It’s An Advertising Bonanza!

This morning I got an email from Text-Links-Ads saying they sold a link on my blog. I signed up for Text-Link-Ads a while ago but have completely forgotten about them. I tried selling my own advertising on this blog but wasn’t very successful at it. The three links under “Sponsored Link” were really freebies. I was hoping to land a real sale if an advertiser saw some links had sold already. Since that didn’t happen, I’ve removed that section.

It seems most advertisers prefer to buy advertising through a 3rd party network like Google. I believe the reason advertisers don’t like to deal directly with a blog is because it takes too much time. By using Google or another network (like Text-Link-Ads), an advertiser can easily browse for a ton of sites that match their requirements, and with one simple click, order up some advertising.

Often times, an advertiser ends up spending more this way. For example, the “Business Intelligence” link (direct below the top 468 Google ad) cost Cognos $200.00 per month. Had they came to me directly, they could have got it for $150.00. I found out what Congnos paid after doing a search for my blog on Text-Link-Ads. I think it’s great that they sold a link for me. There are 8 link spots available. If Text-Link-Ads can sell all the spots, that’ll bring in an extra $800.00 net per month.

Today’s text link sale got me into tweaking mode. I spent most of the day trying to figure ways to monetize the advertising bonanza the blog was enjoying. That’s when I decided to hit FeedBurner. Many webmasters use FeedBurner to handle their RSS but very few know they also run the FeedBurner Ad Network (FAN). The FAN supplies advertising to my full feed RSS. What I wasn’t aware of was FAN can also serve ads directly to my blog. Once I found that out, I instantly removed the TTZ Media ads and replaced it with FAN ads.

fanad.jpg

FAN ads are CPM based and the CPM is very high. The above ads gross $5.00 CPM and The Lost Room ad that is currently running is grossing $7.00 CPM. FeedBurner takes 35% as their share, which is extremely reasonable when compared to Text-Link-Ads 50% share of revenues.

The bottom ad spot started out as the lowest performing ad spot. Using Google AdSense, the location barely produced 50 cents eCPM. Switching them to TTZ Media ads improved that to about $2.00 eCPM. Now, FeedBurner could make the bottom ad spot my most profitable!

Most bloggers depend on Google way too much. At the beginning, this is OK but as your traffic grows, you need to keep an eye out for other opportunities because there are networks out there that will pay you more. The hard part is getting into these networks. The ones that pay high rates (like FeedBurner) have very high entrance requirements. To see if you qualify to be part of the FeedBurner Ad Network, log into your FeedBurner account and click the Monetize tab. It will give you an instant answer. Check out my list of other ad networks here.

Look for my making money from a blog – November recap, in three days. You think I beat October’s results?


34 thoughts on “It’s An Advertising Bonanza!”

  1. Ed Lau says:

    The traffic requirements for FAN are quite high. I estimate that you’d need around 800 people subbed to your feed or a sustained level of subscription that’s a tad lower. I hit nearly 600 subscriptions for a couple days on my blog but the tab still said I didn’t meet requirements.

    The sponsored links look better on the sidebar. They look out of place and awkward at the top.

  2. John Chow says:

    I wanted to put the links in my side bar but that is control by the sidebar widget and it won’t allow PHP codes to be enter in its text box.

    Anyone know a way around this?

  3. Raghu says:

    Read this as a comment from a user point of view somehow I am thinking that the ads on your page seem to be taking out the fun of reading a post – they seem to break the flow of the post too much – your post has ads on the top, alongside your start of the post, in the middle, at the end ….

    I definitely am happy to know that the amount of money you are making is good – your Nov figures might be even higher.

    But …. bottom line is that all the new advertising options are a result of the traffic and ensure that you don’t impact that.

    Raghu @ raghucs.blogspot.com

  4. dean says:

    I have the same problem, I think there is a plugin to use PHP code. I haven’t found it though. Anybody can help us out?

  5. John Chow says:

    Raghu – Thanks for the feedback. Three ads per page really isn’t that much. Most sites have way more. This post looks like it has more because I posted a screen shot of two ads. If you want an almost ad free version you can always read my posts from the full fee RSS. However, it may have a FeedBurner ad running once in a while.

  6. John Chow says:

    dean – I found the plugin that allows you to run PHP inside a post but not inside the sidebar widget.

