Festive Money Makers

I wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

It has been a very busy month for me, hence there's only a couple of entries so far this month. To conclude the year I thought I would summarise some of the key money makers I have talked about earlier.

1. Text Link Ads (Tom's rating = 4/5)
TLA has proved a steady and dependable source of income. For the first three quarters of 2007 I was making between $40 and $50 per month from TLA without fail. At the end of the month my referral earnings ($25 per approved publisher or advertiser sign up) and publisher earnings would land in my PayPal account with no effort at all. It might be to do with my efforts promoting TLA - if you Google 'Text Link Ads' now you'll see that AdSense4Dummies comes on the second page of results which is not bad at all considering the wide coverage it gets.

Sadly, since my PageRank was hammered by Google (from PR4 to PR0), I get much less per link I sell with TLA. If you have a PR3 or better site it's definitely worth signing up to this great money spinner.

Text Link Ads

2. ExoClick (Tom's rating = 2/5)
Obviously having a blog called AdSense4Dummies I'm unable to directly promote AdSense on it. I looked for alternatives and ExoClick, a fairly new Spanish venture, was one of the first I considered mainly because of the hype (at the time) it was getting over at Digital Point forums. Things started off very promisingly for ExoClick, with most clicks earning around the 20 cent mark. I remember one day I had the best part of $800 in my account, but sadly that was a mistake which they quickly rectified!

The shine has come off ExoClick now I'm only making a couple of cents per click. Even though they aren't paying that much they have a couple of real advantages: firstly, they pay by PayPal on a weekly basis and secondly, the payout level is a very modest $10 minimum which is easily within reach of most publishers. Another bonus is that ExoClick can be used on pretty much any site - adult, gambling, pharmacy all included. Their ad units have thumbnail images which help with the CTR. They also have a referral program where you earn 5% lifetime on your referral's earnings.

If you're an advertiser you can also get 1 cent clicks from ExoClick - they get you traffic but the quality isn't great. If you pay peanuts you get monkeys as they say.

What I've started saying now is that ExoClick is a good space filler - if you've got some empty spaces to fill stick in a couple of ExoClick units and see what you get. It is not a great money maker by it self, but isn't to be dismissed because of the advantages I mentioned before.

Try ExoClick Now!

3. AdBrite (Tom's rating = 5/5)
AdBrite is the main source of revenue I'm getting from this blog. It is making me a cool $10 nearly every day. Their inlines are proving particularly profitable and I've even managed $1 clicks in the past (very rare, admittedly). Most clicks fall in the range of 10-15 cents, but you don't need too many of those to make it worthwhile. I also get a sizable chunk of cash (maybe 50% of my total AdBrite earnings) from their referral program, which pays 50% of AdBrite's profit on any of your referral's earnings for 6 months.

On the downside they only pay by USD check and on a NET45 basis. This means you can have a considerable wait for your earnings to arrive. AdBrite also operate an adult PPC called Black Label Ads which is well regarded by adult webmasters.

AdBrite is by far the best program I have reviewed in 2007.

4. WidgetBucks (Tom's rating = 3/5)
WidgetBucks came to life back in October and has had a rocky ride ever since. Publishers display shopping widgets on their site which pay on a PPC basis. Initial earnings were good, with many publishers making hundreds of dollars in the first month. WidgetBucks have since made it harder to earn by only counting US/Canadian traffic clicks because these convert best for their advertisers. Earnings per click, those clicks they do actually count, are very good at around 25-30 cents.

To calm the international uproar from publishers who don't get much US/Canadian traffic WidgetBucks have recently introduced CPM ad units. These CPM units seem to pay around 5-10 cents CPM, which is only worthwhile if you have huge traffic. Still, it's better than nothing I suppose.

Despite it's numerous teething problems, and it's still very new remember, WidgetBucks has some real advantages:
  • Each new publisher receives $25 credit towards their first payout just for signing up.
  • Their referral program pays 10% of your referral's earnings for 12 months.
  • They pay by PayPal.
I'm still hopeful that WidgetBucks will prove profitable in the long run.

Earn $$ with WidgetBucks!

More Sitelinks

Those clever people at Google - they never fail to impress me with their innovative ideas and attention to detail. Recently they've been playing around with their search algorithms again but this time it's their image results that have been under the spotlight. Several sites are reporting a surge in their image result referrals over the past week or so. It just goes to show that it isn't just anchor text and flowery words that make a difference in the search engine results pages.

