I run my other blog on Google’s Blogger platform. That blog is in Italian and has even fewer that the handful of readers this one has. So I was quite surprised last week, while posting an entry, to see that Google wanted me to start monetizing my blog with AdSense.
Now, this doesn’t actually make a lot of sense for many reasons. It is not a thematic blog, so few topics recur with any regularity. It has got zero page rank. Hardly anybody links to it. Technorati can’t seem to tell when it’s been updated, and refuses to ping it (a prejudice against blogs that are not written in English? Google Blog Search, unsurprisingly, seems to crawl every post instantly). I write the blog for the heck of it. (On the plus side, I think it may be occasionally well-written and somewhat thought-provoking, but these are not necessarily qualities of interest to AdSense).
Yet I decided to give it a try, certainly not in the hope of quitting my day job and making a living as a blogger, but more out of curiosity for the ads that the algorithm would match to my content, which is sometimes, well, decidedly non-commercial. (And I truly, truly hope I never see an ad by someone offering instructions for suicide bombings or performing Female Genital Mutilation services).
You see, the reason Google is scary is that their infrastructure appears to be infinitely scaleable. Their marginal cost of having me as a publisher is so tiny that their algorithm must have reckoned that the marginal revenue they make, even if the ads on my blog generate one click in a million years, is worth it.
As Spiderman said, with great power comes great responsibility. Google has already moved beyond being good or evil (ever seen “Master Plan: The Movie“?): we all need to make sure they stay responsible.