Stack Exchange network sites are extremely successful, and they have obviously a huge future.

We all know the story of Google Adsense and how much frankly they pay publishers. Google Adsense shows ads automatically from the content and keywords of the page, no coding required, they will pay monthly.

Stack Exchange sites can make literally millions of dollars monthly from small, non-disturbing Adsense ads, why don't they show them?

  • 2
    They already have their own ads, but most are invisible to users with a reasonable amount of rep.
    – Bart
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 19:21
  • My reputation is low, I have no ad-blockers and I have rarely seen any ads. My point is, the most efficient way to monetize a successful site is using Adsense, why won't they do it? Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 19:23
  • 10
    The short version is that we have standards. :)
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 19:26
  • Only the 3 biggest sites are monetised. Together with Careers revenue, they appear to be doing just fine without Google Adsense. Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 19:26
  • 6
    And we wouldn't have gems like this now would we @MartijnPieters? ;)
    – Bart
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 19:27
  • 1
    @Bart: They are actually running now? I hadn't actually seen those yet! :-P Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 19:28
  • 2
    No thanks, seen too many toe fungus ads from adsense already.
    – user1228
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 20:16
  • 2
    SE has started showing Google ads more widely: Affiliate Ads Are Coming To The Network Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 6:24

2 Answers 2


We tried that once.

They were really annoying and didn't really pay that well. So now we have our own in-house ad team dedicated to allowing only ads that are somewhat annoying, making sure they're relevant, and only running them on sites where they make sense.

  • Huh, I hadn't seen that nifty new ad team page.
    – Tim Stone
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 19:31
  • ... and from what I understand you can target them better. "You want to show this advertisement to only people with more than 5000 rep who have at least 1000 rep in the Java tag? Sure... we can do that, but it will cost you." -- can't easily do that that Google.
    – user213963
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 19:32
  • @TimStone Seems new indeed, especially the part about "New sites accepting advertising". I haven't seen any ads on those sites yet.
    – user259867
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 19:41
  • @MichaelT, I got your point; makes sense. This is what Facebook did also. Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 19:43
  • @Shog9, if you don't mind I'd be glad to know how much Adsense paid you and how much visitors and page views you were getting that time. For example, ehow.com is reported to make $500,000 monthly from Adsense and it's not as reputable as StackOverFlow. Did StackOverFlow reach this income? Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 19:49
  • I don't have access to that information, @georgechalhoub - and after 5 years, I doubt anyone does.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 19:54

As another reference, in addition to Shog's, see also Our Amazon Advertising Experiment:

Do you remember when I discussed the crushing disappointment that is Google AdSense in Podcast 64? If Stack Overflow, a site that does a million pageviews a day, can’t make enough from AdSense to pay even one person half time — and let me tell you, that’s being overly generous based on the actual income it generated — how does anyone make a decent living with AdSense? Seriously, how? Exclusively talking about Mesothomelia and Asbestos, or what?

As a result, we dropped AdSense like a hot (or, rather, a particularly cold) potato.

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