July 24th, 2005

classic cylon

the dark side of AdSense

In the Google AdSense forum of WebmasterWorld,
someone posted a sad tale of having their AdSense account terminated. (The tale appears as
the 84th posting in the thread Responding to "I was terminated" threads.) A friend
of his tried to help him out by clicking on the ads (unbeknownst to him). Assuming this is
true, it's unfortunate, but it illustrates what a risky proposition AdSense is. As easily
as a friend might "help" you, an enemy or even a stranger might click on your ads enough to
get you booted from the program. IMO, it's a bad idea to rely on AdSense for revenue.
Maybe use it to cover the costs of a small website, but not much more.
classic cylon

AdSense's impact on web content

Another interesting thread on WebmasterWorld, A Whole New Web, speculating
on how web sites with AdSense links are now starting to focus more on getting clicks than
content. It's very similar to how linking was originally intended to help people find
related material, but is now (arguably, not by everyone) being used to boost rankings in
search engines.

This could make quite a study for some aspiring media student. I wonder if Lessig or any of
the other modern media critics have explored this. Also, if this starts getting out of
hand, you'll see more ad blocking software created to deal with it.