Today marks the official 10th anniversary of Google’s advertising network for publishers, AdSense. In a post on the Google blog, Susan Wojcicki, SVP of Ads and Commerce, reflects on the early days in 2003 when AdSense was a fledgling product to today when AdSense is an integral part of Google’s advertising business.
The AdSense community has grown to include more than 2 million publishers, and last year alone, publishers earned more than $7 billion from AdSense.
Wojcicki spotlights three publishers– a retiree in New Zealand who writes about her garden, a tech support expert in Colorado, and a theme park reviewer–who earn a living in part from AdSense. “AdSense is a community that thrives because of all the content creators we are so fortunate to partner with. Their stories inspire us to do our part to make AdSense great,” writes Wojcicki.
AdSense was born from Google’s 2003 acquisition of Applied Semantics which had developed a contextual search algorithm. Google piloted its content-targeted advertising program in March 2003, and launched it publicly as AdSense on June 18, 2003. Publishers could serve content-targeted text-based ads (no banners, yet) from Google AdWords.
Publishers with more than 20 million page views per month were eligible for premium AdSense service with dedicated account service. Premium account status publishers at the time included ABC.com, HowStuffWorks, Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc., Lycos Europe, Knight Ridder Digital, About.com, and CNET. Google wrote in the launch announcement that publishers would have access to Google’s network of over 100,000 search advertisers. By Google’s IPO filing in 2007, the network had ballooned to 1 million advertisers–and has continued to grow, though the company does not publish official numbers.
Google co-founder, and then-president of technology, Sergey Brin said, “Google AdSense improves the overall web user experience by bringing relevant, unobtrusive, text ads to web pages rather than disruptive, unrelated ads such as pop-ups and animations,” said Sergey Brin, co-founder and president of technology at Google.”
Google rolled out display ads on the AdSense network in 2009, and Google has since added video ads.
Brin also said, ”By providing website publishers with an effective way to monetize content pages on their sites, Google AdSense strengthens the long-term business viability of content creation on the web.” Of course, as Danny Sullivan, noted in a 10th anniversary reflection piece, AdSense also bred the junk sites that were “Made for AdSense” sites as well as the content farms, many of which have since been hit with the Panda update.
Today AdSense ads can display in site search results, mobile sites and mobile apps, feeds, videos, online games, and, yes, parked domains.
Google continues to invest in the AdSense program, with several updates and announcements made this year including new larger ad sizes, publisher tool updates, and a deal with Yahoo to run AdSense ads on the Yahoo network.