When I first started out online, I was all about AdSense – making 5 page wonders and “raking it in” at $50-$75 a month on my first site.  Other sites of mine made $3-$20 a month.  I thought I’d hit the mother lode – only 492 more sites until ‘retirement’ baby…

[S]ince then, AdSense has become one of those parts of my life I’d rather soon forget – like someone robbed me of real opportunity and I bought it lock, stock and barrel.

Disclaimer: of course you can make a mint on AdSense. You certainly can, just ask Lisa Parmley, Spencer, Cary Bergeron or anyone from The Keyword Academy for example.

Edit: I forgot to mention Michelle, Sara and Carrie.  They make loads more than I do on AdSense.

So if you want to, run with AdSense and totally ignore me.

By the way, I hold all those people in the highest regard. If you want to learn how to kill it with AdSense, I recommend you learn from those folks. I’ve NO affiliation with any of them (the last 3 I’d consider friends in the biz).

What I am about to say about AdSense isn’t meant to detract from their experiences, isn’t meant to stop you from buying their products, nor am I trying to prevent your progress if AdSense is your thing.

In fact, if you ARE pursuing AdSense, feel free to NOT read the rest of this post, and I’m serious. Getting distracted by too many ideas is NOT good for your progress: buckle down and plow on.

Meanwhile let’s all laugh behind their backs, shall we?  snicker…

But seriously – I want you to check out their claims to balance what I’m about to say.

On yet another sidenote – don’t get all offended if you’re running AdSense and come across this post (if you do, at least leave a comment, it’s fun that way).

If you do get offended easily, maybe read what Leo said instead.  He doesn’t bring up undead bovine to compare AdSense to, he’s much more level-headed.

Why I’m Nearly Thankful For AdSense

I started out making money online thorugh a little book – which was helpful with videos on how to set up WordPress, it got me started – called the Micro Niche AdSense Course until I looked at recent earnings.

(I have no affiliation with the Micro Niche AdSense Course or the new products John “X Factor” Robinson is putting out, that link is purely for reference. I have zero opinion on his new system. I’m utterly agnostic on the matter: I haven’t checked it out, don’t ask me what I think of it because I don’t know. I DO know his first book worked and taught me the basics in SEO from scratch.)

…great, now someone is thinking I just endorsed his new book – I’m neither endorsing it, nor warning you to stay away.

If I cared any less I’d become a blackhole in my office of not caring.  But I don’t think the insurance covers blackhole singularities or event horizons inside the house…and no, it’s not an affiliate link.




Why AdSense Sucks Rotten Milk From Putrefied Cadaver Cows’ Shriveled Udders


(How’s that for communication?)

I’ll ignore here the way that Google totally PWNS your site if you tick them off. Don’t believe me?

You haven’t read online very long or widely I’m afraid.  Give it ten more minutes and you’ll come across one of the legions of posts of people who’ve been PWNED from Google (I know: it’s their index, they can do what they want).

But let’s ignore all that – after all, every situation is algorithmically individually decided, I have no real idea why 1000′s of AdSense accounts get closed.

When the wrath of Google strikes, it sucks rotten milk from putrefied cadaver cows’ shriveled udders.

Quote me on that.  Five times fast.  With crackers in your mouth.

Why AdSense really sucks in my opinion:

You’re letting Google pay you pennies to increase your bounce rate, steal your customers, and take your traffic to a competing website.

Call me a monkey’s uncle, but I checked my AdSense account recently. I was excited. I had recently decided to make some more pennies by putting the blue clickies back on my site.

Yahoo! I made $1.27 on a CLICK man!

That was one website, mind you. Others who are in the AdSense biz make many more clicks – but here’s what that meant for me:

Instead of potentially getting someone to sign onto my list, or getting someone to become a customer at $60-$200 a sale, I said, “SURE! I’ll take a buck and change instead!”

AdSense IS Madness!

If you think you can’t make a sale online, or if you’re chasing markets that make you pennies on a transaction – then you may think that $1.27 is killer – you didn’t need to sell anything.

But if you target buying terms to begin with, you’re more likely to get a BUYER versus a BROWSER on your site.

Buyers, by the way, are also more likely to click the blue clickies…so either way, you’re milk toast with AdSense.

Conventional AdSense wisdom is to target buyers.  They’re more likely to click (since they want something you didn’t offer them: the product or service they were looking for).

Rather than make a sale, you make a click…

Then again, I don’t make $20k a month on AdSense like Cary Bergeron or Lisa Parmley or Spencer.

