July 13, 2011

It's scary to think how much money Google would make if it didn't stink

Have you ever noticed how bad Google ads are? I get about 8,000 visits or more per day from a hard-to-reach audience of highly intelligent and influential readers, but the ads Google chooses to place in my right hand column are hilariously inapt. If I write about the scandal of lawyers who commit asylum fraud, I get ads from Google for lawyers offering to help you commit asylum fraud. If I write about Bill James's suggestion for prison reform, I get ads for "Save $ on prison calls." If I write about Racehorse Haynes's legal tactics, I get ads for bailbondsmen.

After all these years, Google hasn't bothered to learn one thing about what sells and what doesn't sell on my website. Everything is still triggered solely by keywords, not by a long demonstrated patterns. 

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's the same crap on talk radio. Radio hosts talk about personal responsibility but then there are tons of ads that go, 'get rid of your debt... you're a victim of collection agency.. it's not your fault that you're close to bankruptcy...'

Gc said...

I would almost rather own the BMW than the Google or the Facebook. If people decided to really start hating Google and Facebook, those companies could be done basically in a day.

Le Sigh said...

After all these years, Google hasn't bothered to learn one thing about what sells and what doesn't sell on my website.

Why would they need to?

It's scary to think how much money Google would make if it didn't stink

They're probably not obsessed with financial gain. Nothing wrong with that. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Anonymous said...

I've told you this before, Sailer - insights like this could make you a TON of money if only you'd KEEP YOUR DAMNED MOUTH SHUT and "capitalize" on them BEHIND THE SCENES.

Loose lips sink [financial] ships.

Seriously dude - take some of these insights of yours and go make some money with them.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Google doesn't want YOU to make any money.

Aaron said...

We're influential?

Anonymous said...

You distinguish inapt from inept?

Half Sigma said...

The ads are designed for people who accidentally find the web page from doing a Google search, and not for your regular readers.

Consider yourself lucky that Google still lets you server them. They cut me off.

W Baker said...

Hate to say it, Steve, but most of Google's ad profits are not coming from your few readers. Their money's coming from the hordes who read People, TMZ, and find 'in-depth analysis' from NBC Nightly News really difficult.

That said, who would have Google advertise when you discuss asylum seekers? VDARE? AMCON? Altright? Winchester or Colt Manufacturing?, 'Inflatable Dingy's R US', or the Hollywood version of The Camp of the Saints?

I don't think writers like you have an algorithmic equivalent in the Google machine. Consider it a compliment.

Thrasymachus said...

Google is vastly overrated as a business- see the locksmith scandal the other day. I started using Google years ago as it worked a little better than Yahoo search, which was completely worthless. Google seems to work ok for things that are either common or very obscure, but not things in between that are complicated in any way.

Chicago said...

I had a paranoid feeling that it was being done on purpose, as if to undermine the blog in some subtle way. But if it's just due to ineptness I guess I should feel better.

Lawful Neutral said...

Hey, give Google some credit: we're going to need those bail bondsmen when they finally decide to lock us all up for thoughtcrime.

Anonymous said...

Search is an arms race. Google only has to be moderately better than the competition. My guess is that they have a horde of more advanced algorithms up their sleeves. Probably something like a real AI for search. Why should they expose their advantage when it is not necessary in the market?

Bing would just reverse engineer their approach.

No, Google is doing exactly what they should do maintain a small but significant advantage over the other guys.

By the way, maybe Google software will be driving your BMW for you someday. What other search company is doing stuff like that :)

David Davenport said...

Steve, maybe you ought to shamelessly emulate Instapundit Glenn Reynolds, and tout good deals at Amazon.

Example:

AT [link] AMAZON, Top Deals In Electronics.

Posted at 9:00 am by Glenn Reynolds



Radio hosts talk about personal responsibility but then there are tons of ads that go, 'get rid of your debt... you're a victim of collection agency.. it's not your fault that you're close to bankruptcy...'

The talk show stars have no control over most of those ads, because the radio stations sell those ads, not the talk shows. Rush Limbo, G. Beck, Hannity, etc. are syndicated shows which are sold to radio stations. The radio stations or their parent companies pay fees for the talk show. The radio stations are then entitled to sell and profit from ads during breaks in the talk shows. The breaks seem to be occupying at least fifteen minutes of every hour, and growing.

The conservative talk radio stations run ads for very dubious products, such as patent medicines to restore one's youthful mmanhood and vigor, or See Clearly brand eye exercises to improve one's eyesight. No products for young peepul on conservative talk radio... :0)

I once heard Rush Limbaugh complain that his show ( meaning his show's radio stations as well ) couldn't attract ads from big corporations.

