As you may have noticed. I’ve had some Google AdSense ads on the sidebar…
This is an experiment, and I have very mixed feelings about it. No, it’s not that I’m against monetising my blog. In fact, I’m firmly in favour of capitalism and free enterprise: like all freelancers, I have deep-seated respect for any work that generates money… And no, I’m not expecting to get rich by showing ads… as I said, I’m a freelancer, i.e. by definition a realist when it comes to assessing whether a project is worth my time (i.e. likely to generate some money…)
No, it’s about the kind of brand I want my blog to be.
Yes, I do see my blog as a brand (but not an extension of my professional reputation or career; that is a completely unrelated brand in itself), and therefore I work hard on each post, tweaking the photos and my writing. But that’s OK, I’m determined to have a certain standard of quality and focus when it comes to my content. My blog may be just a hobby, but I still see it as a brand that represents who I am, maybe even more than my ‘day job’ does. And that’s the problem:
most of the ads have nothing to do with my brand or the content of the blog.
Do I care if advertisers throw their money away by displaying their ads for oscillators and heating oil on a website about style and travel? No, I don’t, that’s their problem.
However, I do have a problem with some other type of equally irrelevant and unrelated ads: those that seem to go against my personal values. For example, ads that try to make people take out loans, or invest in dubious schemes. Or ads that promote narrow beauty ideals by suggesting my readers might need to lose weight or hide their age. Certain types of ‘dating agencies’ also come to mind. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against people looking for love. Except when they make me play this absurd game of whack-a-mole: as soon as I block ‘Asian ladies looking for gentlemen’, ‘African ladies’ with the same agenda pop up, then ‘Baltic ladies’…
Seriously, I don’t have time for this shit, I have a job, a life, a blog to write… So, ‘Ladies Looking for Gentlemen’ (whatever your ethnic origin or hidden agenda), find another street corner!! There are no ‘gentlemen’ cruising here.
And Google, this is what I have to say to you: WTF???!!!???
AdSense is supposed to be serving ads targeted to site content and audience. So, Google, would you mind explaining what exactly about my content makes you think I want to have a second career as a pimp, or my readers would be desperate to send money to faraway places??? And then there are the ads in languages I don’t know (and I understand quite a few languages at least a little bit)… How am I supposed to know what they are all about??!!
Of course, I have asked Google and Blogger these questions, several times: I’m one of those annoying people who like to give feedback… Since I started this blog, I must have sent Google and Blogger hundreds of messages, using that little feedback form, about every single problem I’ve encountered. And they’ve never got back to me, not even once. Now, how rude is that?!?
Anyway, I have given AdSense lots of feedback on the type of ads displayed, asked why there is no list of ad categories to choose from, or a way to exclude certain types of ads (I suppose this sort of feature may exist in some countries?), and complained about the lack of clear and simple explanations on how the whole thing works. And as I keep seeing the same inappropriate ads over and over again, my messages get less and less polite. I guess I could plead cultural differences here: I’m a Finn, we don’t mince our words but say it like it is, take it or leave it.
But it’s also that I tend to get very frustrated trying to translate the so-called instructions from Geekspeak into Plain Language. Any language… And as I speak two languages fluently, I have checked some of these pages in both Finnish and English and still have no clue what the hell they’re about… So frustrating.
So, what am I going to do about AdSense?
I haven’t made up my mind yet. However, I think my patience is running out, and I’m getting really, really tired of playing whack-a-mole with irrelevant / inappropriate ads. Seriously, Google AdSense, this is a deal breaker: my blog, my rules. Take it or leave it.
Do you have any experience on AdSense?
Do share in the comments, I would love to hear your views.