Another thing they've done is added more sitelinks to the top sites thrown up in text search results. If you don't know what I'm talking about you're by no means alone, but hopefully the images below will enlighten you:


Now if they'd just give us all our PageRank back.

AdSense Tweaks

The clever people at Google (or the same bastards who stole my PR, depending on your perspective) have changed the way that AdSense for content ad units respond to clicks. Previously users could click anywhere on the ad unit and their click would be counted; now only those clicks which fall on the ad title or URL will be counted.

"What's the purpose?" you might ask. Well, according to Google they've tweaked the system to try and reduce the number of accidental clicks - accidental clicks which AdWords advertisers have to pay for but stand little chance of converting. They also claim that the decrease in accidental clicks will benefit publishers by making their visitors stop for longer. So it's a pink, fluffy, all-round nice state of affairs that will keep everyone in the ad food chain happy.

Read the complete story at the official blog, Inside AdSense.

WidgetBucks Update #2

My previous WidgetBucks posts:
WidgetBucks - Making Your Traffic Pay
WidgetBucks Update

I've had a good month with WidgetBucks but if you read around you'll find that some people have not. WidgetBucks is drawing in thousands of new publishers every week with the enticing lure of up to $6 CPM and a $25 sign up bonus - not surprisingly, with such attractive payments on offer, some people are trying to dodge the rules and pocket the cash.

To maintain integrity in the system for the benefit of their advertisers WidgetBucks has come down hard on certain rule breaking publishers. A lot of people have received warnings or bannings for:
  • Click fraud.
  • Placing their widgets on sites with adult content.
  • Placing their widgets on non-content (eg. ad only) pages.
  • Placing their widgets on non-English sites.
Obviously anyone who has been banned isn't very pleased with WidgetBucks and consequently there is some negative publicity floating about at the moment.

Have faith - WidgetBucks is part of the respected Mpire advertising business and they will honour their payment pledges as long as the publisher keeps to the terms of service. I can not emphasise that enough - people are only being banned for unnecessarily ignoring the rules.

Today the official WidgetBucks blog announced that October's earnings have been confirmed and it has been a good month for me. I am not raking in loads of clicks each day, but even a few 30 cent clicks begin to add up over the month. I'm on target for a nice little Christmas bonus, when I receive my first payment in December.

Another thing I like about WidgetBucks is the way they respond to publisher feedback. One thing that was concerning me was that referral earnings were only posted at the beginning of each month and there was no way to track them in between. Today WidgetBucks announced that they will be adding a real time referral earnings tracker to their site. Some publishers have also complained about losing track of their earnings from deleted widgets - to overcome this problem a new section is going to be added to keep track of these earnings too.

WidgetBucks are still offering the very generous $25 instant sign up bonus for all new publishers. If you haven't joined yet I recommend you do so before this $25 bonus offer is ended. Please use our referral button below to tell them AdSense4Dummies sent you.

Earn $$ with WidgetBucks!

AdSense Introduce Resources Tab

A very brief entry today, it is the weekend after all, just to say that publishers may have noticed the addition of a new 'Resources' tab on their account dashboard. The new button provides AdSense publishers with a convenient shortcut to an array of program policy information. Why not check it out yourself next time you sign in?

More on this story at the official blog, Inside AdSense.

Gmail Spam Filter - Fighting the Good Fight

Did you know it takes the average person 5 seconds to identify a spam email message? No, nor did I but apparently it does. With almost 80% of all the emails being handled by Gmail being spammy in nature that could add up to a considerable amount of wasted time over the course of the working week - time which could be better spent playing fussball or instant messaging your Grandma according to Google software engineer Brad Taylor.

Amount of spam aimed at Gmail users.

Gmail users are playing an increasingly major role in the fight against spam. Every time a rogue piece of spam creeps through the Gmail spam filter and gets reported a message is sent through the Google computer system to catch the same piece of spam before it lands in other inboxes. The spam filter is also smart enough to spot most important genuine emails, rather than hide them away in the spam folder - this reduces the chance of missing anything crucial.

It's all very interesting stuff - at least I thought so. Find out why Brad is a software engineer and not an actor by watching this YouTube Gmail spam guide.

WidgetBucks - Trend Watch - WidgetBucks.com

WidgetBucks Update

Last week I wrote a post about a new semi-contextual advertising service called WidgetBucks. A few teething problems have become apparent - nothing major, but some things you should be aware of.

Firstly the widgets are quite slow to load. This is a problems that WidgetBucks are aware of and they have been working on a fix to try and speed things up. If you reapply your ad code you should find the widgets load slightly faster than previously.

