Experimenting with Ads (and Legitimate Asbestos Writings!)

Last night, I don’t know what hit me, but I decided to throw a Google Ad on this site. You can see it right up there at the top of your screen. It’s the first ever (and probably last ever) ad on Mike Industries and it’s there as an experiment more than anything else. I know a lot of bloggers who have experimented with ads only to take them down days, weeks, or months later, and I’m sure I will follow suit, but for now, there it is!

So far, I’ve been pretty impressed with Google’s targeting capability, not only applying “real estate specific” ads to posts about condos, but actually geo-specific as well, serving up spots for new condo developments in my home town. Good stuff.

So speaking about ad targeting and experimenting, what better time to write about the high-cost-per-click-topic of asbestos! Seriously!

In preparing to move into the new Mike Industries Global Headquarters, I had to take a sample of the popcorn ceiling down to an asbestos testing lab yesterday. Since my building was built in 1963, I was told there was a greater than 95% chance there would be asbestos in the ceilings. If the test turned out positive, I’d have to call a professional abatement crew in there in order to ensure the place was properly cleared of mesothelioma-causing fibers. The stuff is pretty nasty and is the cause of many ugly lawsuits and cancer diagnoses.

Shockingly, however, everything came back negative! No asbestos. So now it’s just a question of taking down the popcorn ceiling as fast as possible and repainting the concrete slab ceiling above it. Does anybody have any experience with painting and resurfacing concrete slab ceilings? Is it a day job? Two days? Three days? A week? Any good recommendations for contractors in Seattle?

25 comments on “Experimenting with Ads (and Legitimate Asbestos Writings!)”. Leave your own?
  1. Arnor says:

    Well, Google seems to have some recommendations for you… =P

  2. Brad says:

    Could you stain it like you would a concrete floor? I might be a bit darker than you’re after but it could be pretty cool.

  3. Courtney Nielsen says:

    I’m currently scraping 2000 square feet of popcorn from my ceiling. After talking to several home improvement people, i’ve decided to bypass asbestos testing and wear a good asbestos-rated respirator, shut off each room under construction with plastic, and work in a hurry. I put a HEPA filter in my shop vac, and run a large HEPA filter after scraping all the cheese off.

    At 6′ 7″, i accidentally scrape my ceiling and get this crap all over me all the time–every time i put on my shirt, stretch, etc. My home is split-level, so one of the ceilings is at eye level from the dining room. If it was as bad as some say it is, all the more reason to get rid of it. I think there’s more hype than truth tho. If “just one fiber” can cause disease, it wouldn’t be used at all (from what i’ve heard its still used in many everyday items), and it wouldn’t even be legal to have on the ceiling, period.

    I did some concrete painting in myold place in SF. If you are patching, use a patch compound rated for concrete, and prime first with a primer made for concrete as well. After that, any indoor paint should work fine. Use a roller that matches the concrete texture.

    Thanks for your blog.

  4. Josh B. says:

    I don’t know what your aesthetic is, but I would argue for simply removing the popcorn and painting it as-is (spray-on, not roll-on). I love the texture of my exposed concrete ceiling, although it is from the 1920’s, so it has some truly awesome board-form texture.

    Oh, and paint it white/off-white, at least for starters. The difference in the quality of light will be huge over a darker color.

  5. JBagley says:

    You gota tell us how much you make with that ad after a couple of weeks! It will be very interesting to know.

  6. Jim says:

    I’m reading your blog from Utah, and of the 4 links in your google ad, the first was for Washington-State condos (check), the 2nd advertised condos “in the heart of Buckhead” (wherever that is) and the last two were for Las Vegas and Chicago condominiums.

    Is that as geo-specific as they get?

    Incidentally, when I clicked to add a reply, they changed to 4 ads about asbestos labs and environmental testing. So at least they’re covering all their bases!

  7. Sam says:

    Hey Mike, I’m feel like I’m missing an important part of this story! How did you get the popcorn stuff down?

    Anyway, I’m glad to see other people sayinng it is acceptable to test adsence on a blog. I have always been afraid that readers would think I am trying to rip them off some how if I were to do it.

  8. Ben Lowery says:

    Mike, do you know about The Popcorn Forum, a site dedicated to removing popcorn ceilings? Lots of good info over there, but I’m not sure how much for concrete slab ceilings. Good luck!

