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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 9 January 2009
The Google Adsense experience ... so far at non profit SAM micro news

Well call us slow but after 2 years and a month dithering we finally managed to take the plunge and subscribe to Google Adsense.

On the upside, it wasn't really that difficult to work out where to place the html code they allocate to you. It wasn't that frustrating reading carefully for several hours (in aggregate over several weeks break in between, sometimes refreshing) over the terms, policies, how to, extra mysteries to track down later etc. They are very user friendly it seems.

The biggest advantage was realising early that the "source view" for the html code to insert in SAM articles are easy enough to access and add to via a blog tool. I had noticed the existence of these programmes way back 2 years ago subscribing to our host web server, a big US company. Indeed we have learned that 70% of our readers are US based. So we are actually a 'US blogger' in Sydney Australia. Given there is a Sydney USA somewhere over there, it might be confusion.

There are 'blog tool' programmes for just about every web host server apparently. So the entry page has WYSIWIG which is jargon for What You See Is What You Get - not just the name as I recall of a downtown photo laboratory in the 1990ies here in Sydney for getting colour slides copied. The entry page has also switch button for source code for the article just written.

Inserting adverts around the general infrastructure of the SAM website, not just within article entries is a much bigger ask. This means really going into the html source code - which we are just starting to sniff around now. Especially the big white blank streak at bottom left of the screen that would take a skyscraper ad unit no worries.

We are allowed 3 'link ad units' and '3 text/image based ad units' per web page. Given our SAM front page was running at 10 articles of roughly a screen length long each (or 10 screen length scrolls per page) we soon realised we needed to limit our front page to 5 articles. Our web host server allows 1 or 5 or 10 front page articles so we stayed with 5 which is reasonable spacing of 5 often text based articles and 3 picture adverts and 3 link based adverts. We have also copied the crikey.com.au technique of setting a divider in place to avoid any editorial confusion between content and mucky money. And given we are not permitted to click on the links ourselves without a preview tool (at risk of being banned) so far we have no idea who is behind many of these advertised services/products.

So now the first shaky steps in the world of html proceeds in order to copy and paste the code provided by Google Adsense. They are very efficient too filling the advert spaces within a very short time sometimes paying, often charity slots. But who are they paying? Not SAM content provider would be our view. That's how Google is rich and we just a little micro news blogger.

But their "complex algorithms" as a "technology company" are impressive. Not least because they have bot crawlers that appear to match up the content of the articles and origin of the readers - which is information SAM doesn't really have even as the webpage creator. We presume anyway that the adverts for Arabic and Hebrew language courses, for local Holden cars, for foreign diplomacy education, teaching in the UK etc all reflect the segments of the 25,000 readers per month from those places.

These adverts are quite informative of services out there in the world which is something the advertising industry claims for their product in the uplifting sense. So yes they are quite compatible with the look and goals of the SAM non profit ethos. Who is actually behind those adverts and services we have no idea.

There is a micro managing tool called "channels" which we have little clue about so far. And we have realised over night that with about 1000 stories already on the site, that's 6 x 200 html advert scripts we could be adding onto the site. That feels like a fair bit of drudgery for probably scant income. But who really knows.

We would welcome comments or advice on experience of non profits or community based blogs as to either income, presentation or know how.

Posted by editor at 11:04 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2009 12:17 PM EADT

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