I know you won't be able to Google this blog very well.  The words herein defame a company that many people taut as the best thing on the Web.  Google started as a search engine, but now it gives users apps, widgets, email, programs, and business tools--all supposedly for free.  This blog has neither the gobs of money, nor the unashamed promotion Google requires to direct users' attention to a particular web page.

Google is trying to become the Internet itself.  The first sign of its coup on our network of free and open data was how it organized search results.  Google's search engine doesn't care who is writing or speaking about a subject, or whether their opinion is factual or speculative.  That kind of information neutrality would be good if Google keyword searches gave users a variety of articles from a multitude of perspectives in the first few pages of results.  However, Google's results all depend on the highest bidders.

If you pay enough money to saturate users via Google Adsense, then your site will always appear at the top or to the side of results--even if your content is irrelevant to their search.  In addition, many bloggers and website pioneers agree to designate part of their staked Internet claim as Adsense ground in order to try and eek a living from the content they produce.  However, their sacrifices mean virtually nothing.  Google gets a free space to put their Adsense ads, and content producers with integrity rarely make any money from this scam.

Google calls Adsense "A flexible, easy way to earn revenue online," but there's nothing easy about it.  A blogger who allows Adsense to take over her site only makes revenue if readers click on ads.  How many people readily click on ads?  That would be like running up the block to invite a door-to-door salesman into your home.  Regardless, each click--if it happens--gets that blogger three whole cents.

Per the Adsense system, the blogger won't see any money until her readers clicks generate at least $100 in revenue.  That's about 3333 ad clicks.  In other words, that blogger would literally receive cents on the dollar to direct traffic away from her website and onto some potentially diseased, marketing-saturated page.  Ehow and Howtodothings.com both use the Adsense scam to connive people into creating content for their websites.  Then most of these exploitative websites even take a percentage of a content creator's tiny cut.

As a freelance writer who hadn't gotten a lot of work in the real world, I thought that Adsense would be the easiest way for me to make some extra cash.  Boy, was I wrong.  I wrote and wrote what I saw as informative, quality content.  Surprise, surprise: No one was clicking on the ads around my content.  Then I got a clue and sold out.

Those bound in the Adsense trap have two ways out: 1. They can make a lot of fake websites, articles, or pages with useless content and advertise them like a plague to everyone they know or meet.  2. They can encourage users to click on the ads around their content.  Either way, they're generally betraying the people who like their work.  I chose option number two.

Many of my friends got the idea that clicking generated revenue for me.  Some of them were Online gamers, so they repeatedly clicked on ads as they waited for new Net RPG characters to generate, etcetera.  After a few months, my Adsense revenue went about $50.00 whole dollars thanks to my friends' clicking diligence.  Google, however, did not like this.

I received a threatening email from the Adsense amalgam just before I reached the $100 mark.  By that time, I'd poured months of my time, creativity, and research into creating useful content--despite the realization that my friends were giving me pity clicks.  The email said that i was suspected and under investigation for violating Adsense rules and agreements.  Google suspended my account, removed its ads from my content, and said they probably wouldn't press charges.  Lucky me.

Internet surfers, fact finders, and content creators beware.  You never really get anything for free.  Google searches are not a replacement for factual books or libraries.  Internet searches and the content they lead users to are often opinion and speculation, which sometimes only serve as facades for a wasteland of cheap advertisements. 

Adsense and similar systems are not good ways for writers and website owners to make money.  If you want to make money by advertising on your website, get a decent following by providing interesting content then approach relevant businesses about advertising on your website.  Otherwise, find a new business model.  Google is not great.

This blog entry is the first in a series that illuminates the looming dark side of Google.