Putting some (Ad)Sense into the folks behind WordPress.com


The lure of lucre is a strong one indeed. Especially since getting it can be as easy as a bit of javascript on a page for which you don’t even need pay for being hosted.

I didn’t much care about hosting adsense on my blog. I thought the money made was amazingly little, if at all. Another thing was the usual “money is the root of all evil” dictum, alongside ‘fears’ that this blog would become yet another money making machine with no soul. All said, that sort of fear would really just boil down to fear of the unknown, or fear of change. But heck, the money you can make is no small change, it’s wads of cash, especially when converted from American Dollars to Indian Rupees.

So when I heard of the Ad-ventures of a few friends of mine, I did get tempted, and got my very first AdSense account. But ahh…. blogs hosted on wordpress.com can not run their own Javascript code! It gets snipped off.

But surely some very good blogs use WordPress…. and there’d be a good number of them wanting to convert that to monetary terms? Checking on the wordpress.com forums says there are, but they are constrained by wordpress, and have been clamouring for an Adsense widget since ages, and WP.com doesn’t seem to be doing much about it, though they were thinking of making it a paid upgrade in 2006. Because apparently an overwhelming majority wanted wordpress to be ad-free.

The logic they spout is a bit flawed, but I will get to that in a minute.

There seemed to be no other avenue… the only way to make cool cash would be to start a page on Blogger. But heck, what about the cool features offered on wordpress.com? And I certainly don’t want to shift any of my pages permanently to Blogger.

So I thought I’d maintain a page on Blogger, and crosspost any future posts, along with exporting all my current posts to there. Started a Blogger.com blog. I winced at the cluttered Dashboard, the absence of blog stats (I’d have to fool around with Google Analytics a wee bit before I got that running, and even after I’d’ve done that, I wouldn’t have it integrated with Blogger, and I’d have to work at making sure my visits weren’t counted…), the colour scheme, the lackluster themes, the lack of a clean-looking interface, the editor which wasn’t even a patch on WP’s WYSIWYG editor. I winced the thought of a popup comments page. But maybe it’s just fear of change.

But haha, I can’t import all my current posts to Blogger the way I can from a WP.com ID. Manual posting is simply not an option, what with 150+ posts on this blog and 100+ on ChuckleAndGuffaw. I mean, how hard is it to make an import import-from-wordpress tool? Think there’s a web app here.

And why can’t wordpress.com, which has all these jingchak features, add a widget so that people can make money from their blogs? Users attribute a variety of reasons.

First is the usual “wordpress.com is for those who love blogging for the soul of it, not for those who want to get rich quick” argument. And next are the “an overwhelming number of users voted for wordpress.com to be ad-free”, and the “Ads are Bad” arguments.These hold no water in the face of Adsense in its current form.

Firstly, it’s Targeted Advertising, which in essence means you’d probably see a “C/C++ programmers wanted” ad on a blog about coding, and not one about hand-painted pillowcases. And gone are the days when no company worth its salt would advertize on the Net that no ad you’d see was worth clicking. Gone too are the days of jang-bang banner and popup advertizing, which we’ve trained ourselves to instinctively avoid. Adsense ads are unobtrusive in themselves, and the only way you’d make them obtrusive was if you place them in the middle of a piece of writing. People also fear blogs being created just for the purpose of advertising… dear ones, how many would visit an ad-blog? How much cash would that blog get, more so when you compare it to a well-written popular blog, which is keyword-rich as well as non-spam that the targeted advertising really achieves its goals more easily? And considering this is valid, wouldn’t you just be depriving someone who writes well and wants to make their hobby pay? And is probably writhing at the thought of lesser blogs generating more than just social capital?

If at all people really hated advertising, wouldn’t they just avoid blogs full of ads, thus making it counterproductive to have ads on your blog?

And wouldn’t people shift to other blogging sites if, for the same effort, they’d get more returns for doing so? I’m not so sure wow features are an issue with most people.

Another reason given by a user is that wordpress.com uses our blogs for ads (can be viewed only for people who hit the blog during searching, and not for regular users), and so you’ll have two adsense scripts running at the same time, and Adsense might terminate either account. This totally negates the “users say no ads on wordpress.com” argument. And so if you need advertising to keep your domain running, shouldn’t you make some leeway for users who are willing to pay to run their own ads on their blogs?

So much for the arguments… I’m not very hopeful of WordPress.com having a sidebar widget for Adsense in the near future. And if I really do want to make blogging pay, I’ll have to look at alternatives, while keeping my other interests within sight. How that is to be done, I don’t know properly yet. Till something turns up, any ideas, any thoughts, anyone?

