There are alternatives to using Google Adsense and Adwords, although sometimes we may seem to forget that. Occasionally I try some of these alternatives out, and more often than not, I am disappointed. I wanted to introduce you to an Adsense alternative that I have been using, as well as an Adwords alternative that I have just heard about, but not yet tried.
On one of my sites, I was getting the very minimum EPC using Adsense. I decided to try something different and chose TargetFirst. It is not a contextual service, so it is not exactly like Adsense. Instead, you choose a general theme, and ads related to that theme are shown. If your theme is wildly different than the ones in the list, you may not get good results. In any case, I have been using it for a short time (maybe a couple of weeks), and am already very happy with it. The EPC is about 25x that of what Adsense was giving me. Of course, your mileage may vary, but you might want to give it a test run. Site is at www.targetfirst.com.
On the advertising side, I just read about a coalition of search engines and directories that are banding together to create The Independent Search Engine & Directory Network (ISEDN). The goal is to have many of the smaller search engines and directories form a network so that they can offer advertising at a low price and yet still be able to deliver lots of impressions. It does not work on a CPC model; instead it is a low fixed cost (starting at $12 for 3 months). Not a bad deal, I would think. It uses a rotating system, that guarantees top 10 spots at least some of the time, and always a top 30 spot. It looks interesting, and would be the kind of thing I would be interested in for a couple of reasons. One is that it would be easy to manage. I hate the whole CPC management stuff. And two is that it is cheap. That is right up my alley! 🙂 So if you are in the market for advertising, check it out at www.isedn.org.