Thursday, May 8, 2014

Thank You For Not Clicking on the Ads at EPJ (Hee, Hee, Hee)

By Robert Wenzel

I have heard people comment and occasionally see others write on their blog  that they don't click on ads at web sites, EPJ included.

So I think it may be fun to go a bit behind the scenes as to why these ads continue to show up on the pages of EPJ and most other commercial web sites.

Here's a bit of background. Most of the ads you see at EPJ are generated by Google Adsense and are pushed through by their technology based on what they know about you, so everyone doesn't see the same ads.

I find it funny when I occasionally get an email from a person that goes something like this, "Why are you featuring ads by X?" Of course, I am not seeing those ads and most others are not seeing those ads, it is because Google has detected some type of interest by the emailer in that topic.

The way my business model is structured, about 30% of my EPJ earnings comes via Google Adsense, 65% comes via the EPJ Daily Alert and 5% comes via Amazon commissions. So how am I generating 30% of my earnings from ads that no one thinks they are clicking on?

My click through rates is roughly 0.5%. That means out of 200 visitors, only 1 clicks on an ad. Indeed, it also means that over a two year period, a regular visitor clicks on an ad, on average, roughly only 3 times. How do I get this number? Say there is a regular visitor who visits the site not every day, but almost everyday. Say 300 times a year, which, of course means, 600 visits  over a two year period. At a click through rate of 0.5% that works out to the 3 clicks every 2 years.

So if a person comes to EPJ 600 times over two years and only clicks on ads 3 times during those 600 visits, it is very easy to see how that person thinks he "never" clicks on ads.

No one "never" clicks on ads, but it is not done very often---just often enough to make it part of a viable business model. So thank you for visiting and "never" clicking on the ads :)

While I am at it, let me also comment on the amazing technology that allows Google to come up with relevant ads. I know, I know, people hate that Google can track you.  But Google is not the government, which means that you can always opt out of Google tracking in many different ways---unlike government tracking where there are no opt out options. When I don't want Google to know what I am up to, I take the necessary steps to insure that they can not track me. But for the most part, I find the Google tracking very helpful. When I recently bought Golden State Warriors tickets through Stub Hub, Google somehow detected this and started slamming me with Golden State Warriors ads. Recently, I was seeking information on outsourcing overseas some bookkeeping work. Viola! In no time, Google was serving up great ads from overseas outsourcing firms.

Ads are not our enemies, as any student of Austrian economics should know. Information is not dispersed evenly through out the world, and ads are one way of getting information to us. Google is doing great work in this way. Non-intrusive ads just sit there doing nothing until that one time roughly every 7 months when we decide we are interested in a little more information---and we then click. Awesome stuff.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of and author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank.


  1. Totally agree. Targeted advertising is one of the wonders of the modern world - and yet it's treated like a "dirty word" by Luddites who are pointlessly paranoid about all technology.

    Look at it this way... we are now in the process of raising an entire generation of young boys who will never have to see any tampon commercials. I can't even think of how much this would have improved my childhood.

    1. I wouldn't say all the paranoia about technology is unfounded. It's a double-edged sword, even more so these days. I've always been into computer programming and voice/data networking (currently a network engineer), but I've also always realized the potential harm in some of these technologies. I see a lot of libertarians and anarcho-capitalsts who more or less idolize any new technology, but I tend to remain cautiously skeptical in general. Speaking specifically of the ads, I used to get a bunch of pro-Israel ads whenever I was working on government (mostly military) networks.

  2. I once searched for pictures of an old car I used to own to show a friend on FB what it looked like. (Thanks google!) I started seeing ads for that car. My friend said he didn't have any pictures of his version of the same car. I told him google does.

  3. "Non-intrusive ads just sit there doing nothing until that one time roughly every 7 months when we decide we are interested in a little more information---and we then click. Awesome stuff."

    Nice spin Bob.

  4. RW, I am one of those people who NEVER clicks on ads (and I actually have been quite disciplined about this). However, I make a point of stepping out of character and clicking on EPJ ads from time-to-time in order to support your site, albeit in a fairly insignificant way. One of the ads that pops up occasionally is for a commercial site I sometimes visit anyway. Visiting the site via your adsense costs me nothing (except that it is a slightly more efficient way of getting there).

  5. I always get ads that pop up from a Democrat who is running for re-election for state auditor. I know where she stands politically, and she probably disagrees with everything posted on this website.

    1. My guess is that this site (and probably others you visit) are tagged as "politics" and she purchased ads on sites relating to politics for users in your geographic area. A lot of times they don't distinguish party/ideology.

  6. All I get are ads for hookers and blow. What's up with that!!??