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Friday, February 17, 2006

Blogging for Dollars

If you read a lot of blogs, you have likely noticed a “tip jar” link or two. I want to say it’s the latest way for bloggers to make cash from their blogs, but I’m sure someone out there has had a “tip jar” for years. (It seems everything uncovered on the internet has been around for years, or at least someone who claims it has been.)

Apparently, readers can now tip their favorite blogger through PayPal or other systems. It’s the modern equivalent of the glass on the piano of lounge acts, I presume, or the brash cousin of Google AdSense.

AdSense was the final lure that got me into blogging. The program seemed easy enough — place Google-generated advertisements on your site, and earn money if readers click on the ads to check them out. Of course, you can’t click on your own ads for obvious reasons. You also cannot put blatantly obvious suggestions that folks click on your ads — no bouncing arrows pointing to the ads saying “Click here to support your favorite blogger.”

Fair enough, I thought. And while I didn’t expect to make tons of money, nor am I about to add a tip jar to my blog, I’ve been curious about how I stacked up against other AdSense users. Google prohibits you from discussing profits — at least that’s what I read somewhere — but let’s just say I won’t be going anywhere on my profits any time soon. At this point I’d like to note that I’m not criticizing the AdSense program. There are two very important reasons for that: a) I genuinely have no complaints, and b) after what I’ve been reading, if I was criticizing the program, I’d expect two goons to knock on my door and snap my neck minutes after publishing this post.

The first thing I found in my efforts to size-up my fellow Google ad participants was that there’s plenty of people out there who want to sell you their idea for maximizing profits from the program. Googling “adsense” revealed:

AdSense Ready Web Sites: 150 Content Rich Web Sites; Instant Download & Easy Setup

Earn $1000 a day on-line: Amazing Internet Earning packages; Very low cost of ownership!

Amazing Adsense Secrets: If you can copy & paste, you can make $1000 per day in your pajamas

AdSense Ready Web Sites: 300 Content Rich Web Sites; Instant download now

AdSense Pays Me Too Much: I Make $16,768 Monthly With AdSense; I'll Show You How In Free Video

Own an Adsense Ready Site: Instantly build your own Adsense Empire - Only $99.95

AdSense Secret Tool: Adsense Tycoon reveals his Secret Tool for making Tons of Cash online

$100,000/month guaranteed: Start earning within 15 minutes! Step-by-step instructions - $39.90

Anyone want to bet these promises are a bit hollow?

Eventually, after wading through techy after techy discussing the ins and outs of the algorithms, clickfraud, etc., I found a little bit of what I was looking for. From

I hear from a lot of different Google AdSense participants about their results with the program, and it's surprising to me how many say that they're quite dissatisfied with their ability to monetize their traffic. Some will share comments like "I earned $18 last month, so I've decided to just drop out of the program entirely." It's their decision, but I have to say that a little bit of effort put into customizing your AdSense ad blocks and learning about how to fine tune your use of the AdSense system can really pay big benefits in terms of you truly understanding what is and isn't working on your site.

Eighteen bucks a month? I’d be doing cartwheels if I was in that range! Ok, maybe I’m a lightweight. But I kept looking, and offered:

I had the privilege to interview a regular guy (not a well-known ‘Guru’) who claims [he is] making more than $200 a day with Google AdSense Program.

C’mon. This is depressing. Then I found this at

OKAY...I can testify that Google Adsense is for real! I received my first check from Google today, and I am really excited. . . . I was skeptical at first when I signed up for the program because I had tried [many] other affiliate programs and never saw any money! I started with Google on July 15th last year. I design websites and figured I could place the Google ads on all of my own personal websites and blogs and at least some of my client's sites as well.

This seemed a bit more reasonable. Tons of work for little reward. I won’t bore you with the rest of what I found, but it was pretty much more of the same.

I learned a while back that writers better love the process of writing, because the odds of making a lot of money at it are slim to none. It seems the same should be told to future bloggers.

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