On Monitizing

On May 21, 2009 I started a new blog dedicated to user experience prototyping. As part of the Settings flow, I decided that it will be interesting to witness the evolution in the context of ads that Google's AdSense feeds to the blog. Also, I am hoping to get really wealthy as visitors to my blog click away from it on their way to some other destination...

I was really shocked when I first tested the the results after posting my first post and my knee-jerk reaction was to stop showing the ads. The reason, as you may guess was that the ads were suitable more to, shell we say, interactions of the physical nature than to a site than to one dedicated user experience and interaction with software, an activity that typically does not involve body fluids,
I've reactivated a couple of days later and here is the result:As you can see, it is not likely to be of interest to my target audience. But perhaps I'm wrong, a topic for another entry. I am hoping to update this post over time, and am really curious about what is going to transpire.
Update on May 25th:
Still too soon for Google's bots to discover the great contribution of the blog to the practice of user experience design, because the automated ads are clearly not contextual to the site, which now has a couple of posts and some links to relevant content.

Update on May 28th
Already on the 26th there was a noticeable change in the quality of the ads Google generated and displayed on the site: There were all contextual to the blog's content. The illustration below is a comparison of ads One of the lessons of this experiment is the importance of conditioning a site to be as productive as possible from a search engine perspective.

I am not sure how many user experience practitioners are versed in the craft of website optimization and web analytics. In my experience, work on a commercial B to C project typically involves heightened awareness to analysis. It does appear that not enough information architects and user experience designers are considering analytics during the design process. Rather, analytics professionals handle optimization as a technical aspect of the site, and after the site has been redesigned and launched.

Avinash Kaushik's blog Occam's Razor provides important insights, many of which are really relevant from an interaction design perspective. Since the demands (or daemons?) for monetizing anything web are becoming a norm, it is important to consider the information architecture in a way the will be effective, providing value 'under the hood' avoiding transformation of the site or application into a 'Times Square'. Best practice approaches can be adopted from analytics and further developed for the purposes of improved user experience.

But back to the nature of the ads the appear by default on the side before Google and other search engine had time to index it's content.

As you can see in the capture above, Blogger (and I'm assuming other publishing tools) provide the ability to indicate to the bots that the site contains adult content. But despite the fact that from it's inception, my blog was set to 'No', the ads in the first few days assumed (cynically?) that it is, or, that visitors to the site will be interested.