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The Almighty Buck The Internet The Media

Blog Content Based Solely on High Paying Keywords 323

Doug Nelson writes "Michael Buffington chose to build a weblog using highly automated content aggregation tools around a single keyword, asbestos, because of the high click through rate associated with the ad. 'The subject matter, while weighty and all that, is of little importance to me. It's not that I don't have opinions on asbestos and asbestos reform, because I do. The whole point of the site is to experiment with an idea. I built a tool that helps me aggregate topical news with the help of Google's Alert system. So far it works wonderfully. But there's a second motive as well. Right now asbestos reform and asbestos related litigation is on fire. Lawyers are paying anywhere from $15-100 per click through on Google ads. The second part of this big experiment is to see if I can capture some of that click through revenue while still providing a somewhat valid service to people who might arrive by search results.'"
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Blog Content Based Solely on High Paying Keywords

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  • by ack154 ( 591432 ) * on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:12AM (#11640555)
    I think the link to the blog should NOT have been included. It's just driving even more traffic there now that wouldn't be generated otherwise.

    I sure hope "doug nelson" gets a cut of the clickthroughs for posting the story here and getting "michael bluffington" the traffic.
    • This is SAD. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cigarra ( 652458 )
      Come on, can we go back to the "news that matters"?
      This site is becoming a long and boring infomercial.
    • >I think the link to the blog should NOT have been included. It's just driving even more traffic there now that wouldn't be generated otherwise.

      Finally a use for slashdotting.
      After this the guy can retire.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      This guy deserves all the clickthroughs he gets for gaming the system so effectively.
    • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:22AM (#11640620)
      At $15-100 per click-through, /. might do quite a bit of damage to some lawyer's wallet. I assume the ads have limits on total numbers, but I'd bet that most of the click-happy people that follow these links won't be actual clients for asbestos litigation.
      • by Shuji ( 159302 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @11:16AM (#11642572) Homepage
        Looks like the original estimate might have been a tad bit optimistic (shocker!). From Buffington's comments after his original posting:

        And so far, my estimates on click through rates are way off. Like, I was smoking crack off. It's too early to tell at this point because Google doesn't give you specific ad stats until three days of data exists, but my guess is that current click through rates are a little over a $1.00. That suggests either two things - my estimates on what advertisers spend is way off, or that Google takes an insane cut. I'm inclined to think the former.

        (http://www.michaelbuffington.com/archives/2005/02 /the_grand_expir.html):

    • Why do I get the feeling jealousy is at work here ? The guy is not threatening with a gun to your head to click-through ; Merely explaining his way of a possibility to work/cheat Google's Adsense.

      Same as with the Ronald Piquepaille (sp?) blogposts and people complainiong about that :

      If you think the dude does not deserve the3 money don't freaking click the add/link!

    • > It's just driving even more traffic there now that wouldn't be generated otherwise.

      Come on, this is Slashdot. We never read the articles.
    • I just paid a visit to Asbestos Blog [stinkmachine.com]. Quite a few slashdotters have been there and left their insightful comments.

      For those who care, it was generated using typepad [typepad.com] and has a single pixel gif [typepad.com] to track visitors.
  • Rationalizing?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:12AM (#11640556) Homepage Journal
    Providing a 'somewhat valid service'?? Come on, the only real reason he's doing this is the money, and now it's on Slashdot as well! More money!
    • Re:Rationalizing?? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by leuk_he ( 194174 )
      1. I am blocking ad. --No profit.
      2. Advertiserers set budgets The budget of today wil totally be used up. --small profit.
      3. Google is vague about actual payouts, a lot of clicks on 1 days and no other days will set off all kind of red flags.. i doubt he will be paid out for this day. -- no profit.
      4. hosting. Today his traffic costs will skyrocket. -- bye bye profit.

      • Re:Rationalizing?? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jrockway ( 229604 ) *
        Google can't just not pay him for traffic. Just because it's a slashdotting doesn't mean that that's not legitimate traffic. Do you see ads on other sites that get slashdotted? They get paid for those!

        Let me ask you this: what are you smoking?

        Just because he's playing the system doesn't mean google can just not pay him. The can cancel his account, but they have to pay him what he earned.
    • by tjic ( 530860 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:32AM (#11640675) Homepage
      Providing a 'somewhat valid service'?...

      the only real reason he's doing this is the money

      These two things aren't incompatible.