  9. Don says:

    okay so wanting to know more about the subject, I clicked on an add. I once didn’t buy a home because it contained aspestos and had an underground storage tank (notice I mispelled asbestos that should increase your hits since others will too …). They won’t mind though because then I clicked on their google add as I wanted to know more about fibro myalgea (see my logic on spelling here?). Once I had that knowledge I figured I’d come back and see what number I am in commenting as it appears I would be nine, so I’ll probably be about 12 the way people seem to respond to you. Question, how are you eliminating spam here? Does spam contain asbestos? It might you know?

  10. Glad to hear it, Mike! Keep us updated on how it goes and what method(s) you end up having success with. Best of luck.

  11. Christian says:

    Courtney’s post is causing asbestos ads to be generated. But why oh why the ad – is the $30K in DreamHost referals not cutting it for you anymore? :P

  12. Mike D. says:

    Brad: Interesting idea. I’ll ask!

    Courtney, Josh, and Ben: Thanks for the tips.

    Sam: I haven’t taken the popcorn down, but apparently you can pay a contractor several hundred bucks to just wet the stuff down and it comes right off. Messy, but not too hard. I’m more concerned with what do to afterwards and how long it takes.

  13. PanMan says:

    If the ad’s are an experiment, then what are you experimenting with? Or is the term experiment just used to see if you, too, can get rich-quick, as seen in many ads? :)

  14. Kevin Burton says:

    I clicked on all the ads for you…. and even read the sites that they linked to!

    Next time you see me you owe me a beer or two!! :)


  15. Mike D. says:

    PanMan: It’s mainly an experiment to gauge the value of Google Ads, in this context. They are *fairly* unobtrusive, so I would say that there exists a certain price at which I would consider keeping them around. For instance, if that ad pulled in like 1000 or 2000 bucks a month, I might keep it. But if it pulled in a few hundred, it’s out like trout.

  16. But if it pulled in a few hundred, it’s out like trout.

    So for a price, you will run the ads… What about running them on pages older then a certain date, or not serving them to people with mikeindustries.com cookies? Less intrusive for your mainstream audience, and you may feel better even if you are only making Vegas gambling money…

    I don’t mind the ads, meself…

  17. gb says:

    @Jim: I’ve noticed some issues like that with geo-specific ads in Utah. I started seeing stuff for Everett (WA) a lot of the time… I’m thinking it has something to do with being on comcast and something is very similar (perhaps the ips or whatever) up on comcast in Everett, etc.

  18. I don’t actually see the ad, just a big black rectangle where it’s supposed to be.

  19. Jason says:

    Whether you pay someone or do it yourself, it can make a mess. Much cheaper to do yourself and not a big deal (but a good workout!) They make a tool just for scraping that stuff off, and it comes off pretty easy. Once you have, a coat of primer and then spray on texture works great (that’s the messy part, and do it on a day you can have lots of windows open!). Then a final coat of paint. If you had nothing to do all weekend you could easily start on a Saturday morning and be done and cleaned up late Sunday afternoon.

  20. Steve says:


    Have you considered selling that ad space for a flat monthly fee? I know that over at Tech Crunch he’s selling 8 prime spots (which are always sold) for 10,000 clams a month. That’s a lot of seafood.


  21. Ramesh says:

    I feel the ad is a bit detached from the website and hence may not bring in a lots of clicks. What about joining the ad block with the top banner and also placing a plain text ad at the end of an article?

  22. For what it’s worth, this is a fantastic step-by-step guide to removing a popcorn ceiling. I found it linked from lifehacker:


    Bonus: the author works in graphic design!

  23. Courtney says:

    I can vouch for the jasongraphix tutorial. I used it myself. However I recommend getting a cannister-based respirator (about $45) and eye protection as the stuff is like smoke when it dried and loose. They look cool when you wear em too. Scares people away

  24. Dave says:

    I like how you mentioned all the important “ad words” like real estate, asbestos, and mesothelioma. This will probably improve your Page Rank and other [arbitrary, though money-producing] website-ranking numbers.

  25. Eric says:

    Dude, at the top of the page is one of the worst spots for contextual ads. You’ll never make 1-2k with it just at the top.h

    Try placing them in between each blog post (at the bottom of each one). Suddenly an ad about “asbestos”, which I see at the top of the page, is now much more relevant beneath your post about ceiling asbestos.

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