Are You Selling Your Search Data For Pennies

by Jeremy Schoemaker on September 4, 2007 · 66 comments

When Google introduced AdSense for search (AFS) it allowed many web masters to have a new income source by giving all there search data over to Google. I was one of these webmasters at first… We implemented it on nextpimp and we were making about 200$ a day or so from AFS. Then when we started playing with PPC and affilaite marketing in late 2005/early 2006 I decided to take our own internal search data and see what was actually being searched for.

Just to give you some idea here is a screen shot of all searches done on Nextpimp last month (August)

So as you can see I record search terms and the hit (how many times they were searched for).

In August alone we had over 1.2 million UNIQUE searches for ringtones. This gives us an amazing amount of data to work with on our own ppc campaigns. Also we have all the data 0-second… we are not buying some tier3 list that is 2 months old and everyone and there mom has.

So are you selling yourself short on searches done on your website?

full disclosure

About the author...

– who has written 2895 posts on

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of the ShoeMoney Blog, Elite Retreat Internet Conference, & the PAR Program. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 Amazon Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. Jeremy currently lives in Lincoln Nebraska with his wife and 2 daughters.

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1 Paul Bradish

Very interesting statistics. I think that we are selling ourselves short by using AFS – but opted to use it because it was the only solution out there that we were able to find.

Since growing, it’s becoming more and more apparent that AFS is chump change.

2 Jake

This is invaluable. I am working on doing this more and more. This alone can really make or break an online marketer.

3 king jacob

Ive never used AFS cause I never though it made sense, people dont search on your sites search to find things in google they are looking for things on your site.

4 Brent

Thanks Shoe, I implemented this tip after hearing it once on your radio show (I think) and it’s been awesome. One thing people can do too if they don’t want to implement their own search, is use Google Custom Search and pull the search keyword from Google’s query string. Then you can log searches while still using Googles search w/ adsense.

5 Modern Worker

Sounds very similar to real estate, I guess because it kind of is, in a lot of senses. Interesting stuff, Shoe.

6 CPA Affiliates

any data you can pull and store yourself is of great value… I personally would only US AFS if i was doing more of an arbi site and want to monetize the most form a visitor.


I have to reread this article. I was blinded by your stats the first time around…

8 FAour

Many organizations are clamming that SEO is the future of internet marketing, Do you think that is true? Could you please at least give me three reason WHY?

Also what does it take for you to reccoment a service or product , Thanks :)

9 jim

When you have a huge userbase, those stats are priceless. I think a lot of small time folks use AFS because it’s easy and wouldn’t have enough data to make it worth their while to build track something like that… then again, until you throw it up there you never know.

10 alphagiga

Great!I never think of this technique.Quite amazing when you want exactly your readers search for and use the priceless search query data for PPC campaign

11 Gecko Tales

Most don’t have that kind of data. What about sites with much less?

12 Click Input

How much traffic does NextPimp get?

13 Gopi

With a few hacks (without modifying the AFS code) its still possible to collect all search data!.

14 CatherineL

Shoe – I don’t use AFS much as it doesn’t seem worth it. But after reading a lot of your posts, I sometimes think that maybe you could set up in competition with Google, and probably do a better job.

15 natekapi

I’d definitely like to hear more about that

16 SonicReducer

Just one question. Who the hell is “lil wayne”??

17 natekapi


18 Jonathan Volk

Great information here.

Thanks for the screenshot too :D

19 corey

i find it amazing that more than a million people searched your site for single characters like “r” or “o” last month.

maybe these people are trying to get a listing of all artists that start with that letter. your results currently don’t do that. hmmmmmm

20 Travel Notebook

mmmmmmm, I love data. Can never have too much. $200 a day is enough for most people that they would never mess with it.

21 Travel Notebook

Maybe a feature he needs to implement?

22 Travel Notebook

hmmmm, $200 a day plus data. Sounds good. And Id imagine you would be more then $200 a day since that figure was from a while ago.