      The only reason my super-market provides groceries is to make money, and the result is a valid service.

      The only reason the movie theater down the road plays movies is to make money, and the result is a valid service.

      Just because this blogger is motivated by money does not mean that the service he provides is a scam. He's aggregating information, and will likely eventually - after he's been covering the topic long enough - provide knowledgeable commentary on it. I wouldn't be suprised if, in a few years, he's doing original research on the issue, iterviewing people, and digging up articles in libraries.

      What he's doing is indistinguishable from someone starting up a new magazine because they see a demographic that would read it and an advertising base that would purchase ads (see, for example Make [oreilly.com]). The end result is that all three parties are better off: the readers get something that they choose to read, the advertisers get eyeballs, and the guy who puts it all together gets a slice.

      What you're seeing is actually history in the making - the decoupling of demand-driven journalism from media companies.

      It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.

      -- Adam Smith

      • Narrow worldview. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @11:15AM (#11642557) Homepage
        Having grown up with someone who now runs a grocery store, I can tell you that the only reason his grocery store runs is not to make money. His grocery store runs becuase

        a) He enjoys providing his community with a safe gathering place that meets a common need across all age, race, and gender groups

        and

        b) He needs to make a living and in exchange for his service, his community provides him with one

        I can hear all of the Smithians screaming, "but (b) is just another way of saying 'to make money,' they're the same statement!"

        No. The goal of "making money" is significantly different from the goal of "making a living," even if the two employ some of the same means and some of the same ends.

        The former is greedy and unindividuated, it is the process of finding an exploitable point in the market economy and sucking wealth out of it for personal use, even if that wealth could help someone else or even if the removal of that wealth isn't good for other people-- see also lottery tickets, etc.

        The latter is a matter of personal survival and good intentions-- it is asking a different question: "I have to live, so what can I do that will justify my community's support of me and help me to support them as well?"

        I have a lot of respect for living-earners, but not a lot of respect for money-makers. I also don't think that Smith is god; there are centuries' worth of economists (including some very big names) that have basically diluted smith to the point of being to the operation of modern economics what Edison is to the operation of modern technology.
    • by hamburger lady ( 218108 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:48AM (#11640759)
      hey, give him a break, he's doing asbestos he can.

      thank you, i'm here all week. try the veal.
  • Capitalism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rkcallaghan ( 858110 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:14AM (#11640562)
    Once again, another fine example of how anywhere there is a profit to be made, someone will try and do it.

    Let's hope this doesn't become so commonplace that the entire medium of blogs becomes suspect in the same way modern television news has.

    ~Rebecca
    • I just hope it doesn't become commonplace on slashdot. This is just sick.
    • "Blogs" (Score:3, Insightful)

      First, let me point to a favorite link of mine about "blogs":

      http://mama.indstate.edu/users/bones/WhyIHateWebL o gs.html [indstate.edu]

      Thanks. Now - what leads anyone to believe that blogs are somehow not suspect? A blog is just some random persons blatherings... why should they be any more trustworthy than the TV? I guess if you have all day, you could read hundreds of blatherings and get an idea of the aggregate opinion. Or maybe just the opinions of people with even more time to waste than you do:-)
      • The question that leaps to my mind is - were you consciously including yourself in your Self-Important Moron category by being highly opinionated about one particular subject area or do you feel that your random meanderings on the subject are justified by your profound and unique insight into it?

        Just interested...
      • *sigh*

        I don't know exactly what is that people do to screw up with their HTML so it doesn't show well on nonmaximized windows.

        Yes, I'm talking about the weblogs link.
    • Yes, heaven forbid that someone has an idea to legally make money, and can successfully execute it. That goes against everything this free nation stands for.

      And I have more news for you: 'blogs' have ALWAYS been suspect. I don't suppose you can refer me to a time when blogs were an unimpeachable source of unbiased truth.
    • Let's hope this doesn't become so commonplace that the entire medium of blogs becomes suspect in the same way modern television news has.

      You're joking, right? At least there is ~some~ sembalance of professionalism in televised journalism, whereas anyone and their dog can open up a blog.

      Given the organised spin doctoring from both the Democrats and Republicans in the last election, I would have thought that blogs were already discredited as an effective communications medium. They work in some specific
    • I know this is /. where we all hate the evil Right Wing News/Liberal Media (delete as appropriate) but really. Blogs, in general, are already way more suspect than TV news, the random writings of random people?

