article. I remember seeing similar links before, but lately they seem to be more persistent in your articles and, if you don't mind me saying so, disturb the flow of your articles. Are these links going to be permanent? Can you explain? "

My response:

Yes. The links you are referring to are called 'Google Adsense' advertisements.

Google Adsense works like this: every time a new article is added online the infopackets web site, Google's media robot ("mediabot") comes online our site and scans the article for certain words. When the robot recognizes the theme of the article, ads are placed alongside the article automatically. For example: if I wrote an article about DVDs, DVD ads should appear next to the article. Since the advertisements are related to the content, and the content is related to people who want to read the content, the result is "ads that make sense" -- or simply put, Google Adsense.

Of course, the ads are displayed for a reason.

Whenever someone clicks on a Google Ad link, the person responsible for writing the ad ("the advertiser") is charged a minimal fee of $0.05 per click (and sometimes more). Out of a $0.05 click, part of the money [the majority?] goes into Google's pocket, while the publisher (, for example) is rewarded a percentage of the total. I'm not sure exactly what the percentage payout is for publishers as this is considered "proprietary information", but it would be very atypical for the payout to exceed more than half the cost of the click. So to put things in perspective: on a $0.05 click -- even with a 50/50 split of the profits -- our web site might generate $0.025 (or, two-and-a-half cents).

Having said that: out of the 12,000 or so people that visit this web site whenever a newsletter is sent out, there are about 250 of you (on average for this month) who are clicking on the Google ads. In terms of percentages, that's only 2% (not a very strong response!).

I'm glad you asked this question because it not only gives me the opportunity to explain how Google Adsense works, but also allows me to be up-front with folks on how our web site is funded.

And that brings me to my next point.

I'm the type of person that believes if you "do good" long enough, in the end, things will work out. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case in terms of funding for our web site as of late. At the current rate, the fee just to provide this service is becoming a rather large burden. And to be honest, I don't know what I'd do if I had to give all of this up (I'd fight tooth and nail before that would happen, mind you)!

So I guess what I'm trying to say is: please don't be discouraged by these advertisements. Instead, embrace them as part of our content. Thanks for your understanding.

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