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Most Profitable Ad Network For A Low Traffic Blog

written by John Chow on December 17, 2006

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Some may recall my posted titled Google AdSense A Waste Of Time For Bloggers. In that post, I questioned Jim Kukral’s comment that low traffic blogs can’t make money with Google AdSense. Recently Jim used my November blog income for a post to show he way over estimated what a blog at my traffic level should made.

According to Jim, a blog that receives 5000+ visitors per day should make anywhere from $100 to $500 per day. I don’t know where Jim came up with this estimate but that works out to an eCPM of $20 to $100. The number of sites that can command that kind of rate can be counted on one hand. The only one that comes to mind would be WSJ.com. Jim comes back down to Earth when estimating AdSense for lower traffic blogs. He puts the estimate at $1 eCPM, which any blogger should be able to beat with a bit tweaking.

The point of this post isn’t to call out or down Jim in anyways. His post got me doing a lot of thinking into what really is the best money maker for a low traffic blog. Jim is the founder of BlogKits, an ad network created to monetize low traffic blogs. Jim is convinced that his system will out perform Google, but he has not posted any real world results yet. If anyone is running BlogKit, I would love to know how well it’s doing for you.

In my search for finding the biggest money maker for low traffic blogs, I talked to a bunch of fellow bloggers on my AIM and MSN list – most have blogs with traffic ranging from less than 100 to about 1000 page views per day. As expected, everyone runs Google AdSense and many have experimented with other advertising networks and affiliate programs.

After tallying up the results, I believe I have found the number 1 money maker for a low traffic blog. The answer however, may not go over well with many people. The answer is PayPerPost.

I covered PayPerPost back in October and had some critical things to say about it. Unlike ReviewMe, PayPerPost requires that all paid posts be positive and no disclosure is required. However negative these two points are, it hasn’t stop a flood of low traffic blogs from signing up because the money they can make doing paid posts can blow away any other revenue sources available. One blogger I talked to said, “The only thing keeping my blog running is PayPerPost.”

How much can a blogger make with PayPerPost? Colleen Caldwell runs the Simple Kind Of Life and is a PayPerPost publisher. According to Performancing, which she is also a member of, her blog gets 2,130 impressions per month, or 71 page views per day. Since signing up for PayPerPost, Caldwell had made $1,000 from it in less than seven weeks.

Let’s work the math. $1,000 in seven weeks is $571 per month. Making $571 from 2,130 page views works out to an eCPM of nearly $270! Caldwell says she is currently on track to earn more than $6,000 this year from PayPerPost. Not bad for a blog with less than 100 page views per day.

I am in no way endorsing PayPerPost. I am not a PayPerPost publisher and this is not a paid post. The only reason I’m blogging about them is because of the question, “What is the biggest money maker for low traffic blogs?”

PayPerPost is changing their disclosure policy – all publishers will have to disclose if a post is paid starting on Monday. The requirement for a positive review does not change however. Whether or not you use PayPerPost is up to you.

In the end, the best solution is not any single advertising network. Putting all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea. The best solution is with a mixture of different ad networks that compliment each other. Were I to just stick with just Google AdSense, I would have made only $800 last month instead of $2,200. Getting the revenue mix correct is a tricky thing however. I will blog about that in a future post.

*Update – PayPerPost does not require all reviews be positive. The advertiser can set the tone of the review between positive, neutral and negative. A neutral tone allows the blogger to be either positive or negative. Publishers can also choose to accept or reject any review requests.

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{ 31 comments }

Stefan Julius December 17, 2006 at 6:14 pm

Thanx for this interesting information John it sounds very realistic and I also think that the calculation of BlogKits is a little bit too high.

If you have nothing against it I will write a post about your calculation and the thought that PayPerPost is the best earning method for low traffic blogs.

Greetinx from Germany.

Doug Karr December 17, 2006 at 6:19 pm

John,

I’d actually like to begin doing some analysis on blog revenue. I’d really appreciate it if you would join the team in getting folks to submit their stats:

http://www.douglaskarr.com/2006/12/16/blog-advertising-analysis/

Regards,
Doug

Matt December 17, 2006 at 6:21 pm

I posted regarding BlogKits on Problogger. Basically the way the idea is pitched (at least from what I’ve gathered) is “if you’re a blogger and you don’t feel like learning how to monetize your own blog, trust blogkits because we’re better than Adsense for reasons you’ll never understand.”

