10 Google Adsense Alternatives to Diversify Your Portfolio and Increase Income
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The first rule for any investor is to diversify their portfolio. Even if you are just starting out, the websites you build are your portfolio.
So what happens when you’ve put all your eggs in one basket with just one way to make money from your website? It leaves you vulnerable and in a position where you can’t mitigate your risk.
Adsense is one of the best platforms you can use to monetize your website, but there are plenty of Google Adsense alternatives you should consider when building out a website or buying an existing site.
If you’ve invested heavily into content, you should consider the wide variety of different monetization models that you can derive income from.
Adsense alone isn’t immune to program changes. In fact, Amazon makes frequent changes to the commission structure of their program.
Websites that were solely monetized via Amazon.com took a significant hit. Just like Amazon changed its commission structure, things can change at the drop of a hat. Putting all your eggs into Amazon’s basket is no different than many people putting all their eggs in the Google Adsense basket. If you aren’t diversified, you are putting yourself and business at risk.
Webmasters that diversified from Amazon and monetized with Adsense and/or other methods like Amazon FBA, were far more insulated from the Amazon Associates adjustments.
While a significant change to Google’s Adsense platform is unlikely, it’s a real possibility that you could lose your account at some point if you have aggressive advertising placement or violating any of the Google Adsense TOS by accident.
Most people don’t start their day off thinking, “Gee, I’m going to violate the Adsense TOS today.” But unfortunately, that day may come and you should absolutely be prepared for it.
Let’s take a look at what Adsense is, how it’s used, and how you can incorporate multiple monetization methods to hedge your risk when creating a niche site.
What is Adsense and how is it used?
Adsense is Google’s ad network. Businesses come to Google and pay them money for advertising space on “partner networks,” which are usually publisher websites. Advertisers have their ads displayed on these websites and pay every time their advertisement gets a click.
If you are a publisher and have the Adsense code installed on your site, Google pays you a percentage of that amount. There’s no hard and fast rule on how much you will make, but generally you can expect to make about 25% of the published “cost per click” that Google advertises as the going rate. If someone is bidding on a keyword for “law school” and is willing to pay $50.00 to send the person who clicks the ad to a website for law schools, you’d see about $12.50 of that on average.
You have to apply for the Adsense program, which has certain policies in place that you’ll need to adhere to before getting approved. Once you are approved for the program, it’s as simple as placing the ad code on your website. Once you start getting some traffic and some clicks, you’ll start making some money and your first payout will happen when you hit $100+ in your Adsense account.
If you are new to internet marketing, this all probably sounds great. But if you have some experience, you probably know that it’s wise to incorporate different types of monetization strategies into your website. Not only is diversification good for risk aversion, but it’s also good to test which advertising programs may work the best with your audience.
Some networks may pay out more than others over the long haul, so it’s important to test which offers yield you the highest profit margins. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite Google Ads alternatives.
The Top 10 Adsense Alternatives for Niche Sites
Not all networks work well with every niche and not all networks pay out the same amount of income over time. It’s important to test which ones work best. The 10 alternatives below are some of the best Adsense alternatives you have when looking at options to diversify your monetization.
We’ve already touched on the Amazon Associates program earlier in this article and for good reason. This case study started a new era of niche websites that people began deriving income from when we first went live with Niche Site Project 1.
What I like:
- Commission payouts are solid
- Relatively easy to get approved
- Flexible interlinking formats
- Amazon support is extremely easy to reach
What I don’t like:
- Takes longer to implement your links on your page than just embedding code
- Need multiple Associate accounts if traffic is split between countries
There are many affiliate marketers out there who use the Amazon Associates program as the sole method of monetizing their site. It’s a great way to capitalize on low competition keywords that often times have a buyer intent. With Amazon Associates, you have the ability to use a number of different ad formats.
You can use their CPM ads which pay out per impression, or you can use Amazon affiliate links and get paid anytime someone makes a purchase on Amazon.com within 24 hours after clicking a link on your website. This is the method that most associates start with, because Amazon’s commission payout policy is still very good, even after the February 2017 adjustments to the commission table.
Commission payouts range by category and can payout anywhere from 1% to 10% of the purchase price. They have also recently been emphasizing their Native Shopping ads which, will display relevant products on the pages they are placed on. If no products are picked up in the feed, they will default the ads to whatever you specify as the fallback.
A good chunk of the Niche Pursuits audience uses the Amazon Associates program to monetize their websites, and it’s a great monetization platform for beginners. When paired with Adsense, you will have two of the most easily implemented and effective monetization methods used by affiliate marketers and publishers on the internet today.
To get started with Amazon Associates on your WordPress website, we recommend AAWP. You can get the AAWP plugin here!Try the Plugin Here
Media.net is the advertiser platform for BingAds, which is like Google Adsense but published by Bing (which is Microsoft's search engine). Media.net has some things we like and some things we don’t like when comparing ad networks.
What I like:
- Media.net does ad optimization for you
- The display ads are highly customizable and look great
- You get a dedicated Media.net account rep
- Payouts are very good in certain niches
What I don’t like:
- It’s difficult to get approved (no set criteria)
- They are more restrictive with the types of content they approve for their ads
Looking at each of these in more detail, there are a few things that make Media.net different from Adsense. The first is that you get your own account manager once you are brought on to the platform, and that manager will help optimize your ads for you. You can reach out to them via email anytime you need to speak with them, and I’ve found they are usually quick to respond. The ad displays are also more attractive than most default Adsense ad blocks and they give you higher levels of customization.
While Media.net’s ads don’t have the same selection of layouts that Adsense does, they still offer a wide variety of size formats that will fit properly on just about any blog or website. The payouts on Media.net are also extremely good in certain niches.
These are just a few marketers out there that have actually published their success stories about their earnings with Media.net. There’s plenty of marketers out there using this ad platform having great success and just not talking about it. If you are in a niche that will fall within Media.net’s advertising policies, it’s worth looking as a replacement for Adsense even if you are currently using Adsense today.
If you are in a niche that has products in the Amazon Associates program, Media.net can make an excellent complement to that revenue source, as Media.net ads seem to do the best when in a niche that has lots of buyer intent keywords.
Overall, Media.net is one of the better ad platforms out there today and should be given careful consideration as a potential replacement for Adsense, even if you have an active and approved Adsense account.