  7. Lynx says:

    John, I think the only reason you didn’t sell ads was becuase they weren”t value for money.

    $150 for a text link and $500 for the top bar was just too high, then there’s the 2 month contract thing.

    Coupled with the sneaky google ad targeting i could get a much bigger ad in the centre of your post for just a few hundred dollars and end it once my budget is blown.

    I own a website and considered advertising on your site as i like your blog. I was priced out in the end and wasn’t too happy about the google ad shout outs.

    In my opinion, i’d suggest reducing the ads costs and prove to your potential advertisers how much traffic you can send them – rather than how much money you can make. Looking at it from the other side of the advertisign fence might just bring in more revenue in the long run.

    Cheers,

    Lynx

  8. HMTKSteve says:

    Where is John Chow and what have you done with him?

    There is no hint of snarkiness in this post so, where is he?

  9. John Hood says:

    It’s a shame that FB hasn’t lowered the subscriber threshold to participate in FAN! However, their customer support is second to none, and I’ve no reason to switch service providers. 🙂

  10. Yeah, FAN is great and easy to implement. Most of their ads are also from reputable corporation.. which is a good thing. Some ads I’m running have a CPM of 9$, which is excellent. Too bad the # of impressions they offer are limited..

  11. Oh, and to let everybody know, I just got in contact with the Text-Links-ads president, and he told me they would start accepting blogger blogs in early january.

    That’s some great news for a lot of people out there!

  12. John Hood says:

    Patrick Gavin, President of Text-Link-Ads, dropped me an e-mail regarding a “semi automated” solution for Blogger platform users a few days ago.

    Looking forward to integrating Feedvertizing in 2007!

  13. Bob says:

    Hi John, (I love your blog). I spent about $2000 in the months of September and October with Text-Link-Ads. There’s only two reasons why you would want to purchase a text link (afaik)

    1) You want to improve your organic search engine ranking
    2) You expect direct results (a newsletter signup, a purchase, a sales lead, etc.)

    Having had very little luck with #2 over the years, I decided #1 would be my strategy. Now, I don’t have any problem with their company at all, however I did pull the ads because I was concerned that the links didn’t do much for my organic page ranks in Google after reading this blog post by Matt Cutts (of Google):

    http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/text-links-and-pagerank/

    If I understand this correctly, the problem is that Google will discount the value of a link’s “vote” if Google ascertains that it was paid for. Certain words may trigger this, and who knows what else Google does to determine this. I did see one directly attributable sale from my ads, but saw no bump in rank for my key words (admittedly, the Text-Link-Ads people suggested that I needed to run the ads for THREE months to see the full effect) and opted to try something else. I will say this, they were nice enough to offer to host my ads on different sites after I pointed this out to them.

    BTW, I considered an ad buy on your site, and the price wasn’t a problem per se … the reasons I didn’t (and I share these with you so you can try again in the future and know what a potential customer is thinking …)

    1) I don’t think your audience is my niche target for a direct sale (but for Google’s sake, it was close enough)
    2) I seem to remember you had the words “Sponsored Links” on the page … a cursory glance right now … I don’t see that verbage … but per my statements about Google above, that kind of scared me off
    3) Ignorance on my part — do more people view your blog via their favorite RSS aggregator OR come to your website? (I know I read you every day in Bloglines and only come to your site when I want to make a comment.)

  14. Congrats. I still haven’t been able to sell a text link on my blog (PR5) through text link ads. Bummer…

    Glad to see you sold one though. I have friends who make 600-ish a month just from TLA and I am envious LOL I like your template btw, looks like mine. 😉

  15. derrich says:

    I’ve definitely beat my previous month’s AdSense revenue…and I’ve finally started seeing a constant uptrend in traffic. Now, if I can just get it on the “John Chow” level, I’ll be set. Right? John? Anyone? 🙂

  16. Tony says:

    @Bob – couple of things:

    1. I think AdSense TOS requires you to label Google’s ads as “Sponsored Links” and/or make it clear that it’s paid advertising.

    2. AdSense ads are generated via JavaScript anyways, so when a bot crawls the page, it will not see those as backlinks (as oppose to TLA’s text-link ads)

    I might be missing some understanding of backlink value. Buying a TLA for $200/month places a single (keyworded, yes) backlink from your site to their. And unless your site has a terribly high PageRank, I just don’t see the same value being generated in organic improvements.

