Saving Google Advertisers Money By Not Clicking Ads

I’m doing an odd thing lately and I’m not sure when or how it started. I’m pretty much adsense blind on websites so it’s not an issue there, but I do tend to notice google ads if I’m doing a search on Google.

Instead of clicking an ad that I want to visit, I’m grabbing the url from the ad display, pasting it in my browser address bar and visiting the site directly. Without clicking the ad.

I guess I just want to save the advertiser some money. It’s definitely not a negative impulse on my part (ie. trying to screw Google). I’m not a Google fan, but that’s too lame even for me–trying to ‘teach them’ by not clicking an ad or two :lol:.

Really–I’m not 100% sure what’s motivating it or when it started, I do it without thinking. But I KNOW how much these guys are paying for clicks and I KNOW I’m probably just browsing/not buying–so I cut Google out on my way in to give the advertiser a break.

Wondering if I’m the only nutbar doing this?

Why Not Adwords and PPC?

I received a note asking me why I wanted to stay away from adwords/PPC, adsense and the rest for growing my income online.

I won’t get into my distaste for adsense and my conviction that it’s going to burn a lot of webmasters in the end (opinion only of course) because I think it gets tiring after awhile. I’m even bored of my adsense rants :lol:.

But I don’t think I’ve really talked about PPC advertising and why I’ve moved away from it.

I did work with adwords advertising back in the day. It’s a good program IMO, and it does have value and can indeed bring juicy, targeted traffic.

First an FYI: I seem to have this quirk within me that insists on doing things the hard way. I smell a strange smell when it comes to ‘easy money’ and ‘fast cash’ online. Because that’s not at all what I’m interested in.

What I want to focus on is building a solid foundation, something that will still produce money even when Factor A craps out.

I used to hang a bit with someone online who did very, very well with PPC advertising. For a year or two he made his cash, life was good, sun shone, birds sang, and all was right with the world.

He spent all his time finding more keywords to use, writing and rewriting ads, worked on his landing pages, anything and everything to keep the flow of money coming. Totally enveloped in the ppc culture.

One month he ran into a bit of trouble. Bids were rising, clicks were coming that did nothing, sales dropped.

Two things happened: he was getting priced out (bids got too high) and he (eventually) traced his empty clicks back to click fraud. To be successful in PPC, your profits need to be high enough to cover both bid increases and fraudulent clicks.

He rode out one month with some concern, second month he grew more concerned, third month panic, fourth month forced out of the game altogether (time estimates from memory).

Now that adwords and other ppc options crapped out for him, he had nothing. There was no organic traffic because the site was so reliant on ppc. I have no idea where he’s at now. He’s literally dropped off the face of the earth.

I don’t want that same ending for myself. I don’t want to spend my time obsessing over PPC stats and performance. I’d rather take that focus and energy and put it in places that will serve me well over time.

Reason #2: I’m not sophisticated enough to be able to monitor what affiliate product sales are coming from organic traffic and what paid advertising is producing. Seems silly to me to bid and pay for keywords when you have no idea how well they’re performing for you and whether or not they’re worth having bid wars over.

PPC Tip: I experienced higher conversions when my ads were displayed at the bottom of the heap rather than fighting for the top three slots. My theory is that the visitors were more motivated.

I’m Horrified – Martha Stewart Displays Adsense

Autographed Pic Martha Stewart

I’m a big fan of Martha Stewart’s. Yup I am!

I think she’s a kick-butt business person and have followed her for years (I have a personalized autographed photo from her too! :lol:).

Not to mention every single Martha Stewart magazine (ok just up to year 2005–I’m running out of shelf space!).

But horror of all horrors, Martha’s displaying Google Adsense on her website marthastewart.com:

Pie Crust 101

Martha Adsense

When a website such as marthastewart.com starts filling ad units with adsense, good gravy is there any hope for the rest of us?

It … it … all appears so desperate to me. Surely a website like Martha’s can attract a much, MUCH, better monetized solution?