Secondly, again a problem WidgetBucks are aware of, even when publishers are using the MerchSense system of targetting the ads don't always match the page content. This is to do with an initial shortage of advertisers. As WidgetBucks creating a massive stir in the webmaster community their service should reach new advertisers quickly and their ad content will diversify.

But do not despair - I am still experiencing very good results with WidgetBucks. So far every click has been worth at least 25 cents plus there is a $25 sign up bonus for every new publisher.

Some other things that have become apparent from surfing around the various reviews of the new service - ads related to PDAs and flatscreen TVs are paying particularly well - more like 30 cents per click. Many publishers, even with modest traffic, are reporting several dollars worth of income every day. Conscious of the fact that some people are trying to cheat the system WidgetBucks are monitoring earnings closely. Suspiciously high click thru rates are being investigated and cheats will be banned without payment.

Join quickly
because that generous $25 bonus offer isn't going to last for ever!

Earn $$ with WidgetBucks!

Blogger Comment Alerts by Email

Yesterday I noticed something new about the comments on Blogger blogs. An announcement in the official blog, Blogger Buzz, confirms my observations that people can now subscribe for new comment alerts by email. To do this you'll have to be signed in and comment using your Google Account.

But the image of the Buzz entry gives a very interesting insight into the world of the Blogger Googler - it shows that they actually use Internet Explorer 7 as their web browser. How bizarre. I thought every Googler used FireFox - it's almost a Google product from the amount of promotion they give it!

Google Introduce Tip of the Day

They're an innovative bunch these Googlers - either that or they have very dull lives looking at the paint drying on the dull inner walls of the Googleplex. The newest little gadget they've come up with, to break the monotony of their repetitive keyboard tapping, is a 'Tip of the Day' gadget. The new gimmick can be easily implemented on your iGoogle homepage or embedded into your site or blog.

Another attempt to spread the famous Google branding and encroach even further on webmaster's everyday lives. Me, cynical? Absolutely not!

Read more about this story on the Official Google Blog.

AdSense Ad Management

I'm amazed it has taken so long but AdSense has finally cottoned on to what every other PPC provider has already been doing since the dawn of time - they are going to allow their publishers to update their ad colours and formats directly from their account dashboard.

Nothing revolutionary there you be thinking? And you'd be absolutely right! Which makes it all the more surprising that Google has been dragging their feet on this elementary piece of functionality. In the past any publisher wanting to update the appearance of their ad units had to generate code for each new ad and endure the often painstaking and torturous process of having to re-paste it on their site.

The new ad management system means (thankfully) that publishers will no longer have this battle - they'll be able to sign into their AdSense account, change the ad options and their edits will be reflected automatically on any ads displayed.

Who says you can't reinvent the wheel?!

Read more about this story on the official blog, Inside AdSense.

PageRank Happenings

Google PageRank - not such smiley faces anymore.

After months of nothingness on the PageRank front it now appears that Google engineers are beginning to flick switches in their network of Data Centers. It seems like bad news for a lot of webmasters including me, with vast drops in PR across the web. It looks like AdSense4Dummies and YouTube Karaoke, my two most popular blogs, could drop from their current PR4 to only PR2. This is despite considerable effort to promote them and build their backlinks and traffic.

I'm hoping it's just a temporary pre-update rollback, although I'm doubtful of this because these 2 blogs have never been PR2 in the past. Maybe Google, increasingly (and arrogantly) filling the role of web God, has just taken a dislike to my sites for including the words 'AdSense' and 'YouTube' respectively?

There has been a few major upsets PR wise over recent weeks. StatCounter, a webstats service which was previously a PR10, dropped to PR9 at the last update (end of April) and more recently to only PR8. Darren Rowse's ProBlogger, previously a solid PR7, now has the very mediocre rank of PR4. V7N forums, previously a strong PR6 webmaster community, is now only a PR5.

From these and the many other dramatic decreases in PageRank it is becoming more apparent that the sheer volume and quality of backlinks, the previous sole determining factor, is becoming a less significant commodity. Google is getting personal.

BlogRush? More Like Bog Brush!


I've held off doing a review of BlogRush until now because I wanted to fully test the merchandise before passing judgement. The verdict - BlogRush is pretty pathetic.

The idea is simple enough - you sign up, submit your sites, paste some code in your blog template and an ad unit appears which contains links to sites similar to yours. The more impressions and clicks the BlogRush unit accumulates the more credits you earn to display your own link on other blogs involved in the scheme. You also earn credits for referrals.

