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Banned from AdSense? What’s Your Blog Advertising Alternative?


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I’ve had a couple of people email me this morning saying that they have been booted from Google’s AdSense program for fraudulent clicks. Since one of them has made all of $23.58 in 9 months, I find Google’s tracking mechanism a little, erm… questionable. But it doesn’t change the fact that once banned from AdSense, it’s a headache to figure out what to do next.

First of all - Contact Google through your AdSense account. People can and do get reinstated if indeed there was no fraudulent activity (although from my morning research today, I’ve found this isn’t what happens all of the time).

But I’m always up for looking for the silver lining. Perhaps this is just the kick in the pants you need to do a little more experimentation with your site advertising!

Regardless of what contextual advertising you use, for some great tips on optimization check out this Search Engine Roundtable report on Jeremy ShoeMaker’s and Jennifer Slegg’s presentation at last year’s SES. Plus, both Jeremy and Jennifer have written extensively on the subject and I highly recommend digging around in their archives on this topic.

What are My Alternatives to AdSense?

Yahoo Publisher Network

This is probably the biggest competition to AdSense simply because Yahoo has the reach that many of the smaller ad networks don’t have. Generally speaking, Google serves up more relevant ads than Yahoo - but this little JenSense test offers some interesting observations on the subject.


I use AdBrite here on this site, and have encountered some of the same relevancy issues as stated above. What’s nice about AdBrite is that you can use it in combination with other contextual advertising programs (including AdSense). Just tell AdBrite what eCPM to beat, and it will rotate all of your ads for you based on how much money you could make with each program.


Chitika has a reputation for being one of the better performing advertising options for sites that promote products (not so much services). But this is something that they are devoting some serious attention to improving, which is why I’m excited to watch them evolve and take on AdSense. My hunch is that if they stay on track, they will be soon giving AdSense a serious run for their money.

Auction Ads

I’ve been using AuctionAds ever since they launched a couple of months ago. Though it hasn’t been a huge source of revenue to date, I must say that it has a really impressive click-through rate. I also give them props for relevancy - although technically this isn’t a “true” contextual ad program because the publisher controls the keywords when the ad code is created. Results to date indicate this network is a keeper.


Although TLA is not even close to being a contextual program, I include them here because of two reasons - I make a good amount of money every month from TLA, and they recently added advertising at the post level, which increases your opportunities to make money in various ways from your site. TLA is a little harder to get approved (you need traffic and page rank first), but it is worth it to pester them (sorry, Patrick, but it’s the truth! :D )


Amanda just reminded me about BurstMedia - and she offers a pretty glowing review of their services in the comments. Burst has been around a really long time - but never really got close to being a front-runner in the space. Their longevity says good things about the fact that they at least ‘get’ contextual advertising and I don’t think they will be going away any time soon.


Technically Azoogle is a PPA (Pay Per Acquisition) network, not PPC (Pay Per Click), so you only make money when a site visitor actually buys/takes an action. Regardless, I found it interesting that Azoogle was mentioned repeatedly at the last Elite Retreat, by both the presenters and the participants as one of the stronger programs out there. It’s a program I hope to play around with very soon.


I know very little about Quigo, but I do know they have been around for quite a while. A scan of their FAQ’s states their program is for US-based publishers, and it also looks like you have a little more control over what ads appear on your site. Anyone who has used this program want to comment further?


Kontera’s ads are slightly different than the ads mentioned above - they are the double-underlined links that serve up an ad in a pop-up bubble. I know that some bigger bloggers have had some success with Kontera, but personally, I think this kind of ad interrupts the user-experience too much.


Amusingly, I hadn’t heard of Clicksor until today when I did a search on contextual advertisng. But since they came up first in the natural results, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that!


Again, another one I didn’t come across until recently - but this one looks quite interesting as it is targeted specifically to blog publishers. With their main claim being that they “Put an End to Irrelevant Ads”, I’m hooked into investigating further already!

