Google NonSense | February 20, 2004
Like many bloggers, I was interested when Google launched their AdSense program. For those of you unaware of this program, a content provider such as myself, will agree to serve ads on their site, and Google will pay the site owners on a per click basis. Lots of bloggers signed up to this program as a means of covering their hosting costs, and from the people I’ve spoken to, this seems to be working out quite well.
One of the nice things about the AdSense ads, is the fact they they are text based rather than images based. This makes them much less intrusive than regular ads and fits more with the content based approach of blogging. Another nice touch is the relevancy of the ads. Google spiders your site to get an idea of it’s content and attempts to serve ads your visitors will find useful. This makes sense an a number of levels. Obviously both Google and the site owner want more click through, so relevancy helps this. Relevancy is also very important to bloggers who don’t want to be seen as selling out and would definitely not endorse the irrelevant advertising you get on most sites.
Considering my monthly bandwidth charges are pretty big, when the program launched, I decided to sign up. Unfortunately at the time I was told that my blog went against their inclusion policy as it sat in a sub folder and not at the root of my domain. I had a quick look at said policy, but couldn’t find any mention of this. Still, Google are seen as pretty trustworthy, so I took this on face value.
However over the last few months I’ve noticed a score of bloggers carrying AdSense ads on their blogs, but not on their main domain (which is often their business site). I tried to register with AdSense again, but because I’d tried and had been rejected once before, they wouldn’t let me try again. I decided to email them to see if they would reconsider and this was what I was told.
“Google’s targeting technology is not optimised to serve ads on pages with dynamic content such as flash movies. As www.andybudd.com contains predominantly dynamic content, we have found that it is not a good fit for the AdSense programme at this time.”
I’ve tried to explain a number of times that there is only one Flash page on my site and that all the other pages are static pages produced by Movabletype. I explained that I had no desire to serve ads on the flash page and it was my blog I was planning to server ads on. However each email elicited the same response about dynamic content, not complying with their policies and reserving the right not to decline sites from the program.
I have to say that after this cycle of emails, I’m feeling distinctly less impressed with Google and their AdSense program. I had thought my blog would have been exactly the kind of site they’d have wanted to include, but they seem to have dug there heals in. I’ve though about moving everything up a level, so my blog resides on the root of my domain. That way the site may seem less “flash based”. However, that would be a monumental pain in the arse, mostly to do with setting up htaccess to rewrite all the changed links. I still may do this, but to be honest, Google’s less than helpful attitude in this whole matter has put me right off the idea.
Posted at February 20, 2004 8:44 AM