Sunday, October 15, 2006

The future of AdSense

In the last few weeks and months, there's been so much discussion about the future of AdSense, Google's ad syndication product that allows web site publishers to earn a share of the revenue Google generaates from ad clicks in return for the real estate inventory provided by the website publisher. AdSense has created an economy by itself and its future will have a bearing on a very significant population.

These questions are the result of doubts on the quality of many of these AdSense publishers; as there is a greater awareness of click fraud, more advertisers are either opting out of distribution of their ads on the content network or availing of the option to bid much lower. Either way, this is affecting AdSense publishers, raising questions on whether AdSense is dead. Some pundits have gone ahead and proclaimed it so already.

Personally, I believe AdSense is a great concept and it will live on (it's probably too valuable for Google to let go of it). However, with everything that has happened recently, I wouldn't be surprised if Google were to make some changes with the eligibility criteria for publishers and set some minimum criteria (such as traffic metrics, depth of content on the site, age of the site etc.) before it admits a publisher into its network. Of course, if and when that happens, it wouldn't be good news for a lot of publishers---but that's the price that many of us will have to pay for the deeds of several unscrupulous ones that have tried to game the system.

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