If you haven't yet got a Google AdSense account for your site, now may be time to do so. AdSense is becoming increasingly popular with small and middle-sized websites who wish to cash in on their site popularity. And with the latest updates that have been made to the AdSense service, there is now no excuse not to join.
If you didn't already know AdSense is Google's context targeted Ad delivery program. Basically the Search Engine giant is giving you the chance to display the adverts that you may have seen to the right of your search results on your own site. Whenever someone clicks through one of the Ads you get an undisclosed, but worthwhile, portion of the money the subscribers to Google's AdWords program are supplying Google to promote their site on paid listings. The script is easy to customize, simply adjusting the settings in your Account settings and then pasting the raw code into your site.
However I expect that most of the people reading this article already have a good idea about what AdSense is and what it does. What you are really interested in is what Google has done to change its service, right? Well when I logged on to the AdSense site a few days ago, the first thing that popped up was a copy of the new TOS (Terms of Service). I read through it, and clicked accept to agree with the new terms and conditions. When I got into my account page I was greeted by two welcome sights: A new type of Ad box, and even better yet a new payment method.
The new 'Ad Links' box are not just the typical textual Ads. Rather they give you site-targeted topics, which a visitor can click on to go to a list of related advertisements. What this means in real terms is that rather than four or five adverts on a page you can give your visitor access to maybe 50, all of which could earn you money. This is a very exciting development, and one that could potentially benefit everyone.
There are some downsides that I have to point out however. At the moment the maximum size of the 'Ad Links' box is 200*90, with a maximum of five topics. This is fine for people who use the smaller Ad Units, but for those who use the biggest rectangle possible this could be a problem. The other fact to consider is how long it may take your visitors to adapt to the new layout. I have no evidence to back this up, as I've only been experimenting with the new system for two days now, but it does seem that, in the short term at least, you will be seeing a decrease in revenue from your AdSense account as the visitors get used to the new layout.
The most beneficial changes Google has bestowed on us, however, has to be the changes in the payment system. A real boon to the non-US based publishers such as myself has to be the supply of local currency cheques. Now you can elect to receive your check in Pounds Sterling, Indian Rupees, Euros, Turkish Lira or any of 43 local currencies. There is also the option to sign up for the beta of the new EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer) payment option, which will deposit money directly into your back account.
So those are the changes that Google has made to its AdSense program. But as ours IS to wonder why, maybe I can make a comment of the possibility of why this update has come this week. Is it coincidence that at the same time as Google was updating its program Yahoo has announced its own textual Ad serving service, based on its Overture Paid Inclusion search engine? Personally I don't think so. But competition is almost always a good thing, and who knows, maybe Yahoo may even spur Google into giving people the Ad tracking capabilities that many publishers have been crying out for.
Daniel Robson runs http://www.shock-therapy.org
where he hands out his freeware as well as loudly voicing his opinions on pretty much everything.