Disclaimer: I’m obviously not an Adsense fan ;).

Thanks to Stephan Miller for the heads up.

Yahoo Auctions Cost Zip Zero Nada

Yahoo Auctions

Yahoo! Auctions has changed its pricing to create a model that is free for all consumers listing items on our Auctions platform.

Many users have been asking for this type of structure, and we are happy to provide it as a way to strengthen our partnership with the seller community and clearly demonstrate our commitment to our sellers’ success. The new pricing model will go into effect Monday, June 6, 2005.

I can’t remember that far back, but wasn’t Yahoo Auctions initially free to list? Or maybe it was a nickle or something. I remember a big outcry all those years ago when they changed their pricing structure. Now it looks like they have zeroed out everything – including FVF:

Revenews reports that Yahoo’s revenue will be generated by its paid search listings:

Until now, Yahoo’s listing fees have ranged from 5-75 cents, with a 2% final value feed. Yahoo said it will generate revenue from its U.S. auctions by through its paid search listings.

I haven’t visited Yahoo Auctions in eons, so I quickly popped over and saw how their paid search listings are displayed. It’s quite a fine setup for ppc advertisers, check out this example:

Yahoo Auction Results Example

You have sponsor results on top, right sidebar and below the auction results. hmmm if the auction sellers grab hold of this and run with it, and if the auction buyers follow the sellers and flock to this (read high traffic), and the ppc search listings are imping at high speed – bingo! Serious traffic option for our sites, albeit ppc. Go Yahoo!

Thanks to Revenews for the heads up.

Click My Adsense Ads – The Beggars

I was checking out technorati last night to see what the news was on adsense, and was quite surprised at how many *stooopid* bloggers are out there begging for adsense clicks. So then I did another search or two. Here’s a quickie so you can see what I’m talking about:

Click My Ads

Picking out a few easies:

“Remember to click the google links”
“I’m not allowed to tell you to click the Google ads…but I’m doing an experiment”
“I’ve only made $0.xx this month and I need beer so click the ads”
“Click my Google Ads…each help bring my free services to you”
“I need the cash so click an ad”
“Notice the Google Ads above…so let’s click click click and make me …”

Those were the easy obvious picks showing in the technorati summaries on the first two pages. I didn’t even bother digging through all the results to see if there were more. You’ll have different results than I had because of the time of search, but I’m sure you’ll find several yourself. They’re so easy to find and so many of them, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

Google Adsense Policies

Incentives

Web pages may not include incentives of any kind for users to click on ads. This includes encouraging users to click on the ads or to visit the advertisers’ sites as well as drawing any undue attention to the ads. This activity is strictly prohibited in order to avoid potential inflation of advertiser costs. For example, your site cannot contain phrases such as “click here,” “support us,” “visit these links,” or other similar language that could apply to any ad, regardless of content.

The language is so clear, so easy to understand, you don’t need to be a linguist or english language major to get the message. Why so many adsense beggars running around? Hello People – Google’s holding the cash – so ya better follow their rules.

Experiments *don’t make it ok*
Beer money needed *doesn’t make it ok*
Short on cash *doesn’t make it ok*
Free services provided *doesn’t make it ok*

I’m looking at my shiny crystal ball and I predict:

Google Adsense accounts nuked right before payday. Silly people – tricks are for kids.

Share And Compare Adsense Earnings

AdMoolah was launched the other day for adsense publishers wanting to gather and compare notes. Not a lot happening yet (hey they just started :lol:), but it may prove itself to be a useful resource for adsense publishers.

In March 2005, Google updated the policies of the AdSense program to allow users to “accurately disclose the amount of Google’s gross payments”. This is great news for webmasters because now we can get a sense of how we compare to other sites and we get to find out what kinds of numbers are possible.

They also started a blog here: AdMoolah Blog

We also have a blog where you can keep up-to-date with what’s happening at this site and with AdSense in general.

Thanks to John Battelle’s Searchblog for the heads up.