Is BlogCatalog Paying for Ads On Its Own Site?

September 4th, 2008

I recently got one of many emails from to tell me that I had a message waiting for me – so off I went to see what it said.

Surprise, surprise it was yet another “Hey I have added you to my friends list. Hope you add me to” message – so I simply do what I always do and ignore it.

My eye was then caught by a banner ad on the site. “Bloggers Unite” and “Blogging for hope.”  it said triumphantly.

I am always eager to know how the big sites handle their adverts – i.e how they serve them. Some have internal systems – either custom made or OpenX - while other outsource this to ad agencies.

This is only for adverts that are displayed on their own sites. Of course, they also use ad agencies like Adsense and DoubleClick etc to advertise on other peoples/companies websites.

So I hovered over the banner ad to see if I could determine how it was served. To my amazement, I saw that it was coming from DoubleClick and that it was an ad for BLOGCATALOG.

See here :

So – does that mean that Blogcatalog have an Ad campaign running with DoubleClick, and Doubleclick are serving those ads on BlogCatalogs own site ?


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Categories: Ads

Google Keywords, the iPhone and Fighting Your Competition

June 19th, 2008
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So everyone on the planet must know that the new iPhone 3G is coming out next month and I for one will be getting one. So slender and sleek, refined and 3G. It’s also cheap as chips – so why wouldn’t you get one?

I was wanting to see some more images of the phone (I do this with everything I buy – so that by the time I actually own it, it’s like I’ve had it for 10 years) just to familiarize myself with it. So off I trumbled to Google, entered ‘iphone’ and hit the ‘search’ button.

207 million articles returned. Yeah – I don’t think I’ll move past the first page (who ever does?). Loads of places to go see the phone but which one to choose?

I then let my eyes move away from the usual hotspots to the left, and in order to try being the exception on one of those ‘webpage heat map’ thing’im’a'jigs – I took a look at the sponsored links to the right. Shocked – I found that the first link for the keyword ‘iPhone’ is held by one of the phones biggest rivals. LG.

LG Secret is the top listing

LG are currently marketing their ‘Secret’ phone. No its not actually a secret – that is just the name of the device.

I don’t know what they paid for the ‘iPhone’ keyword but this is a little underhanded in my opinion.

Not to be outdone by the iPhone craze, Blackberry also jumped in on the keyword. They obviously don’t value their device as high as LG does because they only spent enough to be position 3 – but still, high enough.

You could pass this off as ‘ya gotta do what ya gotta do’, but why don’t these companies just make better phones? All blackberry’s are ugly bricks. The LG Secret, although nice, just doesn’t come close.

These types of companies, Nokia included, need to start making their software more plugable to different technologies so that they cannot be stepped on by a newcomer, like Apple with the iPhone. Nothing Apple has done is innovative. The technology has been there for years. It’s just laziness that has allowed a competitor into the market and they only have themselves to blame.

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Categories: Ads, Google

The Economics of The Big Word Project

May 13th, 2008

I just came across an article on Wired that lead me to ‘The Big Word Project‘ – which has been created by fellow Northern Ireland-ers. Keen to explore – I dived in.

Basically – you buy a word in the English dictionary and pay $1 for each letter in that word. The word, on the big word project’s website, then has a permanent link to any website/page of your choice.

I flicked through the site, nicely designed, and blog for a while and then started to think…. Isn’t this a massive case of text-link-ads?

Text-Link-Ads is about buying a text link on someones website. When someone clicks on the link – you are taken to your website. Sweet. Prices vary depending on the popularity of the site you advertise on.

The Big Word Project seems very little different. You buy a word which links to your website.

The value of buying a word that links to your website needs a little thought :

  1. How much does the word cost
  2. How many visitors will click through to my website
  3. What additional benefits will I get from buying

How much does the word cost

The cost of the word is simple. Count up the number of letters in your word and that is how many dollars it will cost.

How many visitors will click through to my website

This question has a positive and negative aspect. Since the site is so new and the self proclaimed ‘Viral Guy’ , co-owner, is pushing all the right buttons to publicise it – you can be guaranteed some early traffic as website owners scramble to pick up the shoddy remains of the English dictionary (after all the good words are gone).

The problem comes when the initial clamour of interest wanes – the novelty wears off and site traffic deminishes – that your investment seems short lived.

What additional benefits will I get from buying

The pagerank and link text are key here. You talk about money on your site and a page with good pagerank links to you with the keyword ‘money’ and you are quids in. Google will like you a little more.


Buy a word, link it to your site and watch the traffic flow in – but it will mostly be novelty and short lived traffic.

