Saturday, October 9th, 2004
If you’ve visited my blog in the past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed some ads by Google but you probably never clicked on them. Since September 20th, I’ve had 878 page impressions but only 3 ad clicks, an impressive clickthrough rate of 0.3%. Google pays about $0.03 per click, but it sends out a check only after a site accumulates $100 worth of revenue. At about one click per week, it would take until sometime in the year 2068 before I’d get my first check, assuming I was even still alive then.

The ads were part of Google’s AdSense program, which serves up "text and image ads that are precisely targeted, on a page-by-page basis, to your site’s content—ads so well-matched, in fact, that your readers will actually find them useful." Unfortunately AdSense has a weird sense of humor. It thought that because I wrote about preachers such as Jimmy Swaggart or Benny Hinn my readers would be interested in ads about conservative Christian movies or Catholic resources. The ads served up for my front page were even stranger "matches." I’ve never written about Katie Holmes or Jessica Simpson (before now), but AdSense thought people coming to my site would find ads about these women useful. At least my classes page got more pertinent ads about language arts and educational standards, but even on these ads no one clicked.

Some of the ads were for dubious products. As I commented shortly after starting to display Google ads, I thought the e-books offered by Google advertiser Coradella were a rip-off, considering the works offered for $30 were available for free through Project Gutenberg. That ad didn’t bother me though—I just thought the product was stupid—but I didn’t like having ads for Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ on my site, and I actually blocked those (AdSense enables its users to block specific advertisers).

At any rate, the grand experiment is over. It’s not worth cluttering up my site with ads if no one’s going to click on them.

I guess I’m not going to get rich quick after all.


Wednesday, August 11th, 2004
One of the benefits of running this site on a web host instead of just putting it on my ISP's server is that I have access to the web logs, giving me some information about my site's visitors and what pages they're looking at. (Earthlink, my ISP, offers Urchin, which reports basic info such as number of visitors and number of hits. Urchin also has lots of enticing links promising info such as referrals and browser types, but these links all lead to a page asking you to upgrade to Earthlink's web hosting package. While Earthlink is fine as an ISP, I wouldn't recommend them as a web host.)

At any rate, what I've found is that by far the most popular page on my web site is my blog from October 2003. I've also found that the reason for this is Google's image search. Last month I had 541 hits from it, mainly from images.google.com but also from images.google.ca, images.google.com.au, images.google.fr and from several other countries. Of those 541 hits, 386 of them were for the October 2003 blog page. August isn't even over, and I've had 389 hits from Google's image search, of which 243 were for the October 2003 page.

What were these people searching for, you may ask. Nudity! of course. There were some other search entries such as "brown," but most people want to see nude pictures, and Google Images directs them to my site, which really isn't the best place on the net to find nude pictures. There is a little bit of nudity on the October 2003 page, a butt shot of a drunken guy in a limo, but his hands cover most of his buttocks and I used PhotoShop to blur the bit between them. If I were using Google to find something to get myself excited and that was the best it could come up with, I'd be disappointed.

My bandwidth usage was also markedly higher for these two months, although, luckily, not so high as to cost me any extra money. Nevertheless I did what I should have done when I first set up my site, which was to set up hotlink protection. Of course I don't mind people looking at my pictures, but I'd rather they see them in context. However, Google's image search still shows the whole page if someone clicks on one of the thumbnails returned by Google. I decided to hone my PHP skills a bit and came up with a way to redirect visitors from images.google.* landing on my October 2003 page to a special message.

You might also ask why I've posted links in this entry to Earthlink, AffordableHost and Google but not to the October 2003 page that all this is about. Well I figured that page gets enough hits already. If you really want to see Todd's butt and read about why he showed it, use the month navigation links on this page.
 
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david@davidlauri.com