Making Sense of AdSense.

I’m thinking of something inscrutable: Google AdSense.
I can honestly say that I have one of the longest running weblogs out there. I started after seeing Jason Kottke‘s blog back in 2000, when I featured him on my old art website (which is up but no longer living). His site was a huge inspiration for starting a weblog and he continues to impress and, on occasion, astound. In any case, I was an early advocate for blogging and Deckchairs on the Titanic has become a mildly exciting thing for me. Some days I hate it, others I’m in love with it. I started redesigning it three years ago and then again three months ago, but it’s still, pretty much, unchanged for the past 4 years. I really started blogging in a very serious way right before 9/11/01. And, after witnessing the Twin Towers on fire, it felt a little more urgent to write.
I know that Deckchairs isn’t the best written or nicely designed blog out there. It works. I try to keep the content diverse and informative and personal without it dragging into a complaint box, an information machine, or a leather couch. I like to write about different subjects because that’s what my experience has always been and that’s how I definitely try to live – learning and explaining are key to my personal survival.
I know this blog isn’t updated as often as I’d like; I’d prefer to post every other day. Most weeks, I’m lucky to post twice. I guess this is the one thing we all have in common – the same number of minutes in a day.
Here’s the rub: I’m flirting with AdSense. I’m looking into using (small) ads on my site because, well, I’m fascinated by the fact that, possibly, my site does enough traffic now (approximately 1000 unique visitors per day) that others might benefit. How is traffic and the benefit of others related? The more and better content featured on a weblog and the more visitors one gets, the more relevant the ads are being served on a site.
The other reason I’m thinking about ads is that, if I find ads on the site are popular (and, possibly, useful, which Google hasn’t yet measured), I’ll write more and more often. Who knows? Maybe I can even get around to finally redesigning the site which has been on deck for over six months now.
It’s weird, no? You may think I’m being disingenuous, coy, or even dishonest. Don’t get me wrong: if I could make $10 per month on Deckchairs on the Titanic, that’s fantastic. It will pay my hosting costs and a soda. (They call it “pop” around here, though.)
What I actually think is that taking small advertisements might actually direct some readers to useful information. I know I’ve often clicked on many ads on others’ blogs and, on occasion, I’ve been lead to relevant technology, political, or design information. The blogger was paid four cents but, more importantly, I gained eight cents of knowledge.
So, if you start seeing quiet ads on the site from Google, don’t hate me. I’m thinking about serving my visitors. Or serving myself more bullshit.
Postscript: In a bout of synchronicity, I see that one of my fave bloggers, John Gruber, is signed on to take visual ads as of yesterday through the elite and pretentious The Deck. Gruber previously took on text ads from a variety of customers and they were beautiful, in part because, well, he designed them.