PR Update in Progress

Google is currently updating the toolbar PageRank values of different sites. PageRank (PR) is Google's measure of how important one site is compared to another.

Sadly the integrity of the entire PR concept has been brought into question by Google's penalisation of good sites - well known sites with lots of quality traffic and backlinks - just because they don't comply to the Google one-size-fits-all Webmaster Guidelines.

If your PR has increased this time congratulations, but take the result with a huge pinch of salt.

WidgetBucks $25 Bonus Weekend

You heard right - WidgetBucks are yet again offering their famous $25 sign up bonus to all publishers who sign up this weekend.

Once the publisher has accumulated $50 revenue they will credit the account with an additional $25, making the first payout a cool minimum of $75. Payment is available via PayPal (recommended) or check.

There's never been a better time to try WidgetBucks with their CPC/CPM country lists recently expanded to include most North American, European and Australasian nations. Remember that CPM traffic pays from a lot of other nations too.

You can learn more about WidgetBucks in my review article (includes links to proof of payment).

To make the most of this limited opportunity sign up to WidgetBucks now. Remember the $25 bonus is only available to publishers who sign up this weekend.

Earn $$ with WidgetBucks!

AdBrite Payment

In my previous review of AdBrite I wrote about what a steady earner it was and how it was a viable alternative to AdSense. Most of my earnings come from free Blogger blogs, proving that AdBrite works well with Blogger too.

What I neglected to do was include any proof of payment. To remedy that I have taken a photo of this month's payment check for $315.03 (click image to enlarge). The check was issued on 2nd September and arrived with me here in the UK on 14th September - quite a reasonable delivery time.

As you can see, AdBrite really can be an effective money maker. My only complaint remains their NET60 payment terms, which means payment isn't made until 60-days after the end of the month where the payout minimum is achieved.

If you're interested in AdBrite I recommend reading my AdBrite review and giving it a go.

Blogger Cocks Up on Spam... Yet Again

I've written about the primitive and uneffective automated spam detection methods of Blogger in the past. That time Blogger decided that a brand new blog of mine - so new it had no content whatsoever - was a splog and they disabled it for about a week. How can their spam detection methods be that poor that they mistake a blog with no text content at all for a splog?

It appears that last Friday their inept spam algo whirred into action yet again, crippling the blogs of thousands of rule abiding Blogger users.

Blogger is rapidly getting a reputation for unwarranted censorship and poor reliability.

I hope they get their house in order pretty sharpish.

New Search Engine Takes on Google

Former Googler's have launched a new search engine that they hope will rival Google one day.

The new site, called Cuil (pronounced 'cool'), has built up an index of 120 billion pages, which they claim are indexed in a more efficient way than Google.

According to Cuil founders the new search engine can understand the context of each page allowing the retrieval of better targeted search results.

Unlike conventional search engines Cuil displays search results in a magazine format. Unlike Google the new service will not harvest information about the search history of individuals.

Cuil founders, Anna Patterson, Russell Power and Louis Monier are former Google staffers. The other founder Tom Patterson worked for IBM and others on search and storage technologies.

PageRank Update July 2008

Blogging Googler Matt Cutts has just written a post on his blog confirming that Google will be updating toolbar PageRank (PR) over the next few days.

For anyone who isn't aware of what PR is then it's Google's measure of how important a site is. They work this out from the number of relevant sites that link to the site in question and how important in terms of their own PR each other those linking-in sites are. More in my previous post about PR.

PR update time is always an exciting time for webmasters - it allows them to see if their link building strategies have been successful over the previous few months.

Matt also mentions that Google will be removing penalties from a few sites that have been naughty (e.g. violated their webmaster guidelines) in the past.

Good luck to all webmasters out there. Hope you get the PR you deserve!

WidgetBucks Conquers Europe

Great news for European WidgetBucks publishers - from this week they'll be eligible for CPC earnings from their European clicks. The new system has just started in the UK, but will expand to Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Belgium over the next fortnight.

Traffic from these countries will see local products priced in local currency, which should encourage more interest and clicks. That's great news considering that WidgetBucks CPC clicks are currently paying around 20 cents each. I've already seen some improvement in my earnings over the last couple of days.

WidgetBucks is also expanding its CPM country list, meaning that traffic from most parts of the globe will generate CPM earnings.

