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by Franki

As an Adsense member, I spend a good deal of time and effort working out what the best methods are to get this site to pay for as many of its expenses as possible. To that end I have played endlessly with the position of the Google Ads to reach a balance between revenue and annoyance. The idea that the site should pay for itself (and one day perhaps for us also) isn’t such an unreachable goal I believe, but I will not turn it into a walking billboard as that would turn the people we most want to visit us away from the site in disgust.

Anyway, while moving things around and watching the Adsense earnings to see how the changes effect the click through rate on Ads, I noticed a somewhat annoying problem that probably affects a good many sites using content aware advertising.
Since we cover not just web development issues, but also security and some general IT issues, sometimes small stories on these subjects can almost completely kill the Ad revenue from the site. For instance both Don and myself recently covered the Mastercard card theft story here, and the result is that now our Ads are mostly for cheap credit card offers. Since most people get enough of such offers in their daily SPAM, I can only assume that they’ve had enough and this is why our revenue for the past couple of days has fallen into the toilet. Most of our traffic comes from Google search and Google news. Since both of those services are remarkably good at sending people to the right places, our visitors are generally interested in our subject matter. The problem is that that subject matter doesn’t really include cheap credit card offers. So our two tiny articles on the Mastercard issue (and probably this article as well) result in most of a weeks worth of advertising our users are not interested in at all.

There are two solutions to the problem. One is to not write about such things, which is something I’d prefer not to do as it is important for web developers to be aware of potential security issues. The other solution is for the Ad company (Google in this case) to create an ignore list that site owners can use to ensure that certain words are not considered “content” by the algorithm that decides what Ads are best suited for our sites. Google does give us the ability to block certain URLs from our Ads, but to stop the credit card Ads would seemingly require that I add about 200 or more different URLs to the block list. If they offered an “Ignore” list, I could simply add “Credit Card” and “Mastercard” to the list and that would be the end of our problems, this time at least. Companies offering these services seem much more interested in helping the people and companies purchasing the advertising rather then the publishers that end up displaying the Ads on site. Until that changes, all we can do is grit out teeth and wait for the “less desired” Ads to be replaced by something hopefully more profitable and related to our subject matter.

Failing the ignore list, I’d alternatively like to see something like the recent rel=”nofollow” attribute that content publishers can put around terms that they’d prefer the Ad services ignored when parsing a site. That would be easier for the Ad companies to instigate, and simple for content publishers to adopt.

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  Time  in  Don's  part  of the world is:   August 16, 2018, 8:09 pm
  Time in Franki's part of the world is:   August 17, 2018, 9:09 am
  Don't worry neither one sleeps very long!

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