Are you interested in seeing if Media.net is a good fit for your website? You can apply to Media.net here!Apply to Media.net here!
Monumetric is formerly known as “The Blogger Network.” It’s an ad network that’s similar to Adsense and Media.net, but just structured differently in terms of how they measure success and pay publishers.
Instead of paying on a “cost per click” basis, they use a CPM model which means that it’s a “cost per impression.” They are one of the better-paying CPM networks, with many bloggers and webmasters having success using Monumetric as a standalone platform or in conjunction with other ad networks.
What I like:
- Approval process is relatively straightforward
- Application process is quick
- Monumetric optimizes your ads
- Dedicated account manager
What I don’t like:
- CPM advertiser networks may payout less depending on the niche
- Minimum traffic requirements of 10k monthly views
- $99.00 setup fee for anyone between 10k and 80k monthly pageviews
When you apply to Monumetric, there’s an approval process that is pretty easy to understand. The only qualifier is that you have to have some stable traffic. If you are just starting out, Monumetric is going to be out of reach until you start getting around 350 hits per day on your website.
Once you’ve qualified for the traffic requirements, you can apply to the program. If you are in the 10k to 80k range per month in pageviews, there’s a $99.00 setup fee. This can be worth it if you think you’ll drive enough traffic to increase your earnings.
Fracisco from PassiveIncomeWise.com shows his RPM (revenue per thousand impressions) to be around $7.23 with Monumetric, whereas he was at $1.43 with Adsense. This is a significant increase and is worth considering depending on your ad layout.
Since Monumetric optimizes your ads for you, you’ll have someone in your corner – but they will also be trying to maximize their own revenue with strategic ad placements, so your RPM may differ depending on your ad layout and ad structure. Some people like to just throw one or two Adsense blocks on a site to keep it looking spam-free, you may have to up your total ad count on your pages to see a significant income increase.
Jon Dykstra at FatStacks also has some experience running Monumetric as an ad platform, and includes an extremely detailed writeup here, based on his experience.Check out Monumetric today!
Propeller Ads are different from Monumetric, Media.net, and Adsense. They are not an ad network that you probably want to consider using as your only monetization method (you shouldn’t be doing this with Adsense or Amazon anyways), and it’s best used if layered with another type of advertising network.
They primarily use pop-ups or pop-under ads and allow you to maximize your revenue with their ads. They also operate on a CPM basis, which again means they pay out on cost per impression.
Whether or not you want to use a pop-up or pop-under ad is something that every individual webmaster is going to have to make. There have been rumors in the past that Google may penalize websites that use intrusive pop-up ads on mobile sites, but the results are somewhat inconclusive.
What is conclusive, though, is that you can make good money using them!
What I like:
- The CPMs are decent
- They give you another way to monetize besides straight display ads
- They are easy to implement
What I don’t like:
- The fact that the ads are pop-ups and pop-under ads
- While it’s not been fully proven yet, there’s a chance that mobile pop-up ads could impact SEO
So, should you use Propeller Ads? It really depends on how you want to maximize your revenue, and whether you mind having multiple ad networks on your website. Sometimes, when you start to layer more than a few ad networks together, your site can start looking a little spammy.
Can it be used in lieu of Adsense if you have decent traffic? Absolutely! Experience and revenue will definitely depend on your niche, but there’s a few studies that have been done where people have had great success implementing Propeller Ads on their site and sometimes in conjunction with Adsense.
- Stream SEO has a great case study showcasing the extra 300/day they made with propeller ads
- Erik at nopassiveincome.com also has a great article on how to make money with propeller ads
Again, you’ll want to be careful about how you implement these ads on your site and make sure that they resonate with your audience. There’s no doubt they are an acceptable alternative and can yield a solid additional revenue source. While we wouldn’t recommend relying on it as your only income source, it’s an acceptable replacement for Adsense if you decide you are done using Google’s platform.Learn More About Propeller Ads!
InfoLinks is another ad network that you can use with Adsense or instead of Adsense. While it’s an alternative to utilizing Adsense, it may be better combined with another display ad like Media.net. As a stand alone platform, it lacks just a little bit, but that doesn’t mean it won’t yield you some revenue if you are looking at options to replace Adsense on your website.
Infolinks is different with they way they have their ads structured. They are advertising “links” which means that you’ll get revenue when someone clicks on an ad that’s based on their links. You can have their ads target some of your primary keywords for the best results and the best payouts.
What I like:
- Easy application process (based on content, not traffic)
- Simple integration with your website
- Allows a different layer of monetization than just an ad in the sidebar or content
What I don’t like:
- Ads aren’t the most attractive
- Not really a primary ad revenue resource – works best when combined
Overall, Infolinks makes for a great option if you are looking to add to your revenue sources and as stated, you should think of combining it with other ad networks to maximize your profits.
It’s a great supplementary income source and while it can definitely be an option to replace Adsense altogether, the limited way the ads can be structured make it less appealing as a primary revenue source. You can find out more about Infolinks right here!Give Infolinks a try!
Another great way to diversify your monetization is with Adversal, a self-serve advertising platform.
As a publisher with Adversal, you can add native, display, and video ads to your website. It's pretty easy to set everything up and control it with an intuitive interface. They give you a wide range of options, including pop-under, banner, leaderboard, and skyscraper ads.
This is all good, but you will need to have 50K page views per month to meet their registration criteria. If your website is eligible, Adversal is worth looking into!
What I Like:
- Pays for impression, not just clicks
- High CPMs and a low minimum payout of $20
- Easy to use
What I Don't Like:
- 50K page views per month minimum is pretty steep
- Heavily weighted in favor of US traffic
Overall, Adversal is a solid Google Ads alternative that actually can replace the platform altogether, if needed. You can find out more about Adversal here.Try Adversal here!
Ezoic, Mediavine, and AdThrive
If you want to “level up” your earnings without completely leaving the Google Ads network, one option is to choose a premium display ads solution.
We've tried them all here at Niche Pursuits – here's what we recommend.
If your website has around 10K monthly visits, then you can apply to Ezoic. This option is great because they have a way to test ads to optimize your earnings. They're also allowed to place more ad units per page than a regular publisher would. Read our full Ezoic review here.Try Ezoic today!