There are now more ways to earn good money with WidgetBucks so if you haven't tried it I suggest you have a go. You'll find more information on my WidgetBucks review, or alternatively you can sign up now.

AdSense4Dummies: Email Subscriptions

Just a quick housekeeping note today.

Recently I have been approached by several people wanting to know why they are having their email inboxes 'spammed' with posts from this blog. I can assure you that I hate spam as much as the next man.

You will only be receiving email updates if you, or someone giving your details, have subscribed to AdSense4Dummies in the past. That may be the distant past and it's possible that you've forgotten about it, but I can assure you that you will have instigated these email updates.

If you wish to unsubscribe just click the link at the bottom of the email.

HomePages Friends - Web Users Get Paid to Search

Just a quick note that My Search Funds is about to change its name to HomePages Friends.

They're also changing a few things about the way their service works - for one all searches will be conducted through Yahoo! instead of Google.

Existing members of My Search Funds will have their account details migrated over to HomePages Friends automatically. They're promising a smooth transition over the next couple of weeks.

I'll update you here when I find out more. In the meantime check out our My Search Funds review.

My Search Funds - Web Users Get Paid to Search

Mar 09 update: Payment received.

My Search Funds* is a scheme whereby web users get paid for completing their normal search engine queries.

It works as follows:
  • Sign up to My Search Funds (all you need is your name and PayPal email address).
  • Install the My Search Funds search bar in your web browser (Firefox and IE are supported).
  • Every time you want to search for something type the query into your My Search Funds search bar and use that.
  • Receive a small payment, typically 3 or 4 pence, for each real search query you make.
Search queries are handled by Google. All you have to do is get into the habit of using the My Search Funds search bar every time you want to look something up.

Search Quality and Fraud Detection:
It's important to stress that My Search Funds is for genuine searches only. If you make excessive or repetitive searches just to increase your earnings then you'll probably be banned and receive nothing.

Their system flags up the following:
  • Multiple searches in quick succession (could be a problem if you're spelling isn't too good).
  • A large number of searches on any particular day (difficult to quantify but more than 30 searches a day is likely to attract closer scrutiny).
  • Automated searches generated by some sort of software.
  • Repeat searches with the same search term.
  • Searches where the results are not acted upon (e.g. not clicked through to another site).
So try and avoid any of these situations by remembering to click through your search results etc.

If you need to make lots of searches in quick succession I would recommend temporarily reverting to the normal Google search box.

User Comments:
I first heard about this over at WebTalk Forums. It sounded interesting so I checked it out further, which led me to the forum where there are a couple of threads all about it. People are making the following general comments over there:

Scatty Student1: "I've had over £30 in two months and am due £35 next time, never had any problems with them, they are one of my favourite sites."

geordie joe: "I've just been paid."

Why oh why: "I have had a payment today for about £21.00 yippeeeeeeeee."

(Note: GBP £1 is equal to about USD $2)

Most people over there seem to be earning around £1 per day for 30 searches, although one person I noticed had made almost £3 from 96 searches in a single day.

It's only fair to tell you that a few people have complained that their earnings have been reduced, but it's hardly surprising that My Search Funds keep a close eye on the authenticity of the searches made. Overall it looks like the majority of users are happy with the system and have received payment.

My Search Funds has a minimum payout of £20. Payment is made 45 days after the last day of the month in which you made at least £20. Sounds complicated but this payment system, known as NET-45, is very common for most online advertising and money making programs. If you don't make it to £20 in a month your balance is carried forward to the next month.

You're probably wondering how My Search Funds make money to pay out to their users. I had a think about this too and the only thing I can think of is that they're monitoring your search engine habits for research purposes. That's nothing to be concerned about because all you give them when you sign up is a name (even a first name would do) and your PayPal email address - you do give any other personal details at all.

Mar 09 update: Payment received. Read more for proof of payment.

Members of My Search Funds receive 10% of their referrals' (called friends) earnings with the program. Unlike most other programs they also have second (friends' friends) and third (friends' friends' friends) referral tiers, which earn 5% and 2.5% respectively.

If you're a regular web user, patient and don't mind having to wait a few months for payment then My Search Funds is the idea money maker for you. Get paid for surfing the web as you would normally - what could be simpler than that?