      Now specific blogs may be generally considered trustworthy becuase of the writers reputation, but that won't change if we see more commercial blogs like this.

  • Have you met Roland? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dancin_Santa ( 265275 ) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:14AM (#11640564) Journal
    Roland Piquepaille does that now with Slashdot. Aggregate content and redigest it and offer it up for viewers with advertisement banners readily available.

    Not saying there's anything wrong with it, it's just a little antithetical, if you know what I mean.
    • Unethical?! (Score:5, Funny)

      by mariox19 ( 632969 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:35AM (#11640692)
      ...it's just a little antithetical, if you know what I mean.

      After looking up antithetical [m-w.com], I'm afraid I must say I don't know what you mean.

      ;-)

      • Re:Unethical?! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pjt33 ( 739471 )
        I wondered about posting something similar, but wasn't sure that grandparent poster was taking as his thesis "Slashdot is about news for nerds and stuff that matters". Posting links to links to news (or links to unimportant non-news) rather than directly to the news does seem to be the antithesis of what /. should be.
    • Not saying there's anything wrong with it, it's just a little antithetical, if you know what I mean.

      "I don't think it means what you think it means." --Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

    • by Otter ( 3800 )
      That was my first thought, too -- it's an automated Roland Piquepaille!

      Piquepaille, though, at least handcrafts his Slashdot submissions and selects particular stories. In general, I don't understand why people bitch about him so much. He submits stories and the editors choose to accept them. I find them (almost all incremental engineering advances) uniformly uninteresting, but such complaints should be directed at the editors.

  • WTF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by adeydas ( 837049 ) <<moc.xobni> <ta> <sadyeda>> on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:14AM (#11640567) Homepage Journal
    And how is this news exactly? There are many sites out there that based solely on a particular topic. All sites selling commercial products make their sites according to the keywords related to their products. Porn sites do the same too.
  • by Teppy ( 105859 ) * on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:15AM (#11640569) Homepage
    When I just now typed "Asbestos" into Google and clicked on the eight ads that came up on the right, I just cost a bunch of lawyers over $100? W007! I think I'll try it again from work.
  • by mkaufman ( 542812 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:16AM (#11640573)
    Why is this posted on Slashdot? This article doesn't fit the Slashdot slogan, "News for nerds .. _stuff that matters_" It's no wonder that this story is simply going to increase the revenue he's looking for, for providing his "somewhat valid service."
    • Why is this posted on Slashdot? This article doesn't fit the Slashdot slogan, "News for nerds .. _stuff that matters_"

      You're new here, aren't you?

      If you think this is bad, take a look at my journal and see some of the stories that were rejected. Most definitely stories that should have been posted.

      • Your ideas intrigue me and I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter. If you guys are sure you are better at defining 'good content' than the /. editors, set up your own site -- with superior content you'll easily dethrone Slashdot as the number one geek news site and make loads of money.

        The system is pretty simple: the editors decide what's "stuff that matters" around here, we don't. we get to decide if we read the site or not...

    • Maybe because of this:
      using highly automated content aggregation tools

      If you could write a couple of Perl scripts and automatically populate the blog, and have it generate (say) $100/day, wouldn't you? Heck, I know I would!

  • An "experiment"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sanity ( 1431 ) * on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:16AM (#11640575) Homepage Journal
    Come on, this is a blatant attempt to game Google's AdWords for profit, and now Slashdot is an accomplice by sending a torrent of hits his way.

    What a waste of space.

    • Yes, but as someone else noted, this is costing laywers a ton if there is any truth to the rates they are paying.

      Slashdot the lawyers!
      • He DID get my click :)
      • Yup, and I helped. I personally can't stand ambulance chasers myself, so I did a Google search for "asbestos lawsuit" and clicked once on each Google ad. :-)
      • Personally I hope it does cost them a lot of money. As for his share - it's smaller than what he thought. It's averaging out at $1 US per click. He speculated that this could be because the traffic hasn't picked up yet.

