Google's "AdSense" contextual advertising system enables owners of content-rich websites to generate income from their websites. I've had AdSense on my "Marketing Magic" and "City Of York" websites since July 2003 and it's been highly profitable for me.
But you will have noticed in recent months a huge push to sell various systems which generate content-rich websites very quickly with the sole purpose of bringing in cash from AdSense ads. I've tested about eight such systems in the past few months. Some work well - as far as building the sites is concerned. Some were terrible!
However, I have reservations about the whole concept of building large numbers of such sites:
- Duplicate content: If you just upload these sites "as is", your sites will be identical to hundreds, maybe thousands of other sites. And the search engines are weeding out such duplicates. I'm not talking about the content of the articles - the search engines are fine with the same article appearing on many different sites. But if the same article collections appear in the same order, then those are duplicate sites.
- Competition: If you target content niches which are known to having high-paying AdSense advertisers you'll face huge competition from other sites. This means that it will be more difficult to be found on the search engines (even when your site is in the indexes). Consequently, the number of visitors to your site - and your AdSense income - will be low.
- Time: Generating websites from these systems doesn't take long - except that you'll need to tweak many of them. But, as I showed in my marketing experiment, generating traffic to a website can be time consuming. One guy selling one of these systems said "It doesn't matter if you only make a dollar per day from each site - set up a hundred sites!". Oh yes, and how long will you have to spend driving traffic to each site just to make a dollar a day?
OK, here's my conclusions - and remember, they are only personal opinions.
Maybe, just maybe, some people are making the multiple-site systems work.. for the time being. But they are probably spending a lot of time on them - and using techniques that most people would struggle with - interlinking sites, blogs, RSS and maybe "AdSense arbitrage" ("Google" it if you don't know what it means!).
I don't think that it's a method for "newbies", despite the attraction of having large numbers of "ready-to-go" websites.
Then there's the grey area of ethics. I personally don't feel comfortable having a website which deals with a topic that I don't understand or have any enthusiasm for. That's the reason why I put a month of work into developing a content-rich, customisable website for owners of my Newbies Starter Kit around a topic which most people have some understanding of and feeling for - "self improvement".
I have five websites aimed at generating AdSense income - apart from my two main sites that I mentioned earlier. But they all deal with topics which I have some understanding of - and enthusiasm for. And that's the way I'm going to continue. It's a personal decision.