Moving up to Mediavine is another good choice if you have the traffic to support it. You'll need 25K monthly visits before applying to Mediavine. As a large network, Mediavine does have some ads outside of the Google Ads inventory. You can see some pretty impressive earnings per thousands of visitors with Mediavine. Read our full Mediavine review!Try Mediavine today!
Lastly, there's AdThrive, another premium option. I'll mention it here, but it requires 100K page views per month to qualify, so it's probably not your first choice. Its earning potential is pretty comparable to Mediavine's.Try AdThrive today!
What I Like:
- Can significantly improve your RPM with display ads
- Easy to use – can set it and forget it
- Works well with hard-to-monetize niches
What I Don't Like:
- Not fully diversified outside of Google Ads
- Less control over how ads are displayed
Now remember, these are Google Ads certified partners, so they're not going to be diversifying you outside of the Google Ads network on their own. But Ezoic, Mediavine, or AdThrive can significantly improve your revenue with display ads (check out Ezoic vs Mediavine).
Besides, there are PLENTY of earnings opportunities to consider outside of display networks for monetizing your website. I'll touch on a few of them below.
Selling Your Own Advertising Space:
Ok, so this may take a bit more elbow grease, but you can make quite a bit of money selling your own advertising space and/or email blasts!
I recently had a publisher reach out to me selling ad space on their website. They advertised a 300×250 ad block on their website for 30 days at $1,500 per month. While this is expensive, it was their first offer and may be eligible to be talked down. This is intriguing for me as an FBA seller. It is also intriguing to me as a niche site owner!
What I like:
- You control your ad space rates
- You control your ad space content
- Higher income potential
What I don’t like:
- You have to hit the pavement and sell your ad space
- It’s time consuming
Selling your own advertising space can be extremely lucrative. If you have a website that gets quite a bit of validated traffic, people will pay you for space on your site for their business. As a publisher, if you can go out and find these people, you can essentially make a full-time income from just one really good relationship, if they are related to your content.
If you have an email list, you can also sell ad space in your daily emails! Or you can even send an email blast with solid advertising creative. Many influential sites will sell an “email blast” and give you an “expected number of clicks” from the resulting email blast.
If you are a publisher and have an established site and collect email addresses, this is something that you can definitely take advantage of.
Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to make a full time income and can be highly lucrative. It’s a great replacement for Adsense but the key is making sure that you are in the correct niche to fully take advantage of the income potential. As an Affiliate, some affiliate marketing opportunities are much more lucrative than others.
Clickbank and CommissionJunction are two of the most popular affiliate marketing platforms on the market. There are many different affiliate platforms out there though, and doing a simple Google search should yield you plenty to look at.
The true value comes from forming relationships with other bloggers and other webmasters, though. You can often cut affiliate marketing deals with anywhere from 50% to 60% of the income from the sales becoming yours after the fact.
What I like:
- Income potential
- Create offers relevant to your audience
- You have control over the programs you offer
What I don’t like:
- Some affiliate offers don’t covert very well
- Lots of research for your niche to see what works
The good news with affiliate marketing is that the payouts can be extremely lucrative. With a 50/50 or 60/40 split, this can bring in substantial revenue depending on the product. There are internet marketers out there that bring in a substantial monthly income from recurring affiliate sales alone.
Some affiliate products will not only give you an income opportunity up front, but they will give you an income opportunity to earn recurring income once a customer has signed up for their service. There are multiple networks that you can test and this should be an avenue you look to utilize as a replacement for Adsense right away depending on your niche. Niches like Fitness, Self Improvement and Coaching are all examples of evergreen niches that sell affiliate products very well.
Creating Your Own Products:
We should be talking about creating your own products as the #1 way to replace Adsense as an alternative form of monetization.
It’s by far the most profitable when you compare it to the other options available. When you look at the Niche Pursuits income report from May of 2017, you’ll see there’s a substantial portion of income that comes from selling my own products on Amazon.com.
When you start making your own products, it gives you the opportunity to diversify your income and/or completely replace other forms of monetization. Take a look at Niche Pursuits, for example. We have display ads in a few spots on this site. But we also market Spencer's old software product LongTailPro, and a number of other services that he is either an affiliate of, or has an ownership interest in.
As a result, the income derived from these ventures far exceeds what we would be making with display ads.
What I like:
- Full control over monetization efforts
- Can integrate with other monetization if you choose
- Bigger profit margins
What I don’t like:
- It takes time
- Development of your own product requires brainstorming
- Creating something truly unique can be difficult
No matter how you look at it, creating your own product should be the #1 way you monetize your site if your niche or audience allows it.
There was a time when I scrambled around looking for Adsense replacements. Had I known then what I know now, I would have created an email list on every one of those sites and had a product ready to sell the readers.
It gets even easier today with the implementation of Amazon FBA. Now, you’ll have multiple options when it comes to monetizing your site and you won’t even need to worry about the fulfillment of your products. Amazon’s FBA option takes care of all of your fulfillment when you sell your products on Amazon.com and participate in the FBA program.
The primary method of monetization for my home goods brand is actually a combination of 3 different Ad networks. We use Adsense, which could easily be replaced by Media.net. We also use Amazon Associates, because people do like to see other product options available when looking for our product, and of course we drive traffic to our own Amazon listings that sell our products. We could easily transition to selling on our own online store, which we will do at some point, but for right now, the focus is on selling on Amazon and letting them do the heavy lifting.
These three sources yield a substantial income for this product and have created a legitimate multiple 6 figure business. While you can utilize display ads in many different ways, ultimately finding a way to come up with your own product should be the first option that you choose when deciding how to monetize your site.
It’s a long term play, but well worth it in the long run, as you create a sustainable business and brand that could be sold in the future.
There you have it!
Ten extremely effective ways to monetize your website that aren’t Adsense! While some of them definitely aren’t standalone options, they will at least give you an alternative if your website doesn’t comply with the Adsense TOS or if you are just looking to get away from Google’s platform for a more profitable option.
Adsense can be extremely profitable in the right niches. Ultimately, there are plenty of options to choose from and we’d recommend starting your own product or service as the “go-to” for anyone considering an Adsense alternative.
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Dude…it sucks that your income got hit so hard. It looks like you’re doing a great job at recovering and moving forward with new ad networks.
