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Ten years ago I started a fitness blog, wrote some articles, slapped on an Adsense unit or two and then a year later sold it for $20,000. I was pretty happy with myself. And while it was the right move for me at the time I can’t help but wonder how much I could have sold it for if I had ignored Adsense and done something totally different.

In this article I am going to talk about why I will never use Adsense on a blog again. I hope at least some of you pay attention.

Why is Adsense is so attractive?

Let’s start the post by admitting that Adsense is very attractive to a lot of people. You just sign up for an account, write some blog posts and watch the money get paid into your account every month. It is quite alluring. I’ll never forget the feeling of my first $1 day, $10, $50 day and so on. Like a drug, I constantly checked my stats to see how many clicks I had got in the last ten minutes.

But while all this was happening I was losing money. Each Adsense click of between 10 cents and $5 represented a loss to my blog. I only wish that back then I had thought about the fact that there are much better ways to make money from a blog. Ways that perhaps aren’t as sexy in the short term, but work out to be a lot greater in the long run.

Why I will never use Adsense on a blog again

Now I want to get into the main bulk of this post and tell you why I will avoid Adsense on my blogs from now on. If anyone out there disagrees with me or has taken a similar course of action I would really love to hear about it.

1. Each click represents a lost reader
The purpose of blogging is to get readers. You craft headlines, opening paragraphs and content in order to catch people’s attention on social media and Google but then you send them off your blog by encouraging them to click Adsense ads. It is actually quite perplexing. I see hundreds of articles on how to increase Adsense CTR and get more clicks but no one ever seems to talk about the fact that maybe sending your hard earned visitors away is a very bad idea.

2. It dilutes your brand equity
When you place another advert on your website you are passing equity to that brand. For example, if Daniel put an advert for a spamming software on the side of Daily Blog Tips it means that he endorses that brand. So Daily Blog Tips’ brand is then associated with the spamming brand.

Adsense makes it hard because you do not have complete control over who advertises. Yes you can blacklist certain URLs but it would take a massive amount of time to make sure every brand that appeared on your site was a good one. I know the owner of a very large Luxury Watch blog who lost a lot of high profile Swiss contacts because his Adsense ads served up replica watch promotions.

So what should I do instead?

Now the question becomes about what one should do instead of Adsense. It is a very important question to ask. If I had asked it of myself ten years ago I imagine I would probably be earning five or ten times what I am today.

The answer is email subscribers
I have said it before and I will say it again. The money is in the mailing list. The most successful bloggers and web marketers all place an emphasis on capturing as many email subscribers as possible. Look at Problogger, Copyblogger, John Chow, Shoemoney and the rest; they all make millions of dollars a year because they have large lists of interested email subscribers who they can email to:

  • Promote new products
    Any time you launch a new product you can send out an email or a series of emails designed to get people interested in and ready to buy. Darren Rowse did this recently when he launched his new book. Before it is even published he knows that he has close to 150,000 people that will look at the advert.
  • Launch new websites
    What if you want to expand your website to something new or create a sister site? Well instead of doing all the ground work to get those initial users you just send out emails to your list. If it is relevant and related you will find that most of your fans follow you over.
  • Sell affiliate products
    The last thing I will talk about here is the fact that niche email lists give you a massive opportunity to sell affiliate products to a very actionable audience. You can earn between 40% and 80% on affiliate sales by just sending out an email. You don’t even have to create the product, just promote other people’s.

Capturing email subscribers is a long term strategy that pays massive and ongoing dividends. Remember that visitor who clicked an Adsense ad and made you 30 cents? He could have subscribed to your list and be earning you hundreds of dollars a year by purchasing your products or ongoing affiliate offers.

What are your thoughts?

I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this matter as I know there are quite a few fans of Adsense here on Daniel’s site. Have you stopped using Adsense and tried something else with great success? Or do you think Adsense is the best earnings model and will never abandon it? Please drop a comment and let me know.

About the Author: The Blog Tyrant is a 25 year old guy from Australia who has sold several blogs for large sums of money, works from home full time and now blogs about how you can dominate your niche. He also answers every comment he gets on his blog.