In the meantime if you'd like to try it yourself please sign up as our referral using the following link: Try My Search Funds Now

*My Search Funds recently rebranded as My Homepages Friends. It still offers the same great revenue potential, but now gets its search results from Yahoo!

McAfee and Yahoo! Team Up

Internet search giant Yahoo! has recently teamed up with online security experts McAfee to bring a safer search experience to their users.

Users of Yahoo! will be alerted to any suspicious sites by a pop-up notification that appears in the search engine results. The system uses a condensed version of McAfee's SiteAdvisor technology.

"What we’re doing is bringing McAfee SiteAdvisor data around risks for sites on the Web and integrating it into... Yahoo Search," said Priyank Garg, director of product management for Yahoo Search.

The new partnership is expected to reinforce Yahoo!'s position as the number one search engine in the US.

Great Month for Advertising Revenue

People often ask me about the progress of some of the advertising programs I use. Two of my absolute favourites are Text Link Ads and WidgetBucks. I earn well from these two without really trying.

WidgetBucks went through a bit of a rough patch a few months ago and they got a lot of negative publicity as a result. Some people branded them as a con but others, like me, maintained faith and have reaped the rewards as a result. I can confirm that WidgetBucks is still paying well - currently about 20 cents per click for US/Canadian traffic. You can see my latest payment of just under $100 below. Those earnings were generated in March 2008, proving that WidgetBucks rebounded from their problems earlier in the year.

I don't do anything at all to promote Text Link Ads. I just made some blogs, generated some links and PR and then placed TLA code on the sites. Last month I made more than $60 with them (shown below) and this month, with the benefit of the recent PR update, I'm on track to make closer to $100 from TLA. Those earnings were generated by displaying TLA on only 3 blogs - if you had a network of good blogs imagine how much more you could make. It's easy to earn with TLA - just get some PR, keep your sites topped up with regular content and sit back and watch the money roll in.

If you'd like more information on either of these programs please read my reviews. If they're helpful then please sign up under me!

WidgetBucks Review
TLA Review

Good luck.


As regular readers will know I'm always on the lookout for viable alternatives to AdSense for those who have had the misfortune of falling foul of Google's rules or have a site with prohibited content. One great alternative that I've come across is Oxado.

I have been using Oxado in various places for more than a year now and I have to say I am quite satisfied with their service.

What is Oxado:
Just like the other contextual ad networks Oxado serve ads based on your site content. This means your visitors see relevant content-related ad units and are more likely to explore them by clicking.

What types of site does Oxado accept:
Oxado accept pretty much any type of site. Unlike most other pay per clicks they will accept adult sites. When a publisher signs up to Oxado they have to generate new ad zones for each of their site(s). Oxado checks and approves all of these zones, generating a unique ad code for each one. Publishers can easily submit new ad zones for approval if they wish to use Oxado on additional sites.

How do Oxado publishers earn:
Oxado publishers receive a small payment, typically 5-50 Euro cents, each time a genuine visitor clicks an ad unit on their site. What makes Oxado slightly different from other pay per clicks is that publishers also receive commission if their referral subsequently goes on to make a purchase - a system called cost per action in the industry.

Which countries does Oxado cover:
Since its inception in 2005 Oxado has been adding new advertiser markets to its portfolio meaning that they now serve ads relevant to most countries around the world. This includes all of Europe, North America and Australia.

How does Oxado pay:
Responding to publisher feedback Oxado has also improved its payment options to include PayPal and Moneybookers in addition to the long running bank transfer system. Payment is made at the end of the month in which a publisher accumulates 100 Euros in their account. If they don't earn 100 Euros then their balance is rolled over to the next month.

Something else that Oxado do is send publishers a monthly itemised break down of ad zone earnings. Of course publishers can sign into their account and check their earnings at any time.

Is there a referral program:
Publishers earn 10% lifetime on the earnings of anyone else they refer to Oxado. This is very generous compared to most other PPC referral programs.

How to join Oxado:
If you've found this guide to Oxado useful then please consider trying it yourself. We'd appreciate you using our referral link: Try Oxado Now

Microsoft Withdraws Yahoo! Bid

Microsoft has finally admitted defeat in its takeover bid for Yahoo! after shareholders rejected an offer of $33 per share.

