July 01, 2007

Adsense, Amazon, and Monetizing Your Blog

If you are not a regular reader of Cranky Fitness, but have arrived here instead on a google search hoping to learn how to earn some money:

Ha ha ha ha ha! Tee hee hee. That's a good one.

Sorry, that wasn't very nice. Crabby lured you here on False Pretenses. She has no idea in hell how people make money doing this. But if you skip down to the bottom of this post, someone who claims to know has written a book giving away all the secrets to blog monetization!

Quick, hurry, before all the copies are gone!

(Thundering sounds of footsteps. Fading now... All quiet.)

Whew, are the Googlers gone? Is it just us again? Excellent.

So now Crabby will try to explain (1) Why there are suddenly Amazon Ads all over the place instead of Adsense Ads; and (2) What each of them do. Originally she also planned to explain (3) Why she's willing to be such a shameless Product Whore in the first place. But she couldn't think of a good reason, other than that she's greedy and delusional, so she decided to drop part (3) of the post.

Anyway, as regulars may have noticed, all the weird Adsense ads are gone. ("Milkatraz?" WTF was that about?) Crabby knew they wouldn't make much money. She's still just a tiny blog, after all. But she had no idea they'd be so stupid and repetitive and unappealing! And gosh darn it, her readers may be Cranky but they're not all Old.

Perhaps if she hosted a better, hotter, more exciting blog, Adsense would have sent her better, hotter and more exciting ads. But Cranky Fitness is just Cranky Fitness, and the ads sucked, so they're gone now.

So now the Crab House is plastered with Amazon ads instead. They probably won't earn Crabby any money either--people actually have to order stuff off of them, not just click on the ads, and realistically, how often is that going to happen? But a Crab can dream.

The Amazon Ads, while likely off-target much of the time, do seem to offer greater variety and flexibility than Adsense. Crabby fantasizes that one day, a Needful Reader might actually encounter a Helpful Product, fall in love, and generate a "win-win" situation for everyone!

(Crabby blames her Most Significant Other, a successful businessperson, for making terms like "monetize" and "win-win" sound like actual English to Crabby's ears).

So here's what Amazonian fun we've got going so far. But of course Crabby is still messing around with all this, so it could be completely different tomorrow.

First off, there's a big "Omakase" ad on the sidebar. (Omakase means something in Japanese but Crabby can't remember what. "Easy Code for Lazy Bloggers," she thinks is how it translates). This ad is supposed to magically factor in both the contents of the blog as well as the preferences of readers who already have accounts with Amazon.

Does it? Crabby doesn't know what wild-ass junk you folks might see. For her, Amazon is pretty much ignoring the contents of blog. Health and Fitness? Hello Kitty? Lithuanian Folk Dances? We could be talking about anything here. The sidebar just announces: "Crabby, here's what you searched for last time on our site. Why the hell didn't you buy it? Do it now, damnit, or we'll just keep displaying the same crap until you give in."

Okay. Annoying, sure, but it least it has nothing to do with Wheelchair Exercise Equipment and is thus an improvement over adsense. She's very curious as to what you all are seeing though.

The link at the very very bottom of the page, below all the posts, is an Amazon-generated list of Health & Self Improvement books. Some of them actually look appealing sometimes; others look downright Icky. Crabby trusts her readers to know the difference.

There's also a search box in case you remember, in the middle of a post about Acupuncture, that you need to buy your Aunt Thelma a Needlepoint book for her birthday.

And then there's silly stuff like the ad Crabby put at the bottom of this post. She's mostly just joking about that one. She stuck one at the bottom of the archived IGallop post too, just in case future IGallop Googlers are actually looking to buy the thing and happen to land at Cranky Fitness. But she won't be doing this on current posts unless she's really so excited about something that she just Has to Share.

What would be cool, as long as Crabby is doing the Amazon thing, is to sometimes feature products that you, loyal readers, recommend. Do any of you know of a great health related book or product that might interest other readers? Please suggest it to Crabby and if it's offered on Amazon, she might put it on the sidebar. (This means actual regular readers, though, not Drop In Spammers). She thinks there might be some way to make it rotate, too, to offer a smorgasbord of Reader Recommendations.

Crabby knows that many of you who have blogs do not take advertising or pimp for affiliates, and Crabby applauds you. She hopes she's not driving you readers totally crazy. But if she's going to keep blogging for the long haul, as she'd really like to, she'd like to fantasize that she could earn a few pennies one day. Her plans for an eventually profitable Crabby McSlacker Health and Fitness World Empire keep her safely and happily off the streets. She thus humbly asks forgiveness of all of you.

