This is part 3 of my In The Beginning post, which details how I got started in web publishing. When we left part 2, terrorist had attacked the Word Trade Center, the US was in a recession and the Internet was crashing. One would say this would not be the best of time to upgrade a website. However, that is exactly what I did. Before heading off to Comdex 2001, I asked my web designer in Finland to give The TechZone a complete make over. He came up with TTZ 4th generation.
TTZ 4th generation was the first TTZ to use a lot of blue. I chose blue because I noticed all the big sites and portals use blue – Microsoft.com, NHL.com, NBA.com, etc. These companies spend millions on focus groups and marketing research and they all run blue. I wasn’t about the buck the trend.
June 18 2003
If you were to put a date on when the Internet came back to life, June 18, 2003 would be that date. That was the date Google launch AdSense, a program that enables website publishers to serve ads precisely targeted to the specific content of their individual web pages. Up until this time, I was selling my own adverting to manufacturers that have supplied me with review products.
Google AdSense would be my first experimentation was Cost Per Click (CPC) ads. Before this, all my ads were on a flat fee or Cost Per 1000 (CPM) rate. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect because the site needed to do more than just show ads – reader have to click on the ads before I get paid.
I signed up for Google AdSense at the end of June 2003 and started running them on July 1st. Back then, Google only had one ad size; the 468×60 and the colors were fixed. Lucky for me the default color Google chose was blue! The ads matched my site almost perfectly, which was more than what I can say for some of my friend’s sites.
I made $371.17 with AdSense on my first month. The next month I made $1,106.99. I was starting to see the potential. Google started adding more ad sizes and allowed user to play around with colors. This really helped to increase the click rate. Using AdSense was nothing like normal CPM banners. With CPM banners, you just slap them anywhere and be done with it. With Google, you have to tweak because you income depends on ad performance. During this period, I created a bunch of “Whore Sites” to target high paying keywords and to learn which ad units produced the best results.
With the introduction of AdSense, Google almost single handedly brought the Internet back to life. Suddenly, net advertising was booming again and by the end of 2004, advertising on the Internet surpass the peak reached in 2000. New ad networks were popping up left and right. I was starting to make serious money again. Things were looking good and I was wondering if it could get any better.