Fortunately, I’m reading a lot of new data on the updates that are proving that the recent updates are definitely not the end of niche sites. Check this out:
Now that we know that we can still rank our niche sites, we just need to find a way to avoid those adsense bans!
Hey Vin – no way niche sites are dead…far from it! I just have to think of the best way to make money without adsense – for me that may be building one large site (I don’t know) for others it might be micro-sites.
Yeah, I hear ya. My original goal was to get up to a few hundred niche sites and use that income to automate the creation of authority sites. Looks like I’m going to need to split my time between niche and authority sites right now to diversify my risk level.
I think your biggest problem (like most of us) is that your passion is creating small, niche sites. So the question is, would you enjoying building authority type sites as much?
I was able to get approved by Media.net, but haven’t done anything with it yet. The UI is pretty slick.
Do you know if I can use both AdSense and other networks on the same site or is that something that AdSense frowns upon?
I really don’t know if I would enjoy building a larger authority site, I certainly enjoy this site!
You can use Adsense with at least some other networks. You would need to check each individually however.
Thanks for keeping us up to date on this fiasco. I’m dry happy to hear that you have been able to recoup some of the lost revenue.
How are your sites holding up in the SERPs after the penguin update?
Several of mine went down, while others (with the same link pattern) did not. Weird!
Penguin is not good for some of my sites! However, other sites are still doing quite well – or some even better. But overall I felt some effects.
SkimWords looks interesting to me. I like how it brings up price comparisons. Could work well for some sites. I’ll have to test it out as well.
I removed Adsense off my niche sites and put Media.net on to see what difference that would bring. It was horrible. It brought in not even 5% of the income. I took it off after 4 days and put Adsense back on.
I have Infolinks on some of my sites right now, but at the rate they are going, with over 2000 visits a month, it would take almost a year to make $100. Not even worth it.
The only 2 alternatives that I have found to bring in pretty good money are Commission Junction and Amazon. Sometimes those are more than what Adsense pays. Sadly, that’s not the norm though. 🙂
Darn, I was looking forward to Media.net – hopefully it pays more than 5% of the income I had 🙂
I’m surprised that InfoLinks is getting you a $10.00 eCPM. I gave them a shot a few years back and Vibrant Media did way better (although, still not terribly impressive compared to AdSense)….
Hey Matthew – I started with them a few years ago and it was horrible as well. But it appears they’ve gotten a little better over the years.
Still, $10.00 CPM is way better than what AdSense does outside of a few choice niches.
Unfortunately, I am in those “few choice niches” 🙁
Thanks for keeping us posted. I like your motivation after such terrible thing happened to you.
In my opinion a few high quality sites work better than so many small niche sites because of following reasons:
1 – The income is not “only” based on one source. You can monetize an authority site several ways.
2 – You focused on a handful of sites and that makes it easier to manage them.
3 – Once you gained some authority you can sell your own products on them.
4 – You can find professional writers who are experts in that specific niche and pay them (super) high quality articles for you. You do not have to pay someone to write an article in weight loss and internet marketing niches for you anymore. Your writers will give you articles of really high quality.
5 – You can make huge lists from your authority sites and you’ll have them forever not matter what.
As I said, this is just my opinion that after seeing the recent trend of Google, it’d be better to focus on quality instead of quantity.
Just my 2 cents.
Keep up the good work.
Thanks Omid – great thoughts!
I know this won’t help much with the current sites, but for future sites I would switch gears towards creating product related micro sites and using a combination of Amazon and infolinks to monetize with. I have spoke with several people lately that are doing very well with amazon.
In regards to Media.net I am surprised that you are having such a difficult time with approval over there. I heard you mention them in the post when your Adsense acct was shut down, and decided to apply just in case. So I applied around 5pm and the following morning I woke up to an email at about 7am with approval information and they apologized for the delay, apparently I had forgotten to click the email verification link and they were waiting for that, but said they didn’t want me to have to wait any longer so they just went ahead and activated it. Then they also set me up with account representative and offered me the opportunity to get custom ad codes/size/etc. which aren’t offered through their publishing platform.
Maybe they prioritize based on industry/niche? I don’t know…
Anyways, hang in there! I am going to start developing some amazon sites myself and see how they do in the next few weeks.
Yeah, not sure why Media.net is taking so long for me…
I was approved overnight as well. I believe it probably has something to do with the average monthly page views. The sites that I registered had over 100,000 views. I’m sure they move quickly on those.
I think you should register another adsense account( or a few). It is the most wise thing to do.
Media.net reviewing each site ,even you have already 1 approved. So if you have 400 micro niche coupons and vacuum cleaner model number 46598… sites…
Uh you see what i mean.
Have you thought about starting a new company (like an LLC for instance) and getting a new AdSense account for that company? I think you could probably make things work again that way, at least to a certain degree.
Not sure if you’d want to transfer all of your niche sites to the new AdSense account but you could certainly transfer some of your best earners and build new AdSense sites in the name of that company.
I am not from the US, nor am I a legal advisor or anything like that but the way I see it this could be worth a try. But you’d want to check twice at least how you can avoid future trouble with Google before you get
Yes, I have definitely considered that. I currently have multiple business entities, so it wouldn’t be too difficult to form a new one.
I have had my adsense banned in the past too. Back then , I was a bad guy **Blackhat Stuffs** After taking that route with no stable and constant success, I repented and started building really Good and nice sites .But my problem was that I no longer had an adsense account. So this was what I did : I got a cheap min laptop for less than a $100 , I also got a new internet connection for that computer and then Registered a New adsense account under My “Company Name” Since then , I have been making money from adsense with no problem . Note : Don’t monetize your site only with adsense , add affiliate offers and Amazon .Made for adsense site are hated by the Adsense Team.
So adding different monetization options actually helps? I assumed they wouldn’t like it!
Great advice and thanks for sharing your experience Flin! I think having a different ip/computer login is a smart move.
Hi Spencer, this is Pamela from Infolinks. I’m so sorry to read that your income and earnings were taken away! I am glad to see that Infolinks is working well for you and that you’re earning well with us. Our team will be happy to answer any questions you might have in terms of optimization or otherwise. Thanks for writing about us, we like to think we’re a great AdSense alternative too!
