Dropping Out of the New Interest Based AdSense

Having read a couple of posts from bloggers who, I believe, know what they are talking about, I am opting out of the new Google AdSense advertising.

The new ad system will give you, the reader, ads beased on where you go from here.  So if you read mainly technical posts across the web, you’ll start to see more and more technical ads.  If you are a new parent and want to look for baby things, you’ll start to see a lot more ads aimed at the new parent.  So far, it doesn’t seem so bad, does it?  I mean, targeted ads can’t be bad, right?  Thing is, what if you are looking for presents for the new baby of your friends?  Will you get incorrectly targeted ads for the next month until your browsing goes back to normal?  And, in an extreme case, the spouse is away for a while and you’re feeling lonely and need some “me” time…  Will your browsing be doged by ads which will proclaim what you’ve been doing as surely as if you’d admitted it?  And will those ads mean that perfectly normal sites will get tagged as undesirable by content filters?

Fact is, if I opt in I will be sending you a cookie and that cookie will follow you like the kid at school with a very big mouth.  And I don’t want to give up your privacy to anyone else.  Giving up your privacy to me is fine – simply knowing about this site gives me the right to come round your house and riffle through your wardrobe when you’re out, by the way.  But I don’t want to give your rights up to another company unless you want me to.

Will this mean I could potentially lose out on revenue?  Possibly.  But then losing out isn’t a big deal – the ads are there because I’m interested in what the ads show and it amuses me.  So far I’ve made nothing at all out of it and don’t give a monkeys.

Maybe, if enough bloggers follow this stance we can get Google to rethink what they’re doing.  I have no quarrel with Google, I use their products and will happily tell others about them, but I don’t like this method of advertising.

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Posted on 14 March, 2009, in Blogging/WordPress, Computer Stuff, Site News and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 49 Comments.

  1. Way to go Ray. Maybe if enough bloggers and webmasters get together and opt out Google will see the error of its way and chuck the whole idea where it belongs, in the cyberspace cesspit.

    • Absolutely. Google seems to have forgotten that any of it's offerings can only work if the users get behind it. I didn't see any notes from Google asking me my opinion on the whole thing. I may serve up their ads, but the blog is still mine!

  2. I am not a big follower of google, but I am quite sure that this kind of thing is quite a bit more intrusive than merely content-targetted ads. While I can see google desperate to push up click-through rates for their own revenue, I am not convinced about the privacy aspect.

    • I can see why they are doing it – I’d love to avoid the more annoying ads. But Google is becoming more and more faceless and they keep churning out new ways to own you and your browser. They are becoming more and more like Microsoft every day.

  3. As I tried to enebale Interest Based AdSense, I've seen that my CTR is higher than the old one! and my earning is higher,too. Thanks for new algorithm.!

    • This fits your marketing plan and is great for you. As I have said though, the ads don’t represent a form of revenue for me and as this is a personal site I’d rather not plant cookies on people as they browse.

      hough it may be funny to see the reaction of the people who come here searching for “Lesbians” or “Donkey Sex”…

  4. I'm still debating. (Thanks for the links by the way) My adsense percentages and earnings have dropped within the last 2 months to nearly zip after some fairly good months. To be honest, I'm all for tossing the entire system out and starting over with another network. On my blog, most of the adverts are for desktop wallpapers since I have a single page concerning them that's highly ranked. Lots of other pages highly ranked but thoase are the adverts that get displayed. Even on Posts, talking about wordpress and AVG, I get adverts for desktop wallpapers. Really sucks to be honest.

    I may give it a try.

    • I stand corrected. Didn't notice that it was opt out and folks are automatically added into the program. Well, we'll see how it does for a bit. The percentages for today is at the high end of normal numbers but it's still early. Last 7 days is a tick higher as well.

    • Hi Dr Mike! Yeah, I'm not totally convinced that AdSense is useful unless you have a niche blog. As soon as you get something that doesn't follow the pattern, it gets confused. I suspect that you can only get it back on track by either blacklisting the "wrong" ads or by flooding your site with more relevant posts to convince it that your site is something else.

