Google AdSense doesn’t like me anymore. We were once friends, but I did something to upset their algorithms. I think `algorithms’ is just googles code for referring to their unseen overlords. I suspect it’s a Dr. Who kinda thing, where the good Doctor would find that the Daleks (or some other evil alien presence) was secretly the mastermind and controlling factor behind some innocuous looking front organization. Maybe, it’s more of a Terminator sort of thing, with an enlightened super computer controlling Googles operations (?). Whatever the reason, the algorithms were offended. Oops. And apparently, if they told me why, they’d have to kill me (why else would they withhold that information from me?). Seeing as I don’t want to die, I’ve chosen to live in a grey shroud of ignorance concerning this subject matter (luckily for me, I’m really good at that). Dr. Who has taught me that this route maximizes my personal survival: For whenever someone meets the Daleks, the Daleks meat them.
It’s sad though, ‘cuz overall I liked their service. It was easy to implement and promised to buy me an occasional coffee. I still recommend them; just don’t look the Algorithms in the eye!
It’s not that they were perfect. I frequently had ads with fat wrinkly people in thongs. That’s right, you heard me correct. Luckily mine is not a food blog, or I’d have named it Ralph. And I must admit, I am suspicious of the dubious claims some of the other ads would make, all in an effort to lure spectators from my site. But that’s O.K., the ads were not malicious and they were not vulgar or over the top crazy. If you didn’t like them, you didn’t have to hit them. And Googles strength was their focused marketing. Occasionally, I would have ads applicable to my geographic area, specifically targeted to interest me (such as a dealership sale with a barbecue within my vicinity). This helps generate relevant content and more click activity. But with Googles departure, I was forced to look elsewhere.
Google’s a big company. That helps give me the impression that they’re respectable and will pay me. So that led me to Amazon, another large, respectable company. Again, sign up was easy and so was implementation. I have found that their widget’s code takes a little longer to load. But that’s not a deal breaker, and may only be the specific ad format I chose to use (they have many).
I did find that some ads were not overly beneficial. I had written an article about WindowsXp security, and Amazon responded by detecting this and focusing their advertising to maximize its effectiveness. However, one ad was selling the XP operating system for 1 penny. Even if anybody bought it, it would take me a long time to buy that cup of coffee. Furthermore, because of my sloppy selection of too many ad categories, I had many unusual technology ads that attempted to sell things that I had never heard of (or even knew what they were). In another article I made a disparaging comment concerning Bill Maher’s intelligence (honestly, his monologues validate this assessment). And since I had mentioned him, Amazon detected this and added his books to my ads. Sigh. With more digging, I found I could refine the ads. Eventually I chose to sell books that I personally recommend.
Overall, Amazon seems pretty versatile. However, they require performance from their ads (meaning sales). Eventually, smaller sites like mine will likely be dropped. But it’s worth a try.
I found Bidvertiser was heavily recommended on a couple of sites. Enrollment was quick and easy and I had an ad added within moments.
When I navigated to my site to view the ad, a big pop up appeared and my antivirus software went berserk (alerting me that death and suffering awaited me if I continued on that course - or something to that effect). I went back to my Bidvertiser settings and disabled the pop up ads (which, incidentally, I never selected to start with) and left a non-intrusive (googlish AdSense style) ad. When I returned to view my site my antivirus had shifted its scorn from the previously removed pop-up to my site in general. Hmmm, that’s unusual. Logically, it had to be the ad. It was the only new thing on my site. I contacted Bidvertiser and they told me it was just a false positive and that they don’t distribute malicious ads. I added an exception but was not happy about it. Why not? Because any visitors that used the same antivirus software that loaded my site would be alerted that I was dealing malicious content. It’s hard to build up an user base that way. FYI, the AV's in question were Webroot and AVG.
Nevertheless, perhaps that was just a momentary blip and things would run smoothly now. Irregardless, it seemed prudent to investigate further. I reloaded my site numerous times to observe the ads. One was advertising Russian brides. That wasn’t a great match for my site, but as long as the service was legit and honest, I didn’t care. And perhaps I'd receive a wedding invitation. I do like wedding cake.
Another ad simply showed a download button. Download `what’ was the question on my mind? Then another ad informed me that I needed to download java. One wanted to update my flash player. Those were likely the culprits that angered my antivirus. I clicked the java ad and was taken to a fake java site. Word to the wise, only install java from oracle, and not from a third party ad. Needless to say, my antivirus was not happy with the fake java site. I informed Bidvertiser that I had clicked some ads and not to charge the advertisers for my click activity. I indicated I was researching the source of my antivirus’ angst. They seemed good with this, something I doubt google's algorithms would allow.
The next day my site had something new. Particular words were now links. I knew some ad companies specialized in this, but didn’t know Bidvertiser offered it. At least, I figured it must have been from Bidvertiser (?). I found it odd that it was added without my knowledge, but I never read all the small print ... soooo ... I accept fault. The links didn't bother me, and they likely know what they're doing, so I left them. My side ad was now just a grey `download’ button, and not the suspicious `update' warning. And my antivirus didn’t seem to mind the new link style ads. So I figured I’d patiently ride it out and refine and tweak in the settings if possible. Ya, you can tell I really like an occasional free coffee.
Great. Google had now labeled my innocent, harmless site malicious. Sigh. I informed Bivertiser and they were quick to reply and offer direction. They doubted it stemmed from their ads, but were looking into it. I erased my ads and requested a rescan or review from google. Within 24 hours google had confirmed my site was now safe and all was peachy again. The troubles I endure for coffee.
This company also comes with high praise across the internet. I was quickly accepted and set up was easy and straight forward.
When I loaded my site to see the ads, none were visible. Upon investigation, It appears this is their business strategy, to target ads to relevant surfers … so they only appear to particular people (or something like that). This apparently increases click activity.
I suspect this is actually done to stop site owners from clicking their own ads to artificially generate profits. I suspect ads are simply not shown in the geographic area you live, so you can’t cheat Chitika. That’s brilliant, if my guesswork is correct. And no need for algorithm overlords!!! It must be difficult for companies without googles span and resources to protect their advertisers. And it stops my children from clicking gaming ads in my site (this may have been what upset AdSense; A lovely Minecraft advertisement that my children simply couldn't resist).
My concern, however, is that I am unsure of what the ads are advertising. What if they are naughty or malicious??? What if their maliciously naughty??? I simply don’t know. At least google hasn’t banned me yet… that’s a positive indicator (ya, I guess I have low expectations). At this point, the Chitika ads are staying as is. Ignorance is bliss;)
Christian Web Ads
Ok, I included this one just because it's a little amusing. While I was investigating some sources for cleaner ads, I stumbled across a recommendation for Christian Web Ads. (Sadly, it seems to now be defunct).
So what was so funny about it? When I clicked the link from the recommending site, it took me to this web address: ww1.christianwebads.com
So, is that Christian-Web-Ads or Christian-We-Bads? LOL. For an advertising company, that easily misinterpreted address doesn’t inspire confidence.