Good luck to you,
Yep, so far infolinks is the best alternative I’ve found. Thanks for stopping by Pamela!
Very interesting and useful! I dont quite get why cpa offers wont work for most of your sites. Anyway given your various experiences I cant help but think that the real lesson is Long Tail Pro. Create authority in a niche and then sell your own high margin, high quality products to it indefinitely. The 1000 true fans idea. Use niche sites for test marketing and additional cash to cover overhead.
I look forward to seeing where you go with all this.
RHC – that definitely is a lesson, and is something I would LOVE to replicate in another niche. The question is do I have the time and energy to do something like that. Testing out small niche sites is also a good way to test out different markets.
if you have niche on game, you have to try cpmstar. its the best ads for gaming niche. but the approval is a little bit hard. you need site with huge traffic.
No gaming sites for me.
Hi Spencer – thanks for the update and letting us see your results. I look forward to hearing how you decide to move forward. Gillian
Regarding Media.net, I got approved quickly with a site with less than 100 pageviews, but so far the sites that I have used with it have poor results. The ads don’t seem entirely contextual like AdSense ads are.
I did also try Infolinks, and it works pretty well but does not pay as much as AdSense. However, I’ve found a really good use for it. There are some niches where AdSense just doesn’t convert even though the advertiser competition is high. I think it’s really dependent on the user demographic and/or the niche topic itself. Anyway, I put Infolinks on one of these sites that I have and it’s working very well. CTR is much, much better than AdSense. It’s not a high earner, but I think I can grab about $10/mo with it. Easily pays for domain + content for the year.
Spencer, Ever consider Amazon? maybe try and sell some products related to the niches, and thanks to the 24 hour cookie, you can make money on purcheses you dont even promote!
Yes, I have considered amazon, but the most of my sites don’t have related products on amazon. It would be like if I put an amazon banner here on nichepursuits.com – pretty unrelated, but even so I’d get a few sales I suppose. I have tried amazon on sites that were more product based in the past, but I also made more with Adsense. If I create new sites, with Amazon in mind, I could do much better I’m sure.
I think there is a need for an adsense alternative. And you seem like the perfect person to launch something like that. Ad space for microsites. One vote for your next project.
Oh man – that would be quite the project!
I tried getting approved for media.net also using our site wsotesters.com and we also got no response. If that site didn’t go through then my other ones probably won’t either, haha. Maybe we just have to keep applying and hope to get the ‘nice guy’ behind the desk who will click ‘approve’. Anyway, I think i’ll test combining skimlinks with adsense like you said. If there’s ways to improve the money, i’m all for it 🙂
Awesome, let me know how the combination of adsense/skimlinks goes.
Maybe the reason why neither you or Spence are getting accepted is because you are applying with an IM site.
Try applying with a different niche.
I applied for media.net and was approved quickly. You have to submit each site for approval. For some reason, they denied half my sites. These are not MFA sites. I have good, unique content.
They are very nice and call you and follow up with you, but since they denied half my sites, I’m not sure about them.
I’m glad to know you have not lost rankings.
I was waiting to hear how you were going to move forward.
Have you used VigLink? It’s similiar to Skimlinks but backed by Google. I’ve been using it for a couple weeks and am pleased so far. Super easy to install via a plug-in, great reporting and is monetizing links I would never have thought to. When I made $3 on one site the first day, I was hooked 🙂 http://www.viglink.com/?vgref=95920 (referral link, no obligation to use it, of course)
I had never heard of Viglink – thanks for sharing! I may have to test them out.
I have a site with both media.net and adsense ads. Rpm with Media.net: $16.27; with Adsense: $9.41.
With Media.net, my first two weeks of revenue were slow (mostly $0 days) – you have to wait until it picks up, so if somebody tells you their CPMs were horrendous, I would advise you to be patient and try it for a month or 2.
Great post Spencer about alternatives. Because of what happened with all these people’s accounts getting banned I’ve been testing new ad networks just to see how they earn compared to Adsense. Nothing really compares very closely but I think the worst I’ve tried was Adbrite and Chikita. Those are horrible.
The best inline text link ad network I’ve tried is Infolinks. They are great! I guess Amazon Associates would be great too if you had products on your website or reviewed them too. I unfortunately do not so that doesn’t help me but looks like another great revenue stream.
Keep up the good work on testing and sending out the results without us having to do the work to get the free information. Really appreciate that.
Actually I’m intrigued to see what would happen if you did just set up new Adsense accounts with new companies. It would be comical and quite telling about Google’s seeming randomness if those accounts worked fine for years to come.
If I were you, I think I would definitely have to at least give that a try just to see what happens.
At the same time of course you should keep thinking about diversifying in case the same thing happens again. But it would be very valuable to know if just signing up again with new accounts works and if it did it would alleviate a lot of the problem for now.
Also I wonder about whether it’s wise to announce it here on your blog. On one hand, keeping silent on it might make sense. On the other I’d still want some way for you to let us know you did it and that it’s working. Maybe some code words? 🙂
I have few questions because i am planning to build some niche sites. But after a HUGE publisher like you got banned, i am little afraid to build these sites.
Did you mostly use low quality articles, just 1-2 pages of content on your all websites ? Also, you might have used similar themes (made for adsense themes) ! And your CTR must have been bit high. 🙂
Its good to know that you are earning at least 1/3rd from other sources. Adsense is number one but it doesn’t care publishers much i suppose.
You have said that many of your sites are holding up nicely after the Penguin update. Thats great.
However my feeling is that the dust is yet to settle after the latest sandstorm that Google has unleashed. Many search queries are throwing up absolute junk results.
The competition analysis of keywords has become difficult. Exact match domains also seem to have taken a hit.
How does select a niche keyword in this scenario. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts and of other readers.
All anyone can really do is speculate on the absurdities related to Penguin, at this point. But, Spencer’s scenario has really shown has asinine Google is. Spencer has said that he created many sites with quality information with the end-goal of being monetized via Adsense with limited potential for other monetization means (because of the type of content). The quality content benefited probably hundreds of thousands (if not, millions) of visitors employing Google’s search functions, probably hundreds (or thousands) of individual advertisers on Google, and ultimately Google’s operating revenues. And the kicker is he (and many other Adsense publishers) would have NEVER worked to put the content they ultimately did out there without the personal motivation of Adsense compensation.