      • I've actually been thinking about something along those lines. While my blog is a general topic one covering a number of topics, I have about 6-9 topics that get heavy traffic. (ie the desktop wallpapers, rpg and gaming, ipod, etc.) I'm actually thinking about dividing up the topic into subblogs and niches and seeing if I can get some better results. Time is an issue currently but I'm online most of the day anyway.

        There are days where the few cents I get from the Project Wonderful adverts in my sidebar do better than the Adsense totals. That's sad actually.

        • I would strongly suggest having separate blogs – each being a niche and leave one as your personal blog: whether for random thoughts or to use as a “CEO’s Blog” affair. That way all of your ads are completely focused and it’s also easier to see which sites are more successful.

          As to AdSense not being as well paid as other networks, that’s just a by product of the success of the network. It’s just too huge and difficult to affect. Going with a smaller network gives you a bigger piece of the pie and they’ll listen when you let them know where you think improvements can be made. And lots of people block adsense ads, so you don’t even reach a segment of your audience.

  5. Thanks for the heads up Ray,
    I wasn't aware of this new function but it doesn't surprise me. With the computing power Google has they will know absolutely everything about us before long. This may be a help to people who are always searching for the same things but I tend to be all over the place with what I am looking for so it seems like I will be seeing results from my last sessions.
    What happens if you disable cookies on your computer? I would think this would stop Google from tracking my but most people don't know how to do that. I am actually about what can happen in the future with one entity having all this personal information. What if we have some kind of a national scare and the Govt. goes to Google and starts mining. Who knows what those idiots in DC could come up with,

    • I'd block cookies from Google Adsense over turning them off completely. Have too many problems with other sites if you turn them off completely.

      As to the change, considering that I probably have hundreds of tracking cookies already, Google would have to get in line as the government would have to go after all the other companies and marketers that already do this. At the very least, Google was honest and upfront about it.

      Just for reference, I did received an email from GA concerning this change. It's somewhere in my inbox….

      • Yeah, I got the email and left it there while I thought about it. From the reactions I read it kinda backed up my thoughts on it not necessarily being a good thing. If, after testing by other people, it seems ok I may turn it back on again. We'll see.

  6. Thanks for info about Google. I have been starting to get back into Adsense and reading around about making money from my blogs. Thanks for the additional info, Ray!

  7. I think I will also opt out of this. Lets take a stand against the mighty adsense empire!

  8. There's a fine line between invading someone's privacy and simply targeting ads at them. And unfortunately google comes dangerously close to that line (I'd even say that they cross it at times).

  9. As soon as I saw, "Update your Privacy Policy", I knew I probably didn't want to opt in to this new model. Maybe I'll see a use for it someday.

  10. Yes, that "update your privacy policy" bit gave me pause for thought too.

  11. Just so you guys know, you need to update your privacy policy whether you opt in or not.

  12. Thank you for being ethical, unlike many out there

    • Not so much an ethical issue, as having respect for my genuine visitors 🙂 I’d rather lose a few cents than a bunch of readers.

  13. Their motto used to be Do No Evil, and now they’re tracking peoples surfing habits by identifiable information. I remember the day when Doubleclick was the worst tracking org and constantly getting bombarded by privacy groups, now they’re owned by Google and the opt-out cookie is side stepped by a script.

    But yea, I still like google products.

  14. This new interest based Adsense could be a good choice for a blogger who don't care about targeting keywords with his post. The ad s will be crafted on the viewer's interest so they will be more clicked. The privacy issue is there anyway but at least it is clearly stated that there will be cookie installed.

  15. i think this is good and bad at the same time, the reader is given less chance to find new cool things, but might like the things he sees because it is in line with his search topics.

  16. If they only use cookies for tracking, I am not really that concerned. Most users should wipe out cookies after every session to be on the safe side.

