Can Google AdSense hurt your brand?

A simple and obvious way to make money online is dedicating space on a website for selling ads. Google makes is super-easy to do and thousands of websites make passive income from Google AdSense. However, I have seen it time and time again where the ads contradict the theme of the website. In many cases Google AdSense hurts your brand.

Your brand is everything

A niche website such as mine has a centralized theme. MoneyPlan SOS is known for helping people to get out of debt and living on a moneyplan.

This includes getting away from debt products of any kind – including credit cards. This online personality must remain consistent for its readers and podcast listeners – wavering in any direction would break their trust.

Imagine my surprise when I saw this in a guest post I wrote for another get-out-of-debt website:

Google AdSense Can Hurt Your Brand

One of these things just doesn't belong!

What the? I was quite angry when I saw that.

I wrote a brilliant post about the problems these cards cause and how consumers have been brainwashed to believe credit cards are good for their finances.

At the end of the article, just before the comments, the Google AdSense shines brightly for all to see – and it hurts my brand.

It's like a Ford assembly line worker arriving to work in a Toyota Camry, a shop teacher with missing fingers, or a Priest convicted for molestation. To sell an add for credit cards within a post railing against their use is just wrong.

This single ad makes me look like a fool. Google AdSense could hurt your brand too.

Bloggers: Respect your readers and get rid of the ads

I know of many personal finance blogs who fall victim to this mismatch. They write about living on a budget or pinching pennies – then a big, fat Payday loan ad gets stuck right in the middle! It's sending mixed signals and is hurting their brand.

My promise: You will never see a random advertisement on my website.

I don't need the money that bad.

Affiliates for integrity, AdSense for everyone else

You will find some items on this website that are for sale. These are affiliations to services or products that I use myself or would recommend to my mom. I care about my visitors too much to let them stumble across a product or service that I don't personally believe in.

Yes, Google AdSense can help bring in some extra dough but my integrity isn't for sale!

Bloggers: If you are trying to make money with online sales without creating your own products then consider listing affiliate sales for items that fit your brand.

If you don't care about your readers or your brand then feel free to put AdSense all over your blog.

So many podcasts, so little time
Interview with Pat Flynn: How do successful people spend money (and a Blogger-themed WipeOut?)


  • Jon White

    February 10, 2014

    Steve, thank you for writing this. It always bothers me when I’m reading a personal finance blog and they have a Google Sense Ad for a Payday Loan company. Talk about losing credibility fast, I can’t take those sites seriously. It’s like they are putting their profits before offering quality financial advice.

  • Kraig

    February 10, 2014


    Agreed, my friend. Agreed. I don’t know if I’d go as far to say that anyone who puts up adsense doesn’t have integrity, but I personally don’t believe it helps our readers.

    I chose to take them down months ago and don’t regret it a bit. Affiliate you believe in and products of your own are a much better strategy for both the publisher and the audience.

    Talk to you soon,

  • Prudence Debtfree

    February 11, 2014

    Eeek! I’m almost certain I read that post, but I didn’t notice the ad. I have been encouraged to try to make money off of my blog – which would certainly be a welcome help to pay off our debt – but I’ve been reluctant to go that route partly because of issues like the ones you bring up. How do you go about finding affiliates?

    • Steve Stewart

      February 12, 2014

      There are dozens of websites you can join that offer links, banners, and sidebar widgets for affiliates. This allows you to be more selective on who gets to be featured next to your brilliant blogpost – and shouldn’t hurt your brand.
      Try,, and

  • EL @Moneywatch101

    February 13, 2014

    Thanks for living with integrity, not like some other big blogs, who plaster credit card offers all over their sites. Its an oxymoron I feel.

    • Steve Stewart

      February 14, 2014

      Thanks for listening to me vent. It’s good to know I’m not the only one that feels this way.

  • JM

    June 29, 2017

    Thanks for a good article. I’ve come to the same conclusion after trying Google Adsense for just a day. Turned it off. Now i”m looking for someone who can help me use affiliates. But I need help wading through the affiliate marketing world. anyone knows of someone or a site that can lead one through it, let me know. Thanks!