The short answer? We had already decided it was over. At the outset, being an affiliate based site, we resisted the temptation to run competing adverts (even for our own affiliate partners’ ads). Google however kept pushing traffic our way long after we had decided the numbers were not stacking up. So we thought we would reciprocate, as they were not always finding what they wanted on EM, and sent customers on the way.
In many respects even judicious advertising on an affiliate based site seems to me to be cannibalistic. Anyway, it seems that eBay, Amazon and a few others do play adverts next to their content, though as a user I find that irritating, especially when they are almost seamless in design (which seems to be the advice) and on a site which didn’t rely entirely on organic search – therefore you want to be there not elsewhere. One cannot help feeling that accidental clicks and dopey users must amount for a lot of the costs of CPC advertising and Google profits.
So did we make money out of Adsense? Sure we did. But barely enough to pay for the dedicated server EM was running on. We eventually moved back to Virtual machine, and got on with our lives and a new home, a very old one actually, waiting for a panda to arrive and take away the remaining passers by.
BTW Panda didn’t kill EM, it was already in intensive care and we’d never planned to rely quite so heavily on organic search, though we clearly did some SEO things just right.