I hate to be the one bringing it up, but have you considered trying to get the sites involved in Adsense again via some sort of borderline blackhat/alternative identity means? I mean, in spite of the whole “ethics” thing, you did put a lot of work into creating a large amount of content that is potentially beneficial for interested readers, google’s revenues, and google’s advertisers. If you played by the rules in the sense of WORKING over a number of years to create value for others with the end-goal of being fairly compensated for it then I have to question the expected “nobility” of going down without doing EVERYTHING possible.
If your business model was founded on SE Nuking/Xrumering mountains of autoblogged unreadable spun foreign English as a second language crap content, then scratch everything I just said. lol
Thank you for the post. I was also banned this week, but life goes on. Good luck with all your online pursuits. Have a great day on purpose!
thanks for this. google banned our social networking site because someone posted nude pics on their profile we immediately deleted the account but 5 weeks later adsense is sill not serving on the site. gonna try those other ones.
I’m sorry to hear that you got banned from adwords, but this article is an amazing education in the other advertising options available. Thanks for sharing the results of your research!
I’m just wondering what makes Infolinks so effective? Inline ads appear so intrusive at first glance and most people admit to being irritated by these popout boxes. I honestly can’t recall a single instance of actually clicking one in my life. OK, maybe once.
The CPC on on one my site really sucks and I am looking for ways to augment this problem.
Can we use infolinks side by side with adsense?
I must have spent at least 2 hours on your amazing website reading your posts. I was particularly touched by the one that announced your loss of the adsense account. I still find it astounding and very scary.
I was just at the point where I wanted to create a few adsense sites and I came across your Long Tail Pro software and was doing some “investigating”. After reading your story, I may be abandoning the minisite idea but I fell in love with LTP. I have used other keyword and analysis tools but I think LTP is most likely the best. I have purchased the LTP through your site. Hope that helps you a bit.
Your website is a great place for newbies like me to learn the Internet affiliate marketing biz. As what u suffered, my AdSense A/C was disabled not long ago and this really shocked me, and made me suspicious of Google’s Adsense program as a safe biz model.
I’ve read many of your posts and known that you had a big success in this AdSense program, and in some of your posts about the AdSense program, u even strongly suggest this program. However, I have some questions for u after both of us had this disaster with Google. Next just llist my questions as follows:
(1)In one of your posts (blogs), you mentioned that even if your AdSense A/C was disabled, you can set up a new biz entity with Google AdSense. I don’t know how? I’ve just checked “Google AdSense TM Online Standard Terms and Conditions” and found that on Term 5 “Prohibited Uses”, in clause (x), it says “create a new account to use the Program after Google has terminated this Agreement with You as a result of your breach of this Agreement”. To my understanding, you can’t use AdSense program again for lifetime if you want to use it in your legal name or other legal info of yours UNLESS you use other people’s info to register a new AdSense A/C (a new biz entity). And this is really scary thing for a biz owner if they have many websites like u. If there is one “invalid” click on any of your site, you will lose the whole biz as what u encountered. And it is very easy to get an “invalid” click in today’s Internet world where virus and malwares are everywhere, let alone your possible foes who just want to see your biz going down by intentionaly making “invalid” clicks on your sites (and this is so easy for them to do and impossible for us to control in any means). As a result, purely relying on AdSense poses a big risk for a large online biz owner. Anyway, that’s just my personal opinion. (2)I’m now trying Inforlink service(thanks for your valuable advice in this post of yours) and have a question for you: Can I put both AdSense ads and Inforlink text links on the same webpage if someone wants to use my site for their Adsense ads? At last but not least, thx a million for your great info and help!
1. A business entity is not you. So a business entity can apply for Adsense.
2. Yes, you can use both adsense and infolinks together.
How are you? I have a new question for you and also need your suggestions here! Let me give you more background info to start below.
After I’ve got your above feedback last time – “A business entity is not you. So a business entity can apply for Adsense”, I recreated a new Gmail account and also used one of
my new site that was never being used before with any of Google’s programs, applying for a new AdSense account. And to my surprise, I’ve got approved and then I post
Google’s Adsense ads to not only this new site, but all the old sites that I used to have Adsense ads on — these ads had been taken off after my last (also my first) Adsense
account was disabled for some “invalid clicks” ((pls see the screenshot here: http://i.imgur.com/CvcEE.jpg). This time, I thought it should be a new ‘business entity” for I’m an
individual, having no company. Just as what I was afraid of, Google has disabled my new Adsense account again today with an email, saying that my “Adsense account has
posed a significant risk to…” (pls see this pic: http://i.imgur.com/5xTQm.jpg). I swear to God, I didn’t do anything wrong for I’ve just put Google’s Adsense ads on my sites a few
days ago and all the traffic were very little and of course really natural (organic), and also I got a buck or so income from ad clicks (shown in my Adsense account). As you can
see here, in the second “disabled” email from Google, they said that my account posed a significant risk to them. I don’t understand what this means!! According to Google’s
terms, I can place their Adsense ads on any websites, even on the ones from which their ads had been taken off before duo to the some “reasons” they claimed like in my case.
So I’ve concluded that the real reason for my second “disabled” Adsese account is that after you are disabled by Google from their Adsense program, you’re on their black list
forever (I guess Google don’t dare to say they have such policy legally for it will definitely destroy their “good’ image!). What I meant is that even if you can create a new
business entity to get into Adsense again, you might not survive before your first paycheck coming up if they’ve found out that you were ever disabled, or you’re using the old
sites that they took their ads off from before. I guess that in my case this time, I might have both causes. Anyway, this is just my reasoning.
So, my question is: What do you think of my above logics? (or what are your thinkings?) For you have more 200 niche sites, if you use them and do Adsens again in a new
business entity, they might disable you again soon! Again, this is my guess too.
Base on what has happened to me, could you give some suggestions to me pls? In addition, I’ve alreay tried using Inforlinks and other Adsens alternative programs; but as you
said in your blog, they are not as good as Adsense in terms of income levels.
Thanks a million for any of your help in advance!
P.S. I’ve just purchased your Long Tail Pro tool, and it’s great software!
