I am beginning to feel that it's not a good idea to put all my eggs in one basket,and I have been branching out and publishing elsewhere besides Hubpages.
However, when it comes to monetizing my new sites, there doesn't seem to be any good alternative to Google Adsense. Is there any competition in the ad placement market?
It really depends on what your content revolves around.
If your content is product-centric then something like Chitika could work very well for you. PepperJam is also generally meant for product centric sites. AdBrite is a lot like AdSense - however it's distribution is not as great which means that there are less advertisers - and therefore less relevant results and earnings for you.
To sign up with AdBrite just go to their website and sign up - it shouldn't be that difficult to get approved. With PepperJam it is a bit more difficult, and many times they will want to speak with you personally over the phone if you are not a bigtime traffic heavy website.
Not really. Microsoft has something going on with Yahoo now, but I've not seen a program from them like Google's AdSense. Google simply dominates the space for the most part.
That could be a problem in the long run, both for us and for Google. If they are the only service provider, then they will not feel the need to justify their decisions or look at the customer's point of view. This in turn will get people complaining about adhesion contracts -- and pretty soon all of this will come under regulation, and that's the kiss of death.
How do the second tier search engines earn their keep?
Yahoo has had a lot of weird contracts etc over the years, like Yahoo! AT&T DSL etc., besides a little ad-rev. For the most part, Microsoft never makes money in the search engine market.
I believe the Yahoo one is gone or will be gone from what I remember reading. I know there are ones like Pepperjam, Adbrite, etc. They are out there, and some of them are quite popular.
Here is an alternative to Google Adsense:
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