"Reusability of code may not be one of the three pillars of OOP,
but it's one of the most important ones." --Yogi Berra
There is no question that Google has totally dominated the context-sensitive advertising space with their Adsense product. It's easy to use, they've tuned it up nicely over the last 3 or so years, and now they have added the product - oriented "pay-per-action" advertising option in addition to the "pay-per-click".
Another truism is that anytime you have a product or service that makes a big impact, cottage industries spring up around it. Adsense is no exception, and there are now gazillions of SEO sites, services, forums, and purveyors of tracking products -- and of course, dozens of e-books about Adsense. Most of these e-books are grossly overpriced, contain a lot of "Fluff" around the "good stuff" (if there is much of it) and can be safely ignored.
But there is some "good stuff" to be learned. Here's my summary:
1) The best performing Adsense ad layout is the 336X280 format.
2) The best place for it is just under the title of your content, and just before the main content, right in the middle of your content pane (not on the side).
3) The best performing combination of link, border, background, url and text colors is:
google_color_border = "333366";google_color_bg = "ffffff";google_color_link = "000080";google_color_url = "008000";google_color_text = "000000";
(the FFFFFF or white border is a close second)
4. The best link color performance is with Navy , #000080.
5. The best URL color in the ad is #999999 - a dark gray.
6. The best border color is #333366, a muted greyish navy.
7. The best background color is #F9DEFC, a kind of light pinkish color. Background should of course, blend with your page background, with white being the next best choice.
8. The top text color is #000001 (basically, "black").
9. Traffic from different search engines yields different click through ratios (CTR), with froogle being the best (especially if you have product ads), then MSN, then dogpile, then yahoo.
10. google's web search ads are not good performers.
The ad at the top of this post mirrors most of these findings.
So basically, depending on which e-book you buy for $79 or even $99, the above summarizes -- believe it or not -- 99 percent of what you are likely to get for your money (assuming the book isn't one of the ripoffs). Contrary to what many of these promoters claim with their custom tracking products and scripts, I believe the best way to track performance is to use channels, review your statistics on your Adsense login stats, and use Google Analytics, which is FREE (as in beer).
And above all - the best way to make money with Google Adsense (or any competitor) is to have real, unique content, plenty of high PageRank links pointing at your stuff from other sites, and not worry so much about all this keyword bullshit.
You read it here first! Save your money.
Private Jets for Climate Change, Anyone?
One of the Live Earth concert promoters was quoted, " Live Earth will produce about 74,500 tons of C02. We would have to plant 100,000 trees to offset the effect of Live Earth."
Heh. No shit, Sherlock! Let's solve HIV-Aids and poverty first, where we get $40 worth of return on every dollar invested, instead of the measly $04 cents from investing in Kyoto Treaty stuff. When we've got those done, the next Little Ice Age will have started kicking in (according to the real long term climatic record) and we won't have to worry about global warming.