The talk show guys do make some personal product endorsements during their shows. These ads sre sold by the talk shows. For example, I have noticed that Beck and Hannity endorse buying gold coins from Gold Line. ( I think Gold Line's product must be gold coins. ) That could sting Beck and Hannity if the price of gold ever takes a dive.

Anonymous said...

Le Sigh - They're probably not obsessed with financial gain. Nothing wrong with that. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Yes, of coure they operate on a higher plane above the grubby, petty concerns of ordinary mortals.

They wouldnt be playing a longer game, like Facebook, of amassing vast amounts of personal.

Anonymous said...

Look at this way, if we click on any of these ads, the opposition are paying money to Steve.

That is a more delicious irony surely.

David Davenport said...

Steve, to attract more Google ads, you need to start name-dropping more brand names into your iSteve pieces.

When you do a movie or classic rock review, be sure to name the studio name and cast and the words Netflix, HBO, Starz, iPod, iPHone, Apple music, and so on. Review some best selling books, even if you don't like the books, and post links to the books on Amazon.

Diversify iSteve into some product-rich topics, such as food and drink and maybe personal fitness programs for the stay at home guy who doesn't get out too much. {:0/

... Also flowers and gardens and pets, including pet rabbits. Get your wife or a woman friend to do guest posts about clothing and fashion, dropping lots of brand names in the process. And let's not forget about cars and gasoline. Do posts on driving, and drop lots of brand names.

You need to furnish Google with additional key words tied to popular products and services. That's the idea.

Also, you need to upgrade your website. The current set-up that requires clicking on iSteve.blogspot.com after going to iSteve.com is too amateurish. Sorree about that ...

Maybe you could hold an extra special iSteve fund drive to raise the cash to do this. You ought to buy a digital camera, even if it's a cheapie, and post some snapshots from time to time to add visual interest to your new web page.

iSteve.com needs a logo and a slogan, such as "Evolution hasn't stopped!" Your revamped web page could sell T-shirts and sweatshirts with the iSteve logo and slogan. And let's not forget iSteve coffee mugs.

GoogleGuy said...

I work at Google, but I don't work on the search or display products. I am familiar with them. Those ads are contextual; the ads that are served based on the relevancy of the ads plus the advertisers' bids in the auction. The contextual algorithm often produces undesirable results for both publisher and advertiser. I wish the product was more turnkey, but as it stands now, you (the publisher) would be advised to do a better job optimizing the campaign and exclude undesirable advertisers. I admit, this might be a never-ending battle and requires time you should spend doing other things, but I would give it a try. Additionally, given your site's volume, it might be wise to carve out space for something more sophisticated than AdSense.

Half Sigma said...

"Steve, maybe you ought to shamelessly emulate Instapundit Glenn Reynolds, and tout good deals at Amazon."

That works for Glen Reynolds because his readership is so large.

Steve doesn't have enough readers for it to be worth his time.

Kylie said...

"I had a paranoid feeling that it [Google's poor ad strategy] was being done on purpose, as if to undermine the blog in some subtle way. But if it's just due to ineptness I guess I should feel better."

Me, too!

And I must say I'm delighted to have something in common with at least one of Steve's highly intelligent and influential readers.

Thank you, Chicago. I always enjoy your comments but this time you really made my day.

Anonymous said...

Run those numbers on how much more Google would make if you were in charge.

agnostic said...

Do they still print "Ads by Google" on them? (I can't see the ones on your site.)

Maybe they're just trying to increase their own brand recognition. Not that people don't know who Google is, but in order to impress people with all the many areas of business that they have gotten into. "We're not just a search company -- we even do ____! We're so super-smart!"

Really, what other ads have you ever seen that make a point of telling you who the advertising middleman was?

Anonymous said...

Actually seems kind of logical to me. In both the first two cases - asylum fraud and prison reform -- a relatively small number of people searching on those terms would be trying to commit asylum fraud or have relatives incarcerated, but of all people searching on those terms they would be the two groups most likely to be spending money related to those general topics.

Eric said...

That works for Glen Reynolds because his readership is so large.

Steve doesn't have enough readers for it to be worth his time.


And it's too late. That's an affiliate program, and Amazon severed all relationships with its affiliates in California due to changes in tax law.

jody said...

in general though google is really good as far as a software company goes.

David Davenport said...

I wish the product was more turnkey, but as it stands now, you (the publisher) would be advised to do a better job optimizing the campaign

He means, use more keywords in iSteve that are associated with popular konsumer produkts and services. There are lists of such good words floating around.

I really think you ought to do some of this, Steve.

... and exclude undesirable advertisers.

He means, "Be more pee cee." Don't do that.

David Davenport said...

That's an affiliate program, and Amazon severed all relationships with its affiliates in California due to changes in tax law.

Nope, I think affiliates means [CA] retailers who were selling through Amazon, but not linkers to Amazon. Need to verify that.