After skipping over the Silly and Gratuitous Blog Monetization ad, please let Crabby hear your thoughts about ads on blogs. Hate them? Don't notice they're there? Have an idea for a good one you'd like to see on Cranky Fitness? Or Really Really Really Detest them? Or... any other thoughts? Tell Crabby how your weekend's going. Whatever!

(Is this book any good? Crabby has no idea. How's that for marketing!)


  1. I think your target readers might get a lot out of books by John "Penguin" Bingham or Jeff Galloway.

    As for what I see in your Amazon ad-- nothing, really. It just lists the types of things they sell.


  2. Actually, I just started reading your blog recently.

    But I like the Amazon ads much better than the "Adsense" ads.

    In fact, as soon as I find out more about the Volumetrics book (good vs crap) I will definitely come back here and purchase it.

    I do enjoy your blog regardless of whether or not you're pimping ads.

  3. I tried Adsense.. but literally made nothing. I also feel kinda creepy with money-making stuff on my blog. I work for a giant internet conglomerate (the one with three letters) and I have trouble seeing a distinct line between work and play. I don't like feeling creepy so I took it off. I'm sure it's just me over-analyzing, but you know..

  4. When the Crabby McSlacker Health and Fitness World Empire is in power remember I WAS ALWAYS on your side.

  5. Thank you Bunnygirl! I'll look into these guys, as you always have good advice.

    So no particular products in your sidebar? Interesting. Hope it's not even more annoying that way. I'm wondering if you may be untainted with previous Amazon interactions. Or maybe its a browser cookie setting thing and you're good about not collecting them.

    Welcome Teebo!
    Thanks for the kind words and for putting up with my pimping. And wow, thats really nice of you about the volumetrics thing! (If you do end up with it and it turns out to be good, let me know. Off the top of my head, the plan has always sounded pretty sensible, but I don't know the specifics very well or if there's any thing crazy buried inside or not).

  6. Hi Smart Cookie,
    Yeah, there is definitely a little "creep" factor with ads on blogs.

    My dilemma is that I'd like the blog to be somewhere in between "work" and "play." If it were purely play I think I might be like you & boot 'em all off!

    How could I ever forget? Plus, who wouldn't want you as a Head Henchperson? I need someone who can bite people in the face when the need arises! (Actually, the whole Love Warrior bit that you're so good at will probably be way more useful in our future Empire, but I want us at least to sound a bit Scary and Fierce).

  7. Actually, I want to put the amazon Ads on my blog but, not only am I not quite as bold as you are, I haven't figured out how to do that. (Adsense is easy, so why isn't Amazon?)

    Besides, I have both Adsense and Amazon in Tower of Light and I've only made $.02 so far. I think I need to find some actual advertising clients ...

    Anyway, Crabby, it's not annoying at all. And it doesn't look tacky like Adsense ads do.

  8. Advertising clients ... now who's delusional?

  9. oh, how I love our Sunday posts Crabby.

    I don't know what to do about ads. I keep thinking they're going to totally clutter up my page. It's really an aesthetic thing for me. However, if and when I do put ads up I have this fantasy of contacting all of my favorite companies and having them fight for the little space availabe on my blog. And I would get to format them exactly how I wish.

    I will miss the old ladies and the wheelchair exercise equipment. Not enough to beg you to bring them back but I did laugh every time I saw them.

    I think the reader recommendations is a GENIUS idea.

    (and, silghtly off topic: I miss sitemeter. I wish I could meld statscounter and sitemeter together...How are you getting along with it? Is it helping you to break the addiciton?)

  10. Ads on blogs should be relevant to the blog. An ad with an elderly woman using some stereotypical exercise equipment is slightly relevant. Relevant nonetheless though.

    Just don't resort to those damn lowermybills ads. PLEASE!!!

  11. I never saw any old lady wheelchair ads! Do they think us kiwis just stump along on our little legs forever!

    Right now I'm seeing ads for books like The Biggest Loser and Power Yoga which seem appropriate enough for your site. The bottom item in your side bar with me is the MyBlogLog recent readers thing. I've jotted down the title of the books advertised and will report back to Crab Central if and when they change.

  12. pant, pant - stumby kiwi reporting in to Crab Central! Top two books are the same, bottom three have changed already. Possibly, I sat on the Amazon "change books at Crabby McSlacker's site" button!

  13. Hi all!

    So we've got some Commenting issues going on with some of the older posts and I've had to turn on Moderation.

    I know it's a pain to have to wait to see comments posted--I hope it's just a temporary situation.

    Sorry about this! I'll be back in a bit to catch up with everyone.

  14. Oh, and by the way, I've never done Comment Moderation before, so I have no idea how it works. If I screw it up, I totally apologize!

