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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Google helps you make money too!
Bloggers and small web site owners can now get on to Google’s secret payroll. All they have to do is run ads by Google Adsense, says Kavita Kukday
Popular belief says metros are the only place to be to make money, but Deepesh Agarwal, thinks otherwise. Agarwal is the owner of a tiny cyber café in Mount Abu, a hill station in Rajasthan. Mount Abu is not a particularly affluent city—the average earning of the residents here is only about $300 (approx Rs 13,500) a year. But Agarwal’s monthly earnings match those of white collared executives in the metros—he makes a whopping packet of about $1,500 (approx Rs 67,500) a month. How? In his spare time, Agarwal runs a free software download web site that runs ads by Google Adsense on his homepage. Google Adsense is a program that pays web site owners for advertising space. When visitors click on the ads on Agarwals’s web site, Google makes profit from the advertisers and in turn, pays a percentage of that profit to people like Agarwal. But Agarwal is not alone. Hundreds of thousands of people are making similar profits just by starting blogs, forums or other informational sites and getting paid for posting ads on Google’s behalf. Take for instance Jimmy Wadhera in Chandighar, who despite being grounded for health reasons, earns about $400 (approx Rs 18,000) a month from Adsense. Wadhera runs a web site called india4deals and advertises Adsense ads on all his pages to support his family. Ajay Dutta from Mumbai has a similar story. He and a group of friends run a free computer help forum called Techenclave in their spare time. The forum ran into trouble due to insufficient funds, but being on Google’s secret payroll has helped them salvage the site. “We recently began running ads between threads of discussions as part of Google Adsense and now we make enough money to get by.” They make about $300 (approx Rs 13,500) per month with Google Adsense, and are planning to use the money to make their site better. “Since its launch in 2003, the Google Adsense program has revolutionised web publishing, turning blogs and personal web sites into potentially lucrative ventures,” says Mahesh Murthy, CEO of Pinstorm, a search engine marketing firm. The service is easy to join. A blogger or a site owner has to simply fill up an online Adsense form. Google then starts scoring your content and places ads on the site just like the ones that appear next to Google searches. The ads are contextually matched to content on the web site, so if you are running a blog on gadgets, you would have technology-related ads, whereas if your web site caters to foodies, then you would have ads of food-related products. Anyone with a site is eligible. And there are tons of success stories from around the world—of small online entrepreneurs placing ads on their sites and watching checks from Google trickle in. “But the trickledown effect from Google does not stop at small-time entrepreneurs,” says Murthy. “A growing number of biggies are also profiting. Take for instance the job site that makes about Rs 1 crore a year.” “The program is a golden goose for Google too,” says Vivek Bhargava, managing director of Communicate2, a pay-per-click and Google paid search professionals company. Google revenues from AdSense were said to be about $2.7 billion last year. “Contextual advertising is the way to go these days,” he adds, “and this works for Google mainly because search advertising has a some limitations. That’s because the number of advertisements a company can display is limited by the number of searches its users conduct. By contrast, millions of small sites about all kinds of material are mushrooming on the web. This expands Google’s horizons greatly.” However, it’s not a smooth sail for everyone on Google’s secret payroll. One big area of concern is that of adblockers. “Our earnings are limited as compared to other smaller sites. This is mainly because our site is for tech enthusiasts and people visiting our sites are tech-savvy enough to use adblocking software,” says Dutta of Techenclave. Another concern is about being able to pull in enough crowds to the web site, “The content has to be compelling enough to drive the traffic,” says Murthy. So, say you are running a blog on Politics—you won’t find many people wanting to click on ads of Congress of BJP. But if you were running a gadget blog, many would want to look up the gizmos advertised on your web site even if it is only to check out the detailed specifications. But even then the fact remains that Adsense is bringing smiles to hundreds of faces in India for the time being. “No matter what anyone says, this is still a good enough opportunity that puts Indians on par to participate with other web sites around the world,” says Agarwal. TNN
(TOI/13th April2006/pg31)


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