Saturday, February 28, 2009

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Amazon Associates vs. Google AdSense for Your Blog

You want to make a few dollars from your blog, now what? Most bloggers think first of Google's AdSense program, but that is not the only alternative. One interesting possibility is Amazon's Associates program. Which to choose, and why?

AdSense and Associates are both very easy to begin. Signing-up for either just requires filling out a simple form. The only other step to get started is copying a small chunk of HTML into a widget to display in your blog's sidebar. For Blogger, click Add a Gadget under the Layout tab, and select the HTML gadget.

If your only objective is maximizing current revenue, you could try to estimate whether AdSense or Associates will provide more income, but that is basically just guessing. Instead, put one of each on your side bar for a couple of weeks to compare results. Then choose.

A much more important consideration than current revenue, however, is the long term future for your blog. This is where the choice between AdSense and Associates becomes really important. Although you can specify a list of products, services, and brands that you don't want AdSense to advertise on your blog, the best you can do is minimize the harm that the ads cause to your blog's integrity and reputation. Maybe the revenue is worth the impact on your blog's character, maybe it isn't.

In contrast, Amazon's Associates program can actually enhance your blog. If you want, you can specify exactly which products will be advertised. For example, I write a book review and place an Amazon ad for that book next to the review. Or I talk about my favorite camera and place an Amazon ad for that camera on my blog.

If you do have Amazon choose the ads for your blog, their algorithm for selecting products makes amazingly perceptive selections - in my experience. I have found their choice of books to be a great complement to the content of my blog - adding interest rather than being just another commercial.

1 comment:

  1. I have tried to use Ad Sense a couple of times but kept getting what I deemed to be irrelevant product advertisements that seemed to me to cheapen my efforts to produce a professional blog. As I write about history subjects and have quite a large following of academic professionals, I do not want generic ads for everyday products. I wouldn't mind ads for tour packages, cultural destinations and things like that but I'm not sure how to obtain just those.

    Like you I also use Amazon Associates links to books a great deal. My only problem with Amazon, however, is that if people click on the book I recommend and then purchase a used book from one of Amazon's third party vendors, I don't seem to get any credit for the sale. (I think I read something about that in the Amazon Associates fine print) I've checked my stats and often see hundreds of click throughs but I am credited with only a couple of sales. It seems to be very little return for the amount of work involved.