What an absolute load of tosh. After only one day of using BlogRush all I achieved was to slow my page loads to a snail's pace and alienate my readership. Despite accumulating hundreds of BlogRush impressions that days I got no visitors whatsoever in return. The BlogRush unit couldn't be described as attractive either - slow to load, bloodstained vomit in colour with horrendous clashing blue links.

Bog brush

Definitely one to avoid. Lots of hype and no substance.

If you want to get some visitors to your blog I suggest what I always do when someone asks - write lots of informative and unique content (very important), exchange links with related sites, submit to directories, append your link in forum signatures and emails and don't give up!

WidgetBucks - Making Your Traffic Pay

Revised 30 Jan 09

I've been keeping a close eye on this new starter for the last month or so to see what the opinion is at Digital Point forums. They're an astute bunch over at Digital Point - all experienced webmasters who have seen traffic monetisation methods come and go over the years. WidgetBucks is getting good reviews over there from a lot of people at the moment - let's have a look and see why:

What is WidgetBucks?:
WidgetBucks is a promising new semi-contextual advertising program. Their attractive widgets advertise products of relevance to the website on which they are placed. Widget advertisements are geotargeted so that visitors see products available in their country. Payment is earned either on a per click or impression basis, depending on where the traffic originates from.

How does WidgetBucks work?:
Publishers sign up to the program, generate some advertising widgets and embed the widget code on their site. Ads are displayed immediately and begin to earn CPM (impression) revenue right away. They also pay on a CPC (per click) basis for clicks generated in the US, Canada or Europe.

What do WidgetBucks ads look like?:
Just like this:

The ad size and colour can be customised to blend in with your site. Remember that the ads are dynamic so they will cycle through a range of different products during each impression.

What does WidgetBucks pay?:
Over at Digital Point people are saying it pays as well as AdSense. That's a very steep claim and I couldn't possibly agree to it - I guess it depends on your traffic and niche. A combination of North American traffic and electronic goods (PDAs, flatscreen TVs) seems to pay particularly well.

WidgetBucks pays in two ways - for clicks from North America and Europe (CPC) and for impressions from most other countries (CPM).

In my experience their North American and European clicks are paying around 20 cents each. CPM earnings are not great at the moment - somewhere in the range of 10 cents per thousand impressions. WidgetBucks hopes to increase this rate once they've gained global advertiser confidence.

Is it AdSense safe?:
The widgets are non-contextual and dynamic - they don't look or work in the same way as AdSense ad units so are perfectly safe to use alongside AdSense.

What about a referral program?:
WidgetBucks publishers receive a very generous 15% of the earnings of their referrals for a 12 month period.

How and when does WidgetBucks pay?:
WidgetBucks pays by either USD check or PayPal. Payment is sent within 45 days of the end of the month in which you reach the $50 minimum payout. As with similar programs if you don't make the $50 minimum payment is rolled over to the next month.

Do they pay?
WidgetBucks issued their first payments at the beginning of December 2007, so have proved they pay promptly. I've received payment (shown below) so they're definitely a legitimate company.

How do I join?
If you've found this short review useful please sign up for WidgetBucks as our referral using the banner below.
Earn $$ with WidgetBucks!

AdSense Payments By Western Union

I heard this rumour last week, but there hasn't been any official confirmation from Google until a couple of days ago. If you live in the following countries you can now elect to receive your AdSense publisher revenue by Western Union:
  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • China (mainland)
  • Colombia
  • Malaysia
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • the Philippines
  • Romania
This new payment option is available to individuals only (not businesses yet). To receive payment by WU publishers will need to sign up in their AdSense account. Government issued ID will be required to collect the payment, which must be done within 35 days of issuance otherwise it will expire and be re-credit to your AdSense account balance. Payments will mainly be made in US Dollars, but it may be possible to receive local currency in some countries.

For more information on payment by Western Union check out the official blog, Inside AdSense.

Go Go Gadget Ads

Last week Google introduced a brand new ad format to their AdSense collection - the Google Gadget Ad. It differs from existing formats in that it's interactive, allowing the person viewing it to play a small game, perform a search or similar. The idea is that they'll provide better value to AdWords advertisers and benefit AdSense publishers by keeping visitors at their site for longer.

An example gadget ad.

Thankfully gadget ads are governed by the same high editorial standards as standard ad units, so there'll be no irritating smilies saying "hello" and tapping on the inside of your screen. I hate those!

