Yesterday I wrote about signing up for Google’s AdSense program, and started actually displaying some ads on that essay last night some time after 9 PM. Below is Google’s admirably-clear report on my first day in the Internet Advertising business. It’s interesting and, you know, there might be some money in this.

Ouch! There used to be a screen snap of the report from Google here, but if you look at the Terms and Conditions I signed up to, I agreed not to disclose click-through rates, which this does. The discussion below includes ranges and speculations, but no actuals.

First of all, check out that click-through rate. While Google, after the first hour or so, sensibly settled into a rhythm of serving exclusively XML-related ads on that page, a click-through rate of nearly 20% is insanely, ridiculously high. My bet would be that a lot of people who came to the page just clicked on the ads out of curiosity, or wanted to do me a favor. (Hey, thanks!) On the other hand, the number of “impressions” includes a few dozen page-refreshes from me watching to see which ads got served. I clicked on one ad once; I suspect they paid Google for that click, and since I’m not shopping for Web Services infrastructure they didn’t get their money’s worth; to make up for it here's a freebie link to Cape Clear, which looks like an interesting outfit.

Googledance? · Something changed partway through the experiment. Earlier on, the number of “impressions” on the Google report was 25% or so lower than the number of successful fetches I saw for that page in my Apache logfile. Google’s FAQ explains why: all the various kinds of robots and scrapers and so on don’t execute the javascript. So this would be an interesting if indirect way to measure the proportion of non-real visitors to your site.

But just now, I re-ran my query against the logfile and it came up with 509 fetches of the page; it’s almost scary when things match up like that.

Numbers · The arithmetic shows that I get about 16¢ per click-through. At ongoing’s current level of popularity, I could do 100,000 impressions per month. So in the insanely-unlikely event that I could maintain 15% click-through, that would be US$2400/month. I suspect that realistically at that level you’d be lucky to clear $1000; I mean, how many XML-related ads are there to serve before everyone’s seen them all a hundred times? Which is nothing that you’re going to retire on, but it would certainly cover the site’s costs and buy a couple of beers. And if you could drive the hits up, you could actually generate noticeable income.

This will be an interesting space to keep an eye on.

author · Dad
colophon · rights
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June 24, 2003
· Business (126 fragments)
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