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Guy Kawasaki Is No Google Whore

written by John Chow on January 6, 2007

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This is from Guy Kawasaki’s “Official” Bio:

Guy Kawasaki is a managing director of Garage Technology Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm and a columnist for Forbes.com. Previously, he was an Apple Fellow at Apple Computer, Inc. where he was one of the individuals responsible for the success of the Macintosh computer.

Guy is the author of eight books including The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way. He has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.

Guy Kawasaki maybe all the above, but one thing he is not is a Google Whore. Mr. Kawasaki recently posted a review of his first year of blogging. There were some very interesting stats.

  • 2,436,117 page views for an average of approximately 6,200/day.
  • 262 posts generated 6,961 comments and 1,937 trackbacks. That’s 25 comments/post and 7 trackbacks/post.
  • 21,000 people receive RSS feeds via Feedburner and 1,457 receive emails via FeedBlitz.
  • Total advertising revenue: approximately $3,350 = $1.39 cpm.
  • Ending Technorati ranking: #45.

Guy Kawasaki is seen as a captain of industry and master of the business world. Therefore, when he started his blog a year ago, everyone assumed it would get huge (true, #45 on Technorati) and make a lot of money. The make a lot of money part hasn’t panned out as far as Google AdSense was concern. Nearly 2.5 million page views later, Mr. Kawasaki made just $3,350 from Google AdSense, or $279.16 a month.

No one who knows even a little bit about AdSense optimization would be shocked that Guy Kawasaki made so little from Google. His ad placements were just plain bad. However, because this is Mr. Guy Kawasaki, many bloggers (here, here and here just to name a few) are using Mr. Kawasaki’s AdSense failure as proof that Google doesn’t work. Even CNN got in on the act.

How can a blog with 30,000 readers per day make only $279.00 per month with AdSense? The answer is simple. Over 22,000 readers never visit the blog – they read it by RSS (no Google ads there). The remaining readers who do visit the blog don’t click on the Google ads because it’s poorly optimized.

Mr. Kawasaki never cared about the Google ads. They were slapped on without thought or consideration. His blog wasn’t made to promote Google. It was made to promote Guy Kawasaki, his speaking engagements, and his books. Google was an afterthought.

Too many bloggers think all one needs to do is set up a blog, slap on some Google ads, and then watch the money roll in. It doesn’t work that way and it never will. Even if your name is Guy Kawasaki, you still need to tweak the ads if you want to make serious money from them.

I guess I shouldn’t complain about bloggers calling AdSense a failure. It just means more money for me.

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{ 37 comments }

Aris January 6, 2007 at 1:23 am

John, may be you have mentioned it some where, but I still don’t know how to place the box ad in the middle of a paragraph the way it shows up in yours. Any pointers?

Thanks.

My New Choice January 6, 2007 at 1:38 am

It is interesting to see how quickly people will jump on and say that Adsense doesn’t work and it is nearly impossible to earn real money.

While I have yet to earn anything substantial, I know it can be done and I continue to work towards the proper blend of quality content and high volumes of traffic to produce my own earnings.

As you mention, it seems many people think all that stands between them and their fortunes is a quickly made page with Adsense units slapped up. This can be good for those of us that know better.

Speaking of sites and layouts, I’m looking to change my site around and really like the theme you use here John. I’m just hesitant to use it right now as I don’t want to become a John Chow Whore and completely try to mimic your success.

Decisions, decisions. :)

John Chow January 6, 2007 at 1:43 am

Go ahead and use it. Everyone else does. :P

John Chow January 6, 2007 at 2:19 am

Aris – I explained how to do that in this post: http://www.johnchow.com/the-easiest-way-to-add-google-adsense-on-a-blog/

StrangeProgress January 6, 2007 at 2:30 am

Wow, I guess it’s just like a total sideline for Guy, but still – it pains me to see such a volume of traffic not directly monetized, whether or not it’s building up other longterm monetization potential as is most likely the case here.

I agree it’s amusing that a lot of times people do jump on the “teh google sux” bandwagon. But you’re right, just means more ad inventory for us. Although, if its potential advertisers reading that sort of thing and getting turned off advertising on Google that can impact publishers longterm as well.