    I share the same delusion about one day getting sponsors! If and when I get a bit bigger, I'll have to put some sort of "Advertise on Cranky Fitness" thingy together, and charge virtually nothing because I'm cheap and easy!

    But the Amazon thing is pretty easy to do. You don't have to be big to get approved, and you can just cut and paste code into the template. You don't have to get into editing html or anything.

    Yeah, your site looks nicely uncluttered. I already have a bunch of widgetty junk anyway. From what I hear, it's really hard to make any money with ads and affiliates, so if you're not living in a totally delusional dreamworld like I am, it makes sense to be cautious like you are. I think yours would be a great blog for sponsorship though! And I'll let you know if I have any luck with the Amazon thing. (And I think it was you, actually, who clued me in that the word "Cranky" was what was misleading them about my supposed geriatric status. But I was Cranky back when I was seven years old!

    And I'm glad you like the reader recommendation idea--we both have really smart readers, so I figure I might as well exploit mine!

    As to Sitemeter: I'm still in total mourning over our parting. I just can't warm up to Statcounter! I still visit all the time, but it's just not the same.

    Hi goinggone!
    God, I hope not the ads don't get that tacky! But as long as you're not going to Amazon and searching for scammy icky irrelevant things, (and you certainly don't seem the type!) then hopefully they'll just be boring ads at the worst.

    You never got the old lady ads? She seemed like a nice ol' gal, til she started showing up all the time, anyway. Sorry you missed her.

    And thank you so much for the updates! It's good to see they're rotating a little. My bottom of the page ones rotates a lot, but I have five on my sidebar that don't get much variety.

    I'm hoping someday Ripples on the Lake will be on Amazon too! Please let me know if they start stocking it and we'll see what kind of Super Enhancements are available. Perhaps they can do neon lights or fireworks or something!

  15. Of course, I understand none of this, but I did click on the wheel chair thingy once and browsed through looking at things I might need when I'm old.

    Amazon is a nice fit with any type of blog because there are books about anything and everything. If a blog topic strikes someones fancy, they are only a click away.

    As long as I can read the blog, I don't care what you do on your sidebars and advert, etc. but I do like the idea of neon lights if Ripples hits Amazon!


  16. To tell the truth I don't like ads on blogs. I won't put them on Balance but my work blogs obviously all have them -- some more annoying than others.

    I believe in what the blog originally stood for -- a passage of information of sorts and a way to communicate on a more personal level than say a new york times article. But that said your's don't bug me (and ya know I don't lie) I barely notice them. They aren't flashy or over hyper. Your layout is clean and simple. Plus IMO although I prefer ad-free blogs if the content is good and useful I'll go back.

    Also, honestly woman don't you ever take a break. Blogging on a Sunday. Goodness.

    Now if you'll excuse me I have four blogs to go add content to -- on a Sunday. Sigh.

  17. OH MY GOSH you enabled comments. I was scared my comment vanished for a minute. Did you tell us this? Hmmm, must of missed it.

    Are you getting wack-job comments or what?

  18. I don't know how the amazon ads work, but they are showing things that I looked at recently. Maybe it only works that way if your browser session includes an amazon login? Don't know, but I'll try to start clicking on it when I see something I want.

  19. Hi Terrie!
    Yes, and I'm hoping someday to have a Terrie Farley Moran mystery on there too! (Aren't mysteries, by definition, health related in that Untimely Death is involved?) Anyway there's an exception to the health-related theme whenever Crabby says there is. And for you, there will be!

  20. Hi Jennifer,
    I total understand your annoyance with ads. If I were clever enough to get paid, I'd more likely take the high road. But I don't feel too bad about the Amazon ones, just 'cause I buy stuff from them myself so they don't tend annoy me personally. So rather than empathize with others who don't shop there, (and therefore feel kinda bad about it), I just pretend everyone is me!

    And, yeah. I'm hoping the comment situation is temporary. The less said the better, so as not to Fuel the Fires.

  21. Holy Crap, I'm totally confused about this Comment moderation thing! Sorry.

    I'm getting everyone out of order, and I thought if I published each comment one at a time, then responded one by one, our comments would alternate nicely.

    But instead, all my responses are getting bunched up at the end. I need Thomma Lyn! She knows how to do this. I shall go visit her tomorrow and beg her assistance.

    So anyway Noah, Thank you! Both for visiting and for putting up with Amazon Ads! I'd really hate to alienate any of you with this ad stuff. And I love that some of you would even consider shopping here!

    And again, anyone who might be reading this: reader product recommendations are most enthusiastically welcomed! Notice Bunnygirl's input has already made the lower sidebar? So feel free to make suggestions too!

