Top critical review
19 people found this helpful
on September 25, 2011
Google AdSense Secrets / B001D45BLK
Reading this book was an experience. Imagine going to a gun training class with an incredibly knowledgeable instructor who continually keeps encouraging his students to shoot themselves in the foot. On the one hand, you're learning the basics of how to handle a dangerous weapon; on the other hand, the basics are being packaged with spectacularly bad advice. Are you entitled to complain at the end of the lesson? You did, after all, learn something -- and you don't *have* to shoot yourself in the foot.
The basics of using your Google AdSense account to your advantage are here, it's true. There's a lot of obvious stuff (make your ads blend into your site so they're not a major eyesore), but there's also a lot of good advice (keep a journal so you can see what works) and a lot of nuts-and-bolts material. Since that was what I *wanted*, it's a little uncomfortable for me to complain about the other material.
However, there's advice here that will keep me and other people like me FAR away from your site. There's an advertising golden rule: Only use what works on you. If you'd leave a blog for employing these tactics, you can bet that most other people would too. It's disingenuous saying (at the end of the book) not to make garbage sites after previously encouraging people to, say, grab a bunch of material from Project Gutenberg to stuff your blog with fast content. The screen-captures of Joel's "high earning" sites are absolutely COVERED in ads, as is his "ad placement" template. And encouraging people to set up their blogs so that people accidentally click ads thinking they're clicking on actual content is a great way to lose readers fast -- you might get a click, but you'll lose a reader. And there's better ways to make money than to abuse your readers and encourage them to leave.
But the author makes $500 a week on his blogs! Or at least he keeps reminding us. But there comes a point where it feels like at least some of that is coming from AdSense seekers -- I can't help but notice he has at least five AdSense books on Amazon for sale, and a lot of his "go to this website for an example" and "use this tool here" are, not surprisingly, sites he owns. That's fine and good, but probably not a formula that most readers will be able to adopt.
This isn't a bad book, but it reads like a cross between an infomercial and a book that's grown organically without good editing and cohesion. There's a lot of repetition across the chapters, the peppy get-rich-quick tone isn't conducive to people just looking to make sense of the Google interface, there are no chapter checklists (meaning you'll have to dig through the prose again when you decide to implement changes), and several of the chapters feel contradictory -- like the "don't make garbage blogs" advice several chapters after the "pillage Project Gutenberg for free content to post" advice.
Still, complaining about this book is probably the equivalent of saying that the food is bad, and the portions are too small. If you want to make sense out of the Google interface and what it all means, this book will have some good information for you. It's just that the signal-to-noise ratio is not as good as I might like.
~ Ana Mardoll