The primary reason I started this blog was to get familiar with WordPress deployment and administration and to practice my writing. I found I enjoyed blogging, at least during the times I didn’t have technical documentation to write, so I’ve kept at. Recently I went through a round of maintenance, updating WordPress and a few plugins, and the latest WordPress Jetpack plug-in update promptly crashed my site. After fiddling with it halfheartedly for an hour trying to get it to work I gave up. But in doing so I lost the site tracking statistics that comes with the WordPress.com link Jetpack provides so I went looking for another one and decided on the 300 pound gorilla in the stats space, Google Analytics. When I searched for Analytics I also saw a plug-in for Google’s AdSense proclaiming that I could throw advertising on my site with little to no effort and make some cash.
I have no illusions that I get any real traffic to this site since I only promote it on Facebook to my small circle. And just after I typed that I noted I lost the publicize features from JetPack as well! No worries, just spent the last hour setting up another plug-in for that feature, and went ahead and connected it to Twitter as well so all seven of my followers will be caught up. Anyway, making money off the site was never part of my plan and I didn’t want ads on my site anyway. But it made sense to at least deploy AdSense alongside Analytics just to make sure I could get it working and learn how they worked together. So I went ahead and installed the AdSense plugin and went through the registration process to join Google’s AdSense network.
Within minutes I received a reply that my application to the AdSense network had been rejected. I was given a list of reasons why my blog was rejected and they were prohibitions against sites that are under construction or click-bait or the like. It said my site needed to have good written content and headlines, requirements that I easily meet. I assumed it must be a technical issue since the response came back so fast. My WordPress installation lives in a sub-directory and I have a redirect from the root directory of my site to the sub-directory. The rejection email I received included a link to forums where I could ask for help from product experts. I logged in to the forums and stated I believed I was experiencing a technical issue rather than a violation of policy and asked for advice on what to do next.
The reply I got from one of their product experts was polite, professional and essentially stated my blog probably wasn’t good enough for their AdSense network. He posed the question to me that, if I were an advertiser, would I want to advertise on my site? Considering that I don’t even promote my site it was a very good point. Maintaining the quality and integrity of the AdSense network must be a herculean task. There are a lot of fraudsters out there that could easily build a site, get on an ad network, and then write a script to “click-through” the ads on their site to make money. This is obviously unfair to advertisers that pay money to get their ads in front of real eyeballs. A blog maintained by an awesome coder such as myself that no one but his mother really reads absolutely falls into the area of high-risk, minuscule reward that they would not want on their network. In subsequent replies the product experts informed me that I would really need more than 300,000 visits a month as measured by Analytics to get on the AdSense network and that more than 90% of applications to the network are rejected.
I set out to become part of the AdSense network just to see how it worked and I understand why I was rejected. But if I did end up putting advertising on my or a clients site I would want to go with the AdSense network. A lot of the ads I run across on major sites are certainly intrusive but they are usually screened for malicious code and Google probably does an excellent job screening their ads for malicious and inappropriate content. That’s why I would want to use them. But they understandably set a pretty high bar for inclusion into their network that I can’t possibly meet. I’ve removed the AdSense plugin and purged the dream of all the pocket change I could have earned from my mind. My children will be disappointed that next time the ice cream truck rolls through and we have to take a pass.
Special snowflake shout-out to the AdSense product experts Dan. B and Doctor Wayout for laying it out for me and crushing whatever self-esteem I had developed from this blog. Totally telling mom about that last part.