The fact that most companies have names and not English dictionary words causes concern for me. I would want my word to be ‘McNicholl’ – but its not a word in the dictionary so its not allowed.

Google hammered blogs not so long ago for their irrelevant links – which posed to similarity to the content of the site that they were linking from. Bloggers the world over cried and called the end to Text-Link Ads as a revenue model. Their Pageranks crumbled. So how will ‘The Big Word Project’ give you good pagerank when Google wont pass the Pagerank love through to your site?

One way the guys over at ‘The Big Word Project’ could help out would be to have an individual page for each word that is text customizable by the person buying the word. That way they could make it seem a lot more relevant and the Pagerank would be passed through.

Fair play to the guys for the idea as it seems to be bringing in the money. It’s the simplest ideas that pay the biggest dividends.

Categories: Ads, General, SEO

Amazon Are Overcharging For The Xbox 360…

March 17th, 2008
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I spotted an amazing deal on Amazon the other day (see the image below). After announcements that the xbox 360 had just undergone a price drop, I thought I’d check out what they current retail for. I was shocked when I noticed that Amazon is charging £50 MORE that the RRP – and trying to make it look like a good deal.

I am sure this is a typo – but I thought it was funny. Normally these typo’s reflect a lower price than what it should be and are fantastic deals. This one aims to rip you off. It’d be interesting to find out if anyone actually purchased the 360 at £249.99 and if they did – would Amazon refund the difference after discovering they were overcharging.

I know they would be quick to cancel a deal where they were undercharging.  :-)


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Categories: Ads

The Economics Of Google Adsense…

March 14th, 2008
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The current financial market situation is putting people out of their homes and jobs at an alarming rate. America plunging head first into a recession has obvious ramifications not just for its own economical situation but also for most other countries around the world that trade with it.

When the gold standard, a measurment of a country’s currency, was abandoned around 1931-33 money has been printed on the promise of redemption by the government producing it. The value of the currency then depends heavily on the financial market conditions between countries.

As America has lead the rest of the world up the garden path like bleeting sheep, following their shepard, most currencies and economies are harshly affected by how the master is run. The value of the dollar has plummeted dramatically over the last 6-12 months. This means that countries selling lots to America have to up their prices in order to keep their profit margins. These price increases then feed into America and the customers have to pay more for their goods. Alas inflation goes up.

I could talk about China and how they aim to prevent this by artificially forcing their currency to be a specific price to in effect export their inflation to other countries – but that is beyond the scope of the post.


So what does all this mean? For American’s using Google Adsense as a revenue stream – not an awful lot. A dollar is a dollar. To members of other countries with different currencies – this is not so much of a good thing. The value of Google Ads decreases dramatically when the dollar is low against the reflective currency.

I am in the UK and therefore pay for things in Pounds Sterling(GBP). The current conversion rate of dollars to GBP is :

    1 Dollar    =   0.495420 pounds

So if I make Adsenses $100 dollar a month payout threshold I will effective only get £49.5356. So – less than half.

So my point is – at what point do non-american web publishers decide that using any service that pays in USD’s is no longer good business?

Do Americans think that they would be able to play the currency game by going with EURO (€) paying european advertisers as the conversion back to dollars reflects a higher return?

Sure – I can hoard my adsense checks in the hope that the dollar picks up sometime soon, but who can really afford to do this?

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Categories: Ads, Google

Google Adsense: I Don’t Want Those Ads!

February 12th, 2008

Have you ever clicked on your website/blog that has Google Adsense Ads and had your jaw hit the ground? This happened to me today when my music based blog showed gay ads served by Google Adsense. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I didn’t know that Adsense served advertisements like this.

I kept refreshing the page, hoping that the ad was a mistake – but no…. There it was again. Refresh. Same thing. Refresh again. Same.  “Damn! How do I get rid of this?” I thought.

Well – having quickly searched the net, it seemed the best way was to get the destination URL of the ad and then add it into the competitive ad filter in Google Adsense setup. One problem with this is that it can take up to 4 hours for the ad to be blocked. :-( thats pretty poor. I added the URL to the competitive filter over an hour ago now and it is still on the site. Pretty frustrating.

It is all well and good that I have blocked this ad – but the problem comes with the ads that I don’t know are out there. I am sure many other unsuitable ads are in the wild – so how do I restrict them? I cannot sit all day refreshing my webpage to weed out the bad ones only to manually add these to Googles competitve filter.

The problem is – Google does not provide any functionality to do anything like this.

I don’t even know what keywords the Adsense ad server has scanned from my website to determine that a gay ad was the most appropriate to serve.

