Google AdSense is usually the natural first choice and definitely the best option for those who want to go for contextual text link advertisement in order to make money. AdSense is almost synonymous to CPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising as Kleenex is to facial tissues. However, a number of publishers – especially low traffic blogs and beginners – find it difficult to cope with AdSense due to a number of reasons.
Most common AdSense concerns
A lot of people get banned by AdSense sometimes for wrong reasons as well though in most cases it is due to click fraud. But just in case a publisher gets banned for a wrong reason, there is not an easy way to communicate the same to Google as their customer support is too slow. And most of the time you get no reply from them.
The minimum payout amount for Google AdSence is $100 which is quite high for low-profile bloggers. More over there is no PayPal payment mechanism available.
Google’s contextual ad serving technology works great but publishers cannot choose their advertisers or categories as everything is governed by the keywords in your content. Sometimes the publishers are even forced to change their blog content and format to include high paying keywords which is not a good thing to do.
The earnings from referral ads, where the publishers can be choosy, is not that great.
The multi-level auditing process is another pain point. For example, only after earning $10 you will get your AdSense PIN using which you have to provide your tax information. At $90 there is an auditing where many people get banned which is inexplicable at that point of time!
The following are some of the alternatives to AdSense for earning money via CPC advertising. I have personally implemented all of them in this blog or my other blogs and found them trustworthy and most importantly the earnings are sent out faster.
Chitika: Chitika is a well known CPC advertising company though their ads does not look like text links but more like product links with images and browsing possibilities. It is however one of the highest yielding Pay-Per-Click networks. The monthly payments are made via checks or PayPal and the minimum payout is $10 for PayPal transfers.
Bidvertiser: Bidvertiser is my personal favorite as you might have noticed on this blog. Just like Chitika, they also have Check and PayPal options to receive the payout and the minimum payout is $10 as well. Approval process is very fast and so is the payout. Another major advantage with Bidvertiser is that they have a custom size ad option which will help many bloggers to fit them into their themes very nicely. At the moment I am getting 15 to 25 cents earnings per click from Bidvertiser which is really good and I have the option of selecting my advertising categories. They also make things pretty transparent by showing the highest bids from advertisers on a real time basis.
Text Link Ads (TLA): TLA is another great alternative to Google AdSense but it is not exactly an ad network but more of a ‘sell your links’ stuff. The bloggers and publishers can sell their link space to potential advertisers and publishers get paid at a flat rate (not per click or impression). The minimum payout in this case is $25 and they offer payments via both Check and PayPal. The payment release happens every month. TLA has a very strict screening process and usually you may get approval but advertisers may not buy your links until you get very good traffic (Alexa rank) and Google page rank.
Adbrite: I use adbrite primarily in my CPM ad slots (banners) though their text link ad option is impressive as well. The biggest advantage about adbrite is that the publishers need to earn only $5 to get a check payment. However, I found that their CPC ad click earnings are lower than Bidvertiser and overall monthly earnings less than Text Link Ads for regular ads. However, those who don’t mind displaying adult ads will get the best possible earnings per click (Make sure that you disable this option in your ad zone setup if you want to keep your blog clean). Adbrite also comes with a default content link ad without having to do additional setup. You may disable this option if you don’t want content link monetization.
Linkworth: I did not use Linkworth extensively as my links ads requirements were already fulfilled by other networks. However, I found it to be similar to Text-link-ads. The setup procedure and finding the right menus in the control panel was one pain point as they have too many products to offer. LinkAds are similar to TLA but they also have services like LinkPosts (similar to PayPerPost). Linkworth has a $25 minimum payment for PayPal and $100 for checks. They however has one of the best referral programs and have direct deposit/wire transfer options as well for faster payments.
If you want to do a side-by-side comparison of the above ad networks and more you may use the Adsense vs AdSense Alternatives tool.
Hope this post is useful for those who are looking for options other than Google AdSense. Please provide your comments and feedback on this post as well as your experiences with these ad networks.
Happy Money Making with AdSense as well as Google AdSense Alternatives!