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"In developing nations, people boost their incomes by running ads by the popular search engine on their personal websites."

"Thanks to Adsense, a blogger in New Delhi can earn the same 5 cents for an ad-click as a blogger in Detroit. For many Adsense users in the developing world, that opportunity has become perhaps the most unintentional - and most successful - development program to spring from the online revolution."

Are you a Malaysian or Indian or south-east Asian/south Asian person looking to make a little money (or a lot) on the Internet? If making money on the Internet is something you are interested in, then one of the many options you have available before you, is making money using the Google Adsense program. The quotes above come from a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor called Google's Hidden Payroll... and the gist was basically that people living in the developing world are the biggest winners from the Google Adsense program. Reading it makes me almost wish that I had been born in the Developing World, so I could find my dream role in life by writing homepages which utilise Google Adsense. According to the article, which was written by Carolyn O'Hara and Travis Daub:

"Dr. Rodolfo Rafael, who owns a small medical clinic in San Fabian, Philippines, says the Adsense earnings from his medical website allow him to 'dream big' and reinvest in his medical practice.

"Their experiences are shared across the developing world. In Cairo, Mohamed Sallam was grounded for health reasons from his job as an airline steward, and he now spends time maintaining a Web forum devoted to discussions of Islam. He earns most of his income, about $500 a month, from Adsense.

"'The low cost of living here allows us to live comfortably on that income,' he says. 'My two sons want to try their luck. We have a high unemployment rate here and making money from Adsense would be the perfect solution for them.'

"Deepesh Agarwal, who runs a small cybercafe in Rajasthan state, India, draws about 90 percent of his income, or $1,500 a month, from his Adsense earnings. It is a princely sum in a state where the average income is just $300 a year.

"'Adsense has changed my life,' Mr. Agarwal says. 'I can afford things that I was not able to before. I am planning to buy a new car. I can save for my future.'"

One Malaysian who has caught the Google Adsense bug, Kah Soon, wrote: "Wooooot!! I got my first $100 from adsense! After that long hard 3 months, at last i can taste the reward. Indeed this is the sweetest moment for me. In the beginning i was abit dissapointed because in the good day i would get is 1 or 2 click and fetch around $0.08 and in the bad day i would get no click at all. Those were the days when im still blogging in my blogspot.

"When i change to this site, everything change. I started to get more clicks and the earning increases steadily. How is this possible? Because of the increasing visitor and traffic. Want to know how all this started? Well i have to bring you back to where it begins: 3 months ago I was searching for webmaster forum in malaysia, because i want to join a webmaster forum and learn more from there. Actually i have to thanks to my final year project because if it wasnft for that project then i wonft have the interest in developing websites. So i came across a webmaster malaysia forum and i found an interesting section in the forum called Revenue. I spend alot of time reading each and every post there is in the section and i can tell you honestly that i learned alot from there."

Just like Kah Soon, I am a Google Adsense fanatic and a believer in its potential to generate new career paths and money streams and eventually new industries all over the world, and especially in Asia. Google changed my life, and it could change yours too. Imagine how cool it would be to be a teenager growing up in India or east Africa or Indonesia or Jamaica: you want to make it big but you are trapped in poverty. Many try to escape poverty physically crossing by crossing the politcal border into western countries, for example the millions of teeming who have crossed over into the United States of America in recent years. That is one practical application of globalization... setting up your own blog and harnessing advertising revenue on Google Adsense is another. Both of these approaches might net you a decent living and maybe even more.

c a m b o d i a n + e x p e r i e n c e

ON FREQUENT TRIPS TO VIETNAM IN THE LATE 00s, I USED TO NOTICE THE HONDA ÔM GUYS SITTING ON THIER MOTORBIKES ON PRACTICALLY EVERY STREET CORNER, HUSTLING TO GET RIDES, AND WONDERED WHY THEY DIDN'T JUST SET UP BLOGS TO MAKE A LIVING INSTEAD. Granted, your average Vietnamese motorcycle taxi rider probably doesn't know much about computers and the Internet, let alone affiliate and contextual advertising! Doubtless, they would struggle with the idea that throwing stuff online (even an advertisement for their own chauffeur services) could earn them an ongoing income. So much more reliable, they probably think, just to hang out on the street all the day, hustling foreign tourists. That's real money; that's earning an honest buck! Google Adsense is not for them, then, but for the younger, more tech-savvy generations of Vietnamese, I believe it holds great potential. Those Honda ôm riders typically make a dollar for a one-kilometer trip; my old girlfriend N. used to earn US$400 a month in her job, and she was on her feet until midnight every day. US$400 a month from Adsense is more than doable, if you are prepared to work at it. And since Internet usage is booming in Vietnam, there ought to plenty of local advertisers.