Do you know a way around this issue?

Categories: Ads, Google

Are you Interested or Entrecard?

February 7th, 2008

I started using Entrecard recently to see if the traffic would increase any towards the blog. One gripe I have read many times on various sites is that the Entrecard visits to your site are purely to drop of a card and leave.

This can have a good impact on your traffic statistics as it shows a higher number of page views and unique visitors – which seems to get advertisers all excited. For me, the person interested in having valuable people drop by with their valuable opinions – this isn’t really all that great.

When I check google analytics to determine how much traffic I receive from Entrecard, two URL’s appear:


I can understand that people wanting to drop a card or those who are interested in Advertising on my website would come from The other URL, as I have determined, is purely for people who want to drop their cards as quickly as possible. It’s this traffic that is useless. I can understand why the guy at has created this app, but it is “I have fallen to the dark side” kind of functionality. If the makers of Entrecard wanted their users to just drop their cards and run from every site on the network I am sure this is something that couuld easily be arranged in an automated form. I think the idea of Entrecard is to encourage networking, while also enabling the little guys to gain valuable exposure by advertising on larger blogs. As soon as it starts to be gamed, as it is now, it starts to lose its value.

As a small blog owner, I am hoping that the advertisers see something they like and that the small amount of ads I place actually get clicked on and some interested visitors hang about.

Do you have a blog and use Entrecard to promote yourself? Let me know how its going…

Categories: Ads

Adsense for Video…

February 4th, 2008
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I have recently been in the process of creating a new site that I want to launch and found that Googles Adsense for Video would be perfect for the readers as it should provide a lot higher return that standard text links. It so simple and seemingly less intrusive for people to click “play” than it is to click on a link that whisks them off to another site where the content isn’t really what they were looking for. I am hoping that the removal of the “another website” barrier will encourage clicks and hence provide a higher return.

One item that I have been having difficulty with is the youtube integration with the Google Adsense platform. A week ago I tried to set up my account only to recieve :

500 Internal Server ErrorSorry, something went wrong.

A team of highly trained monkeys has been dispatched to deal with this situation.

Please report this incident to customer service.
Also, please include the following information in your error report:
































Unbelievably annoying. Then some notices appeared on the youtube site to indicate that they were “undergoing some servicing – I though “fair enough – I’ll call back later.”. Calling back a few hours later and I was presented with the same error.

So I decided to leave it a few days and have just now tried again to setup the account and player. This time I was able to get in to customize the player and set categories, but as soon as I clicked “Generate Code” – it was back to the same old “500 Internal Server Error“. I don’t know what is going on …

Is anyone else experiencing anything similar?

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Categories: Ads, Google

Company Blogs and Adsense…

December 14th, 2007
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I have just finished reading Why AdSense Might NOT be Best for Your Blog on Darren Rowse’s Problogger Blog.

Everything that Darren has said is correct – its some of the comments that I find odd. The post itself revolves around 7 reasons that Google’s Adsense program may not be the best money making program for your blog – finished of with the customary “what do you think?” question to his readers.

A few of the commentators feel that Adsense on a company’s blog is a bad idea. I think they have missed the point entirely. For a start – there are many different types of companies. Most firms sell a product or service and this generates revenue – Revenue that they can utilise for their future endeavours. Other companies provide a service for free and require other revenue streams to survive.

Digg, Reddit, YouTube and their ilk had venture capital funding and their business model (in the early days) was ‘maximum exposure’ and ‘maximum userbase’ with a view to being bought over by a larger firm.

No Funding

Firms that do not get or do not want to get venture funding have to grease the coffers with something. Most advertising programmes will not entertain your website/blog with their ads until you have a certain amount of eyes glazing over your pages – so in the beginning (i.e Zero Pagerank, Zero visitors and Zero Income) some would say it’s best to have something coming in than nothing at all. This is where Adsense steps up.

Darren Rowse started with Adsense, as to did all the other bloggers that are popular today. This is now their business. Darren has now stated that on – he has outgrown Adsense. If he can optimise the space on his blog and capitalise on its popularity then obviously private advertising will return higher than adsense – so the change is simple business logic. This takes time though, private advertisers don’t come running to your door just because you have a website.

So – back to point – Adsense is the best place to start generating income for any fledgling company/self-employed/part-time blogger simply because it brings in money until the higher return avenues open up.

p.s. Even established companies find Adsense to be a valuable avenue of income – e.g – This is Northern Irelands main train company with gross income of close to £1million per day. They still use Adsense on their website.

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Categories: Ads

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