If you're ready to start displaying gadget ads on your website you can increase the chances that they'll be shown by making sure you're opted in to image ads and using one of the image ad formats. Please note that the most popular sizes for gadget ads are the rectangle, leaderboard, and skyscraper formats.

Get the full story by visiting Inside AdSense.

AdSense Goes Mobile

Great news for AdWords advertisers that they are now able to deliver their ads to an even wider audience browsing the web on their mobile phones. Of course the new AdSense for mobile service will be of benefit to any AdSense publishers displaying ads on mobile-optimised sites too. The new service uses the same targeting technology that the conventional AdSense uses.

To implement AdSense for mobile ads you need to do the following:
  • Sign in to your AdSense account.
  • Select the 'AdSense Setup' tab and click 'AdSense for mobile'.
  • Follow the onscreen instructions.
Publishers are currently allowed only one AdSense for mobile unit on each site. Also, don't forget to include the URLs where you are displaying AdSense for mobile ads in your list of allowed sites.

Get more on this story by visiting the official blog, Inside AdSense.

EFT For Mexico

Great news today for AdSense publishers in Mexico. Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) is now available giving them the option of receiving their earnings directly into the bank. Read more about the different AdSense payment options in our earlier post. Gone are the days of waiting months and months for a check which, in some cases, never quite arrives! Sign up for EFT today to get your hands on, and AdSense's hands off, your money even quicker.

More on this story at Inside AdSense.

Blogger Play

Today the Blogger team introduce a great new gizmo called Blogger Play. This new Blogger site allows readers to view, in real time, the images that are being uploaded to Blogger blog posts across the network. It's a very similar idea to the new version of YouTube embeds that have been springing up over the past couple of months. The new system uses Google's SafeSearch technology in an attempt to weed out potentially offensive images. Why not head across to Blogger Play and have a play yourself to find out what all the fuss is about.

There's more on this story at Blogger Buzz.

Enhanced AdSense Security - Allowed Sites

Google has just announced another weapon in the war against AdSense fraudsters - a list of allowed sites. Each publisher will have the ability to register the URLs of sites displaying their AdSense ads. Only earnings from those listed sites will be credited to the publisher's account, giving them piece of mind that they won't be penalised if their code is used in an unauthorised manner.

For some time there has been concern that unscrupulous webmasters (or troublemakers in general) could steal the information of their rivals' AdSense accounts, use it for illicit purposes and potentially have their rivals penalised, through no fault of their own, for violation of the AdSense TOS.

To register your own allowed sites just click the 'Allowed Sites' link under your 'AdSense Setup' in your account. This great new feature should seek to reassure AdSense publishers that Google are taking seriously their concerns about account security. Read the full story at Inside AdSense.

Don't forget to update your list of allowed sites today.

Blogger Malware

The Blogger team have issued a rebuttal to recent media speculation that the system has been hacked and used for malware. According to Blogger what actually happened was the machines of some of their users were infected with a Trojan horse. The affected bloggers had their mail2blogger email addresses in their PCs' address book so when the malicious software spammed every address in their address book, a copy was also posted to their own blog.

Blogger is recommending that any user exposed to the automated spam download the Google Pack anti-virus software and scan their machine for nasties. The same action is recommended to anyone who has clicked a link in an offending spammy Blogger post.

The GPhone Cometh

Like a bolt from the blue and after months of speculation (Engadget, TechCrunch et al) it appears that Google is poised to release its very own mobile handset. The GPhone will come ready equipped with the corporation's VOIP system, Google Talk, allowing users to make very cheap (maybe free) voice calls over the web. It is believed the handset, complete with iPhone-like touch screen technology, will retail around the $100 mark when it is released in the US later this month.

Google also recently expressed interest in placing a $4.6 billion bid for a licence for part of the US airwaves - an asset that could be used to roll out a wireless broadband internet network. Stay tuned to the Official Google Blog for the latest GPhone developments.

Competition Closed

The competition announced last week is now closed. Looks like I am the winner because no-one entered! Stay tuned for more opportunities to win with AdSense4Dummies.

Embeddable Google Maps

View Larger Map

Hot off the press over at the Google Maps API Blog is news of their great new embeddable maps. Google Maps is a great tool and now, thanks to this latest development, it can feature on your site even if you have no coding knowledge whatsoever. All that's required is the ability to copy and paste the embed link - pretty neat, huh? Check out the full article over at the Google Maps API Blog. To demonstrate how easy it is even I can embed a map at the top of this post!

