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Adsense destroys Usability?




In connection with my earlier post on “Do Ugly Sites Sell Better?“, do contextual advertising such as Adsense and YPN destroy site usability?

I am inclined to agree that the idea of blending ads into your content and passing off ads as content kills usability.

The most common culprit?

Link Ad Units

(see example below)

Link Ad Units

The very essense of link ads unit layout is to pass them off as your site’s navigation and you will see a whole bunch of blogs/websites implementing it this way. That’s the reason why this link unit converts very well.

One of the participants in the recent seminar that I attended asked if this was “unethical”. I didn’t had a chance to answer her completely though I replied that big media organizations employ contextual ads on their sites.

What’s your take on this?



Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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3 Responses

  1. Migs says:

    I think link ads are ethical because they don’t pay unless someone clicks on the ads on the next page. If they didn’t like being led to that page, they could leave your page, or never come back to your site again.

    I myself have clicked on my own link ads (it is allowed by Adsense) to check out what the ad inventory is for my content.

  2. leo says:

    i thinks as long as the link ads or any other ads are unobtrusive and will not really distract or trick the readers, then it’s ok.

  3. Alfie says:

    I think it depends on the objective of the website. If the website was initially made for some good purpose like a news website (inq7.net, philstar.com), political blogs (pcij.org, quezon.ph), company website, official website of an organization, and more, there’s nothing wrong in adding an advertisement on it. In fact, it has some benefit for their users because ad block gave the user an alternative URL which is related to the topic of that webpage. However, if the webiste was build primarily for adsense, then there is really a problem. Example of Made for adsense (MFA) websites are websites with content that was written by a person that is NOT an expert of that topic where the facts are incomplete and not well written. Most of the time, the content of MFA’s are just a copy from other website’s content.

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