Thursday, March 27, 2008

How To Find Out What Keywords Pay Best With AdSense.

Dmitri Davydov and David Deprice may very well be the two individuals who have the best idea what keywords pay out best with AdSense. That is other than Google's employees.

"When I first started playing with AdSense two years ago, I've noticed that your income can wildly fluctuate, depending on what niche you are in," David says. "Everybody knows that. And everybody THINKS they know what keywords pay out best, but they really don't."

According to Dmitri and David, most people base their decisions about profitable AdSense niches on bid values from Overture and AdWords. In fact, every single keyword list on the market today is based on bid data derived from these two. Any person can enter any keyword and see what top bids for this particular keyword are. So what's the problem?

"The problem is that bid data is valid only for search terms," Dmitri say. "You see, Google lets you turn their content network off. Or bid less for content clicks. And people do just that. A search click oftentimes is more valuable for advertisers than a content click. Because search clicks convert on average three to five times better than content clicks. When a person enters a phrase in the search engine, they want to know the answer. But when they see a contextual ad, they may click it out of curiosity. The intent simply isn't there. And you see this in conversion rates."

So how do these two find out how much Google pays for particular keywords on their content network? From their own AdSense accounts. This is how Dmitri does it:

"The only way to find out how much Google pays is to look into your AdSense account. Google lets you set channels for every web page you have. Suppose I have an article about Hoodia. The first thing I have to do is to see what ads Google displays on the page. If all ads say 'Hoodia' in them, it means that Hoodia is the trigger word. The next thing I do is I set up a channel for my Hoodia article and track how many clicks I get and how much Google paid me. Then I divide payout by the number of clicks. It's as simple as that. The irony is that this data is very imperfect, because it's valid only for my account. But it's much more precise than top bids. Overture shows top bid for 'Hoodia' at $2.75. For AdWords it's more than 4 dollars per click. But I know for a fact that for the AdSense click for 'Hoodia' the pay averages out at about 70 cents."

David uses a similar approach:

"I simply use traffic arbitrage model. I'll use the same example as Dmitri. I can create a page about this weightloss supplement. It's very expensive to bid on 'Hoodia' so I can bid on cheaper terms that contain the word. Like 'Hoodia medical research'. Nobody bids on this term, so I can buy it at a minimum price. After a person clicks the ad, it takes them to my Hoodia page. Which has Google AdSense ads about 'Hoodia'. Google will tell me how many people clicked the ads and what they (Google) paid. You see, traffic arbitrage folks want to make more money off their ads than they spent on getting traffic. But I only care about determining how much Google pays for a particular term."

Dmitri and David then compare their findings for each keyword to see if they are close or not. So, how do they monetize this knowledge? Through Dmitri's website, Tested AdSense Niches. The site sells a monthly membership at $29.95. The subscribers get a list of keywords and niches that pay from $0.30 to $1.20 per AdSense click delivered to them twice a week. The data is always fresh.

"The reason we don't sell old data is because we don't want our new subscribers to compete with old ones," Dmitri says. "And we limited membership for the same reason. We still have 19 available spots, but as soon as they are filled, we'll close the club or jack up our membership fees."

So why did these two decided to sell this information rather than use it for themselves?

"Oh no, we use this data ourselves. But by the end of this year, we'll probably make just as much money from the membership site as Google pays us for AdSense clicks. It's all about money."

As far as fears of misusing this information to cheat Google, the two claim that it's non-existent:

"It's impossible. You can't fool Google. You simply can not monetize a site with high paying keywords without driving quality traffic to the site. I can give you a niche that pays 80 cents per click, but if all your traffic comes from China or India, you'll be lucky to get a nickel per click. If your traffic sucks, if it doesn't convert or if you don't have any traffic, you'll never make much money with AdSense."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Zune Makes A Positiv Debut

By Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY
The Zune, Microsoft's much-hyped answer to Apple's trend-setting iPod, had a good first four days of sales, says a leading research firm. But consumer electronics analysts don't think Apple has anything to worry about.

The NPD Group, which tracks sales at most top retailers, says the Zune digital music device had a 9% market share in its first sales days Nov. 14-18, compared with 63% for Apple. The research firm hasn't reported sales for the all-important Thanksgiving holiday selling weekend.

SanDisk, which is usually in second place to Apple, saw its share fall to 8%. NPD doesn't report sales for Wal-Mart, or the Apple Store.

"For a new brand that received limited to mixed reviews, and which is incompatible with the leading music store (Apple's iTunes,) as well as other music stores, it was a good launch," says Ross Rubin, an NPD analyst.

Zune comes with a 30-gigabyte hard drive and sells for $249, the same price as similarly featured iPods. Apple, however, has many iPods available, starting at $79. Its most popular iPod, the Nano, starts at $149. SanDisk Sansas are lower-priced, starting at around $50.

While NPD showed good initial sales for the Zune, the product hasn't fared as well in other surveys. On Wednesday, Amazon's daily chart of best sellers showed the iPod dominating the digital music player category, with Zune showing up at No. 17 by midafternoon. At online retailer's digital music player chart, Zune was No. 13.

Zune marketing director Jason Reindorp said Microsoft is on track to meet internal projections and is "confident Zune will only continue to gain momentum through the holiday season and beyond."

Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at JupiterResearch, says, "You can sell 50,000 of anything to early adopters. The question is whether Microsoft can be competitive a year from now."

Gene Munster, an analyst at equity firm Piper Jaffray, says despite Microsoft's promotional push, the message hasn't gotten to store sales staff yet.

He conducted a survey of 40 retail stores and found that clerks recommended iPods 75% of the time, compared with 8% for the Zune. Many clerks hadn't even heard of the Zune, he says.

The Zune's big feature — wireless music sharing — has gotten knocked by consumer tech critics as too restrictive. The songs play only three times over three days and then expire.

"Unless you have a grudge against Apple, it's hard to see why anyone would buy a Zune over an iPod," Gartenberg says. "But any company that underestimates Microsoft is crazy. They will make it better."