I am always looking for new ways to monetize my sites. I have 0.5MM users visiting monthly (give or take) but only make $10k’s a year. Not really a great ratio (according to my friends). As such I was interested to see what the following company was doing by buying adsense on my site.
I clicked through and got the following landing page with modal overlay.
For those of you who can’t see the text says “I accept the Terms & Conditions for $9.99/mo billed to my cell until I cancel for Access to How To Guides” and is clearly placed in a very hard to read font over an orange background. This sucks. They also do a really good job of retargeting you back to the article you were interested in if you close the browser and navigate to their homepage. The form too is super well optimized (in my opinion). Whoever does this is very good at what they do. Interestingly it seems the Google search index considers them spam, they are barely in it at all:
I can totally see how (were I to do this on paper airplanes and cocktail recipes how I could get rich quick. There is no question I could game this to get a few % conversion and even if everyone cancelled after one month I’d make 10ks a month. I just feel it’s pretty immoral and now I am making money off this and my users are getting deceived through adsense. This isn’t adsense’s fault, how are they supposed to police this and even then it’s borderline whether this is illegal/in violation of their terms or not.
Last year I deselected all deceptive ads from adsense and I recently ran the numbers on those. I think I cost myself $20k in the last 12months. That being said even with the following settings I couldn’t block the above ad:
I have now made “howtotutorials.net” a blocked site for my ads and I don’t blame adsense at all. To be clear it’s the recurring billing and minimized terms I dislike. I think it’s ok to say “pay me XX through your cell to view your content”, that’s a pay wall and raising one of those is your decision as a webmaster. I just feel sad that so much of advertising on the internet is like this. We should be better. I need a new business model.