23 Ian

Anyone know of a good freeware search program to use for a website? One that keeps a log of searches? Or do I have to pay to have one coded? Thanks

Shoemoney 24 jorge

Gopi the guy who knows how to do everything but does nothing!

25 ShoeMoney

Anyone can do a good job for a week… or a month… but working with someone for years is what it takes before I will recommend them to someone else. People invest a lot of money in these services and I don’t want my name associated with someone I have not built up an enormous amount of faith with.

26 Theo

This is definitely something to think about.

27 CPA Affiliates

A guy that is searched for a lot on nextpimp ;)

28 Mahesh Mohan

I think AdSense for search is good for only big content sites

29 Gecko Tales

Sweet new look. Let me know if you need someone to test pages / features for you.

30 Tracy

Darn, you blew my whole secret strategy of bidding on single letters, I was killing it by advertising make money online stuff with the letter m, now I’ll probably have to drop down to k to compete

31 Joshua

Young desperado straight out the grotto
I’m so bad my shadow chooses not to follow

32 Jay Owack

I still don’t think I could have given up $200/day of easy AdSense money.

33 Word Hugger

Even so, some webmasters wouldn’t mind an extra $xxx per month, even if it equaled a few cents per search.

34 The Dino

I am not sure how do you sell it to Google.


lol true, most people would take the $200 and think nothing more of it. I think Shoe makes a good point though.

I guess the best of both worlds would be if you could modify AFS and collect the data as well as the cash:)

36 Nick Sullivan

Wow, yeh that is a good point. But I think maybe this point.. maybe only applies to ‘big’ sites with huge volumes of traffic like nextpimp. I think with adsense you would be selling yourself short, but maybe adsense is best on the way up until you get enough traffic to systimatically analyse large amounts of data for affiliate purposes.

37 Grivon

No sir.. I opted for my own search engine – check it out by clicking on my name :p

38 Hip Hop

Wow I never really thought about it that way…

39 lyricsreg

I recently added an AFS, because the “optimization team” recommended it, but it is displayed only when the user finds nothing with the internal search engine.

40 lyricsreg

Who would ? :)

41 lyricsreg

Apparently everyone wants to know :)

42 lyricsreg

If I were to guess … 20-30k a day, judging by alexa

43 Click Input

Wow, I can only imagine the chunk of change it is making all up!

44 Click Input

Yes precisely.

45 Joeychgo

Very good write up.

46 Chris Guthrie

So you opted to go with your own search engine so you could track the search engine data and in turn use it to help with your PPC campaigns for ringtons? (Just trying to clear it up)

47 king jacob

A rapper?

48 John doe

What is the deal with this?

Were you sued by Nextel?

49 ShoeMoney

yup one of my first dealings with a federal court.

btw why so anonymous?

50 ***V***

Trading $200 from Adsense to try your own thing? Well you must have been making more than $200 elsewhere, cause I personally would have stayed with it, and maybe try some internal advertising on the side.

51 katurday

I just read nextel’s complaint, bummer! what was the outcome?

52 Paul.

I can’t believe you got sued by nextel.

53 Michael Fultz

That is some interesting data. Something to think about..

54 Aditya Kumar Singh

You are right dude. I think a better strategy is to first use a PHP script to capture wat the user has entered in the search form, store the data and then redirect the user to google adsense for search . Will that be possible ????????????????

55 Blogs for Money

Doesn’t Google give you access to this kinda of thing if you use their search? If they don’t, they should!!

56 Seo Next

Adsense for search never payed me much so i removed it .But there are few sites like which will manage to show all our google search results to everyone in world which i dont like .

57 Instant Community

Yeah i have been searching and going through my stats as well.

58 Neon

it is indeed very beneficial to find out what our visitors are searching for in order to do a good ppc campaign to bring in correctly visitors. i didnt realize about this. this is nice tips for me. what i’ve been thinking is just to provide a way of search for visitors since i dont provide internal site search myself.

59 Barbara48

Hence, regardless of where Mr. ,

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