About wanderlust

just your average books-and-music person who wants to change the world.
This entry was posted in Blogging, Priya's Travails and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Putting some (Ad)Sense into the folks behind WordPress.com

  1. your post came a day too late for me. i did all the searching through the FAQ yesterday to learn the above and do feel the same about the ads on WP. the only possible way seems to be a self-hosted blog, using wordpress, for which plugins are available.

    for importing to blogger you can use Blog2Blog
    http://www.paulcooley.com/linuxlore_blogstorage/apps/blog2blog/blog2blog-2.4.0.2.zip

  2. pachi says:

    Hi wanderlust,
    firstly, having 2 different adsense ads(of different accounts) is acceptable under adsense T&C (check out squidoo.com… which works on revenue sharing model with its users)

    If you are thinking of monetizing from your blog.. do self hosting… can help you there.. as myself shifted to self hosted blogging couple of weeks back (www.arbitblog.com), you can import all the posts to your new blog in a click of a mouse and you need not worry about loosing traffic as you can direct all the wordpress.com traffic to your new blog by paying $10-15 to wordpress.com

    monetising your blog might(will) have influence on the blog, but it need not be a negative thing.

    It is fun learning to get more traffic and write articles which people actually read, and experimenting with keywords etc….

    My vote goes for u monetizing this blog…

  3. Akshay N R says:

    The tone of your article was properly epitomised in the line “wouldn’t you just be depriving someone who writes well and wants to make their hobby pay?”
    Though I agree with you on that part, I still have to go in favor of Wp when they say that “wordpress.com is for those who love blogging for the soul of it, not for those who want to get rich quick”. For once, I actually believe what they say.

    So I suggest you take up PACHI’s idea and pay up to get paid!

    @PACHI:
    Dude, with reference to your url and mine, I would like to know who flicked from whom or was it just an act of co-incidence?

  4. pachi says:

    @Akshay
    wow! it is a coincidence! wanted the usual blog title “random thoughts”, couldn’t get that.. then chose, arbitness.wordpress.com… didnt like it much.. and also was planning to buy a domain.. and checked up arbitblog.com and was available(and i liked it).. so bought it off…

    with arbit becoming a part of the vocab in nitk, guess anybody could have done this… sorry, for using the same “brand name”, but it was completely coincidental.(I visited your blog for the first time now). If i knew earlier that a nitkian was using a similar named blog, would have thought of other names.

  5. Akshay N R says:

    Actually I started using the arbitblog thing long before u gave up on blogging the first time around. My first url was arbitblogs.blogspot.com
    It is still there but not updating it anymore. WP was way cooler. Anyway, if u go to room 19 in 3rd block, u will find the origins of my blog title on the room door.
    Which branch and year are u anyway?

  6. wanderlust says:

    @pachi:
    yeah, i too thought you were another alias of akshay 🙂 before checking out your blog and finding there is no relation. which year and branch?

    as for hosting my own domain… i did give it a thought. While it comes with its own advantages, i wouldn’t host the blog on my own domain just for advertising purposes. if however i find some other good reason to do so, i surely will.
    the attractiveness of the whole proposition is that i don’t have to spend anything, not worry about most issues that come with having your own domain, and still get something. that way, a blogger blog with crossposts sounds more attractive.

    and keywords and all those other things you mentioned… doing the same here… fun ain’t it?

    @curdriceaurora:
    i wrote the post a day earlier to when i posted it, but a powercut prevented me from posting it on time. annnd.. that means i was doing the same googling you were doing, at the same time.
    i did find that link, too… would prefer a web-app… wondering if i should fool around with writing one myself… google appengine says i still can host two apps on their server.

  7. pachi says:

    @priya
    I’m in final year, tronix.

    actually it doesnt take much time to set up the whole thing – domain+hosting, might take up 1 to 2 hrs… for basic setup

    I dont think cross-blogging(putting same content here and at blogger) is good idea, as
    1) google treats it as duplicate content and might put it into auxiliary index(which means that blog might not show up on google) – read more… http://www.jimboykin.com/damned-to-google-hell-supplemental-results/

    2) even if google doesnt put it into auxiliary index, the blogger blog is less likely to show up than this wordpress blog, as this blog already has inbound links and good page rank…. which means less to no visitors… so no revenue (unless you start promoting blogger blog and gradually shift over there)

    Ya.. you can start optimizing content for keywords and try out a couple of other things… counting succcess by no. of visitors than ad revenue…

    But one more pissing off thing about wordpress.com is that, it doesnt allow us to use google analytics, so might have to go for other trackers…