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Iā€™m Donny. I can sum myself up with four simple ways. Online Entrepreneur. Author. Investor. World Traveler

  1. Interesting post. We all might agree that it’s the traffic (which is lifeblood of a blog) that determines which monetization strategy works best. For established blogs with large subscriber bases, own products and affiliate products may have better success rate than adsense. However, for startup and medium traffic blogs, adsense surely keeps the blogs alive šŸ™‚

    I totally agree with you that if one wants to become serious blogger , he needs to build a strong subscriber base (RSS and Email).

    In a nutshell, adsense still a good option for startup and medium traffic blogs šŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing this post

  2. Adsense will never work on an affiliate/webmaster/MMO blog, bloggers will rarely click on the Adsense ads. But in different niches, Adsense is a better alternative than building a list and selling to that list.

  3. I have read whole topic.i also don,t like adsense.Now a day adsense also don,t accept all applied site.I am going to add affilate program on my site and email subscription option too.i hope i will get some response as you said.i will come back to post my review about it.

    Thanks again for nice concept.

    rizve ahmed

  4. You have some good points there and I don’t doubt them. However, these work only for blogs with over 1000 visitors/day and with a lot of mail subscriptions. Adsense is good to make money if you have a smaller net business, at least it can pay for your domains and host.

  5. I am having very hard time to increase Adsense revenue, I think I already did all my best to optimize it but no good success.

    I totally agree that what I need to do now is to build a new site for affiliate, looking to brand a website now,

  6. As primarily a reader of blogs at this point, I have to say that Adsense ads are highly offensive to me. There’s no way I would ever, ever click on one. These things are a nightmare from a security perspective, I have no idea where I’m really going to be taken to.

    I much prefer the email list concept as I feel I have more control over opting in. It also allows a personal relationship to be built with people.

    I’m working on some blogging ideas myself at the moment and I can tell you right now I won’t be using Adsense.

  7. Hi..I am using Adsense too and understand you from this post.

    To success we Adsense is to get your ads targeted with your site as much as possible. As a blogs reader, I tend to move away from a blog without clicking on ads, because many time their ads are unrelevant with their contents.

    This might sound to cliche, but ads do provide something ‘value’ to readers if its relevant to your blog post. They extend the informations that readers need. What make Adsense great is that they have huge advertisers, therefore more choice of ads. If we can setup the ads perfectly on our site, the chance to get more clicks is possible.

  8. Yeah Affiliate links are easy, but something just doesn’t quite seem right about (some of) them.

    I mean an 80% commission???? WTF!

    To me, it means you are selling someone an overpriced dud.

    I just can’t see that being sustainable in the long term, either for the person charging 80% more than they need to, or for you the owner of the email list.

  9. I’m not a super-huge fan of Adsense, but right now I do use it for: 1. new blogs I haven’t had time to research products for yet or 2. blogs in challenging niches (like paranormal…most of the affiliate products I’ve found are crap and I haven’t had time to create something worth selling yet…even if Hubby is pushing for selling a ghost).

  10. Hey Chris.

    Congrats on the huge sale! Did you sell it on Flippa? Must have been close to a record for them.

    I didn’t say that making a product is the answer, I said that email subscribers was a better focus than Adsense. Just as a raw example, on Flippa blogs with high subscribers levels and high Adsense earnings sell for way more than blogs with just high Adsense earnings.

    Thanks heaps for commenting. You have a great blog.

  11. The advice you’re sharing only relates to a very small niche: this one (blogs about blogging / make money online etc.)

    I sold a blog for six figures a few months ago and I was using Adsense on it along with other monetization methods.

    I think you’re trying to use a blanket one size fits all approach to solving blog monetization and it doesn’t really work. Making a product isn’t always the best method to make money after all I didn’t make any product for the blog I sold for six figures.

  12. Well it worked, you got my attention but I have to disagree with what I have read. By telling your story, you indirectly suggest to me that I should also do the same as your reader.

    It’s a good idea for big blogs with thousands of unique page views to use email lists but come on, there’s only like less than 1% of all websites on the internet that get that much traffic. It’s probably easier for startup blogs with no reputation to make money from adsense than from email lists.

    1. Hi Stephen.

      I get your point but I have to politely disagree.