Still, every time I find a “Made For AdSense” website with no way out BUT the blue clicky linky, I cringe…This person is throwing THOUSANDS away and settling for chump change instead.

Why AdSense Rocks

It’s easy. Set up your site. Make the links stand out. Leave no way out BUT the AdSense clicks. Easy money. No thinky.

Web design consists of:

  • Ginormous double-stacked AdSense blocks above the fold…
  • Make sure your background and foreground color scheme is so bland that the ads “pop” proper…
  • Scrape something and rewrite it.  Better yet, just pay someone a buck for 500 words.
  • Stuff a keyword here….H1 there…alt tag here…bold and italicize that keyword until you hit 4% or something “modest” like that…
  • Get fancy and find some of them thar Ell Ess Aye deals…stuff those “Ell Ess Aye” words in, too.
  • Whoops!  Almost forgot to add a fake navigation bar set of ads, too…
  • Decide if you want your ads to be blending into the text or popping out…
  • Maybe use a theme like Clickbump, Heatmap or CTR theme (which Clickbump copied proper!).

Honestly it doesn’t even need to get that complicated.  But the point is that web design is cut and paste – the ads, rather than the user’s experience, reigns supreme in AdSense publishing.

AdSense User Experience

Joe Q. Visitor is looking for a barbecue grill.  His last one rusted through after 90 years of use.  Started to go to the Home Depot but figured he’d simply drank three too many beers.

Joe decides to search for his new grill online…and finds BBQ-Grillz.com (I’m making this up if you can’t tell).

At BBQ-Grillz.com, he sees a 500 word article and….and….nothing but AdSense.  So he clicks one of the ads.

Joe leaves frustrated, wanted to BUY SOMETHING but instead clicked an AdSense link to go back to Home Depot after all, only online…

Moral of the story?

AdSense Mostly Sucks

Not only does it suck, it sucks rotten milk from zombie cows’ udders and makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something besides making your visitor utterly frustrated you didn’t actually have that product for sale that you optimized your MFA site for.

Then again, you didn’t want to make tons of money – just tons of websites that Google could de-index at any time because you didn’t use a Kleenex when you sneezed on your keyboard, or because you actually bothered to optimize your website to get a higher clickthrough rate, which is “obviously” against their Terms of Use, right?

Yeah, I see that now. Makes perfect (Ad)sense.

Just sayin.

Disclaimer: If you work at Google, I’m sorry, I meant Bing ads suck.

In case you miss the madness, it goes like this:

  • Optimize for buying keywords, since they “convert” into CTRs better (mo’ moniez, amiright?).
  • Instead of showing product links or having an actual ecommerce store…you put up AdSense since it’s easier.
  • Buying traffic finds your site…comes to buy something…
  • Finds nothing but ads. Either clicks an ad or the red “X” to leave.
  • When customer returns to Google’s SERP’s, they see your site listed but with an invitation to block all instances of YOUR site in their listings…
  • Visitor clicks the link and you disappear from yet another potential customer’s screen for good.
  • Google collects this data and in turn, you rank lower come the next Panda update.
Ta-daa!  Yah, baby – sign me up for AdSense!
AdSense Business Model Summarized

Yes, Google – I’ll take your nickel AND give you my traffic!  I don’t want real money or customers anyway…

If you’re making money with AdSense – I guarantee you you’re throwing away more opportunity than you’re keeping in hand.

Site-for-site, page-for-page, you will need more work to make it big on AdSense than you would if you simply did CPA ads, or straight up affiliate marketing (or list building).

I used to get it.

Now I’m convinced I was stark raving mad with the “pennies rather than dollars” model that AdSense presented me with – and I proved it in my own business once I stopped chasing AdSense and started chasing the sales people were making elsewhere.

Think about it: an AdSense clickthru means the person was not satisfied with what they found on your site, or what they didn’t find.

So you drove them off.  But they paid a competitor the real money at the point of sale.

I just don’t get it anymore.

What Say You? Killing It With AdSense? Think Me a Fool?

It’s all good – this is an opinion piece. So what’s your opinion?

If you’re killing it with AdSense, let me ask you if you’re also doing affiliate marketing? If not, why not?

Just to confuse you further – if you’re making real money on AdSense, I’m not telling you to jump ship.  I am challenging you to be a smarter business person, though – and find other ways to profit from those same websites that would net you bigger wins.


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