Adding the adds to the site hasn't been easy.
After hours of trying I finally have the adds working. Hope they aren't too ugly cause I'm going to be looking at them more than anyone.
There isn't much help out there but ultimately the trick was to put the adsense script into a file on the server and put this line into a module...
missing page for plugin INCLUDE
The banner has only been up for six or seven hours and I see that our next server will be powered by steam and connected to the internet by rusty tin cans and an old piece of string.
The number of impressions is way down to what I'd expect considering the number of users shown online.
So far there are 200ish impressions and no clicks.
What I suspect is that the wiki is being deep linked or leached (later probably not).
That is other sites are linking directly to our files or images without sending users to the wiki pages.
The downloads are showing up as users but the user don't see the main site.
I've noticed before the number of file downloads exceeds the number of page views for the associated page.
I tried turning on hotlink protection and killed the whole site for a while.
While I had no server capacity problems I wasn't too worried about leaching but if I have to move to a more expensive server then I am.
The adds where initially pretty stupid but after a while it got the context mostly correct.
Some of the adds are actually interesting - better than I expected.
But not the herpies pictures or the water powered car scam.
Day one add impressions are surprising low - about 300 with no click through.
Day one earnings 00.00
Many of the impressions would have been to my browser as I edited and monitored the site.
It seems the online user counter is very inaccurate or adds aren't being served up to everybody.
Site traffic is definitely down.
Clearly the 1/2 gig per day the wiki was serving up plus the pageview counts shows someone or something is using us - in one sense of the word or another.
There is likely to be a certain amount of measurement noise from robot scans etc and this is most significant on slow days.
Something is very wrong. The wiki is showing users online, my logs show bandwidth being used but I'm getting almost no adsense impressions ( or clicks). There were only a few dozen impressions over-night.
Ironically - I'm actually interested in some of the adds but I'm not supposed to click them myself.
I'm attempting to add google analytics to the adsense modules to give me a clue.
It is possible my "users" are mostly all file leaches. It is also possible adds aren't be shown in other demographics. Many of the adds I'm seeing are Australian, I don't know what visitors from other countries are seeing.
Also the adsense crawler (webbot) hasn't crawled the site yet - that might help.
This is all stuff I didn't really want to learn, I'd rather use my brainpower to write code.
I'm pretty certain now the "users online" module is wildly over-reading and the reason (at the moment) is MSMbot.
MSMbot seems to be spending a lot of time reading the site - I guess that is what bored webbots do.
I don't want to ban webbots/spiders/crawlers altogether (ie robot.txt). I'll seeing about banning or taming this one.
Later I blocked MSMbots IP range to kill its access. All the phantom users have disappeared.
Seeing five users now which is probably about right.
Google analytics is confirming the real number of users is a few percent of the numbers shown on the wiki.
Had I know this I would not have bothered with looking for a new host or installing adsense.
My main site has ten times the traffic of nerdipedia.
Assuming I'm still running adsense and analytics as you read this you can look at the google script by viewing the source for this web-page - not the wiki source - the html.
In firefox you can do this by selecting view/page_source in the main menu.
Look for "google_ad_client".
Also ironic is that non of the search engine referrals are coming from MSM - google is pretty much the only game in town.
So far Adsense has proved to be a big waste of time. Traffic to the wiki is low, click throughs are low and the pay per click has also dropped.
We're only making about 10 cents a day at the moment - a long way short of running costs.
Add revenue has dropped despite an increase in traffic. It seems lots of other people are having trouble making money from advertising.
While this is bad for our server funds it might be a good thing for the web if the add based business model collapses and is replaced by something else.
A one cent day membership to nerdipedia for instance - that's all we would need to pay our hosting. I think that is better than all the add clutter.
It might take google to push for a practical micro-payment system - for a cut of course.
9'th Sept 2008.
Adsense has now been on the site long enough to get some sensible stats - it doesn't look to good from the point of view of paying our hosting charges any time soon.
The average income has been about 50 cents per thousand visits. We have to increase traffic by about eight times to break even. At current usage patterns we can't do much better than break even using adsense alone.
Because of the nature of the site where we offer file downloads and have high quality images we use a bit of bandwidth.
We are using close to a gig for every dollar earned. If we use all our bandwidth quota it costs us about 30 cents a gig.
In practice you can't tune the usage so we either have unused quota at the end of the month or we are hit with $2/gig over use charges. We also need some bandwidth for doing offsite backups and stuff like that.
Adsense is fickle and the earns could swing up or down dramatically. If we get enough traffic the advertisers may spend more time tuning adds to the site and income will improve.
If we get to the point of needing bigger (virtual or physical) servers the costs improve and bandwidth charges can be halved.
In practice the server can host some paying accounts. These usually use a bit of disk space but little bandwidth.
The catch here is Nerdipedia getting hit hard will slow down or kill the other accounts on the site.
I don't like adds either but unfortunately this is largely what funds the otherwise free content people are enjoying on the internet. People feel they have a right to free content and also the right to block adds on those pages.
If everybody stops clicking adds the web as we know it will end. This ending may be for the best but it will be painful for both hosts and users.
If people can't tolerate adds they will need to find another way to fund the internet. Running servers cost money and this has to be paid for somehow or the internet dies.
I've stated elsewhere that I think micro-payments is a better funding model than advertising. A quarter of a cent per visitor is all to takes to pay for my hosting but adwords only manages to pay a quarter of that.
A micropayment system can only work if it is universal, it will take a large company like google to set it up.
I'm not optimistic that a site like this can run on donations or subscriptions.
With our ozi dollar so low my hosting is %40 more expensive than a few months ago.
I'll continue to subsidise neripedia for the foreseeable future but don't be surprised to see more free websites showing "address not found" if nobody supports them.