The latest edition of Adam Engst’s outstanding Mac newsletter Tidbits reviews how their various efforts to increase revenue have been progressing. (Adam: thank you for sharing your results with us.)
The bottom line is that Google’s Adsense probably makes more sense for sites without a loyal audience, sponsorships are still their biggest revenue source, and ancillary products (ebooks) are their best new revenue source.
That sounds about right. I had high hopes for Google-style targeted ads, but they don’t appear to the be panacea for sites that their increasing share of Internet advertising implies. They demand a huge volume of readers who are looking for something. This doesn’t describe the audience of most online publishers.
As Adam points out, most the AdSense advertisers were offering products (Mac systems) that Tidbits was already recommending readers buy from their primary sponsor.
There is still no substitute for a strong relationship with you sponsors.