It just looks to me like Jim is using the typical eBook pushing approach:

Step 1: Target the uneducated and lazy
Step 2: Promise them the kind of money they CAN’T make anywhere else

I also couldn’t find any specific information on how much commission BlogKits takes per sale. I guarantee it’s a bundle.

Steve December 17, 2006 at 6:39 pm
VC Dan December 17, 2006 at 7:15 pm

Hey John,

I did a bunch of research on the same topic when I was doing diligence for my fund’s PayPerPost investment. I arrived at the same answer — PPP pays the best for the masses, by a good margin. Interestingly, I also found PPP to deliver a larger marketer ROI than any other online marketing option. The win-win-win (and investment) came when I also saw PPP’s model and rating system (similar to eBay buyer/seller feedback) inject more discipline, diversity and blogging best-practices for PPP bloggers — resulting in value to audiences (and audience growth). However, I’m conflicted so discount this research as you like.

All that said, I don’t think the results would have been the same if PPP required all posts to be positive. You say that twice above and may have said it in previous posts. That claim is incorrect and probably worth correcting — given how much weight you place on it.

PPP does not require all posts to be positive — in fact every ad opp PPP creates is specifically open-tone and the CEO has repeatedly advised marketplace participants to follow that lead — like here http://blog.payperpost.com/2006/10/attention-advertisers-keep-it-real.html. Just as eBay sellers may not take all of eBay’s seller advice, participants in the PPP marketplace often have to learn for themselves. I know that many of the top PPP bloggers won’t take tone-specific opps and rate those advertisers lower.

Thanks for asking the question and sharing the answer — even though the ‘winner’ wasn’t your favorite company. PayPerPost is making a significant impact in many people’s lives and, hopefully, will do so for a long time to come. Power to the people ;-)

Ajay D'Souza December 17, 2006 at 7:32 pm

From what I read, Blogkits is CPA. I’m not sure how beneficial a CPA based system is, as it requires signing up to be done.

However, if that does work out, then your talking decent money.

John Chow December 17, 2006 at 9:42 pm

VC Dan – An advertiser can set the Tone of a post. They can choose from Positive, Neutral or Negative. While a Neutral tone may allow the blogger the either be positive or negative about a post, the point remains, the advertiser still controls the tone. So if I require a positive review, the blogger must do so if they wish to accept my opportunity.

Michael Kwan December 17, 2006 at 10:17 pm

Blogsvertise operates in much the same way as PayPerPost with one notable difference: posts need not be positive and they need not actually be on topic, so long as you link to the advertiser’s website three times in your article. Another option for the low traffic blogger

Leonard December 17, 2006 at 10:56 pm

Simply put, PPP is great for anyone who wants to make some extra money online. ReviewMe is another good option, but I guess a lot of those low traffic blogs are not going to get approved.

Ronnie December 17, 2006 at 11:11 pm

I really don;t think that there is anything wrong with google’s ad programs. They have worked out well for me.

Sean December 17, 2006 at 11:23 pm

Blog Kits is my sole advertisement right now. I average 60-80 unique views a day, sometimes more depending on the week. In I believe 2.5 weeks with blog kits, I’ve had 2800 impressions and made nothing.

All of the CPA campaigns right now are either “Sale” or “Lead”. You can make good money off them, but how many people are going to go through with it?

Feel free to contact me via e-mail, John.

Nomar December 17, 2006 at 11:58 pm

can i sign up for payperpost?? or has my blog to be a certain age ???

i have 7,200 page views in december so far.

not making good money with adsense, would love to do this though.

but my blog is online since 17th of october, so is it possible to sign up with them?

John Chow December 18, 2006 at 12:06 am

Nomar – The easiest way to find out is to apply and see what they say. I don’t think they have any minimum requirements to be accepted.

Anonymous December 18, 2006 at 1:22 am

Hi John,

Just wanna say I love your blog, a nice mixture of interesting things and it gives alot of inspiration.

I think many people with blogs tend to focus to much on CPC ads, with blogs you have a great oppertunity to actually sell products. It’s likely that you have a niche in your blog and your visitors are probably interested in that topic. Promoting products within that niche can be very lucrative, you don’t have to do paid reviews but you can includes something like “Recommended product” under your post or similar, this is very effective generating hight CTR and CR.

