May 24, 2010


Should you builld custom search for your site?

Google has just announced the revenue sharing structure for AdSense. I suppose, recent announcement from Apple about iAds and making the revenue sharing public forced Google to go public on this. After all, they are a huge proponents of "All Things Open." (tm)

According to the announcements, publishers get 68% of revenues for Adsense for Content. This number stands at 51% for Adsense for Search. Adsense for Search is the ads shown by Google when publishers use Google's custom search. Take a look at custom search on TechCrunch. (BTW, it seems, TechCrunch has silently dropped Yahoo BOSS that they had implemented one and half years back.)

Google keeps additional 17% when you use their search.

Now, if publishers is a big player (think TechCrunch), 17% revenue might translate to a meaningful number. These publishers can build a custom search with Lucene/Solr and use Google Adsense for Content on those pages to show ads.

Google custom search is trivial to implement compared to building and maintaining custom Lucene/Solr search. I don't have numbers at hand, but, few thousands dollars seem to be the tipping point where building custom search is a better idea. Just to put a concrete number, I would say, if revenues from Adsense for Search is in excess of $60,000 (per year), custom search is the way to go.

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