Google seems to rank web pages on a scale from one to ten, where ten is most popular and one is least popular. Instapundit is a "7," iSteveblogspot.com is a "5,:" and U. of Wisconsin law prof. Ann Althouse at althouse.blogspot.com is a "6."

Take a look at Ann Althouse .

My hunch is that Ann is not vastly more popular than Steve.

Also look at the right side of her web page and scroll down some. Click on "Conservative Blog Advertising, and take a look.

Scroll down a little further and click on "Buy official Althouse stuff." Order yourself an official Ann Althouse T shirt or coffee mug.

... Steve, also take a look at
How To Raise Page Rank and similar search results. Do you know about "shadow domains"?

Andrew said...

Has anyone on this page actually clicked on an online ad because of what it says?

I haven't in 16 years of internet use.

Anonymous said...

You distinguish inapt from inept?

Inapt sounds fancier, which is all the better when flattering the 'highly intelligent and influential' reader.

David said...

Time for:

A Harry Potter review.

A post with "tits" in the title.

More mentions of Obama.

Go to Yahoo.com, and see what's Trending Now (the top ten list). Then, write a post about the top item on the list.

HBD's unsuspected connection to ... (checking it now...) Kristen Wiig!

Seriously though...your set-up is probably the click-through model. So simply ask readers to click whatever tip jars - uh, ads - "catch their fancy." I see one I'm interested in 100 times.

David Davenport said...

Has anyone on this page actually clicked on an online ad because of what it says?

I haven't in 16 years of internet use.


But other people do click on the ads. Congratulations for your saintly frugality.

Holier-than-thou Uncle Scrooges aren't the only Internet users.

Somewhere in one of long-forgotten guru Marshall MacLuhan's books, I can't remember which book, he makes fun of pretentious people who affect to pay no attention to advertisements. MacLuhan's point was that people who soak up a lot of mass information media can't stop themselves from soaking up ads on some level.

You know, one of the long-standing views about American conservatives who read and write for higher-brow little magazines is that they aspire to be "beautiful losers" -- meaning that they'd rather be admired for their purity and gentility rather than be respected and feared for winning life's games.

"A man's a fool who doesn't write for money." Who said that, Boswell or Dr. Johnson? I get those two confused.

Anyway, Steve needs more income. iSteve needs to make some $ in ways other than rattling the blogger's begging cup.

///

Another thing Mr. Sailer needs to do is write another book. Suggested title: Human Biological Diversity: What You Ought to Know

Do it in three steps:

(1) Post individual chapters for free on the Net, as the chapters are written. Use reader feedback to help polish the chapters.

(2) Publish the whole book as an Amazon E-book, not for free.

Check this: Why and How I Self-Published a Book [ on the Internet ]

I’ve written a prior post on my sales and advances on first five books which were all published with major publishers. (Also, including a part about how my wife finally fell for me). But I’m never going to publish in the morgue of the publishing industry again. This post today is about why I did it and how you can do it.

(3) Also shop for a conventional publishing deal, citing many downloads of (1) and (2) as a sales point. Gotta cover all the bases.

Anonymous said...

it's not just this site. Lame Google ads are everywhere.

I actually appreciate the 10 second full page ads that act as doorways to big sites. I definitely become aware of the product and the short duration reduces obnox factor.

GoogleGuy said...


He means, "Be more pee cee." Don't do that.


No, I don't mean that. I mean, if AdSense is serving a lot of ads for bail bonds on Steve's site (the publisher), and Steve thinks that ad isn't relevant (and has any insight into its CTR and payout) then Steve should exclude that bail bonds advertiser from being able to serve. The last time I was really working with AdSense was back in 2008 and publishers could block at least 200 advertisers. I'd guess they can block a lot more now. Also, I believe there is now a cookie-based behavioral component to what ads a user sees with AdSense, so what ads you see may be totally different than what someone else sees, even if they are viewing at the same time.

The problem for sites like Steve's with such varied content, is that there are literally thousands and thousands of potential ads in the auction, contextually eligible to match to the myriad postings on the page. Steve can block hundreds of irrelevant ads, but still have 500 more ready to take their place.

If I was Steve, I would nix AdSense and instead research similar sites to see if any have display banners for a more relevant advertiser. I'd contact that advertiser directly and see if they're interested in putting his ads up on my site. I'd say I want X amount of dollars for a one month test and see how it goes.

Blogger might not be the best platform in terms of ad placement flexibility, but see what you can do.

Gc said...

You should write in side of your blog that everyone remembers to click those ads to keep your site running like in other sites. Otherwise it`s hard to remember.

Anonymous said...

A not so subtle hint from Steve that he wants us to get clicking on some ads!

Lucille said...

