Judging by some of the feedback from my Beginners guide to Google AdSense, it seems that a lot of folk are confusing AdSense with another Google product: AdWords. It's not surprising, given the similarity in their names. But these really are two distinct programs.
In a nutshell, the difference is as follows:
- AdWords is for advertisers. It lets you advertise your product or service in Google search results and on third-party websites. If that's what you want, then it's AdWords you should sign up for.
- AdSense is for publishers. If you run a website or blog, and you want to earn some revenue by displaying ads on it, then AdSense is the program for you.
As well as the above guide, you can find information about both programs at the Google Help Centre.