I had a panicky email from a fellow squid this weekend who was worried about whether she’d get to stay in the Giant Squid program, after having been accused of problem making on the new squidu forums. It really is unfortunate when people who worry are perceived as rocking the boat. When what they’re doing is really caring about the boat and not understand where it’s going. But that’s off topic.
She also shared that she’d been banned from adsense, so now Squidoo was the only way for her to make money online. I emailed an answer back, of course, and this post is a longer answer.
The bad news is, and she already knew this, that once you’re out of adsense, you can’t get back in. A way around is to have someone else sign up for you, of course. Or move and have your husband sign up for you. Such options are not quite legal and besides the point. The fact is: without adsense you’ll make less money online. So for those of you who have not been banned yet – follow my advice and stay out of the adsense program till you have at least 100 visitors to your account a day. That way, when you or your kids accidentally click an ad, it won’t mean your account gets blocked right away.
Now for the various alternatives to Google Adsense. Unfortunately there isn’t really any program as good at monetizing general content as Google Adsense. You’ll have to live with that. However, there are ways around the ban and there are also ways to make money online that don’t involve Google Adsense at all.
Squidoo of course acts as an intermediary between adsense and other advertisers and we get paid out based on lensrank tiers and affiliate sales. So making content on squidoo is a way to make money online even when you don’t have an adsense account any more. The bad news is, of course, that it only starts to add up once you make lenses that end up in second or first tier.
What’s less well known, because it’s more recent, is that Hubpages now has their own internal HubPages Ad Program as well. They launched it right after the Panda update, which I think is a coincidence though. The Hubpages system pays out through Paypal, just like Squidoo does. So when you want to do article marketing, you can stick to hubpages and Squidoo. Interlink your lenses and hubs on topic and both accounts are likely to do well.
Unfortunately, it appears that one of the basics for the hubpages program is that you DO have an existing adsense account. This puts people in a bind, obviously, because it means that if you’ve been banned – for whatever reason – you can’t sign up for the hubpages program either. Source. Unfortunately they deleted their own official hub on the topic, so I’m not sure what to think of this program.[/edit]
Furthermore – among affiliate marketeers adsense doesn’t have a very good name to start with. Loads of professional affiliate marketeers don’t touch adsense because they feel people are less likely to buy stuff from their sites when there are ads along side them. The argument is that a sale through an Adsense click is not going to make them as much as a sale through a direct affiliate link. Which is true, however all those clicks through affiliate links that do NOT make us money, do make us money when they’re adsense clicks. I think it evens out. Still, lots of people make sufficient online to live off without adsense. What they do have are affiliate earnings.
Affiliate earnings of course include earnings you can make off your own products – Zazzle or cafepress products. Market them through Squidoo, Hubpages and your own blogs. Of course this really only makes sense if you have the necessary talent.
My own online strategy started out with content, not sales, so I rely heavily on Adsense. If you’re banned from adsense you’ll have to see your content as marketing and link bait and limit your business strategy to sales instead. This should not stop you from blogging: a blog heavy in buying advice may still make you a lot. And a blog like this one, without ads at all, is still good marketing. However, you’ll have to accept what I did without such force: that it won’t make you much in any direct way.
To conclude: it may be harder, but there is still money to be made online after an adsense ban. Squidoo, Hubpages and affiliate sales on your own blogs and sites can combine to make a living. And that squid who mailed me won’t have trouble doing this, but others reading this may not: d0 make sure you abide by their terms of service.
Do also read my tips on how to become successful on Squidoo.