Affiliate Marketing vs Adsense

Before I leave, I wanted to get something off my chest. The alternate title for this post was: “Why you shouldn't depend on webmaster welfare”. For those out of the loop, “webmaster welfare” is a term used to describe Adsense that apparently can be credited back to IncrediBill.

To me, a made for Adsense site – or a site who makes the huge percentage of its income from Adsense – is lazy monetization, not to be confused with being a lazy seo. When we lazy seo people say things like…

…make the most amount of money while doing the least amount of work possible.

…develop passive revenue streams that maintain themselves using automated systems.

One should never become confused that we mean lazy monetization. Lazy seo's do not sit around on webmaster welfare… lazy monetizers do. Webmaster welfare has allowed a lot of webmasters to become lazy monetizers. Google will give you a handout for sitting on your ass and not working to monetize the site yourself.

Sure, you'll make less money than you could have otherwise in most cases, but you also don't have to be very productive. Just keep spitting out content and Google will keep sending you checks paid for by Adwords advertisers. Make enough webmaster welfare and Google will assign you a social worker optimization specialist to show you how to setup the ads on your site to get even more clickthrus so that your webmaster welfare check gets a little larger.

This is not – I repeat – not lazy seo. This is lazy monetization and you screw yourself by accepting it and never working to get off it. You are being fooled into accepting less money than your site can actually make. I'll give you an example…

Site A does x,xxx.xx in Adsense in each month. The x's are over a year amount to about the average household salary in America.

And I'm not saying that's not damn good. What I am saying is that the same site could be making enough to put you in the top five percent or higher of household incomes if you got off your ass and stopped accepting the handouts. Google isn't paying *you* x,xxx.xx a month. In a lot of cases, *you* are paying Google xx,xxx.xx a month to monetize the property you're too freaking lazy to monetize yourself.

Monetizing a website is not rocket science, but it does take a bit of effort and a bit of research and a bit of determination. Instead of trying to increase your Adsense clickthrus by .02 percent, why don't you work on making your website into a real business…

Real life examples:

– Site A makes x,xxx.xx a month in Adsense.
– Site A makes xx.xx per month in affiliate marketing via 2 different programs.
– Site A makes 0.00 a month in CPM based advertising.
– Overall, Adsense is 95 percent of Site A's income.

– Site B makes x,xxx.xx a month in Adsense.
– Site B makes xx,xxx.xx per month in affiliate marketing via xx different programs.
– Site B makes x,xxx.xx a month in CPM based advertising.
– Overall, Adsense is less than 15 percent of Site B's income.

Site B is not on webmaster welfare. Site B has defensible income. Site B nets enough to put it in the top 2 percent of household incomes in America. Site B is working the E-Myth Revisited system. Site B is not owned by a lazy monetizer, but instead a lazy seo.

Now here comes the moment of clarity… site B used to be site A. Keep this in mind if you are someone happily cashing in solely on webmaster welfare this month… think people… get off your asses and monetize.


Rae Hoffman aka "Sugarrae" is a veteran digital marketer and SEO consultant. She is also a serial entrepreneur. You can find out more about her entrepreneurial efforts here. Rae is most active on Twitter.


  1. Riaan Kruiwa on July 13, 2013 at 4:42 am

    The thing I like about Adsense, is that you can set up a system and let it run. It doesn’t come to an end. Also, if I want to travel Africa in a beat-up 4×4 with my laptop on the backseat, and I don’t have to worry any specific day of the month about setting up new affiliates, or doing any sort of check up on what I’ve created (mostly static pages of info), I can concentrate on catching Goliath Tiger, or Nile Perch.


    • Rae Hoffman on July 16, 2013 at 6:18 am

      I agree that AdSense is the easier route by far. But over the years I’ve found that relying solely on it leaves a lot of (extra) cash on the table. :)