Google Inc. is making it easier for Webloggers to earn extra cash, while expanding the reach of its search-based advertising.
Its Blogger service this week put out a call to bloggers to share in advertising revenues by joining Googles AdSense program, which displays advertisements targeted to the keywords in a sites content. Through AdSense, Google returns a portion of the pay-per-click fees back to the site publisher.
The move follows the removal last week of Google ads from blogs hosted through Bloggers Blogspot service. Revenue from those ads was not shared with bloggers.
“We were making money from those ads, but you werent getting any of it,” Biz Stone, a Blogger senior specialist at Google, wrote in a posting Monday. “Now, were inviting you to set up your own Bloggerized AdSense account so that you make the money.”
The banner of ads that previously appeared atop hosted Blogger blogs was replaced with a Blogger navigation bar. The bar includes a query box for conducting a Google search of a blog, a “BlogThis!” feature for linking to a blog, navigation to other Blogger blogs and links to the Blogger site.
Google officials declined to comment further on the Blogger changes, citing the quiet period following its initial public offering that opened for trading last week.
But the decision to start enticing bloggers to share in the wealth points to Googles need to further grow the number of non-Google content sites carrying its ads, while getting bloggers more directly engaged in the placement and appearance of the sponsored links, said Matt McMahon, vice president of media at search marketing company Fathom Online Corp., in San Francisco.
“By sharing the revenue, they are hoping that bloggers will adopt it, embrace it and enhance it,” McMahon said of AdSense. “They will make it fit their own site to make [ads] more relevant and to get higher click rates, and thats great for users and advertisers.”
Google introduced AdSense last year, expanding its AdWords ads to sites outside of its search destination. Advertising is crucial to Googles financial health, accounting for 95 percent of its revenues last year.
Participation in AdSense is optional for Blogger users, and the sponsored-links program is open to publishers of blogs that use other blogging services or software, Stone wrote in his post.
Stone did not offer details on what percentage of the click-through rates would be shared with bloggers, but he did write that bloggers could choose between text-based ads and Googles newer image ads.
Bloggers, in posts reacting to the Blogger AdSense program, cautioned fellow bloggers not to expect to get rich from their share of the pay-per-click revenues. Stone also cited an essay from a blogger who has posted ads suggesting that bloggers posting about something specific are likely to earn more.
Also this week, Blogger added a new feature called “E-mail This Post” to its service. The feature lets bloggers place an icon onto blog postings so readers can e-mail a link to a posting, according to a notice on the Blogger site.
Since buying Blogger in February 2003, Google has made a series of changes. It ended a paid version of the service and in May rolled out its first major update of the service. Blogger users can use the Blogspot hosting or host their blogs themselves.
Blogger competes with a growing number of blogging services and software tools. They include Six Apart Ltd.s Movable Type software and TypePad hosted service, LiveJournal and UserLand Softwares Radio Userland, as well as blogging services from ISPs and portals such as America Online Inc. and Lycos Inc.