  22. "Omakase" !!! Has that word really made it into the English language? I am stunned. Basically it means, "leave it up to me" or "take care of it for me, will ya?" I can't explain it very well.

    As for ads, I'm one of those who doesn't really notice them. Unless they are real in your face.

  23. Speak of the TL, and she will appear! ;-D

    The comment moderation thing is, alas, a matter of timing. If I'm near my computer most of the day and a post is getting a lot of comments, I can log into Blogger at regular intervals and publish them, then be able to respond to them one or two at a time. But if a post is getting a lot of comments and I'm away from my 'puter for a while, I get the bunchy effect, too, when I respond to a group of comments all at once! :)

    I don't have ads on my blogs, but I don't mind them on yours. If a blog is interesting and the blogger has cool, thought-provoking things to say, that's what matters. :)

    I'm having a very nice weekend -- I hope you are, too!

  24. Hi Kappa no he!

    I don't know if "Omakase" has gotten any further into the English language than the Amazon.com Affiliates website. I sure didn't know what it meant. But what a useful word it is! English is so limited sometimes. In order to express a complex thought, you need a whole paragraph, not a word.

  25. Thomma Lyn, thank you!

    So your impressive ability to alternate your comments with your readers whilst Moderating is not a power granted by Blogger software to ordinary people--it's your own Supernatural gift!

    I have none of your powers, darn it, so I'll continue to bunch up my comments.

    Thanks so much for the help!

  26. A few ads now and then won't drive any one away - well at least not me! :) I haven't had the time to do the amazon thing much - but after reading this I may. I am going to try to make a list of recommended books - can that be done on amazon or just here in a blog? I did pop over to amazon and updated my profile! **yeah me!** You've inspired me to put amazon back on my to do list!

  27. Thanks Lady Rose!
    I'm not sure how all the different Amazon stuff works. I just signed up for the affiliate program, and went to the place they sent me, got the code, and put it in the blog. I don't really know what you can do on the site itself. I'm not sure I even have a Profile, so it sounds like you're already way ahead of me!

  28. Aw, shucks, thanks Crabby. when I publish, you will be at the top of the "in the know" list. Terrie

  29. I have every faith that day will soon come, Terrie!

  30. I also prefer the Amazon ads to the Adsense ones. I hope you make scads of money off of them!

    One book that has really helped me jumpstart my attempt at a healthier lifestyle is "The Beck Diet Solution" by Judith Beck. It's not a diet plan; rather, it's a book that teaches you to use cognitive-therapy techniques to conquer bad eating and exercising habits at the psychological level. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, it completely changed the way I felt about cravings, hunger, food, exercise--the whole enchilada. (Mmm... enchilada...)

    Anyway, yes, I loved that book and it helped get me into the mindset required to make healthy changes. And this is coming from someone who generally thinks self-help books are a crock. Highly recommended!

  31. Hi Deb!
    Okay you made me laugh out loud about the enchilada...

    So I wonder if Judith is related to Aaron Beck? I'm a big fan too of cognitive therapy approaches to things (though I'm too lazy to do workbooks or homework which sort of defeats the purpose of cognitive therapy. The best I can do is nag myself with the appropriate terminology).

    Great book suggestion, thanks so much!

  32. I'm of the Don't Notice 'Em school. Blog ad? What's that? I'm not here to read an ad. And I really hate to burst any bubbles, but Amazon gives the majority of its political donations to the Republican party. That's why I don't shop there anymore. There used to be an excellent website, buyblue.org, that gave the lowdown on various companies. From them I learned the Cruel Truth about Amazon. Barnes & Noble gives more money to the Democratic party. On those rare occasions when I buy books online, I shop at B&N. Much better to shop at the local independent bookstore.

  33. Hi Appleton,

    Well, Crap! Since a kind person actually referred me to BuyBlue at one point, I wish I had done a better job at remembering which companies were which color. Somehow, in my mind, Amazon was a "good guy!" I guess I just think "books" and "internet-savvy" and assume Blue.

    Don't suppose they've gotten any better now that Times have Changed? I'm afraid I'm a bit wedded to them at the moment. But will definitely try to look into it.

  34. Judith Beck is indeed Aaron Beck's daughter! Apparently, she has been using cognitive-therapy techniques to help patients lose weight for years, and I'm thrilled that she finally wrote a book for the rest of us. Awesome, awesome book.

  35. Thanks Deb!

    That one is definitely going on the list. (I haven't done anything yet about changing the existing ad yet, but over the next few days I'm hoping to get some of the new suggestions worked in).

  36. No good. I don't know how you do it, Crabby, but mine won't let me cut and paste into the template. Arrgh!

  37. Hi Michael,
    I've been meaning to stop by your place so I'll check in about it there--thanks for stopping by.


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