AdSense on tecosystems

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On our inaugural podcast, I speculated on whether or not Google would at some point choose to augment their primary existing revenue stream – advertising – with for pay services. Now, I’m turning that lens around just a bit, as I’ve decided to augment our for pay services with advertising revenue, having just added Google’s AdSense to this site (Cote and James don’t have it yet). Hit www.redmonk.com/sogrady, scroll halfway down and you should see them. When I asked you guys what you thought about ads last summer, the general consensus was on the site = ok, in the feeds = not so much, and you should all be happy to know that I’ve respected your wishes in this regard.

This is mostly an experiment, and certainly I don’t expect to drive any serious revenues out of the ads (especially placed where they are, but maybe I can get a three column layout that will fix that), but nor do I think they can hurt. If nothing else, they might defray some of our various hosting costs – or pay for a couple of beers at the Denver Tech Meetup. Longer term, I’m interested to see whether or not advertising can become anything more than pocket change in terms of our revenue model – or if it raises concerns or issues of some sort that we haven’t anticipated. Our primary revenue is and likely always will be paid subscriptions, but as we forgo traditional analyst revenue vehicles (commissioned reports and the like), we’re likely to be pretty open minded about alternative revenue sources – within strictly defined ethical boundaries, of course.

One thing you can be assured of, is that anything that is an ad will be marked as an ad. Our opinions will never be for sale, but AdSense? Hell, why not?

Anyway, if you’ve got concerns, issues or any comments I’d be interested in hearing them. And if you see anything weird in the ads themselves, definitely let me know. Otherwise, I hope you don’t find them too cumbersome.


  1. I’ve been thinking about my own reluctance to put ads on my blogs and I’m getting closer to just doing it. I probably should have done it long ago, for all the hits I get on my Maui-related posts. It look like people planning a trip to Maui–I’m sure they’d click through on ads for Maui activities, restaurants, vacation rentals, etc.

    Your regular readers won’t usually see them since they read you through the feed and click through only occasionally. On the other hand, people who find your site by a one-off search are likely to be looking for specific info on some software, possibly in the context of buying. So it seems like a good fit.

    I wouldn’t put ads in my feeds either.

  2. hey stephen. if we’re going to run ads lets sell some to vendors and get a decent return.

  3. Penny Arcade, http://www.penny-arcade.com , sells ad space directly to vendors. They’re a hugely popular webcomic that publishes 3x weekly and comments extensively on gaming. Their ads are all for games, and are personally vetted — but they still spend a relatively large amount of time dealing with percieved bias as a result. AdSense is good that way because you *don’t* have a lot of control over the content of the ad box; as soon as you start personally vetting ads, which you would want to do, I think, those ads become an implicit endorsement of the product. Which opens you to another avenue of criticism to which you have to respond.

  4. Anne: that was my thinking exactly. we’ll see if that’s mirrored by the regulars around here, but i personally think as long as they’re not obnoxious they should be forgivable.

    James: that’s certainly an option, and nothing’s precluding us from doing that. i would worry, as Fraxas mentions, about conflict of interest issues simply b/c running ads is different then discussing a vendor’s products in an even handed fashion. let’s discuss it further.

    Fraxas: you highlight exactly my concerns. and our ethical boundaries might be even more difficult to monitor closely then penny arcade’s.

  5. i take fraxas point. but dealing with questions of conflict of interest is always going to be an issue in the industry analyst business. and i am thinking a direct ad sell would be about 100 times more valuable than adwords. yes lets discuss this.

    maybe i can see if i can get a sponsor, and we can trial it? maybe noone would be interested.

    but i agree with you – running ads is indeed different from discussing a vendors products in an even handed fashion. thats why we can do it, potentially.

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