Ads by Google - Blogger Update

If there's one question I hear more than any others it's "how do we integrate AdSense between our Blogger posts?" Google recommend optimising your AdSense earnings by placing ad units between the page content of your blog. The process used to involved tinkering with the code of each individual post - not ideal if you're an HTML dunce and hassle even if you aren't. Thankfully there's now an easier way to place AdSense units at the bottom of each of your blog entries. The clever Blogger and AdSense Googlers have been refining the AdSense widget. Now all you have to do is go to your blog layout screen, click 'Edit' on the post layout section and select the 'Show Ads Between Posts' option.

The new widget also allows you to easily customise the appearance of your in-post ads. Get optimising those Blogger AdSense ads now. Check out more on this story by visiting Inside AdSense.

AdSense4Dummies Competition - $30 Top Prize

Welcome to the first AdSense4Dummies competition. I am seeking to increase the exposure of AdSense4Dummies a little bit by calling on the blog reviewing skills of my readers (or anyone else who wishes to participate). The rules of this particular competition are quite simple - in 300 words or less write a review of this blog.

Entry Criteria:
The review must comply with the following guidelines:
  • This is a blog review competition - if your site isn't a blog you're not eligible to participate.
  • The review must not exceed 300 words.
  • Include at least one link to the AdSense4Dummies homepage.
  • Include at least 2 deeplinks from this choice of 4:
  • Entries will be judged on the quality of writing, breadth of content and presentation.
  • By entering the competition you agree to leave your review in the archive of your blog for an indefinite period. A second best entry, winning a $20 prize, will be chosen from the archived entries one month after the competition closing date.
Submit your entry by:
  • Either: Leaving a link to your review in a blog comment.
  • Or: Emailing me the link using the email address on the sidebar.
  • I will try my best to acknowledge all entries, although I can't guarantee to do so.
  • Please ensure I have some means of contacting you - preferably have a contact email address somewhere on your blog.
Prizes will be awarded as follows:
  • The best entry, as chosen by me, will receive $30 by PayPal on the day after the competition closing date.
  • The second best entry, as chosen by me, will receive $20 by PayPal one month after the competition closing date.
  • If you can not accept PayPal as a means of payment there's no point in entering - it is my only payment method.
  • Winners will be announced on AdSense4Dummies, with a link to their respective entries. They will also have the opportunity to write a guest post on AdSense4Dummies.
Closing Date:
The closing date and last date for entries is Friday, 31st August 2007 (UK time, GMT+1). Entries will not be accepted after this date.

My decision about the winners is final.

Let the creative juices flow!

Google - Increased Storage Capacity

Apologies I'm slow to cotton on, but I've been away for the past week so missed this article on the The Official Google Blog.

I've always thought that the free storage capacity that comes with Gmail and Picasa Web Albums was exceptionally generous. The current capacities stand at 2.8 GB and 1 GB respectively, meaning you can store tens of thousands of emails, far more than any normal user could ever generate, and several hundred high resolution images completely free of charge. In the unlikely event that you run out of free space you could just start a new Google Account, but that's not an ideal solution because it means your data is spread over several different places at the same time. Cue Google hosting - not their name, but my description. Basically Google are going to allow regular account holders to purchase storage 'bolt ons' for their account. The basic package is going to cost just $20 a year for an extra 6 GB (or several thousand high resolution images) of storage space. Google intend to offer power users plans of up to a massive 250 GB of increased capacity.

Keep an eye out for the latest developments by visiting the The Official Google Blog.

AdBrite - A Well Paying Ad Network

I've been using AdBrite for quite a long time (say 8 months) but I've not been able to review them because I hadn't tested all of their services - until now that is. Last week I got an email from them saying I had sold an ad on my YouTube Karaoke blog. It's the first time I've managed to sell an ad directly using AdBrite - usually I display their network ads. AdBrite is a very good alternative to AdSense - it's what I normally recommend to anyone who has been banned from AdSense, but you can now use AdBrite alongside AdSense too.

For anyone who hasn't heard of AdBrite, it is program that allows you to sell link ads on your websites. Nothing unusual there you might think and you'd be right. What makes AdBrite different from something like Text Link Ads is that you can choose to display network ads at times when advertisers haven't bought any links directly from you.

Registration and Acceptance:
It is very easy to get accepted into AdBrite - simply complete the online application form, submit your site to the directory, place your ad code and away you go. They don't have any strict PageRank or traffic requirements like other programs. AdBrite is open to publishers from all over the world. One problem people encounter is that the application form asks for a US Social Security Number - being from the UK I don't have one of those, so I just left the space blank and have had no problems. I've heard other people say that they've just used the number '00000000' and this works too, although I can't confirm that.