        Slashdot will improve his traffic numbers. ;)

        PS. I'm willing to whore myself out to blog on anything too. Woohoo.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Well, at least we've found out what the ???? in

      iii) ?????
      iv) Profit!

      is.
    • I suspect his paymasters may not be too willing to pay up this week, once his normal clickrate goes from 200 a week to 666,000 a week for one week only...
      • once his normal clickrate goes from 200 a week to 666,000 a week for one week only...

        He he he... hang on...

        Whaddayamean one week only? This is slashdot. You're forgetting all the dupes we're going to be getting NEXT week...
    • Why is that bad? Isn't profit the goal of AdWords?

      It's an interesting business model, if you ask me. It'll be even more interesting to see if he actually profits from it.
      • Re:An "experiment"? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by dAzED1 ( 33635 )
        no it won't. It will merely serve to dilute sites that actually provide a "valid service."

        Why was this put up on /.? He even *admits* to being a fraud - "The subject matter, while weighty and all that, is of little importance to me. It's not that I don't have opinions on asbestos and asbestos reform, because I do" so what the hell is his "valid service?"

        There's nothing interesting about spamming, nor is there anything interesting about setting up bogus websites that have no content on them. There is S

    • Come on, this is a blatant attempt to game Google's AdWords for profit, and now Slashdot is an accomplice by sending a torrent of hits his way.

      So Slashdot is now "hittorrent"?

      --Rob

  • Hmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:17AM (#11640585)
    I wonderasbestos what Googleasbestos would think ofasbestos this.asbestos Against any sortasbestos of terms ofasbestos service?
  • by Bushcat ( 615449 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:21AM (#11640612)
    "Asbestos" is too generic. "Asbestosis" would be better, but the word the ambulance chasers pay a lot for is "mesothelioma", on the assumption the person typing that word already has that problem or is close to someone who has it. I would have thought "pneumoconiosis" would be high on the list, but no-one seems to be tagging it.
    • Let's be realistic, who can spell "mesothelioma" and "pneumoconiosis"? He would be limiting his market.
      • They don't have to spell it, he does!

        Google's adwords are chosen based on your site's content, and ads with associated adwords are displayed embedded in your page. So you could mention mesothelioma yourself, which would cause a a mesothelioma-related advert to get selected and displayed, then if someone clicks on it, voila! Free money!

        Justin.
  • (1) set up revenue mechanism
    (2) post link on /. wrapped as a thought piece
    (3) wait for the /. effect
    (4) put offspring through college on the proceeds

  • Some thoughts (Score:2, Insightful)

    Without actual content that is generated solely at the site, whether it be your personal opinions or the opinions of users, it is doubtful that you will generate significant traffic through banner ads. If someone is smart enough to find your site about asbestos, they are most likely able to find their way to the sites with real, original content from which you skimmed your information from.

    By offering users nothing, you stand to make very little in the way of ad traffic revenue.
    • Oh I don't know. After all, most of the content at /. is external cos *everyone* reads the articles, and *noone* just jumps right in and posts ;-)

      J.
  • Googlebomb (Score:5, Funny)

    by salvorHardin ( 737162 ) <adwulf@gmai l . c om> on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:23AM (#11640622) Journal
    I think you have to be careful plugging blogs on slashdot, in case somebody starts a googlebomb with the words Money-Grabbing Pseudo-scammer [stinkmachine.com] or something like that. That would be unfortunate.
  • Report him to Google (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:24AM (#11640624)
    This is against their terms of service

    "No Google ad may be placed on pages published specifically for the purpose of showing ads, whether or not the page content is relevant"
  • by bigtallmofo ( 695287 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:25AM (#11640632)
    This type of thing makes me a little sick. If you follow the money trail, you'll see that this type of thing only serves to hurt people and society and enrich lawyers at the same time.

    1. Companies buy insurance from insurance companies
    2. Regular people buy products from company
    3. Some people get hurt by company's product
    4. Lawyers sue company on behalf of hurt plaintiffs
    5. Lawyers win case for plaintiff, Company's insurance company pays $10 gazillion
    6. Lawyers for plaintiff take 60% of $10 gazillion
    7. Company's insurance rates are raised
    8. Company raises prices
    9. Regular people pay higher prices to company

    So, who pays for such litigation and $100-per-click AdWords? You do.
    • This "logic" can be used to make you "pay" for everything. Want an example ?

      1. Supermarket lowers the price of milk
      2. Supermarket must still make profit
      3. Supermarket raises prices for something else

      Who pays ? You do.