Hustlers of Ho Chi Minh City. Picture copyright Robert Sullivan 2010.

Vietnam's close neighbour Cambodia is even poorer than Vietnam, one of the poorest countries in the world in fact, although it is developing fast. The Cambodian GDP is about US$1000 per capita, and the basic salary of a primary school teacher in the country is US$60 a month (I read that in the Phnom Penh Post.) For a digital nomad like myself, it would be a great place to hang out for a while, drinking iced coffees on the beach, and immersing myself in the local cultural and business scene. I'd never be able to live there as cheaply as a local, however, and for that I am a little envious. To help get into shape for my move I have been reading a number of Cambodian blogs, most notably KhmerBird, who seems to be king of the blog scene there. KhmerBird, otherwise known as Santel Phin, is the founder of 4-Hour Workweek Blogger, although his prodigious output suggests someone who works a lot longer than that! A few years ago KhmerBird proudly displayed a US$485.80 cheque from Google Adsense; I believe he is now earning enough from the program to support himself and his family. He is earning enough, in any case, to pay local writers to produce content for his site. He encourages Cambodians to join the Adsense revolution, even though ads are not currently displayed in Khmer script. "We don’t have Khmer language to choose yet, I think the best way is to choose English, even your blog is written in Khmer or mix," KhmerBird advises in one post.

i n d i a n + e x p e r i e n c e

YOU SHOULD HAVE REALISED BY NOW THAT WHILE GOOGLE ADSENSE PROBABLY WON'T MAKE YOU A MILLIONAIRE (EXCEPT MAYBE A MILLIONAIRE IN CAMBODIAN RIEL!) IT CAN PROVIDE YOU WITH THE MONEY TO GET BY, ESPECIALLY IF YOU LIVE IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD. Perhaps no country is better poised to benefit from Google's advertising affiliate program, than India (with its low cost of living, English language proficiency and widespread computer and Internet access.) If you have a cybercafe in your town (and I have seen cybercafes in even the smallest villages in the mountains of Nepal -- they are everywhere on the subcontinent), then you ought to be down there everyday developing your homepage, or at the very least honing your computer and IT skills. Writing on Indian Pad, sagargemini claimed: "I can be a good case study for Google AdSense. I started this year, with the adSense account, working on it genuinly and now I am making atleast $100 per month! And I am confident that I will be crossing $200 pm soon. Whatever may be your monthly check received from Google, but let me say -> IT WORKS!" Stockmarketindia, another Indian, wrote: "Thanks Avaksi for good links. gd007, you can make as much as they have stated like $1000 pm. But it needs good devotion to the blogging and website building. Well, I am still earning 40-50% of what was mentioned in the article of Jayesh Gandhi (see the start of this story). I really think to plead Indian friends and people, to look into this seriously and donot lose this opportunty. Good to grab it asap, than repenting later. I really want to see atleast 10 Indian friends to reaping benefit outta it. Remember, even $200 makes much difference for Indian lifestyle and same makes good pocket money for Indians living abroad."

According to the AccMan, Google AdSense is helping the relatively impoverished masses of India to enrich themselves (and maybe make a little extra on the side.) The AccMan reports: "I like the fact that Google pays the same amount to Adsense carriers regardless of their location. It means the $20 de minimus before you get paid is the equivalent to 80% of average earnings for someone living in Rajasthan. In other cases, Adesnse revenue represents 40-50% of monthly eanrings while others are claiming to earn $1-1,500 per month. That's extraordinary because to these people $20 is an incentive not chump change.

"What is even more interesting is that ordinary men and women have been able to create vibrant Adsense driven sites. Thatfs innovation for you. What have they learned about ad placement optimisation Adsense style that we might learn and pass on to our SME clients as a simple value add? What else might they be able to do for our SMEs because these people are clearly quick learners and tech savvy? How might we engage commercially with these folk in a safe manner? Maybe we should subscribe to Vinnie, even though he talks big business ecos maybe we can still learn from him? (I do because wefre both SMEs.)

