Interesting write-up chez Zawodny about the Google AdSense program; pretty well anyone can sign up and put Google ads on their site, and get paid when someone clicks on the ads. So I signed up, although I don’t plan to run ’em for the moment. Except on this essay right here, along with some commentary on the program (soundbite: looks pretty reasonable so far).
I’m obviously not going to run ads on here as long as I have a a real job, but in principle I’ve nothing against the idea, I’ve cheerfully accepted payment for my contributions from advertising-supported publications before and don’t see why I should apply a different standard here. Yeah, it introduces potential strains and conflicts-of-interest and so on, well that makes me think of Elvis. As in, Elvis is dead; deal with it. So if Antarctica fires me for general moral depravity, and if there’s any money in it, I’d run ads here; it would take about fifteen seconds to mod the ongoing code to include ’em in.
IANAL but I’ve read more than a few contracts in my day and nothing particularly onerous leaps out at you. They have the right to use your name and logo in their advertising pretty much at their discretion.
The list of nefarious things you could do to cheat on the payment system—as detailed in the paragraph in the contract saying “Don’t do these things!”—is fairly eye-opening.
They are very close-lipped about how much you might make. The advertiser pays something to Google for the placement, and if someone clicks on it, then they send some proportion of that to you. If I pick up one or two clicks on this page, I’ll report back on what the takings are.
The little piece of markup they send you is well-formed. Very good. Do a View Source to see it.
The ads come in vertical and a horizontal formats, which with a bit of creativity could be fit into most page designs.
So all this seems very unexciting and sensible and straightforward to me, so far. Anyone who thinks that Google is going to retain their totally-dominant position in the world of Internet Search forever is just not thinking very clearly, so I imagine it will get even more normal a little ways down the road when there’s competition to sell this kind of ads on your site.
Of course the only really interesting question is whether there’s any money in it.