      1. People donate money in church for charity
      2. People still need to feed their families
      3. Workers demand a raise
      4. Company needs to raise prices to pay workers

      Who pays ? You do.

      Just a thought...
      • I agree with your point, and further submit it doesn't negate mine.

        The point is: You do pay for everything. Once one realizes that, it should be more difficult to subscribe to the belief that companies are a fountain of money that magically bubbles up from the ground. If someone shoplifts in a store, the real customers of that store pay for that person's stealing. If someone commits insurance fraud, the honest customers of the insurance company pay for that fraud. If an attorney wins a $10 billion ju
        • It's really in the eye of the beholder if you pay for everything or nothing.

          Usually companies raise their prices to the maximum accepted price anyway. So whatever is taken from them reduces the profit and nothing else.
        • While that's true, there's one thing I think you may be forgetting - if a company is sued too many times, then either no-one will insure them, or their premiums will go through the roof. Eventually, the company will *have* to mend its ways (or get better at not getting caught...)
      • 1. Supermarket lowers the price of milk
        2. Supermarket must still make profit
        3. Supermarket raises prices for something else

        Who pays ? You do.

        I think you misunderstand how supermarkets work:

        1. Supermarket lowers price of milk

        Who pays? The farmers supplying the milk do, because the supermaket gives them the choice of supplying milk at a reduced price, or losing their business.

        The only thing keeping the price of milk up is that there are other supermarkets the farmers can sell to.

        • Absolutely true. I don't believe in this logic and tried to show that it "works" on everything which in turn should show it can't be true.

          Everybody tries to get sell on max price prossible and what is taken comes out of somebodies profit.

    • Well, any company that gets taken to court and loses on something they're insured over will have their rates raised significantly.

      And you'd hope that the company wouldn't be insured against people deliberately breaking the law either.
    • It's a familiar argument against suing companies. However, what is you alternative scenario?

      Here's one:

      1. Company makes product
      2. People buy product, and some are hurt when it malfunctions
      3. No one sues company because we all hate lawyers, right?
      4. Profit!!!

      The sad truth is, the corporate entity under US law has *one* mandate: to enrich its stockholders. Therefore, applying financial pressure is the only viable tool for making them behave ethically when ethics and profits diverge.

      Did you ever see Figh
    • As long as you click on the ads on my site, I'm OK with you paying for my $100 ads.
  • I have done something very similar plenty of times except with the goal of raising website's search rank. Appropiate topic-related keywords and links is a good way to raise the search rank. Usually I try to do at least part of the site by hand though to insure it's got real, original, content on it. Using feeds to supplement user supplied content. Hrm - sounds familiar.
  • by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <onyxruby@co m c a s t .net> on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:31AM (#11640662)
    The real click through question.

    How much did you pay slashdot for your link?

  • by TheUncleBob ( 791234 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:31AM (#11640666) Homepage
    Google does not usually like sites built specifically for adsense (as well as being against the adsense terms & conditions ). I wonder how long his adsense account will last before google terminates it.

    Wanting frontpage coverage on slashdot is great for revenue, but admitting to building the site for adsense, well thats priceless.
    • It's amazing how Slashdotters regularly jump to the conclusion that sites seek or even want a Slashdotting. This guy posted an idea to his blog, and tried the idea out on another. Whole Lotta Nothing blogged [wholelottanothing.org] the blogger, and then Cory Doctorow noticed the post and mentioned it on boingboing [boingboing.net] Doug Nelson noticed this someplace and posted the story to Slashdot, where Cowboy Neal thought it was interesting and shared it with the rest of us. Now Buffington will enjoy a surprise visit by hordes of razorbacked mon
  • Idiotic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pan T. Hose ( 707794 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:34AM (#11640684) Homepage Journal
    Do we really have to advertise search engine spammers on the Slashdot front page? People like this who only want to exploit the search engine rating systems for their own advantage are the reason of high prices and low effectiveness of on-line advertising. I hope Google will ban this scam website from its results altogether and not waste a single penny on them. Do we really want an important searches to return thousands upon thousands of irrelevant results that are nothing more than a lists of links to other lists of links, ad nauseam? It's already nearly impossible to search for pornography, but at least no one searching for pornography needs help. People who search for asbestos are usually not the ones who want to buy some asbestos, but actually those who suffer from asbestosis. What next? Hijacking the search results of people who look for cancer treatment just to immorally squeeze few bucks from them and force greedy lawyer advertisements upon their throats? This is just disgusting. I am really disappointed that such a link has been posted on Slashdot.
  • You're telling me that if I simply Google for "asbestos" - or better yet, "asbestos health problems" - and subsequently click five advertising links that I'm costing lawyers up to 500 dollars? I now have something to fill my lunch break.
  • by technopinion ( 469686 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @08:50AM (#11640777)
    was talk about what he was doing.