Matt

Michael Kwan January 6, 2007 at 2:40 am

I, for one, can say that ad placement and implementation goes a really long way. I’ve had my blog up since March 2006 and made next to nothing for the first many months. Then I started pushing ad box to the right witn my first paragraph wrapping around it (instead of first paragraph, followed by ad box, followed by second paragraph). Then I removed the ad box border and changed the color scheme to better blend in with the page. Voila, I started to actually get some clicks. I’m still far from actually making any real money, but an extra 15 cents a day is better than nothing at all.

Raghu January 6, 2007 at 4:49 am

I read this data a few days back on his blog (via RSS) and now on reading your note I think that he should not even be putting up Google Ads on his blog.

I am also a little surprised that Google has left it as it is. Is it not in their interest also that they do some follow up to ensure that he does it right (if he wants to have Google Ads on his blog) ?

Nomar January 6, 2007 at 4:54 am

John, your almost making more in total, he is crazy that he dont optimize the ads

Gdog January 6, 2007 at 5:22 am

Wow, that’s shocking. Just shows how much optimization can do for Adsense placements. I mean, you made more in two months compared to his one year of blogging.

Michael January 6, 2007 at 5:26 am

I constantly test placement changes of my AdSense ads. But I do agree that AdSense should be a backup income and not the primary income.

Michael

Leftblank January 6, 2007 at 5:49 am

Michael, that’s a sure thing, but it might not always be as easy to achieve as it might sound ;)

derrich January 6, 2007 at 6:55 am

What you said…in your last sentence.

Justin January 6, 2007 at 8:42 am

Maybe you should help him ?

Max January 6, 2007 at 8:54 am

Question for John and anyone else who knows – I am still new to web publishing and only have 1 site so far but do plan on developing more. Would you recommend publishing all these sites and signing up for Ad Networks as myself or creating an LLC and conducting all this business as the LLC? (So far this is only a side thing for me but I am dedicating a lot of hours per day to it.) Thanks.

Tyler January 6, 2007 at 9:25 am

I had a comment on my blog to do pretty much the same thing. Remove the border and follow the color scheme of my links to the ads. I also added a URL channel to keep track of what is happening with the ads but this I’ll have to fine tune.

As a few of you know I don’t use WordPress or any pre-made script. Yes it looks like WordPress a bit but its all custom. Though I am playing with the ad block setups to see where for my site they might be the best.

John I noticed you don’t use a skyscraper ad anywhere here, would you advice I removed mine and used it as either a leader board or anothe 250×250 else where?

Serguei January 6, 2007 at 9:37 am

John, how do you propose to deal the “rss-readers” (who never see the ads)?
Do you have this problem on your blog as well?

Alex Becker January 6, 2007 at 10:13 am

wow that really sucks for Guy. But then like you said he was promoting other stuff on his blog.

Raghu January 6, 2007 at 10:42 am

Appears that getting people to subscribe to your RSS feed is counter productive – what options does a blogger have to have people visit his blog ?

One option for example is the commentator ranking that John has employed over the last few days …

Any others ?

My New Choice January 6, 2007 at 11:11 am

Tyler, I hope my comment on your ad-blending works out for the best.

Raghu, re: what options do bloggers have to try and keep people coming to the blog vs. just reading the RSS feeds, one possibility is to only publish excerpts in your RSS feed as opposed to the full article.

Also, I believe John has been using FeedBurner ads in the RSS feed and those are making him money that way as well.

Stew January 6, 2007 at 11:48 am

I agree with you John, he wants people to read his articles to promote his business, not to click ads. Guy himself didn’t really bash AdSense, but those follow up blogs were really uncalled for and ignorant in my honest opinion.

I was intrigued by the FeedBlitz product mentioned in the article. John, do you think you can write an article on email blog subscribers, and potential products to support this endeavour?

Stew

Matthew Hurst January 6, 2007 at 12:08 pm

To be clear, I wasn’t using Kawasaki’s post as ‘proof that Google doesn’t work’. In fact, I wrote and published my post before becoming aware of Anderson’s post or Kawasaki’s (hence the use of the term ‘update’ in my post). In addition, if you read my post, it states quite clearly that one can’t draw any real conclusions from the data that I had, by that time, gathered.

John Chow January 6, 2007 at 12:13 pm

Matthew Hurst – I did read your post and you are correct. But I wanted to give you a linkback because you linked to me. :)

Alex Becker January 6, 2007 at 12:15 pm

Yea I deleted my feed on FeedBurner. I just started my blog and I think that FeedBurner will just hurt it.

Christoph January 6, 2007 at 12:27 pm

RSS Blog feeds are going to see more advertising in the future. The money making/losing potential is just way too big for busy blogs. I am sure Google is going to offer RSS feed ads soon.