"That's why it's important to have a sheaf of Indian blog sites on your blogroll or in your RSS feed reader. One of my very early readers was Arun of Forum4CA in India. Sadagopan is another I see a lot..."

g o o g l e + c h e q u e s + t o + p a k i s t a n

ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS FOR GOOGLE ADSENSE PARTICIPANTS LIVING IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES IS HOW TO RECEIVE THEIR CHEQUES -- AND HOW TO CASH THEM ONCE THEY GET THEM. Thankfully I live in downtown Tokyo and I have a Citibank account. The Google cheques sent to my house are Citibank cheques, so I can deposit them for free into my Citibank account -- I don't lose a cent. There are at least a couple of Citibank branches within walking distance of my house. I am luxky in this respect. Google AdSense participants living in downtown Rangoon or Tashkent (or Pakistan's tribal wildlands, for that matter) don't share the same luxuries -- although I envy them the fact they live in cheap countries, where it is possible to make a living solely off online advertising revenue. Nonetheless, for people living in the Developing World, the problem remains -- how to convert your clicks into cash.

Good news could be at hand though -- as the venrable JenSense reports:

"Google AdSense has gone a long way in making plenty of publishers extremely happy, coming hot on the heels of the announcement of the Yahoo Publisher Network (YPN). The new changes could be enough to keep some publishers from trying out the new YPN, that might have considered trying it otherwise.

"If you are in one of 15 countries, you now have the option to join the beta payment option of direct deposit. If you reside in one of the supported countries, you just need to login to your AdSense account, and enter your banking information. Currently Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States are the countries supported by this.

"Also, AdSense is now offering payments in home currencies to 43 different companies, which include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, and the United States.

"This will save many publishers the high fees they were faced with paying for cashing US dollar checks in their home countries. If you would like your checks in your home currency, you just need to login to your account and specify it.

"For the complete run down of all the changes (including the Terms of Service), you can read it here. Other assorted changes include Ad Links, which is a new ad format for publishers, and the fact that Google now allows you to disclose your check amounts. Who wants to go first by announcing how much they made last month ;)."

g o o g l e + a d s e n s e + i n + u r d u + o r + a r a b i c ?

IF YOU ARE RUNNING A BLOG OR WEBSITE IN ONE OF THE GREAT WEST ASIA LANGUAGES -- FOR EXAMPLE HINDI, URDU, PERSIAN OR THE AFOREMENTIONED KHMER -- YOU MIGHT BE WONDERING: CAN I ATTRACT GOOGLE ADS IN THE SAME LANGUAGE? The answer at the moment is no -- although that will probably change in the future. Make that read, that will definitely change in the future. According to Google:

"Google AdSense supports publishers in several different languages. Applications for participation in the program can be for sites with content primarily in: Chinese (simplified), Japanese, Danish, Korean, Dutch, Norwegian, English, Polish, Finnish, Portuguese, French, Russian, German, Spanish, Hungarian, Swedish, Italian, Turkish.
"In addition, AdSense for search is available in Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Slovak, and Traditional Chinese. These languages are not supported for AdSense for content pages.

"You can select your site's primary language during the application process. If you're approved, AdSense will serve relevant ads to your pages in the appropriate language, even if your site contains multiple supported languages.

"Please also be aware that placing the AdSense code on pages with content primarily in an unsupported language is not permitted by the AdSense program policies."

m i c r o + m a r k e t s

On that note: it's funny how SEO tools like Google Analytics can reveal micromarkets, suggest new leads¡¦ and gravitationally warp the longtail of your blog or homepage. Back in 2004 after joining Google Adsense, I wrote a story called Russian Girls in Japan, about my flatmate's pushy Russian girlfriends. I didn't know squat about SEO at the time, but somehow it worked. Strangely enough, it was a throwaway piece completely devoid of any practical information (for example, where to meet Russian girls in Japan, the top hostess bars, etc), but it became virtually from Day One my most successful Adsense performer, with a high search engine ranking. Type in Russian Girls in Japan into Google, that page is at the top of the ranks... and has been for years. Last year, after signing up to Google Analytics¡¦ I noticed some strange keyword combinations leading to my page, for example: "Russian girls in Bangkok", "meet Russian Girls in Silom", and so on. Not being aware that Russian girls had reached Thailand, in search of new riches, I realised I had a newly discovered micromarket on my hands. And micromarkets always generate micromoney for you, a small stream which might turn into a raging river if you give it long enough.

Inspired to exploit this micromarket, I quickly developed a brand new homepage called Russian Girls in Bangkok. Unlike my previous effort, this site was supposed to be informative¡¦ packed with information that readers would actually be looking for... the popular bars for meeting Russian babes. Unlike my previous effort, this website was written to make money. But while a good search ranking was attained¡¦ ranks failed to convert into clicks. And on page loads, appropiate ads failed to appear at all.


g e t t i n g + t h e r e

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