    The first rule of adsense is you don't talk about adsense.

    If you're making money, keep it to yourself or the next day, a million people will be doing the same thing.
  • Well this is an interesting turn-about. Instead of blogs getting spam comments, it's a spam blog getting comments.

    Keeping in the spirit of slashdot, I haven't actually read the article yet. It's just what it made me think when I read the description.
  • One thing that made me wonder...
    Enter "vioxx" or "malpractice", click the paid ads. What you get is about 2/3 of the pages are no real info, just more google ads, many of them directing the sites to each other.
    They must pay for the adwords. They get paid for click through on their ad-worded "banner only" pages. But I find it hard to believe they get paid for clicks on Google ads on their pages, than they pay for their ads on Google and in others' ads. Or is the Google profit margin small enough to finance t
  • by adzoox ( 615327 ) * on Friday February 11, 2005 @09:08AM (#11640913) Journal
    I have noticed this myself.... most blogs are turning in to spamblogs.

    Engadget (where slashdot gets a lot of its stories) is a great site, but the ad content has risen significantly over the past few months.

    Blogs were originally meant to be diaries and driven by either pseudo journalism for fun or just a way to rant about topics the owner loved to talk about. In some cases, they were meant to be ways to keep in contact with friends.

    The mainstream, embracing blogs, has prompted many of the "original bloggers" to become greedy and place ads all over their sites - whoring different products.

    I have a blog for my website that is used mainly as a comments forum. It has been very useful for me to get into keyword searches.

    I refuse to whore ads from companies to take advantage of some system where I don't merit the money. I advertise on the main site with advertisers that I have contacted and told them the benefit of our synergy.

    Another reason I don't use Ads by Google or a shared banner type ad placement is because Google and "Click Ad Companies" don't police spyware and ad ware banners and websites. I don't want anyone reading my website or visiting my commerce site to be associated with any of that.

  • Come on now CowboyNeal, Cmdrtaco - don't you guys have even a bit of integrity? This is just a shameless money-making plug for this guy's site. Bleh.

    It seems you can't read slashdot without coming across at least one of these pseudo-advertisements everyday.
  • by dAzED1 ( 33635 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @09:31AM (#11641116) Homepage Journal
    Lets say you bought your first house a few months ago.

    Then lets say you aren't sure what the blown-in insulation is...it looks like cellulose, but you know the exterior of the house is done in asbestos (which isn't a problem, since its hard and painted) so you're concerned that the blown-in insulation in your walls might be asbestos.

    So, you want to go do a search at google. You find a few government sites that tell you to contact expensive labs, but...you just want a picture. You just want to know what the best course of action is.

    To find that, you have to sift through a bazillion crap-pollution sites like the one this guy has made. Where the HELL is the "valid service" in that? I don't have cancer. I've been exposed for minutes, not years. I don't want to be part of a class-action lawsuit (which are, thankfully, going to be smaller now). I just want to know what the best course of action is.

  • by miller60 ( 554835 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @09:32AM (#11641137) Homepage
    What Buffington is doing is hardly new. Bloggers have been chasing high-paying keywords from the day AdSense was announced. The trend accelerated last year when the Wall Street Journal did a front-page feature about how much lawyers were paying for asbestos-related keywords. Tons of webmaster-related web sites offer tips on similar AdSense strategies, and there's even companies offering to sell databases of high-paying keywords [toppayingkeywords.com] for $199. This guy is actually way late in adopting a widely-used strategy. But by discussing his motivations so directly, he got linked on Boing-Boing and Slashdot. He's an accidental marketing genius. Go figure.
  • Right now asbestos reform and asbestos related litigation is on fire

    anyone else see the humor in this phrase?
  • by AssFace ( 118098 ) <[stenz77] [at] [gmail.com]> on Friday February 11, 2005 @10:11AM (#11641525) Homepage Journal
    I am a sys admin and programmer. In my free time tend to write a lot of financial analysis code for equity movement forecasting. So I started a blog about it [stenslandsystems.com].
    Inadvertently I stumbled onto the fact that the stock market and associated terms is a relatively high popularity AdWord in Google, so the rare clicks that I got were fairly high value.