      You do not have to have a big blog to make money. If you get 1 email subscriber per day you will have 365 in a year. That’s 365 people you can promote products to or ask to visit your site again and again. Obviously as your site grows the amount subscribing will also grow.

      Its not the easy option, but I feel it is a better long term financial decision than Adsense.

      1. I think this sort of proves the commentators points.

        You only have 365 people at the end of one year! So for most the year you have just over 100 if you are lucky.

        Chances are you will earn more through adsense as your primary, whilst building an email list passively.

  13. Adsense is what I came into blogging!

    If there isn’t Adsense I’d not be blogging. So I respect Adsense despite the fact I realized recently – One can make huge money without adsense!

    I’ve switched the middle path. Let the websites earning good on adsense keep running and build others from scratch with the point that I won’t put a single adsense ad on it.

    See this works. At least working for me!!!

  14. I think in order to survive, I think you should do both until you can build up your mailing list. It’s a great idea and something we’ll look into in the coming months. Does anyone have a good recommendation for mailing list software or services?

  15. But what if you just have an enthusiast site? I have a couple of car blogs and I do not push any products nor is there an affiliate program that could make money.

    I simply write about cool cars and hopefully people will click an ad.

    1. Hey Thomas.

      Car sites I would think have heaps of room for affiliate products.

      Imagine growing a list of people interested in your car niche and then sending a weekly newsletter about good car bargains on eBay or the car sites. You could promote Top Gear DVDs or other related verticals. I daresay it could go quite well.

  16. I removed Adsense last week. Too many ads that have nothing to do with my blog, and after a year, just too little income.

  17. Adsense is still a good money making propisition especially to those who aren’t exactly Probloggers or Copybloggers! Also, not all Adsense clicks give pennies, although most do. I have had some ads with CPC of 1$ which is quite good for me.

    1. Hi Trishan.

      I have several product websites that often get clicks as high as $5. My record click (that I know about) was $9 on a website about cameras.

      If every click was that high I would change my mind back!

  18. While I agree that AdSense sends traffic away from your product and brand to competitors, it is a great way to passively monetize for bloggers who have no interest in “affiliate selling” or pushing a product. Not everyone is a salesman or is comfortable trying to sell a product, some are just interested in the writing sake of it, sharing thoughts, opinions…etc without any direct interest in pitching to readers.

    Also, for Google searches on topics not related directly to your product AdSense could be a way to catch some earnings from somebody who had no interest in what you were selling anyway.

    Promotion and Sales of an affiliate product or a product you own have the potential to always yield better returns.

  19. I think it depends on the blog’s content. I have niche blog on Japanese brand watches and I’m unable to find profitable affiliates as my blog is purely informative.

    Having a mailing list will not do anything as I’m not selling anything. Although I have an Amazon affiliate account, nobody buys watches from the merchants because they know they can get cheaper Seiko watches on eBay or elsewhere. Then there are also visitors who have ad blocker plugins in their browsers and they will never see the AdSense ads on my site. For me AdSense is the only revenue generating means.

    A blog on photography caters to a much wider audience and I’ve seen many sites and blogs with affiliate links to merchants. It’s common to see photography sites saying “Like our content? Support our site by purchasing from our affiliate merchants”.

    Heck, I’d be glad if I could consistently earn $5 a day from AdSense or sell my blog for half what you sold yours.

    1. Hey Stratman.

      My mate who owns a big watch blog is going through a similar thing to you. He doesn’t want to use Adsense because it promotes replicas but then no one buys luxury watches off of Amazon.

      You could try the eBay partner network or set up a paid subscription area where every day you post the best auctions and watch bargains from around the web.

  20. adsense is a great money makers for guerilla blogs like mine.
    have you heard of guerilla blogging?
    it’s a no niche blog like what i had.

  21. There are many ways to monetize a site, adsense happens to be one of them – and like Daniel said, each site is different and using MULTIPLE advertising techniques.

    For example: Do not show adsense ads (or any ads) until after an email newsletter call-to-action has been presented. Now you have not only presented the list building opportunity, and when you return them to the site, they may ‘leave’ your site paying via a click (adsense, advertiser, or affiliate).

