PBH was launched August of this year, and since the beginning, has been in development in terms of content, design, and accessibility to the public. One of the primary developments of the past month was to institute advertisements so that, since used as a public forum, the hosting and domains could be covered without having to dip in the management’s pockets.
The answer was found in GoogleAds. It is the most popular advertisement program, had been strongly recommended by professional blogging sites, has the most depth and variety of advertisers, and seemed to be the most adept at figuring out the way to successfully target ads based on content of web sites (termed contextualizing).
We posted GoogleAds onto our site with 2 links on the right side and 2 links on the bottom, and watched as our traffic grow, our revenue grow as well, particularly from the search utility function.
However, two things struck us as odd when we researched in depth the Google Ads program.
First, Google Ads program strictly prohibits pornographic, gambling, or any other sites that it deems offensive or incompatible with its advertisement program (in fact, there is an application to become a part of AdSense). However, by doing searches on Google from PBH, one can come across gambling and pornography sites that have obviously paid for advertising with Google. So in essence, though Google does not allow such sites into its program, it does take money from these sites for advertising and allows its accepted members to make money from them as well.
Thus the question is raised: if you mention such keywords as perhaps pornography or poker sites and draw up Adsense advertisements, are you liable to be kicked out of the Google Ad program? We were unable to figure this out, but the issue seems a contentious if not ambiguous one. In our eyes, it seems misleading to publishers to forbid them for seeking this sort of content or advertisement, and yet they are still able to profit off of them through Google searches.
The second issue raised was the inability of the contextual ads to successfully recognize what our sites content was truly about and to screen out advertisers that did not pertain to our content. Though we are not necessarily a site that one could generalize or target, we noticed a few inconsistencies. We would often get advertisements for Christian or Republican sites, and it seemed when GoogleAds was unable to contextualize our site, a defacto Hurricane Katrina advertisement would be used. What disappointed us about this was our viewership is at times small but very persistent — our readership typically checks our site more than twice a day — and this seemed like a waste of advertisement by exposing our audience to the same advertisements.
The oddest ad that would frequently show up was Why Does God Hate Amputees? Though our site is secular and rarely seems to bring up religion, this advertisement would show up frequently (plus I suggest you check out this site anyhow — it is fairly creepy). It appeared that while Google screened its publishers, it did not screen its advertisers.
Overall our experience has been quite positive. GoogleAds seems to generate revenues for sites that otherwise would not have any options for advertising. And as usual, Google is on the cusp of technology and constantly upgrading and improving its program.
Update: As you may or may not have read, the research (not the content of) into this article may have cost us our ability to use GoogleAds. However this did not affect the content of this review as it was written before this event took place, and we are hoping to be reinstated.