    Since I am a sys admin and have to deal with blocking spam both on a personal level and also for our office network, I was seeing that there was a clear trend in spam - I think we could all see it - it was going up and up and up.
    So I started a blog in order to discuss spam [spamblogging.com] and ways to stop it, since apparently many people weren't familiar with what was available (especially since so many people actually buy from spam).
    But I have to admit, that was only part of the motive - part of it was the curiosity on AdWord revenue from something that was going to be growing so much in popularity (probably the wrong word there).

    I have seen some ad clicks on the spam blog go for as much as $10, and on the stock market blog they tend to top out at about $1.50.

    Unfortunately, due to starting up my own company on the side, and increasing pressures at work - combined with the fact that there is only so much you can say about a subject, I stopped posting as much to the spam blog.
    I also haven't posted to the financial blog in far too long as well, but more because I accidentally (retarded I know) deleted my stock database one bleary-eyed morning and I have yet to rebuild it largely out of laziness. (I had incentive for awhile since I was trading for a friend and making him money, but then stopped doing that so that I could lock in the gains and now have less incentive to care until I can trade more with my own funds)
  • by Chris Y Taylor ( 455585 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @10:39AM (#11641913) Homepage
    Thank God people have an incentive to produce content that is important to other people. Otherwise the internet would degenerate to people posting pictures of their cats doing cute things.
  • by siriuskase ( 679431 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @10:39AM (#11641916) Homepage Journal
    Also, I'm going to post an entry giving my first impressions of the results of the experiment in a few hours. A lot of people have questions, and I have some interesting observations. Stay tuned.

    - - by Michael Buffington on February 9, 2005 09:05 AM

    I'm not posting the links. I am in no way affiliated with this site, but I do find it interestinig and am curious to read his analysis.

    In the comments, Bill, who professes to have an interest in "cash pumps", informs readers that "It looks like Mesothelioma is at about $51. Asbestos at $16 and Asbestosis at $4.
  • On fire? (Score:5, Funny)

    by thelenm ( 213782 ) <mthelen&gmail,com> on Friday February 11, 2005 @12:37PM (#11643684) Homepage Journal
    Right now asbestos reform and asbestos related litigation is on fire.

    Wait, I thought the whole point of asbestos was for it not to be on fire.
  • Meso Info (Score:5, Informative)

    by mcguyver ( 589810 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @02:33PM (#11645191) Homepage
    Having worked in this space for the past few years, I can provide some insight. There are two parts to this issue, the person paying for clicks and the person generating the clicks.

    The asbestos mesothelioma bandwagon started a few years ago when the government set aside a multi billion dollar trust fund for victims. In order to dip into the trust fund, a lawyer needs a valid victim of asbestos. The name of the common disease for those that suffer from asbestos exposure is mesothelioma. The average payout is $1M and the attorney commissions are 40%. This explains why attorneys are willing to pay high prices for clicks. Clicks go for as much as $100 on Overture however in practice you never see those high CPC rates. A year ago, $30 clicks were normal; today it's more like $0.25-$5. Even at $100/click, attorneys are taking in huge profits. Paying $10k for a case or 100 clicks at $100/click can be a good investment if you can generate $400k in attorney fees for that case.

    Setting up a website to capture these pricey clicks is simple but doing it well can be nearly impossible. The asbestos/meso space is as competitive as it gets. Setting up a blog, creating doorway pages, links and content will only generate a little traffic. Doing well in meso requires aggressive SEO, solid optimization, links and content. Having a lot of traffic makes it easier to monetize. With enough traffic you can lease your site to law firms. AdSense is generally very inefficient so it makes sense to cut out the middle man. Kicking publishers out of Adsense will not stop these sites.

    It is an interesting space. The huge settlements that lawyers have been able to generate has fueled a frenzy of SEO activity in the past year. The same activity is seen on TV and print media in Vioxx ads. The most surprising thing here is people are acknowledging online advertising and its ability to sell almost anything.

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