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This tip comes directly from a conversation I had with someone who had been ripped off. Why were they ripped off? Because they weren't in control of their AdSense account.

For some sites, an AdSense account is like a license to print money. Now, most sites aren't making thousands of dollars a month from AdSense, but it's very feasible for niche sites to make a hundred or more dollars a month — see Rick's recent entry on Feedbuzzard, for example. Whether you're making a lot or not so much, it's still extra income that should be coming your way.

I say should because the reality is that many people outsource the management of their sites third parties. Not everyone has the time or the expertise to develop their own Web pages (though it's not that's difficult to learn the basics, as I show in Make Easy Money with Google), so outsourcing the development and maintenance of a site may make sense in many cases. But don't outsource the management of your AdSense account or, worse yet, let someone else use their own account to display ads on your site. The AdSense account should be registered in your name (or the name of your business), not in anyone else's name. The money should be sent to you directly, as should the tax information. If you want to give the guys maintaining your site a cut of the revenue, fine, but do it yourself from the money that Google sends you, don't have the money sent to Google.

For similar reasons, make sure that the ownership and control of your domain name rests with you and not a third party. Your domain name (or domain names, it's common to have more than one, even if they just point to the same site) is a valuable resource, it's part of your brand. Take the time to learn how to use a domain name registrar (it's easy) and manage the names yourself. If you ever have problems with your hosting service, for example, you won't be held hostage by them (you do have local backup copies of your website, don't you?) if you control the domain name — there are plenty of web hosting companies out there eager for your business.