Christoph

Steve January 6, 2007 at 12:51 pm

John we all know you are the true Google Whore…

Aris January 6, 2007 at 2:41 pm

Thanks for the pointer, John. It took me almost the whole morning to move my site from one subdomain to another. Once I know every post and page work fine, I will edit and arrange my ad as you described in http://www.johnchow.com/the-easiest-way-to-add-google-adsense-on-a-blog/ .

BTW, what will you charge me to add your site in my favorite links? :-) Just kidding, John. Just want to be part of your wagons, even if I could only grap the edge of the wagon.

Nate W. January 6, 2007 at 2:47 pm

Guy could definitely benefit from reading a few John Chow lessons. I know I have!

Paul Jacob January 6, 2007 at 3:44 pm

John,

I dont think people should be using guy’s statistics in a negative manner to prove adsense is not credible for all sites.Ofcourse certain advertising networks do not work in sites varying in topics and such forth but guy has stated that his interest in adsense can be simply described as being experimental.

Thomas January 6, 2007 at 8:54 pm

Just making my ads on my own site blend in better, and putting the ads in the key areas made my adsense totals go up a lot. It’s funny how little things can really effect how much you make with adsense. I’m starting to think that using feedburner is counter productive.

Andy January 7, 2007 at 6:18 am

Ues TLA to monetize your feeds

Jim Kukral January 7, 2007 at 1:48 pm

John Chow said… “Mr. Kawasaki never cared about the Google ads. They were slapped on without thought or consideration… Too many bloggers think all one needs to do is set up a blog, slap on some Google ads, and then watch the money roll in. It doesn’t work that way and it never will. Even if your name is Guy Kawasaki, you still need to tweak the ads if you want to make serious money from them.”

We completely agree John. The problem with that statement is that Technorati says there at 55 million blogs, and I think we can both agree that 99.5% or more of those blogs are started by “people who just want to write”, not people who want to make money.

Therefore, to assume that those same people are going to be forward enough to optimize Adsense, even if they wanted to (which they really don’t)… is to assume wrong.

Our statements stand true… Adsense does not work “out of the box” for the VAST majority of bloggers… not pro bloggers… REAL bloggers.

That’s the argument, not that Adsense doesn’t work at all, that Adsense doesn’t work for the vast majority, and never will without optimization, and as I mentioned, those bloggers don’t want to optimize, or care to ever learn how.

Raghu January 7, 2007 at 9:18 pm

Jim,

Sure you might be right that Adsense may not work unless its optimized – John keeps saying that too.

But unfortunately your alternate ‘approach’ of BlogKits has been running on my site for over a month but is yet to bring in the first $$.

In the meanwhile however, Adsense has brought in a few $$ – not very high but yet something is better than nothing.

Others (who have BlogKits),

What has your experience been ?

Stew January 7, 2007 at 11:05 pm

Jim,

I disagree on the figure, of 99.5% bloggers are in it just to write. I think its substantially lower, there are a ton of greedy people out there. Figures aside, nothing will work to its greatest potential without proper application. Its like throwing your money in a random bank account and expecting to make 30% annual returns. Its not going to happen.

Stew

Mayo January 8, 2007 at 3:41 am

I was just looking how much Steve Pavlina is making, by the end of 2005. he made 2 to 3k$US, now he’s making 30 to 40k$US a month….

Jim Kukral January 8, 2007 at 12:30 pm

@Raghu,

Yeah, sorry you haven’t had a conversion yet. I’ll take a look at your blog if you wish and see if we can improve your placements? Contact me at info at blogkits dot com with your URL. Unfortunately, it’s not going to work right away for everyone, although it is working for lots of others, and others not. Just the name of the game.

@Stew,

I’ve logged years of research from thousands of bloggers to come to those conclusions, so I don’t make those claims “will nilly” :) Don’t overestimate bloggers. The VAST majority could care less about money.

David Mackey January 13, 2007 at 9:42 pm

Thats amazing that that must traffic can translate into so little money. I will keep reading as you reveal your optimization secrets. :-)

Jane January 14, 2007 at 4:07 pm

“Nearly 2.5 million page views later, Mr. Kawasaki made just $3,350 from Google AdSense, or $279.16 a month.”

That is just proof for us to get other sources of income. We need to look into “diversifying” our advertizing not relying on Adsense too much.