  8. aditya says:

    firstly, i am sure wordpress would have given it a damn good lot of thought. the feature would bring them loads of cash and wordpress isn’t getting them anywhere close to that sum. the desicion would be at a verry high level – probably for flexibility in the future
    or because the time hasn’t come to monetize it
    or they think it’ll make WP.com ugly. but money comes first, so that’s not it.
    or they don’t like google and ppl will hate WP for not liking google 😛
    or maybe they think WP.com will sell for a higher price this way!

    secondly, once ppl start getting money, i think ppl will move away and not share money with WP.com anymore. they’ll lose the good blogs and host all the start-up blogs. bad bussiness.

    blogger.com is plain bad i can’t agree more. they dont even have flexible width stylesheets! most other google services are losing out too[ok, debatable]

    also, with a mostly Indian audience, i doubt the adsense returns would be about the world-average that was probably reported in the forums. your blog page view statistics would be good to know btw.

    also, i have no idea, but i’d like an estimate what could be the avg earnings per month

    this is getting way too long, but anyway – there was this blog i was following by the authors of Freakonomics. it was good and i was a regular reader, and the RSS feeds were in full. then NYTimes paid them to blog on their column. they moved {freakonomocs ppl} and the new page was cluttered with banner ads and other NYTimes ads and top NYTimes articles. and the RSS got cut to the header only. i stopped following. many did. too cumbersome. and non-pleasant. even Dilbert blog was much better when on typepad i think.

    of course ther’r of-course other services. typepad.com is popluar for one! i’d personally like some uncluttered clean pages on the internet. it’s more that money, the internet! [maybe, is it?]

    then, finally [ah!!] check this out, you might have seen this. haven’t tried it myself – http://nitklogik.wordpress.com/googlef09ecbc4298a5bf3html/

    and finally [beyond] can’t help but wonder why there aren’t books in the market that come free but with ads in the margins. ah! maybe bangalore mirror comes close 😛

  9. Pingback: world’s longest comment « Of Lost Pens and International Debt

  10. wanderlust says:

    @pachi:
    yes, it is the having-to-build-up-a-pagerank-all-over-again-and-all-for-ads bit that makes me think twice, considering i have too much on my plate.
    i know about the auxiliary index bit, but im not too perturbed coz i simply consider anything that might come in through the other page as a bonus.
    optimizing and counting success by number of visitors is the norm here if at all we feel like measuring “success”, but sometimes you do feel shortchanged that all that social capital cannot be converted to more tangible terms.
    trackers… i find blog stats quite informative, though google analytics kicks ass any day. i’m not sure i want as much information as google analytics provides, considering even stats gets nothing but a cursory glance from us on most days.
    @aditya:
    yeah… exactly.. WP would have given this a lot of thought… I’d like to know more about their actual motives. WP is not really averse to using google services… the blog stats are from google analytics 🙂
    what does indian audience have to do with the revenue earned? do indians click less or something? while i’m not at liberty to reveal the amounts earned by friends of mine, all i’ll say is blogs with much less visitors than this one, and which aren’t updated more than once in a while do get a decidedly cool amount every month. for a decent blog, you can get anything more than a hundred dollars a month, or so i hear.
    freakonomics… ah… you know, you can afford to snip your rss feeds if you have an audience of that magnitude, and it’s a crime to not try monetizing it. if that translates to less visitors, then you need to make your advertising more unobtrusive.
    talking of advertising, i know people who by Times of India only because the ads are much better, especially with respect to job opportunities and discount sales. who knows… maybe such a day is not to far off in blogosphere!
    i did try googleverification for my other blog, but as it happened, someone told me it’s okay to delete the verification page after your blog gets verified, but ahhhh…. apparently not.
    maybe your prayers are getting answered… there are talks of ebooks coming for free but with ads in the margins.
    it makes sense for ebooks coz you can keep changing the contents of the ads, but not for books… books have a long “shelf” life in bookstores, and that risks the ads becoming obsolete, which is not the case with ebooks.

  11. AJ says:

    Wanderlust, you are sadly mistaken if you think WP.com is adfree. It is NOT. WP.com (Run by AutomatticCrattic) does have ads. But they are not visible to regular users or those with Firefox.

    Try this:

    Fire up IE (or change the UA of your browser), clear your cookies, go to google and search for something so that your blog shows up and visit your blog. And well, you’ll love the site I’m sure 😉

    (Quick link http://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&q=Putting+some+%28Ad%29Sense+into+the+folks+behind+WordPress.com&btnG=Google+Search&meta=)

    There are 2 nice blocks of ads..

  12. wanderlust says:

    AJ,
    I guess you missed the part where i said
    Another reason given by a user is that wordpress.com uses our blogs for ads (can be viewed only for people who hit the blog during searching, and not for regular users),…

  13. AJ says:

    Erm.. Yeah I missed that part. 😀

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