  17. I now have a Privacy Policy! Look at the headings in the header bar, read and feel safe. I've worded it so that it allows me to opt in without having to mess around with it each time.

  18. Good one Ray, humorous and informative all in one post. I think that all I will do is add a bit at the end of my disclosure policy. That should make the Google boys happy.

    • Cheers matey. It was that or a simple "all your base are belong to Google", or even "in Soviet Russia, Google search you". But that may have been a bit outdated by now 🙂

  19. I think G already make up its mind. They will pursue this interested based adsense this April and I think we can't do about it. Its we're in or we're out but let just give it a try. It might benefit us better.

  20. Well, hold on now. I still believe in Google's mantra of doing no evil. I understand your concerns and examples but this is nothing new. Google has all that information on how you search anyways. Isn't that how they find the bad guys? For the law abiding citizens, why not let them show you relevant ads based on a combination of content and past search habits. I doubt it's going to be all that sensitive that if someone uses your computer, it's going to remember forever. And perhaps the user can delete the cookies too.

  21. Now we're getting to a grey area. If a user has to delete cookies regularly to keep their browsing experience as it is currently, then something is surely broken? Fine that Google has the info, I am just uncomfortable becoming an agent of Google. And if people have to keep deleting cookies after visiting here, why wouldn't they just decide to stop coming here – it would, after all, be far more convenient for them than keep erasing browsing history.

  22. I'm with Ray. If Google wants to be able to follow peoples habits then they should leave it to people to opt in, but they won't do that because they know most people would refuse the offer and so they do it on the sly. What they are doing can be likened to the Government embedding a bugging everybody so that they can keep tabs on what every one is doing, just so they can catch the bad guys?

  23. Any of the arguments for this seem to be weak. Lest we forget, Double Click was a despised internet advertising company and being bought by Google doesn't seem to have changed any of their practices. The government would usually argue that "if you're innocent you have nothing to fear" and no one seriously believes that!

    Although for me to opt in to the advertising scheme is just a couple of clicks, it magnifies to a couple of clicks per browser to erase the cookies. It's just too inconvenient for the visitors to this site. And that's just not on.

  24. Gosh! I know of the plugin call Commentluv and I really HATE that plugin! No, not because I receive a lot of comments (comments give me traffic) but because of some blogger tricking me that their blog are dofollow! 😦 I love keywordluv! And it is also convenient to post both my name and keyword 😀

  25. thanks for the tip. its very useful to me.

  26. Well what now? Its already April and do you think Google will drop this idea? I think they've announced it already on different dashboards of Adsense accounts and they are ready to go.

  27. I really dont like the idea of this, means you will never be exposed to new ideas

  28. I dont have enough traffic for it to matter which type of adsense I use 😦
    -Rich

  29. Yeah Im not a big fan of it either, or still not convinced yet. I figure if someone clicks on a post about cool birthday presents, your best bed for sidebar ads are about birthday present gifts, not tech related sites or what have you. I guess only time will tell.

  30. Adsense… i doubt people really make worthwhile money from it, unless you are an established blogger with thousands of daily visitors.

  31. Ys its surely worth dropping out of this. But I see many people above disagree

  32. Yeah the privacy is a huge concern with google. But what can you do – they're clearly heading to the world domination. Soon they'll know everything about everyone.

  33. Isn't that how they find the bad guys? For the law abiding citizens, why not let them show you relevant ads based on a combination of content and past search habits. I doubt it's going to be all that sensitive that if someone uses your computer, it's going to remember forever.

  34. Well, hold on now. I still believe in Google's mantra of doing no evil. I understand your concerns and examples but this is nothing new. Google has all that information on how you search anyways. Isn't that how they find the bad guys? For the law abiding citizens, why not let them show you relevant ads based on a combination of content and past search habits. I doubt it's going to be all that sensitive that if someone uses your computer, it's going to remember forever. And perhaps the user can delete the cookies too.

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