Microsoft has taken its decision after three months of increasingly fraught negotiations. One Microsoft source is alleged to have said that Yahoo! CEO Jerry Yang had unrealistic expectations about the transition of control. Yahoo! also thought that the $33 per share offer was greatly undervaluing the business - the board were holding out for a $37 per share deal.

The decision is expected to wipe billions of dollars off the value of Yahoo! share come the start of trading on Monday.

Microsoft is battling web giant Google for a larger share of the rapidly expanding online advertising market.

Blogger Overzealous on Spam

I'm getting rightly pissed off with Blogger at the moment. I thought I'd make myself a few review blogs - the idea being that I'd write reviews on different things in very much the same way as I do in Soapbox Jury. After only one day of existence the petty bastards at Blogger have locked 3 of my 5 nice new blogs. Two of them didn't have anything on and the third, Gravitas Reviews, had an original and unique post about one of my favourite webmaster forums, Web Talk Forums.

So how can 2 blogs, which had only been in existence for about 5 or 6 hours and didn't have any content on, be classified as spam? It's Blogger's overzealous spam algorithms working over time with their spurious interpretation of what spam actually is.

To me spam is when someone makes dozens of blogs full of scraped content and hundreds of duplicated links all pointing in roughly the same direction. I think most people would agree with that definition. But Blogger's automation means that any blog where one post is similar to the next could be automatically classified as spam and blocked from use for up to 20 days as the issue is resolved - or not. I'll give you an example: suppose you have a blog about acrobatics and you start each post with the same safety disclaimer. If Blogger misinterprets that as spam, as it's increasingly petty algorithms often do, then you've probably lost a totally legitimate blog.

It's times like this when I realise why Google has so many critics and why hosting your own blogs is such a good idea.

Blogger in Draft

Just thought I'd fill you all in on Blogger in Draft.

Basically it's a mirror of the normal Blogger site where the team test out new features before releasing them to everyone.

One feature they're testing out at the moment is future-dated posting. What you do is sign in to Blogger in Draft, compose your posts and set the publish time for sometime in the future. This allows you to write several posts at once and have them added sequentially when you're away on holiday or whatever. Very handy.

If you're a Blogger user then head over the Blogger in Draft and have a play.

Google Security: Avoid Getting Hooked

A post on The Official Google Blog today gives a good reminder of the importance of remaining vigilant to email phishing scams.

The article highlighted the typical scenario of an email, often including a too good to be true offer, landing in your inbox and demanding an urgent response. I'm sure you all know the sort of email I mean - the one which comes from the manager of some obscure African bank who claims to have $3 million of your inheritance money.

You'd be amazed how many people still fall for these scams but with a few sensible precautions and common sense you needn't be one of them.

Google offered the following guidance:
  • Be careful about responding to emails that ask you for sensitive information. You should be wary of clicking on links in emails or responding to emails that are asking for things like account numbers, user names and passwords, or other personal information such as social security numbers. Most legitimate businesses will never ask for this information via email. Google doesn't.
  • Go to the site yourself, rather than clicking on links in suspicious emails. If you receive a communication asking for sensitive information but think it could be legitimate, open a new browser window and go to the organization's website as you normally would (for instance, by using a bookmark or by typing out the address of the organization's website). This will improve the chances that you're dealing with the organization's website rather than with a phisher's website, and if there's actually something you need to do, there will usually be a notification on the site. Also, if you're not sure about a request you've received, don't be afraid to contact the organization directly to ask. It takes just a few minutes to go to the organization's website, find an email address or phone number for customer support, and reach out to confirm whether the request is legitimate.
  • If you're on a site that's asking you to enter sensitive information, check for signs of anything suspicious. If you're on a site that's asking for sensitive information -- no matter how you got there -- check for the signs that it's really the official website for the organization. For example, check the URL to make sure the page is actually part of the organization's website, and not a fraudulent page on a different domain (such as or If you're on a page that should be secured (like one asking you to enter in your credit card information) look for "https" at the beginning of the URL and the padlock icon in the browser. (In Firefox and Internet Explorer 6, the padlock appears in the bottom right-hand corner, while in Internet Explorer 7 the padlock appears on the right-hand side of the address bar.) These signs aren't infallible, but they're a good place to start.
  • Be wary of the "fabulous offers" and "fantastic prizes" that you'll sometimes come across on the web. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is, and it could be a phisher trying to steal your information. Whenever you come across an offer online that requires you to share personal or other sensitive information to take advantage of it, be sure to ask lots of questions and check the site asking for your information for signs of anything suspicious.
  • Use a browser that has a phishing filter. The latest versions of most browsers - including Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera - include phishing filters that can help you spot potential phishing attacks.

