free html hit counter New Google AdSense API: User Gen Monetization Ho! - John Battelle's Search Blog

New Google AdSense API: User Gen Monetization Ho!

By - May 30, 2006

User generated content is hot – HOT! But if you’re a UGC (yup, I’m using the acronym) site, like RateItAll, Facebook, YouTube, or MySpace, how do you incent your members to post more great stuff, so you can make more money? Well, Google is only too happy to help you out there. Word has leaked recently (Eric was first) that Google is (reportedly) working on a new API that will allow content sites to distribute AdSense earnings to individual members. RateItAll apparently blew the embargo by posting a release discussing this too early. From it:

Pioneering online community and social network today announced that it had integrated Google AdSense into its service via an API in order to share advertising inventory with RateItAll members.

By leveraging the Google AdSense API, RateItAll has enabled its members to create Google AdSense accounts, earn cash for their content contributions, and track their earnings without ever leaving the Web site.

As SEOLowdown notes, this could be huge for sites like YouTube. Emphasis on could be. But coupled with Video Adsense, once might imagine a pretty interesting mash up here.

To toss a bit of cold water here, however, I’ve never seen UGC sites as the least bit driven by money. They are driven by pride, the desire to be first, reputation, whuffie. But dollars? That often screws it all up. I guess we’ll get to see soon enough…

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18 thoughts on “New Google AdSense API: User Gen Monetization Ho!

  1. Sal says:

    “To toss a bit of cold water here, however, I’ve never seen UGC sites as the least bit driven by money. They are driven by pride, the desire to be first, reputation, whuffie. But dollars? That often screws it all up. I guess we’ll get to see soon enough…”

    GFY.COM . The majority of posters are known as “Sig whores”.
    What this causes is mega useless content and a bunch of ads all over the place. Creates chaos at best.

  2. Erik says:

    I don’t think we mind you using “UGC” – it’s “incent” we’re worried about… 😉

  3. Hashim says:

    “But dollars? That often screws it all up.”

    It sure will. You will attract tricksers, spammers, baiters, and pirates who want to make a quick buck off the community.

  4. the interesting piece here is that it’s an API.

    this enables developers/publishers to figure out how to incent strong content contributions.

    …let the API developers crack that crap content nut. (rateitall certainly hasn’t…)

    I think overall this will further drive down the value of AdSense ads though, and may keep business-minded API developers focused on AppExchange.

  5. Mitch says:

    Doesn’t Kanoodle already offer this?

    The only difference would be if Google was non-exclusive with the UGC’s and allowed other sponsored link products and ad networks to be shown on the same content.

  6. Kanoodle’s offering isn’t an API…

    The API is the clincher in this as it enables creative publishers and developers to pay out their content providers.

    Tom Foremski wonders (in comments at SEL) if miniscule payments will be enough to get people contributing content however.

    He notes that it will only be hugely successful viral content that will get contributors paid.

    That’s a good point.

    So I post my video of my grandmother slapping my mom at Thanksgiving dinner and get $.05 a month?

    Plus I think AdSense payouts currently require people to make more than $100 in a month.

    If that doesn’t change it’s only going to be the content that achieves true viral status that will make any money and this will make the offering pretty flaccid over all.

    The AdSense API concept is sound overall though.

  7. RBA says:

    I think the real problem here is that click fraud will skyrocket – not that it isn’t a problem already.

    It is a neat idea, in fact a very sharp one, but I feel it isn’t in synch with the crude “real world”. It will work in some context I believe, but it will fail in others. I also think there are less risky ways to get this value proposition on the table, because the concept itself isn’t bad.

  8. Narendra says:


    Not going to work. The service provider is already getting tons of content and certainly doesn’t want to share the paltry pennies that are coming from adsense. The content creators aren’t going to make anything.

    There is a fundamental problem with communication/community sites and AdSense, redistributing the wealth doesn’t help.

  9. ceejayoz says:

    The service provider is already getting tons of content and certainly doesn’t want to share the paltry pennies that are coming from adsense.

    Considering that the article is about a service provider doing just that, your statement is clearly not 100% accurate.

  10. andrew jones says:

    “But dollars? That often screws it all up.”

    if it’s only paying pennies (which is less than what my adsense account has managed to rake up) it will probably just be a little nudge to post more barring the truly deluded who will probably create some type of spam a lot of their videos and images to make sure they go up everywhere and superstars that manage to create that truly great billion page view viral video.

    This does create further issues for ebaumsworld which has been stealing other people’s content for years and making a buck off. After all how many more people will ask to have their stuff not hosted on that site if youtube is willing to share advertising cents with them? I wonder will it be possible to tag your content with something that automatically syncs with the api? hence if someone uses your stuff and has adsense, it could auto-deduct… if they’re so willing.


  11. Olivier says:

    This is brilliant! Rating sites generally fail to be representative of the average consumer opinion because reviewers are self-selected. Monetization of people’s time is the only way to go if we want CGM from everyone, not just movie geeks, web 2.0 beta-testers, ego-maniacs and bored students. Sure, there WILL be fraud, but which will need to be fought against. It won’t be easy, and may pave the way for new business ideas… How the intermediary will incentivize the content provider will be key in the end to determining where “consumers” will decide to post their content. Web 1.0 veterans Epinions and Ciao should introduce something similar to revive their fading content generation…

  12. The AdSense API is not a new thing. It’s been around for at least six months and is in wide use by larger publishers like

    Google simply doesn’t make the existence of this API public.

  13. This is nothing really all that new. Shawn at DigitalPoint has had this functionality in his forum for quite some time. I don’t think it will have a significant impact in the overall scheme of things.

  14. Prior to the Dot Com Bust there were lots of UGC sites that were centered on money with some even paying outragous amounts of money to their content providers. One in particular was which paid over 70 grand to one writer for one article. Themestream gave away over 13 Billion dollars in investor capital. Only problem was, UGC sites had a large hand in causing the crash.

    Sharing ad revenue isn’t a bad idea but it has to be kept under control. It’s also nothing new. A site I once owned,, had over a dozen writers who were allowed to load their on Adsence accounts and cut their own deals with advertisers.

    Of course, when you think about it, Blogspot is hardly more than a UGC site that’s owned by Google. My only question is: why would someone contribute content on a UGC site for a share of the ad revenue when a free Blogspot account allows them to to the same thing while collecting all the cash?

  15. James says:

    This sounds a lot like hyper-networked, hyper-scaled, trickle-down economics. If Google or any other site thinks pennies of compensation will drive behaviour in participatory, peer-production sites (please, UGC totally misses the point and demeans all of us), then they seriously don’t understand the social value created by interaction, sharing, etc. for the individual or the community.

    Or, another way of looking at this is that Google has admitted it doesn’t understand the social value and has downloaded its creation and management to its partners, while attempting to retain the majority of the profits.

  16. We are considering doing this but primarily as an incentive or bonus to attract experts or dedicated researchers who will moderate and seed quality content in our groups and forums. Opening it up to every contributor will invite spam and low quality content. Consolidating to the group or subject leader helps overcome the $100 payout threshold. Their contributions and involvement attracts others so they benefit from all the content submitted within the group or subject area they manage. With good content and well matched ads, Adsense payouts can be very substantial.

  17. Tony says: is another adsense revenue sharing web site which uses Google adsense api integration.

  18. AxomTube says:

    Is it possible to integrate google adsense api with this video blog, please let us know, thank you.