Directly Purchased Ads:
After registering you can submit your sites to the online AdBrite directory. If an advertiser likes your site they might buy a link from you. You can price your own links, but I always select the automatic pricing because it's easier. You can also choose the duration of the ads you wish to sell.

Network Ads:
The network ads look very similar to AdSense for content units and AdBrite now offer inline ads too (shown in image above). The inline ads, which appear under keywords in your text, have a particularly good click thru rate. You get paid a small amount, typically 5 - 50 cents, for every click on a network ad. The image below shows a fairly typical day's earnings of 15 cents per click. Network ads aren't contextual, so they don't necessarily fit with the theme of your site. A lot of publishers choose to display network ads only - if you have regular traffic to your site you can make very good money from them.

Payment is on a NET-60 basis - this means the earnings in your account must be 60 days old before they are paid out. Payment is made by check in US Dollars, which is posted to your registered address. The minimum payout is USD $5, but if you're overseas it is recommended you wait until you have earned much more (say $100) - you will be charged a fee to convert the check to local currency when you pay it into the bank.

Earnings for a fairly typical AdBrite day.

One of my AdBrite payment checks - this one for $315.

AdBrite is a very good alternative to AdSense. Since January 2007 it is now possible to display AdBrite on the same pages as AdSense, as long as the competing ad formats don't look confusingly similar. If you want to earn a little extra money after being banned from AdSense then AdBrite is the program for you.

If you've found this review useful and wish to try AdBrite yourself please sign up and tell them we sent you by using our link below.

Quick Review: Inkers

This is post is sponsored by Inkers. To view our policy on sponsored posts please click HERE.

Inkers is one of the US's leading suppliers of printer ink, toner and consumables. As well as all the usual high street brands they have a large range of generic inks and toners to suit every budget. If you're feeling all nostalgic you can even get your fax consumables (whatever a fax is) from Inkers. Every ink and toner cartridge is guaranteed to be defect free for a whole year and even comes with a 30 day no questions asked return policy. Orders are usually dispatched the very same day and come with free land shipping to the US and Peurto Rico. Their telephone support line is available if you need any additional help with your order.

For more information on the inks and toners on sale at Inkers, visit their website.

Site Authentication

Whenever someone asks me about using AdSense on password protected pages I always say it's a bad idea. The reason for this is that only certain individuals will see those particular ads, meaning they'll be displayed to the same people over and over again. This increases the likelihood that the same few people will click the same few ads, which could cause problems with Google suspecting foul play.

Another problem with hiding your ads behind password protection is that the AdSense crawler can't read the page content correctly and consequently the ads are often poorly targeted. To get around this problem Google has just unveiled AdSense Site Authentication. Basically this allows publishers to provide AdSense with password information so that the crawler can 'unlock' protected pages and crawl the content effectively. To get the ball rolling just log in to your AdSense account, click on the 'AdSense Setup' tab and then the 'Site Authentication' link.

Read more about Site Authentication at Inside AdSense.

AdSense Toon Fun

I was exploring my regular haunt of the Digital Point forums when I came across these little cartoon gems. There's not much too them, but they sum up the feelings of a lot of AdSense publishers quite succinctly! Quite often the simplest of things can bring a wry smile and ray of sunshine to an otherwise dreary day. I can sympathise with the sentiments of the top cartoon - the new AdSense publisher seems to spend endless hours studying their account and waiting for that first elusive click. When it does eventually come it's often nothing to boast about. The lower cartoon highlights aptly the sense of achievement when the first AdSense check, often months in the making, finally lands on your doorstep. It's probably cost you far more in terms of time and effort but the elation of seeing that first $100 and knowing the potential that lies ahead is pretty much unbeatable in terms of pay per click.

These images come from the brand new Blog Toon site - it's certainly something to take a look at.

Round and Round and Round We Go

... where we stop nobody knows!

No, it's nothing to do with the song Pravado by Glassjaw - today we're talking rounded corners on AdSense for Content units. Just click the AdSense Setup tab in your account and you'll have access to square, slightly rounded or very rounded corners on your ad units - just the thing to soften up the appearance of your ads and hopefully get more clicks in the process.

Read more about rounded corners at Inside AdSense.

