Hehehe. So I know nothing about the stock market, but I recently revived the ads on a low profit site that is in a general and low profit category.
What ad unit that provided the most value per unit space? My AdSense search box. BY A LOT!
Moderate to high traffic publishers are probably screwing up if they litter their sites with ads and don't have a profit share search relationship with a major engine.
As search eats more of the web many publishing models are getting chewed up. Those who are good at monetizing usually do one or more of the following:
- create content late in the buy cycle;
- find uncovered niches that are easy to compete in;
- leverage viral non commercial ideas to give their site an unfair authority advantage over competing sites;
- are good at mixing in a few affiliate advertorials (if you can spend 12 hours creating a page that makes a few hundred a month for years on end that is a nice ROI and passive income stream);
- use their market position to make money in other ways; or
negotiate strong ad prices directly.
Those who lack every piece of that skill set may still make a decent living off the web by just making it easy for their visitors to search for more information.
If the next major OS and browser release gets people to view the web differently (ie: search is ALWAYS done from the browser) that may change, but for now the search box is the easiest loose money waiting to be collected by most content publishers. (Millions of dollars a day are waiting to be collected).
Also when advertisers opt out of contextual AdSense ads their ads usually still show up in publisher partner search ads, so that advertiser depth can still be rather appealing to publishers that do not fear losing their visitors (and typically the feel for the need to keep visitors misses what the web is about).
Another nice benefit of the Google search box on your site is that most people view it as a service instead of an ad, so it is an effective way of cramming another ad or two on your site without your site looking any spammier or ad cluttered. People also sense that THEY are in control when they search, so they find the ads there more acceptable. Provide search inline with content and you will be surprised at how many people use it.
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