How Much of a Cut Does AdSense Give You?

Chad Randall, b5media’s director of sales, got hammered for a guest post he did on Darren Rowse’s blog about why he hates Google AdSense. After getting stitched up, he took another crack at his thesis today. For all the gory details, check out his blog.

One particularly valid point that Chad raises is how much – or how little – of AdSense revenue actually goes to Web sites and blogs. Chad contends it’s very little compared with suggestions Google gives away 70% to 80%. (Personally, I think it’s closer to Chad’s estimate). The problem is no one really knows the extent of Google’s generosity – or lack thereof – because it’s not something the company discloses. You figure with all the investor scrutiny on Google, there would be more information about the AdSense split. Then again, Google isn’t the most public of publicly-traded companies when you take into consideration things such as its refusal to provide financial guidance.

Unless something changes soon, the AdSense mystery will be right up there with the Caramilk Secret, how the pyramids were built, and why it’s been 40 years since the Toronto Maple Leafs won a Stanley Cup.

Note: Check out this New York Times story from January 2006 that claims Google pays out 78.5% of AdSense revenue to publishers. David Airey weighs in on Chad’s claim AdSense makes your site look “unprofessional”.

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  • Vava

    The fact that the Leafs haven’t won the Cup in 40 years is not a mystery – there is no incentive to win it all when sell outs are guaranteed and the only goal is profit. In fact, some would suggest that if the Leafs were to win the Cup their fan support would actually drop off. The real mystery is why teams from Tampa Bay and Carolina can win Cups, or why New Jersey can only get 30 people to show up to their Stanley Cup parades, while Toronto fans jam Yonge Street after almost any post season victory over the Senators.

  • David Airey :: Creative Design ::

    Thanks for the mention, Mark.

    Just how much of a cut Google takes is an interesting one. I too doubt that it’s up around 70–80%.

    I read the Caramilk mystery. We don’t have that sub-brand here in the UK. There is something very similar though, Cadbury’s Caramel. In fact, it’s probably the same bar.

  • Ryan Coleman

    It’s very likely Google ‘earmarks’ a huge percentage of the money as money owed to bloggers but I suspect very little of it pays out.

    With their high threshold for payout they effectively ensure that a large percentage of the users never actually earn enough for Google to have to payout the money to them. Instead they get to keep that cash in the bank, earn interest off it but still say “that money (not the interest) is for the blogger”.

    Pay per action is going to hurt bloggers even more…

  • Mark Evans

    Vava: No one said Leaf fans were smart!

    Ryan: Interesting idea. So what you’re saying is the money is there if you make enough money. If not, then you’re out of luck. That’s evil…:)

  • Vava

    It’s true, and I’m a prime example! I still cheer for the Leafs, though I don’t attend any games – due mainly to financial restrictions and not intelligence.