Saturday, 9 December 2006

AdSense: Scam or the Real Deal?

I've often been asked whether you can really make a lot of money online just by putting up AdSense sites or whether the whole thing is just a scam. This is understandable given the way AdSense is often presented in various online advertisements for AdSense sites and the like. So, is this for real or are they just scams?

There really are two issues here. First, can you make good money from AdSense? Second, are "made for AdSense" (MFA) sites scams? I'll address these in turn.

Earning from AdSense

I would be lying if I said you can't make good money from AdSense because many people certainly seem to be doing just that. However, the impression is often given that all you have to do is create a web site, sign up for AdSense, stick some code on your pages and then just sit back and watch the money roll in. However, rarely, if ever, are things quite that simple. If you already have a web site in place that gets a good number of visitors, then displaying AdSense ads could certainly work pretty quickly for you, especially if your site lends itself to good quality ads and a visitor-base that is likely to be interested in the products/services being advertised. On the other hand, when it comes to new sites life may be very different.

Supposing you create a new site, even if has great content, if no-one is visiting how are you going to earn anything? That is the key point and one I'll address below.

MFA Sites Scams?

Are these "made-for-Adsense" sites scams? Well, I guess the answer to that depends on how you define "scam" so I'll address the reasons why such schemes are not quite as simple as they claim to be.

Back to the subject of who's going to click on those ads if there are no visitors ... most AdSense schemes don't seem to address this issue. Without visitors you may as well not have a site at all. So, if you're creating a new site in the hope of earning money from AdSense, remember that you are going to have to put in a lot of hard work attracting visitors--which is a whole new topic in itself and one that I'll be dealing with in part in next week's article. So, unless you're already experienced in marketing new web sites, you will probably have your work cut out to make good money on a new site.

Another important issue not really pointed out in these schemes relates to site content, especially in relation to Google's AdSense policies. First the Google AdSense Program Policies state:

"No Google ad may be placed on pages published specifically for the purpose of showing ads, whether or not the page content is relevant."

Thus, if you are putting up a web site for the sole purpose of displaying ads, you are in violation of Google's policies and could have your account discontinued. How Google determines your purpose, I cannot imagine!

The second issue is that many of these "made-for-AdSense" sites are simply a collection of freely available content that is already available elsewhere on the internet. Even though there is certainly a place for such content, if the bulk of your content is not original to your site then you are not following Google's webmaster guidelines, which is also frowned upon by AdSense policies.

In summary, yes, you can make good money from AdSense, particularly if you already have a successful web site with a good visitor base. Otherwise, even though it can be achieved it takes good, original content, the right type of content, hard work at marketing your site and the nous to know how to attract visitors.

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