Don't be alarmed. You didn't miss Step 3 in my process to turn up new affiliate sites. This is just a little side-trip on our journey. You see, one of my sites relies on user-submitted content and I'm trying to monetize the site using Google Adsense (pretty much exclusively, although some direct ads might be nice as well). Anyway, because of the way I was displaying the content and the fact that much of the user-submitted text is pretty brief, the adsense ads being displayed weren't really on target for what the site's readers would be into. Hank, over at money-code.com, mentioned that he thought there were some filtering options at Adsense, so I stumbled over there to make sense out of it.
Turns out... it's pretty neat! There appear to be two basic kinds of filtering: Competitive Ad Filtering and Category Filtering.
You can get to Competitive Ad Filtering by going to "Adsense Setup"->"Competitive Ad Filter" on the Adsense site. From here you can filter your ads by the domain they are advertising. So, if your vintage doorknob niche store has some adsense on there, you can block joesvintagedoorknobs.com's ads from showing on your page. This is interesting enough, but it's not really what I wanted. So, I headed over to Category Filtering.
Category Filtering can be reached from "Adsense Setup"->"Ad Review Center". Here you can filter your ads by category, which is neat. But, what's cooler is that you can see what percentage each category makes up of your earnings. It looks like it's more of a snapshot than anything, but it's still interesting. Especially because one of the things I was going to filter, weight loss ads, turns out to do pretty decent. For me it was like 4% of my recent impressions but 6% of my earnings. The other biggies seemed to be "Sexually Suggestive", "Politics" and "Video Games". Huh? Politics?
I'm not sure I would filter based on earnings percentage, though, just because these numbers seem pretty dynamic. But, if Dating is at 5% impressions and 0% earnings over the next few days, I might consider it. The other bummer is that I don't think you can filter per channel, it looks to be per Adsense account, which is a pretty broad brush to paint with.
The last thing I noticed on this page was "Allow and Block Google Certified Ad Networks". Hmm... I'm certainly not an expert, but I had never heard of this before. Apparently by allowing this you can accept non-Adsense ads to be delivered via Adsense. At least, I think that's what I'm reading. It certainly seems like a good idea to me so I'll enable that today and let you know how it pans out.
So, back to my story. Last night (when I first discovered all of this), I wasn't sure which category I should filter to get rid of my "Quit Smoking" ads, so I decided to sleep on it. But, what's interesting is that yesterday I also completely changed the format of the site in question. Now, on the main page, I'm displaying 9 user-submitted pictures and excerpts of text (instead of just the latest one) and my targetting problems are solved. Turns out that this is just enough text to get me the types of ads that my readers are more likely to click. So, while my Adsense Filtering adventure was fun, it appears that I don't need to do any filtering after all. Once again, it all comes down to content!
Okey dokey, that does it for my rambling thoughts on Google Adsense Filtering. Let me know if you have any other good tips or tricks or further clarification.
EDIT: So, I was reading the Google Certified Ad Networks section wrong. The default is "0 Google certified ad networks always blocked" So, you get all those ads anyway. You can opt-out, if you want, but I'm not sure why you would want to. I also don't know what it was so hard for me to read this correctly the first time.