Good piece by Publishing 2.0 » (Google Is Killing the Economics of Content) on how Google’s AdSense is killing the internet by driving the creation of sites that exist solely to squeeze money from AdSense. Here’s how it works in brief, based on Robert Weisman’s piece in The Boston Globe :
A company amasses hundreds of thousands of Internet domain names — and not just silly names, but ones like photography.com, bookstore.com, or jobfinder.com — and then puts a few links on it that look like content but aren’t (new term: “content-light”) . Users go there by typing in the name (rather than searching on Google, as many users apparently do; another new term: “direct navigation”) and then click on AdSense links on the site. As Scott Karp puts it:
The sites were talking about here are NOT about content and they are NOT about serving web users in any meaningful way — they exist for one purpose — pay-per-click ad revenue. …
Why bother with the expense of creating content? Google certainly doesn’t care. And the advertisers dumping billions of dollars into AdWords and similar ad networks don’t seem to care where their ads appear. It’s all about the click.
Companies involved: NameMedia, Marchex. According to alarm:clock, which monitors new tech ventures, NameMedia has acquired a leading domain reseller, BuyDomains, GoldKey, and dozens of smaller domain collections over the last year to create a portfolio of more than million domain names. It was formerly called YesDirect, and claims to have more than 25 million visitors a month.
There’s another aspect to this… in order to disguise the fact that they’re AdSense leech sites, the publishers sometimes populate the pages with blog RSS feeds.
So we’re all part of The Great Google AdSense Swindle then. Excellent.