Your Own Ads

I have to say that although this option is little more difficult for a newer blogger to implement, it is also the one you want to dedicate the most time to for long-term growth. I’ve written quite a bit about this in the past in regards to ad optimization and strong ad placement. Promoting your own free reports, professional services, or posts with good affiliate link placement will always outperform outside advertising.

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    On April 27th, 2007 at 11:42 am, Amanda said:

    I AM BANNED FROM ADSENSE. So I could definitely write a huge thing about this, Wendy.

    I tried adbrite, bidvertiser, chikita (if you dont have enough hits don’t even bother they tell you to come back later when you’re important) I refuse to go for ADzoogle their signup process is a joke and asks for more information than I’m comfortable doing and all these stupid extra steps.

    I have to say I had hadbrite 15 clicks got me.. guess how much.. 1.50 it took 3 months to get those clicks. The ads were horrible. So I said forget it.

    I switched to bidvertiser who told me I had a total of 9 clicks and didn’t register any clicks after that. They werre like “all valid clicks are registered” So to test this one of my friends who NEVER visited my site I said can you click. It never showed up 2 weeks later never showed up. So I said forget it and did my research. I signed up with Kontera but unless you get a lot of impressions it really sucks since your “clicks” are based on ECPM instead of PPC so the amount of money you will make is pretty low, with a pay out very high $100 minimum.

    So I applied to BurstMedia. I’ve been there for 3 weeks and I absolutely love them. They are so helpful, I make money even when people don’t click because of CPM’s, you have more control over your ads. You can chose which ads to show, they show you all the banners, the price of PPC or CPM.

    Granted I don’t make a lot because its per 10,000 impressions from what I’ve gathered and I wish I had 10,000 impressions a day :( But I make more money with them in 3 weeks then I did with all the other places. Plus my click through rate is a lot higher. In 2 months it took to get 15 clicks. I managed to receive 24 clicks in 1 week. I was very excited.
    Plus when I took Kontera off my site I got a lot of thank yous because it is highly annoying.

    I applied for Text Link Ads too but again I’m not important enough yet :(

    On April 27th, 2007 at 11:44 am, Amanda said:

    Sorry to spam, but I forgot BurstMedia’s payout starts at $50 dollars.

    They also have a thing if you go only with them you’ll get even more!

    On April 27th, 2007 at 11:47 am, Wendy Piersall said:

    Actually Amanda, thanks so much for reminding me of Burst - we used to use their ads on the site, and for the life of me, I couldn’t remember which company it was (but I knew I was forgetting someone!).

    I’ll both add BurstMedia into the post AND research them a little more for my own use! :)

    On April 27th, 2007 at 1:13 pm, Blain Reinkensmeyer said:

    Solid post Wendy, I personally enjoy adsense a lot but the more I become involved with TLA, Kontera, reviewme, etc. the less I have to be dependant on adsense which is great.

    Which makes me think, you should add reviewme you your list!

    On April 27th, 2007 at 1:18 pm, Wendy Piersall said:

    Yeah, I thought about adding Review Me, but even though it is a source of revenue, it’s pretty much a one-time shot, unlike the rest which offer:

    1 - Ongoing revenue
    2 - Increased revenue as traffic grows
    3 - All you have to do is blog about regular stuff - ReviewMe requires extra work as a writer.

    But regardless, it is a great additional source of revenue! Good call! :)

    On April 27th, 2007 at 2:36 pm, Amanda said:

    Oh there is also its by invitation only my friend uses it so far she has no complaints

    On April 27th, 2007 at 3:13 pm, Sue said:

    WOW…who knew..I must be careful. I was trying to fall asleep last night wondering if I had inadvertently clicked any ads as I was trying to get AdSense on my site for the very first time. Well I know where to go IF I get kicked off - this post!