Jack – sorry it happened to you again. They probably linked you to both your old and new adsense account somehow (some contact information, phone number, address, IP address, etc). I don’t know for sure, but perhaps this is the reason.
Spencer, you’re great!
I just want a little more help here! If they did compare my two Adsense acoounts and thus disabled my account again, how can I set up a new “business entity” with Google Adsense using my legal name, the same living address, ph number and IP address (I can’t change all these things for I’m just a single person doing something at home and have no company)? From the above case, you can see that Google has all the info on me from the past, so I jsut don’t know how to get around here. Or I’m just totally banned from Adsense no matter whatever I do with new application? A lot thanks again!
Sorry to ask you for this Adsense thing again here! I’ve just rechecked Google’s Adsense policies about the disabled Adsense accounts and found this looking-terriable thing, but I’m not 100% sure; so I’d like to ask your judegment to double confirm on their tough policies. In the quesion of “My account was disabled and my appeal was denied. Is there any way I can rejoin the program? Can I open a new account?” Google listed as samples, they answered like this(just the core part): “Please also note that publishers disabled for invalid click activity are not allowed any further participation in AdSense. For this reason, these publishers may not open new accounts.” So my question for you is: Are the “publishers” mentioned by Google here referring to the biz owners of all the relevant websites where Adsense ads were placed on and then taken off by Google? If this is the case, it seems that you can’t use these old sites for Adsense ads forever – no matter who (other biz entities or publishers) want to put Adsense ads on later. Am I right here?
No, its not referring to the websites. There is another portion in their policies that specifically states that.
Hi Spencer, I have a question or 2,
Are you using all of the adsense alternatives together on one site, or only 1 ad network per site?
You say that infolinks is paying you the most, but are you using other networks to fill the vacant ad spaces where your adsense ads used to be?
You said that you were getting $10.41 eCPM from infolinks on your sites and that you wee also receiving about 1/3rd of the income you got from Adsense.
Does this mean that you were getting around $30 eCPM from Adsense for your sites previously ?
I was really dismayed to hear of your adsense ban, as your approach always seemed so decent and fair and an inspiration to me.
Yes, it was $30+ ecpm.
Spence, you were robbed!
I got my adsense account banned in 2008 since then whenever i tried i got negative reply. However i tried adbrite and infolinks they have done good but i am much happy with adbrite because they pay well. Bidvertiser and chitika have not earn any money for me because they were showing just irrevalent ads. I have also tried media.net but not approved.
So, even if your account is diasbled fo rinvalid clicks on X website, someone else can use their adsense account on that same website? I would assume they would blacklist that website?
No, they will NOT blacklist the site. Its states as much in the adsense policies. In addition, I have given a site or 2 to others to place their adsense code on my old site – the sites are still actively earning with Adsense on their account.
I was checking around your blog.. as usual.. and couldn’t find what I was looking for.. so I thought I would just ask..
If you had a brand new to adsense or your account was suddenly reinstated… what would you do differently in building a new “empire” of sites?
Better quality themes and less aggressive adsense placements.
Matt, yes, you can use Google AdSense with other networks. At least, I have AdSense, Infolinks, AdBrite, Amazon and BidVertiser together on one of my websites. So far, none of the networks has complained.
Spencer, apologies if this is somewhere else in the comments– I did look but didn’t see it– but have you considered reapplying with a family member account or forming an LLC?
Yes, I have considered this.
Spencer, you state better quality themes. What would you recomend? I was looking at your article yesterday about the 38 free WP themes for niche websites, with that statement would you still recomend these?
Your opinion on purchasing a theme like CTRtheme vs creating one from a free WP theme?
I am still fine with free themes in general. However, the themes that I mentioned such as Bluesense and Prosense and others that are clearly made for adsense, I would avoid. Those themes use background color that make the ads very difficult to distinguish from the content of your sites. In my opinion they cross the line. So, other free or premium themes are fine depending on their colors are agressiveness of setup.
Hi Spencer, your eCPM in Infolinks is impressive. Are you using only contextual ads or are using related tags ads too?
Just the contextual ads. the eCPM is likely higher because of the niches I have chosen. (High paying)
Nice review.. I added infolinks in my blog.. they approved in a day
i was just wondering if you had tried clicksor.com? i have registered but i havent tried it yet wondering if it is any good at all.
guess no one knows about PulsePoint, Tribal Fusion or Burst as the backup ad networks for Adsense? I have been an old client of PulsePoint, in past ContextWeb, in past Adsdaq… as a secondary backup for Adsense. I prefer the freedom of choosing the ads I show. With PulsePoint for example, the easiest thing to do is to replace the old network ad tag (set as a Backup Tag) with their Smart Ad Tag. Using this approach, each impression that was previously being exposed to your backup network will now first be exposed to open market at your (!) asked price. Isnt that great?! If it sells you get your asked price for that impression, and if not then it just gets sent to your backup network so they can place an ad into it. By the way Google came last year or so with similar program, I got accepted in. 😉 Currently researching Admarketplace.com and few XML Ad providers for some side extra income streams. If anyone knows – please email me. Only white hats! Cheers!
Yesterday, my adsense account was also disabled. I thinks it was very bad timing for me because of pay day would come in few days, like you shot the ball and not a goal but just hit the cross bar. However, a couple weeks ago i was also trying to implement ads alternative. I assume this case would be happen to me some time. I already tried Infolinks, Chitika, Intellilinks, and also contexweb. and i got the conclusion about this, Infolinks is the most appropriate alt for my site. But I think, it was very depending of your site’s niche.
Nice review.. I will add infolinks in my blog..
I like http://www.kiik.me Ad Network.
Do you have an affiliation with them?
I’m new to internet marketing and Adsense, etc., so when I submitted my site to Google for an Adsense acct., I assumed it would go through quickly and easily. How wrong I was. So yeah, now I’m hunting around for decent contextual ad alternatives. Thanks for this article. Sorry for the trouble you’ve experienced. Best of luck, and keep us posted!
Hey spencer, thank you for the great advice on google Adsense alternatives. I have a few websites and have been banned from Adsense. I will definitely try these out. Amazon does work pretty well for me, though.
Hi Spencer, stumbled upon this article after googling for alternatives to adsense. Great to see other people that share my experience, sorry to hear about your problems though.