Referral Promotion Rules Clarified

Some time ago I (and AdSense Support) published some guidelines to publishers about ways in which they could (and could not) promote their referrals.

A handy reminder of these guidelines has just been posted at the official blog, Inside AdSense.

Unlike other AdSense units publishers are actually permitted to promote their referral products. They must do so in an honest fashion by commenting on the benefits of the product concerned. They must not, however, blatantly encourage visitors to click on their referral links as a means of revenue generation.

Google explain that referral promotion is allowed because unlike AdSense for Content the advertiser is paying for a specific action and not just on a per click basis.

Mobile Image Ads

Well, it's been a while but I'm resolved to try and post more regularly here at AdSense4Dummies. Maybe I lost faith after Google bitch slapped our PR late last year, but we're back up to PR2 and hopefully PR4 will be restored next update.

Anyway, the subject of today's post is AdSense for mobile image ads. The number of countries where image ads are available has expanded considerably over recent months. The ads give AdSense for mobile publishers a new innovative tool for monetising their web traffic - always useful with the ever increasing advertiser base.

Current AdSense for mobile publishers will need to update their ad code for the new image ads to to effect. The recommendation from Google is that you choose to display both text and image ads, to maximise your chances of obtaining targeted advertisements on your site.

Microsoft and Yahoo!

It seems such a long time since I wrote an article about Google on AdSense4Dummies. I guess I've been distracted by my other blogging efforts, which I have recently been attempting to diversify. One story can not have escaped your attention over the last few days - Microsoft's attempt to take over the internet's second largest search engine Yahoo!

Unsurprisingly Google has some strong thoughts about this and dedicated an article to it on the Official Google Blog. According to Raises troubling questions. This is about more than simply a financial transaction, one company taking over another. It's about preserving the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation."

His main concern is that Microsoft will attempt to exert the same regulatory defying dominance over the internet that it did the PC. The might of Microsoft in unsurpassed even by a huge fish like Google. Coincidentally he mentions that the acquisition of Yahoo! will leave Microsoft with an overwhelming share of instant messaging and email capabilities.

To put it bluntly Google are running scared. Scared that their self-proclaimed guardianship of the internet is under threat by the combined efforts of Microsoft and Yahoo! It's about time Google had some real competition in the search engine stakes.

Last Chance for $25 Bonus

WidgetBucks has just announced that they will be discontinuing their $25 sign up bonus for new publishers on 15th January 2008. That only gives you a limited time to sign up and benefit from this introductory offer.

You can read more about WidgetBucks at my previous posts:
Do not let the opportunity of the $25 bonus pass you by - sign up before it's too late!

ScratchBack - A Fancy Tip Jar

Over the holiday period I've discovered another weapon in the blogger's money making armoury - a new electronic tipping service called ScratchBack.

What makes ScratchBack different from the usual dull-looking PayPal donate buttons in that anyone who makes a donation gets a small reward for their efforts. The reward takes the form of either a text link or small image which is displayed in the recipient's ScratchBack widget somewhere on their site. In effect anyone leaving a tip gets a temporary advert on the site they're tipping.

The developers of SratchBack go to great lengths to stress that every link is rel="nofollow" so no-one should get into any trouble with self-proclaimed saviour of the internet, Google.

The publisher retains complete control of what is displayed in their widget, meaning that they can reject any overtly spammy or otherwise offensive advertising messages which are left with a tip. Anyone leaving a tip should be mindful of this. The publisher decides the amount they want to charge for the top spot advert on their widget and how long it should remain in that position.

Currently, in the beta stage of the program, ScratchBack are taking a 10% cut of all tips. This compares pretty favourably to most advertising services. Payment to the publisher is via PayPal and there is a $25 payout minimum. According to ScratchBack payments are made at the end of a thirty day cycle and can take up to 15 days to process - I guess that means expect it to take up to 45 days to get paid after reaching the minimum.

It looks like a fun program and it's completely free to sign up. Why not banish those boring donate buttons from your site and include a snazzy new ScratchBack widget instead?