Really, what other ads have you ever seen that make a point of telling you who the advertising middleman was?

Pretty much every highway billboard I see displays the name of the advertising company that owns that particular billboard.

Anonymous said...

>>"A man's a fool who doesn't write for money." Who said that, Boswell or Dr. Johnson?<<

IIRC, Nabokov attributed the following to Pushkin: I write for myself; I publish for money.

Eric said...

I think affiliates means [CA] retailers who were selling through Amazon, but not linkers to Amazon. Need to verify that.

I do not believe this is true. The day Amazon cut them off there was a big hue and cry from people who were making money through links the way Reynolds does, as well as speculation about how much money Amazon would continue to make from old posts on which the authors would no longer be compensated.

Barry Wood said...

Why don't you build a membership site and charge for it?
From Information Marketing Association. "The most significant innovation in the information marketing business since ebooks is monthly continuity. Continuity programs allow customers to subscribe to receive information on an ongoing basis, often monthly, for a payment or a series of payments. For info-marketers, these continuity programs allow you to build a stream of ongoing subscription revenue into your business."

Anonymous said...

Why don't you have a private closed forum that people pay for access to? That way you would not have to compromise blog quality, but people could pay you to expand on topics.

David Davenport said...

Why don't you build a membership site and charge for it?

Please name another blog or web page in the iSteve category that is charging a subscription fee.

For that matter, name a big Web publication, such as the NYTimes or the London Times, that is making an unequivocal success of charging its readers to read their stuff.

Your Information Marketing Association may wish that Web sites could charge subscription fees, but wishing don't make it so.

////////////////////

Here's what I think the deal is with Mexifornia linkers to Amazon: a Californian linking to Amazon who earned a commission from Amazon for aiding a sale would be legally required to pay CA state income tax as well as the IRS on the commission income.

But get this: this income tax would be the case for income from such a such a sales assist even if there were no Internet and no Amazon. Sales commissions are ordinary income to state and federal tax agencies, and have been so for a long time.

I suspect that Amazon may have cut off Mexifornia linkers to Amazon to show its pique with the Jerry Brown regime. As you may know, Amazon is unabashedly organizing a lobbying campaign to try to stop CA from collecting sales tax on Amazon sales there.

/////////////////////////////

P.S. That fellow I got after last night -- the one who said, "Personally I pay no attention to Web page ad-VERTIS-ments, or something like that?

( "ad-VERTIS-ments" the kind of American who accents that word in a snooty English way. )

I thought to myself, "That effer is a cheapskate. Steve prolly won't be able to extract any money from him whatsoever, none at all, under any circumstances, including imposing a subscription fee to read iSteve."

Likewise with peepul who complain that Google search engine isn't up to their exacting requirements.

Well, Google's a free service, innit? What do you expect, for free?

:0}

stari_momak said...

I've noticed for years that the ads here would be for 'interracial dating' sites, that the ones on the 'Islamophobic', Vlaams Belang supporting Brussels Journal would be for Muslim dating sites, and so on. Clearly Google's ad server doesn't have the intelligence to look at site content in any meaningful way.

Anonymous said...

"hard-to-reach audience of highly intelligent and influential readers"

Sorry, what?

Maybe a good 10% are judging by comments. The rest are just ordinary paleocons, neocons, hardcore racists, old people and the like.

Anonymous said...

I started using Google years ago as it worked a little better than Yahoo search, which was completely worthless.

Same here, except I was using Alta Vista and some meta-search engine, maybe Dogpile? I remember what it was like to use a search engine before G**gle, and it sucked.

I have no loyalty at all to G**gle search. In fact I'd like to stop using it. I'm still shopping for a replacement. I heard Bing was better a while back but that didn't pan out. Now I'm testing duckduckgo.

Svigor

Anonymous said...

Has anyone on this page actually clicked on an online ad because of what it says?

I haven't in 16 years of internet use.


I've only been online for about 11 years but I don't think I've ever clicked an ad either. Maybe once or twice to get a bigger version of an image to save to my HD, lol.

For the last few years I've been using Adblock and Flashblock so I can't even see most ads. That's in addition to usually browsing with images turned off.

I spend money, but when I do I go looking, I don't go through ads.

Svigor

Anonymous said...

Somewhere in one of long-forgotten guru Marshall MacLuhan's books, I can't remember which book, he makes fun of pretentious people who affect to pay no attention to advertisements.

I read a book a long time ago called "Guerrilla Marketing" or something like that, where the author gave a few anecdotes about the funny ways in which people deny how they're persuaded by advertising. I remember one, a cabbie who denied being influenced by ads by reciting a toothpaste brand's slogan.

Svigor

Anonymous said...

ha... i consider myself moderately intelligent and not at all influential... but i do read your blog on occasion