Digg Users Don’t Click Ads?

I was reading this post over at Tech Recipes about the top 10 things webmasters should know about the Digg Effect. The article is generally well written but there is one glaring error.

1. Digg users do not click ads. Webmasters should stop trying to game the system to get the traffic. The increased traffic will use up your bandwidth and will risk slowing down or crashing your server. In the short run, getting on the front page is more likely to cost you money than make you money if you are depending on ads for your revenue. We don’t care as we give most of our ad proceeds back to our users in the forms of gifts and such. I am not certain why digg users do not click on ads; however, my best guess is that a lot of this traffic is just people surfing to see what’s popular in the internet world. Surfers are not looking for anything in particular; and therefore, they are not going to be influenced by content-targeted ads on the site. Webmasters, quit trying to abuse digg for your greed; it does not work.

I can understand why Digg users don’t click on any ads on Tech Recipes (just look at the site), but to say Digg users don’t click ads is simply incorrect. When I got Dugg on How To Clean Your Keyboard, I made an extra $500 because of the extra traffic coming from Digg, and most of that came from CPC ads, so don’t tell me Digg users don’t click on ads because they do. I have never lost money on a Digg before – every one of them resulted in 100’s of dollar of extra income.

Any traffic can be monetized. Ad placement, targeting and optimization are the keys. This is something Tech Recipes doesn’t seem to understand. So in their minds they believe Digg users don’t click on ads, or what extra money they would make won’t even cover their bandwidth cost. Bandwidth is cheap! You can get 1,000 Gigs for $99 and they’ll even toss in a free server. Tech Recipe states a Digg creates an extra Gig of bandwidth per day for 5-7 days. So what’s that? 50 to 70 cents additional bandwidth cost – hardly anything to worry about. The main problem is whether the server can handle that many connections at once, but that’s a hardware cost, not bandwidth.

I wonder if the owners of Tech Recipe realize what they’re sitting on. The site looks like it’s getting very high traffic based on their Alexa ranking and their Who’s Online data, which was showing 1,881 visitors online at the time I visited. The site should easily pull down $20,000 a month if it was properly monetized.

If Tech Recipe is reading this, give me a shout if you want to make some serious money off the site.

9 thoughts on “Digg Users Don’t Click Ads?”

  1. Geiger says:

    There is truth though, that more technologically savvy people click less ads. Also Organic search results bring the best visitor in terms of those results.

    Digg traffic is not worthless by any means, but is worh-less.

  2. Stephen says:

    I agree with Moto. Never, ever, have I ever gotten dugg and NOT made money off it. All my CPC programs skyrocketed. If you don’t want that DIGG traffic, send it to me. I’ll make money off it, tech saavy, or not.

    I can see why Tech Recipes is not happy. Their site is severely handicapped when a Digg happens because their ads are so poorly placed. All they stand to lose is money. If they fixed it, they’d be singing a different tune.

  3. Ryan says:

    Thanks for linking to that article. I went ahead and cleaned my keyboard. Now it looks like new :D.

  4. John Chow says:

    Geiger – There is no truth that tech users click fewer ads. And Digg traffic is definitely not worth less than other traffic. If anything it’s worth more. Tech users are among the most highly valued groups on the net. They are highly educated, make more money (and spend more) than average, and are much more likely to buy online than any other groups.

    All this adds up to major dollar signs for advertisers. How else can CNet or Slashdot command $50 CPM for an ad on their site (their rate card says $80 but they’ll sell for $50)? Digg gets 200 million page views a month and is valued at $200 million. Dating site PlentyOfFish.com claims 500 million page views per month but would be lucky if he get even $25 million for it. Why? Because tech users are worth way more than a dating group. You won’t find many groups that are worth more than tech.

    As for tech users not clicking, that’s just false. I once had a Slashdot for a USB knife with a perfectly targeted ad for it (the knife itself). The click rate was 20%! Tech users will click if the offer is targeted to what they’re looking for.

    From my point of view, all this is pretty simple – anyone who can’t make money off a Digg just doesn’t know what they’re doing.

  5. Geiger says:

    John, what is your CTR? I don’t mean CTR of a site you have, I mean how often do you click on an ad? I would guess a technical guy like you does not click on every 1 in 5 ads.

    Now if you know that your are going to be getting traffic from Slashdot for a specific article you can place a specific ad. Now if you don’t know this or you use contextual ads, the rate won’t nearly be as high with contextual.

    Are you saying that a technical user is just as likely to click a generic banner ad as technical user is?

  6. John Chow says:

    I’m a tech guy but I’m also an internet marketer, and as such I hardly click ads at all. It is believe that Tech users won’t click on as many generic ads are non tech users, but no one has actually done any studies to prove it. But I will say that all users will click if the offer is targeted to what they’re looking for.

    Since I own mostly tech sites and so far it has been only the tech sites that has been dugg or /. I’ve done very well with finely targeted ads for the digg/dot readers.

    Sites that complain about a Digg or Slashdot not making any money lack the targetting that their offers needs in order to convert the readers. I know tech users will click if targetting is there. I’ve seen it in my stats. I also see it in my TTZ Hot Deals page. The page sells $200,000 of stuff every month.

    It’s all in how your present it.

  7. Geiger says:

    I think that we are arguing two different points. If you know the demographic and interest group of your visitors, obviously tailor made ads can be best. However for “AdSense” and contextual ads, I’ve only experienced minor click through rates. When you hear people complaining, it is going to be AdSense people.

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