    On April 27th, 2007 at 4:12 pm, Easton Ellsworth said:

    Direct ad sales aren’t that hard once you learn the secrets. I’ve learned a few tricks after soaking my brain in direct ad selling for a couple months. Anyone who wants my take on it is welcome to ask. :)

    … But they’re not easy if you don’t know the secrets. Till then, go for a network like the ones listed above - it’s quicker and easier to get started.

    On April 27th, 2007 at 8:35 pm, Carrie said:

    As a blogger *and* a reader of numerous blogs, let me just assert here that I abhor any kind of in-text advertising from outside sources. I even abhor “helpful” crap like the Snap previews. I’d like to just click on the link please, don’t make me sit there waiting an extra 30 seconds for Snap’s slow servers to pull a cached thumbnail of the site! I could’ve been there already… /end rant

    Perhaps it’s the old long-buried hate of browser text-to-ads take-overs from years ago that I and others fought so hard to defeat (TopText, SurfPlus, etc) - it’s very reminiscent of that. I don’t read blogs at anymore due to the “don’t show this again” option on the Snap previews not working, and when I find them on any other blogs I leave immediately.
    They ARE intrusive to trying to read the actual post *and* trying to click links.

    I don’t mind at ALL when a blogger puts their own contextual link in their post (ie to an Amazon book, an affiliate link to a certain product, etc). It’s no harder to make a little effort and do this; even a text-to-link plugin can halfway automate it for you (you do have to put the initial link in yourself). But to use a “service” like Kontera or Snap… it’s like begging your readers to leave and never come back.

    On April 27th, 2007 at 11:13 pm, Andrew Boyd said:

    Hi Wendy,

    great post :) It seems like the blogging community needs annoying/bad stuff to happen with ad networks every now and then so that review/recommendation comments about them get circulated. Do you know of an ad network review site that gets updated regularly?

    Thanks, Andrew

    On April 27th, 2007 at 11:26 pm, derek said:

    Funny timing that I just read this post after writing a post about my two keys to success with Kontera (linked above on my name if interested).

    It is usually a great idea to try and utilize a variety of ad networks on your site to spread out the risk of being with only Google, as they seem to be the standard for most people.

    Great post Wendy!

    On April 28th, 2007 at 9:51 am, Jenny said:

    I should try BurstMedia. Because I’m getting no where with adsense. This is a really nifty article. Thanks for the info.

    On April 28th, 2007 at 10:59 am, Court said:

    Hi Wendy, great article. I heard recently that Google doesn’t allow us to use adbrite and Adsense on the same page anymore. They supposedly have new terms of service that don’t allow is to use ads that look alike. Do you know if there is any truth to that?

    On April 28th, 2007 at 3:17 pm, Clangnuts said:

    I haven’t been banned from Adsense, but I have stopped using them. Even with 100,000 hits a year, I just found it a total waste of time. The small amount of money I (didn’t) make wasn’t worth it for me.
    Now the only advert on my blog is one from a company that paid upfront for 1 years text link ad. Since getting rid of Adsense, my visitors have increased!

    On April 28th, 2007 at 6:50 pm, VS Girl said:

    I went ahead and tried the Kontera ads on one of my websites and I think they’re a great alternative to Adsense. I do agree that if not used properly, they can interrupt the user experience, but they do have a great feature that allows you to limit the text areas where pop up links will appear. I love this feature, because it helps to keep my site from looking to spammy. For me, it makes using Kontera ads more worthwhile.

    On April 29th, 2007 at 9:31 pm, lornadoone said:

    This is another of those posts that will be forever bookmarked!

    On April 30th, 2007 at 5:44 am, Alan said:

    In most cases, Google don’t reactive AdSense account once it has been disable. YPN is the best solution in these situation.

    On April 30th, 2007 at 9:55 am, Derrich said:

    Great post, Wendy. My account was suspended all of 2 days early in the year for the same reason: Fraudulent Clicks. I thought this was funny given that I don’t click on my own links, and my revenues were still low. I simply emailed Google and told them this…and suggested how ridiculous it was. I was reinstated. While this approach might not work for some, I was definitely civil and reserved when penning my argument.

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