  17. Allen.H says:

    Wow, a CPM of 5 dollars is major, i wonder what’s the exact number of subscribers do you need in order to enter though…too bad i didn’t try to get there when i had 900 =/

    Allen.H

  18. Nomar says:

    I made more than last month to for sure (from adsense)

    thats because i run adsense since november hehe 🙂

    my traffic is gaining also.. last 2 days both above the 200 uniques

  19. Bob says:

    @Tony

    Thanks for the reply … I wasn’t talking about AdWords … I wouldn’t expect AdWords to give me an organic ranking bump … that would be too easy. 🙂

    I was referring specifically to purchasing small text ads *directly* from the owner of the website OR from a company like Text-Link-Ads.

    The blogs I was purchasing links from all had a higher PR ranking (last time I checked my site is at a 6 … and the sites I was purchasing from were 7’s and 8’s). I read somewhere on Matt Cutt’s blog that having a few 7’s & 8’s gave you a lot more “bang for the buck” than having dozens of 2’s and 3’s … assuming that Google hasn’t filtered the links completely because it thought those links were “paid for”.

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  21. Tony says:

    @Bob

    Ah, that would make some sense. I’ve subscribed to Matt’s blog (seems very informative), thank you for pointing to it 😉

    My parent domain is sitting at PR 5, but blogs under it are pretty new, so they are still sandboxed.

    Does anyone have any info on cross-site linking? For example, linking from high PR index page, to no PR specific-post page?

  22. Victor says:

    John,

    The widget for executing PHP in your sidebar can be found here: http://ottodestruct.com/blog/2006/04/09/fun-with-widgets/

    Look for the execphp.zip file to download. It is similar to the text widget where you can have up to nine instances loaded in the sidebar.

  23. Bill Flitter says:

    Another alternative is Pheedo (www.pheedo.com)(disclosure – I am a founder). We currently do not have a traffic minimum for our RSS or Blog ad network. Rates vary by category but are very competive (approx range: $2 – $10). We offer different programs for all traffic levels. Not hear to do a sales pitch so if you would like more information please contact me at bill AT Pheedo dot com. Thanks.

  24. Allen.H says:

    John do you know the estimated number of RSS subscribers one needs to get access into FAN?

    Allen.H

  25. vurdlak says:

    way to go john,

    now see decline in your FAN earnings… the more the webmasters use it, the less ads appear on our sites…

    the inventory of ads is much smaller than number of publishers. before they had 90% times impression, now FAN has only 20% pagiveiwes daily impressions cause of laudmouth like you…

  26. vurdlak says:

    this why noone that uses FAN talks about it… you shoudln’t too!

  27. Hannes says:

    John, Google apparently doesn’t like people buying/selling links to improve their search rankings…

    Do you think there is a chance that by selling text links on your site that Google will “penalize” your organic search results?

    – Hannes

  28. John Chow says:

    Victor – Thank you very much!

    Allen.H – No I do not know how many RSS readers you must have before FAN accepts you.

    vurdlak – Ops!!!

    Hannes – Too early to tell at this point.

  29. Tony says:

    @Hannes

    I’ve read that selling text links does not penalize your website (your PageRank is not affected), BUT the value of _all_ your backlinks are decreased.

    Meaning to say that if you pay money to buy a backlink from some 8+ PR site, but Google finds that they sell a lot of spammy links… you will not get any organic benifit yourself.

  30. AdsBay says:

    I think the reason advertising networks will always be needed is so the advertisers can find exactly what they want in the minimum of time, but I don’t think that the whole system needs to be automated. Although for some this is preferred, others prefer to have more control over the content on their site/s.

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  32. Dave Perry says:

    Hello,

    Nice site!

    How can I implement those intellitext ads that you have on my own blog. Are they the same as textlink ads? I signed up for feedvertizing and installed the wordpress plugin, yet I see nothing in my posts. Is there a trick to get them to work. Also do they pay very much? And finally do all these ads other then google require some kind of minimun traffic requirements?

    I have a blog, but so far the traffic is slow. I just started posting more frequently over the last week, yet it seems like my traffic is decreasing. Any reasons you can think why that could be happening?

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