Update: Infected Or Not

Just a quick update on my previous post about the Panda Software Infected or Not campaign. Infected or Not is a campaign to raise awareness of latent viruses and spyware that can creep past some protective software. They now have FireFox compatible versions of Panda NanoScan, which detects 813,653 different active viruses, spyware, Trojans and malware and Panda TotalScan, which detects 886,915 of the little critters. For further information refer to my previous post.

AdSense Policy Updates

It only seems like only yesterday that the AdSense TOS were last updated. Back then, in January, Google relaxed their rules on the use of competing ads on AdSense bearing pages. This time, as reported in the most recent entry of Inside AdSense, they are allowing publishers to display up to THREE link units on each page of their site. Link units are a great way of filling those niggling little gaps in your page content.

So, the maximum number of AdSense units per page are now as follows:
  • 3 AdSense for Content units
  • 3 AdSense link units
  • 2 AdSense for Search boxes
  • 2 Referral buttons for EACH referral product
Remember that these are the absolute maximums and cramming your pages full to the brim with AdSense units is likely to alienate your visitors.

There is also greater emphasis on AdSense publishers complying with the Google Webmaster Guidelines. Where will the generosity of the new touchy-feely Google end?

Google Maps - Coming Soon to a Street Near You!

One of the great things about Google is that they're always so innovative when it comes to developing new products or refining existing ones. One of their newest party pieces comes in the form of Street View for Google Maps. I'm a huge fan of Maps anyway but this new technology takes it to an even more impressive level that simply can't be matched by its rivals. Street View places you right in the heart of the action on your Google Map. Get closer to your favourite destinations by clicking on the Street View tab and seeing high quality 360 degree photography of your location on the map. It's the closest you can possibly get to exploring a brand new location from the comfort of your own home. Best of all it's absolutely free. Keep a close eye on Google Maps because very shortly Street View really will be coming to a street near you!

AdSense Click Mishaps

AdSense click paranoia is sweeping the globe with publishers terrified of accidentally clicking their ads and even, in severe cases, the ads of other publishers. This concern is perhaps understandable with the high number of horror stories about publishers being unduly banned that are circulating the web. In an attempt to quell the unease Inside AdSense recently published an article entitled 'Accidents Happen'. In the article Google attempts to reassure AdSense publishers that their click analysis tools are so well developed they are able to recognise genuinely accidental clicks from something more sinister - and fraudulent. Just like the article title suggests, Google understands that accidents do occasionally happen and there's no need to report them every time. Accidental clicks will still appear in your account stats, but the earnings will be deducted so that advertisers are not left paying for the clumsiness of publishers. Publishers are also reminded that if they're genuinely interested in the destination of one of the ads they are displaying, they should use the preview tool to explore further.

Blogger Autosave

A brand new autosave function is hitting Blogger for the first time this week - and not before time. This means that you'll never have to worry about losing your draft when your PC crashes in the middle of a long-winded post (see my main blog for long-winded examples). From my own observations it seems that post data (text, titles, labels etc) is automatically saved on the Blogger server every 20 - 30 seconds.

There's also a little bit of a change to keyboard shortcuts - CTRL+P publishes a post, CTRL+S saves a post, CTRL+D switches a post from published to draft and CTRL+SHIFT+P switches to the preview window. With it's friendly drag and drop widgets Blogger still remains the free blog host of choice for most blog newbies.

For more information check out Blogger Buzz.

AdSense Phone - No One Home

As some of you will know, since the beginning of the year Google has been adopting a more 'belt and braces' approach to verifying AdSense publisher information. One of their recent brainchilds is verification of publisher's phone numbers. It's now necessary to confirm your telephone number at the same time as your PIN is released - the magic $50 earnings mark. Your AdSense account (My Account > Payment History) will prompt you to verify your phone number when the time is right. Some publishers have been having trouble verifying so Google have issued to the following advice:
  • Use a touch tone phone.
  • Rotary phones are incompatible.
  • If you have any trouble verifying try switching your phone number.
  • If everything else fails contact AdSense Support via the Help Center.
For more details on the phone verification problems check out Inside AdSense.

Your Chance to Buy A Nation!

I've just come across a brilliantly original idea for online advertising. It's an alternative form of pixel advertising but this time, instead of buying boring old blocks on the screen, the idea is that you Buy A Nation! Nations are priced according to their size, on-screen prominence and desirability. As with all the good dictatorships once you've taken over your own nation you can use the pixels for pretty much anything you want to - maybe you'll want to place your website logo in there. There's also a profile page that accompanies each nation to give your campaign that all important extra bit of exposure. An imaginative site - snap up a nation quickly before they all go!