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Are You Trading Dollars for Dimes with Adsense?

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Adsense has become ubiquitous. It's everywhere. It's unavoidable. Somewhere along the line, the entire Internet became swept up in Adsense fever. Everyone began to believe that they'd be able to retire by sticking a skyscraper on the right sidebar of their blog. Businesses looking for a way to make an extra buck put a nice small square ad on their home pages. Hardcore Adsense gamers cranked out giant sites filled with keyword-rich content and plenty of ad blocks in hopes of becoming contextual advertising tycoons.

And now that things are settling down, some of us need to realize that our Adsense fever might have left us trading dollars for dimes.

Adsense is a good tool. Truth be told, it's a great tool. It's easy to use. It's a nice fit with virtually any kind of site. It's reliable. You don't need to worry about Google bouncing a check. There's a lot to like.

But that doesn't mean it's the best tool in every circumstance.

Have you ever seen a site that's selling a product or service of its own that also has a few Adsense blocks on it? Most of the time, the people who are doing this haven't blocked any URLs from displaying.

The result is mind-boggling. You're on the homepage for Happy Uncle Dom's Strawberry Jam. Dom is pitching his jam like a madman. Every jar he sells makes him $10. And right there—right to the side of his order button on the page's sidebar—there's an Adsense ad block.

The ad in that block? Uncle Ron's Jam. Strawberry Special. $5 Today.

Ron is going to pay a few cents for that click. Dom is going to get a fraction of that. Tom is going to sell a jar of jam. Dom is not. Dom just traded $10 for ten cents.

Don't advertise the competition. If your site is in the business of selling, promote yourself. Don't promote the competition, which is what you're probably doing if you're using Adsense on your page.

If you do feel some sort of need to keep the Adsense up, at least crawl into your options and block competitor URLs. Yes, this will probably decrease your CTR, but it's better to miss out on a handful of nickels if it keeps the big spenders on your pages.

If you fell in with the mad rush of people sprinting for Adsense riches, this is a great time to step back and to take a look at whether you're handing over your best prospects to competitors in exchange for small change.



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