After my first experiments with Adsense and artificial intelligence, I thought it might be interesting to try it out on a website with more traffic. (However great my privacy and under construction pages are, they arent the most visited pages on the web!) So when I discovered there was a scheme for sharing profit from Adsense on a community website I was using anyway, it seemed like a great opportunity: after all, what was there to lose?
3 Months Of Sharing Profit From Adsense On A Community Web Directory
At the time (in 2007), I was a member of Hedir, which was then a busy website based around a peer reviewed directory. There was a community of developers, moderators and reviewers and a much larger group who submitted websites for approval in the directory. The idea was that people who submitted websites should also review others, but not many of them seemed to catch on to this. This was a shame because it was a great way to find out what works and what doesnt work on other peoples websites. The Hedir community website also offered forums, and later blogs for its members.
Every page on the website showed a couple of Google adsense units, and they operated a scheme for sharing the profits with members of the community who signed up for it by adding their Google AdSense publisher IDs to their user profiles.
This seemed like a clever idea to me. Having seen as a member that hundreds of websites were submitted to the directory every day, I was sure this idea would be a winner, especially when my own website was as quiet as Tumbleweed City.
AdSense also provides a feature called channels which allows you to track which pages are loaded and which ads are clicked. So I created an AdSense Source channel ID and added it to my Hedir user profile. I reviewed about 50 websites and posted some entries into the forums. Then I checked in with Google AdSense every day for the next few weeks to see what was going on.
At the end of February, my first month with Google AdSense, I had gone from under 20 Adsense impressions, to over 300. I also made $0.13, which surprisingly turned out to be from my own site. It was a click from my Valentine’s Day poem. So I’m up there with Hallmark, making a profit from Valentines Day.
I checked again after the first half of March, when I had been away for 10 days so presumably wasnt loading my own website as much, and the excitement was all over: not many page loads and no more earnings.
After a month of fairly intensive posting, I had not made any money from it. As Id been away for 10 days in the middle, I thought for a proper trial Id give it another month of posting to review pages and forums. By the end of this I had posted about 300 times in total, and I think that gives it a very good chance of working if its going to. And it didnt, much.
So What Happened To My Adverts?
The Alexa traffic rank of the site seems good, at around 32,000, but there were at the time about 180 pages of sites listed in the review queue, and not many people reviewing them. This probably meant that each directory page wasnt viewed as much as I expected. People were happy to submit their own sites but most couldn’t be bothered to review anyone else’s.
If there had been a requirement for everyone who submitted a site to do a certain number of reviews, that would have brought the size of the queue down and got each page viewed more frequently. However, it wouldnt necessarily have got more views for each members adverts, and heres why:
The reason for the tail off in Hedir adsense views when I was away is of course that once another review was added to each page (which would be the reason for most of the page views), those ads wouldnt show up with my adsense id any more, because they would be assigned to the next reviewers id. They would have been removed from the number of pages still available for earning me adsense commissions.
Given the way that people used the review pages, I think there is not likely to be much commission from revenue sharing ads in this situation, although it does may a short term incentive to post a review.
The forums were probably viewed more often, being publicly available and linked from the front page, but forum ads were only linked to the last poster 20% of the time.
However, I did discover another benefit to posting on a community website: people will sometimes follow the links in your postings signature. So I had about 300 signatures posted on various pages, which I linked to 3 of my customers websites, and I did see more traffic coming to the websites from them.
The site also offered blogs with adsense revenue sharing, but I didnt get round to trying that, as I found that even when I was getting page impressions, people hardly ever clicked on the ads.
Ive read in various blogs that visitors from social networking websites will rarely click on the ads, and when they do, they arent looking to buy anything. Whats worse, too much social traffic to your Adsense sites can lead to your account being smart priced (a policy of paying you only very small amounts for each click, since your visitors are not valuable to the advertisers). And once your account is smart priced, those low payments will apply to all your Adsense, on any website.
So sharing profit from adsense on Facebook, for example, could be a bad idea if its used on home pages, with their social visitors and generalised content. (Or would half the Facebook pages become stuffed with high value keywords?!) But it could do better on group pages focused on particular subjects, where members might be looking for advice or a product recommendation, and an advertiser could supply it.
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