    In your solutions – the email list is an excellent idea (one of the best, if not the best), but how many people really know what Shoemoney and John Chow are doing? (btw – John Chow has a great video that does explain his techniques, but I can’t remember where that video is located) Too many website publishers collect emails – and never send out anything more than a ‘hello’ – no links to products, no affiliate, no promotions.

    Question: Didn’t Adsense become available in 2003? Splitting hairs, but 10 years ago, you would not have been able to use it, most likely. My first Adsense ad was placed in Oct, 2003.

    1. Hey Tom.

      Great comment.

      I get an idea about what Shoe and John do by following their lists mostly. They are pretty transparent about basic strategies.

      I checked the sale contract and it was actually 2006 that I sold the website. For the life of me I thought it was 2001-2002. Seems I have my clock way off. But, yes, it was 100% Adsense income from that site.

      Thanks for the clear up. I’m going to have to go back and edit some posts!

  22. Monetization isn’t one-size fits all. Some markets perform outrageously well with adsense. I have a gold website that generates extremely high conversions for the email sign up form (30+ per day) and yet still also is one of the best performing adsense site’s I’ve seen.

    Adsense is just a tool, and may or may not be appropriate.

    1. You are 100% right Shaun. I am currently running a bunch of websites on Adsense. Not blogs though.

      I always try and find a replacement monetization option though. I really feel like capturing an email list before you send visitors away is the most important thing.

  23. I would disagree to some extent – if your blog has valuable information it is a destination – you’re not losing anything

    I don’t stop watching ESPN just because they have commercials!

    1. Hi Dan.

      Good point but I don’t think your metaphor totally matches up. Why? Because you don’t change channels when you watch ESPN commercials. With Adsense ads you definitely change channels.

      Know what I mean?

  24. I think your choice might depend on your blog niche. In case of Daily Blog Tip, it is not a good choice for the owner to make a living under the third advertisement agency such as Google.

    I see many blogger are making money thanks to GA, mate. But I agree with you, in a long run, in case you get a good reputation, GA will not be the first choice.

  25. Affiliate programs can be effective than adsense but completely removing adsense may not be a good idea atleast in the first year of blogging. We can’t expect lot of subscribers as soon as we started our blog. It will take time, may be years. Till that time unless we don’t have other sources of income we may need to relay on adsense to meet our blogging expenses.

  26. To be honest Ad sense has pros and cons, and not necessary does this mean that your loosing a reader, as the true reader of your blog is someone that is attracted to your content, and as long as you are producing good quality content you will not lose that reader, they might go onto other sites to check things out, but if your blog is powerful enough they will surely return. They will understand that your blog is the one, where they find value, and at times when they look at other sites, they will notice that its not the same hence again return back to you.

    You also need to look at why you have put ad sense there, which if it is, and if it is not producing the amount you expected you need to look at alternatives like you have mentioned Affiliate, which may work out better, You need to try various methods and see which one suites your site the best.

    1. I agree that you have to fit the monetization method to the specific website. I had a site that I tried everything on, the only thing that made any money was Adsense. I would get thousands of clicks on different affiliate ads and didn’t sell one.

      Testing will determine what works best. I wouldn’t exclude any method arbitrarily.


  27. Oh yes, good point Daniel. There are some types of websites where AdSense is really the best way to monetize them.

    I’ve stopped using it about 1 month ago because it just doesn’t work on my blog. I made around $18 every month at a traffic of 55k unique visitors (average CTR 0,29%). I realized that it will never work as it’s a web development site and programmers do not click on Google Ads. Instead I’ve started to develop and sell products. I believe it’s the best way to make money online these days.

  28. I agree that there are other efficient methods to monetize a blog/website, but the most efficient one will always depend on the kind of site we are talking about.

    AdSense is still a very efficient method on some niches/types of sites, so I wouldn’t exclude it forehand or forever šŸ™‚ .

    Interesting points though.

    1. I do agree with you Daniel. But now i gonna ask a little favour. can both of you have look on my blog just for 1 minute and suggest me the best idea you get in that 1 minute how to monitize….

      1. @Bryan… This post is a guest post by BlogTyrant, Read ‘About the Author’ šŸ™‚ And he is not using adsense on his blog…

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