Google Brings The Internet Back To Life

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.

ttz4thgen.jpg

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.

Read part 4 here.


17 thoughts on “Google Brings The Internet Back To Life”

  1. HMTKSteve says:

    I think everyone, upon signing up for AdSense, goes through the “whore site” stage.

  2. Eduardo says:

    I agree with you HMTKsteve, I am a newbie in this world of websites and adsense and I think I am going through that phase, trying to see what works best and what doesn’t. John, that was a nice post, but again you leave us hungry with more info on your success..

    Ed

  3. Raghu says:

    Read all the three posts on this topic – was good

    Two observations

    1. Point on drastic life style change you mention – in the dot com boom and then the bust unless somebody made that decision he would definitely not have been here today

    2. Goodgle Adsense being the point of restart – cant but agree with you fully. If you look at advertising now and back in 1999-2000 the key difference is probably the fact that you are able better ‘target’ the ads to the same eye balls which come to your site. This change has made a phenomenal difference !

  4. HMTKSteve says:

    For those who may not understand what a “Google Whore Site” is i’ll explain it very briefly.

    It is when you create a website with content designed to bring in high dollar advs. It’s not arbitage as you do have content.

    It also involves some research as you need to find out what the high dollar words are so you can build your site around them.

    Common high dollar words involve legal and financial topics.

    Legal because lawyers have lots of money and finance becuase people who click on such advs are looking to increases the wealth they already have, i.e. investments.

  5. Dam you John! I was just getting into that post, when suddenly up pops “To be continued.”!

  6. Martin says:

    these whore sites are more commonly called MFAs, Made For Adsense, and yeah, i think almost everyone at least tried putting one page like that alive. although, it’s at least controversial, google doesn’t ban them, as they produce serious money for them. it became a little issue though, when people started doing this massively – you can see many adsense banners nowadays, with links to just and only these MFAs, which is little sad…

  7. Nomar says:

    great story, i hope i get that far 1 day 🙂

  8. Joe says:

    This is a great series. Keep them coming. I am finding them very inspirational. I’ve always been into web publishing and I’m only now getting interested in monetizing it. So it’s great to see how you did it.

  9. Tony says:

    Well you get different types of Made For AdSense sites.. some MFAs have nothing but H1 title and ads, and are used for pure arbitage. Others (the ‘whore sites’ refered to here) actually do have content, possibly even decent content.. but it’s content written, and worded/formated, to generate high paying ads, not because the author is interested in what he/she is writing about.

    John – is that a screenshot of Mac IE (with it’s titlebar buttons backwards) ?!

  10. tim says:

    @tony,

    looks like an opera screen shot.

  11. Jeff says:

    The banner advertisement in the screenshot made me laugh. “El DDR” makes it sound like it’s Spanish RAM. “¿Cuál es el DDR?”

  12. Tony says:

    @tim,
    it says ‘Microsoft Internet Explorer’ in the title bar

  13. John Chow says:

    The browser is IE. I was running a Mac theme on it.

    My whore or MFA site were actual content sites that provided information. Their eCPM was very high because they targeted high paying keywords but their overall dollar value wasn’t that great because they didn’t get a lot of traffic. However, they were great to test tweaking idea.s

  14. Rugjeff says:

    Great series. You always continue to write interesting posts. Appreciate your hard work and excellent information. keep up the good work.

  15. David Mackey says:

    Ahhh…I love these articles. Keep them coming. 🙂 Adsense is awesome, and I would agree with your assessment.

  16. dacholo says:

    more, more!! very kewl story and details. although, I daresay this could be a good article for Business 2.0 or even Wired..? more details, and maybe a book??

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