Personally I tried a service called Komoona (www.komoona.com) and although I just started it’s looking pretty good so far.
Hello. Very nice info there!
There are other cool sites that you should try to monetize your blog:
1.- Adversal: (This is a very good adsense alternative, in fact it displays google adsense ads)
2.- WHD: (It displays text/banner ads, clicks and number of impressions count)
3.- eDomz: (It displays pop ups, competitive revenue sharing)
4.- Kontextua: (Ads in images, Ads in texts, Banners, Sliders, Related Tags – Better than Infolinks)
You should try them, they all pay. I personally like them and they are best adsense alternatives.
Hi there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to take a look.
I’m definitely loving the information. I’m
bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
Wonderful blog and excellent design.
Yeah, I used AdSense several years ago on one of my SEO websites and it was great, unfortunately I got banned as well.
I think the fact that they are too big has allowed them to ban a lot of good publishers, especially since when you have fans they tend to over-click on ads, but I thought it was supposed to filter it out and not ban you.
I a sorry to hear that you got banned from adsense. It seems like a nightmare. It is good to know that are other ad services alternatives. I wrote down the list and i will check it out.
I was just browsing for info about Vibrant Media, and found your post. My experience with Vibrant Media has been poor as well. I just added Infolinks to my art site today. If all looks good, I’m going to switch.
Thanks for your insight!
You spoke of small vs large sites. I have a few of both, and wholeheartedly embrace the large ones. With the little sites your always after search engine traffic, and don’t get many return visitors. Large sites are destination sites that deliver tons of repeat traffic, Also, as soon as you put a page up, it immediately shoots up the Google rankings to draw considerable new search traffic.
Hope that helps. 🙂
Great article and information. Many people don’t realize they have options beyond Adsense.
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Wow, that’s a lot of really useful information. I was suddenly disabled from my Google Adsense account a few months ago, and I had been actively earning with them since 2002. At first, I just couldn’t believe it, was completely shocked, and of course you immediately lose your current earnings. I asked what happened, had one email to just confirm that my account had been disabled. I think Adsense is so big, it can treat (or mistreat) publishers with no recourse. Very upsetting. I have been looking for a good alternative, and nothing comes close to Adsense, but I’ll try Infolinks, see if that works for me. I can’t tell whether the tracking is correct on my cj.com account – is very precarious, does not acknowledge all of my sites, only one, and my Amazon account seems questionable, too. It’s frustrating, right now, and it’s hard not to miss my Adsense account. Thanks for all the great info! Thanks for letting us share in your story, Spencer – I’m so sorry that happened to you, too. Your article helps us feel like at least we’re not all alone dealing with this. Ailsa
i am using Chittka and Adsense and getting more money from Chittka than Adsense.
studying about niche before buying domain is probably a good idea..before jumping in blogging world 😀
cpcGalaxy.com is a good alternative for adsense. I use this and reward aproximately $20/day with a 800uv/day website. I recommend this!
same here my site got denied from adsense although its good
I am surprised how your site didnt get approved in media.net . I have only one site , gets 200 views daily and is well designed. Its a edu-elearning site. I got approved in a day. And after medianet merged with yahoo & bing, the earning are great. The rpm fluctuates from 1$ -16$ depending on clicks and visitor location. So if you have worldwide traffic, you would earn quite a lot
Amit that is not true about worldwide traffic. Medianet only pays for US, UK, CA traffic. Check the terms.
I work with small niches sites in Brazil. If in US you can’t find a good adsense alternative, imagine in Brazil rs. It’s not easy, but… I ll to keep looking!
Very interesting topic indeed.
A Google Adsense banned account, is that the same thing a Google Adsense disabled account?
Also, once your Google Adsense account is banned or disabled, there is no wayout of this. That’s it?
Your only option is to apply under a different business account name or LLC or different family name?
Sounds like Google is ruling with an Iron fist…very dictatorship…I compare Google to Stalin from USSS not only take away your passion but your livelihood as well.
I applied for Media.net just a few minutes ago. Don’t know really what to expect but we’ll see. Google banned my adsense account, for what looks like, the same reasons you got banned about a month before you did. I opened a business account in one of my companies names (after reading your suggestions) and they approved it. However, they banned me a couple of weeks later saying after checking their records I would not be a good fit (apparently they matched my name, which I used myself as the business contact, BIG MISTAKE!). So, in a third attempt I’m going to do what you did and completely open one that ABSOLUTELY has nothing to do with me at all and see what happens. My income too was hurt just like yours and it’s really hard to recover, but that’s what I’m doing. Just started a new site July 5 (8 days ago) and I’m already on second page of Google with only 8 of my pages indexed, and get this (no backlinks). (I think I read somewhere up there if I scroll higher. Niche sites are not dead!) I believe this to be a good authority site and want a fresh new adsense account without me attached to it. Interesting website. I have flashbacks reading all your articles, as I’ve been doing affiliate marketing since 2006. I feel your pain.
The website I’m using here to leave a comment is a site Google sand boxed, but still rank #1 in the Bing network. Social media is a huge help. It still makes money. 125 page niche site. Pretty nice. Maybe people can get ideas from this site instead of copying yours.
Thanks Spencer for taking your time to make this website. Building niche sites take time. So, I could only imagine what it must be like to monitor this one as well.
I just wanted to throw my vote in the ring for Amazon Associates program.
For me, it’s paying more than AdSense, but I think the key is to create a widget to only show the products that are appropriate (or close) to your niche.
As an added bonus, Amazon still pays you commission on ANYTHING they buy, even if not the product listed on your ad.
The downside, however, is that they only pay you on sales from the country in which your account is registered.
Have you tried intergi, My adsence account was pending from 6 months and no response from them either so right now I’m using intergi, infolinks and bidvertiser on my site.
The information presented is great but I have a question to ask. I applied for gum gum but was not told to install meta tag as other advertising companies like infolink and VigLink does. I viewed my bog and noticed that their ads are running on my site. I was not even able to login to their site as no password was demanded when was applying. Please help me sort this out as I do not know how to get paid.
I think nichepursuits is okay enough to have media.net approval but notwithstanding, with the tried alternative media.net can still be left out for now and more so, media.net don’t really pay just like others. I did have media.net approval but I don’t implement it on my blog