//

Shawno December 18, 2006 at 2:49 am

I’ve easily made over $16.00 during the last year with AdSense. That’s right – SIXTEEN BUCKS!! So, boo to you, mister $2,200/month. Boo to you, sir.

VC Dan December 18, 2006 at 5:42 am

John:

For clarity, I probably should have quoted your sentences I was correcting. You say:
“PayPerPost requires that all paid posts be positive.” and “The requirement for a positive review does not change however.” This combo of sentences is incorrect — PayPerPost does not require all paid posts to be positive. In fact, the only posts where PayPerPost could control tone, they specific as neutral — leaving it entirely to the bloogger. Yes, all those posts floating around loving PPP, comparing AdSense, embracing disclosure where offered as open-tone opps.

Then, in your comment you say “While a Neutral tone may allow the blogger the either be positive or negative about a post, the point remains, the advertiser still controls the tone.” Do you mean that all services that allow neutral posts (pos or neg) “control the tone” — I doubt it? I think what you mean to say is that advertisers CAN request tone-specific ad opps or they can leave tone to the bloggers via selecting neutral (the way most of PPP’s advertisers use the marketplace).

In every case, PPP bloggers can choose to take or pass an opp — thus bloggers always have the last word in choosing the tone that works for them.

I enjoy reading your blog and have seen you correct yourself in the past. I’m just trying to help you get it right on factual items…you still control the tone ;-)

Jennifer Lynn December 18, 2006 at 6:15 am

Thanks for the interesting post, and for keeping us little guys (and gals) in mind.

Here are the requirements, from the PPP website;

-You must be prepared to disclose your relationship with PayPerPost advertisers and advise your readers of any sponsored content via a disclosure policy or on a per post basis.

-You must be 18 to participate or have written consent by a legal guardian. Please fill out and e-mail this form to support.

-All posts must be in English on a blog written in the English language.

-You must first submit a blog url for approval prior to sbmitting any blog posts for an opportunity.

-Your blog must also be at least 90 days old, verifiable by a third party index of the site.
If over 90 days old, your blog must have at least 20 entries in the past 90 days. If just around 90 days old, your blog must have 20 pre-existing entries.
No blogs with gaps over 30 days (no entries posted for 30+ days) will be accepted.

-The content of each post must be unique (paid and unpaid). You may not post the same thing on different blogs and you may not copy someone else’s post (except when specified by the advertiser).

-We reserve the right to deny any post and cancel any account at any time at our sole discretion.

Jim Kukral December 18, 2006 at 6:17 am

BlogKits has been live for 7 days, only. Already, I’m getting emails from bloggers saying they have had Adsense on their blog for 6 months and made $10 bucks, and Adsense on thier blog for 4 days and made the same.

Now, sure, some have made nothing yet, and some won’t.

As for PPP, I’ve gone on record saying that PPP is fine with required disclosure. I still think that it needs to have that disclosure in the blog entry, not buried in the sidebar.

But, required disclosure is a step in the right direction. The point is, it’s in the hands of the reader if they know it’s a review, then the reader can decide if your blog is worthy or not.

Jim Kukral December 18, 2006 at 6:18 am

and Adsense on thier blog for 4 days and made the same.

Supposed to say “BlogKits” there.

Gdog December 18, 2006 at 6:48 am

Jim, how does BlogKits send their payments to bloggers? PayPal?

Tyler December 18, 2006 at 6:59 am

I just signed up for PerPerPost and the idea is pretty interesting. I’ll see how it works out for my little blog. If my first post gets approved by them then I would of increased my revenue of my site 10 fold!

Silly AdSense only has made me $2 and I won’t get to see that unless I can increase my traffic and CTR on the ads that Google deems worthy of being posted to my site.

I am always looking for a way to earn a little extra money and if I need post a 100-200 word blog entry about some product/service then sure why not? I don’t pay for hosting or bandwidth usage so woo to me! Right?

:)

HMTKSteve December 18, 2006 at 7:10 am

I wonder if you could contact them and pay for a negative spot about a competitor?

Jim Kukral December 18, 2006 at 7:56 am

“Jim, how does BlogKits send their payments to bloggers? PayPal? ”

Check, Paypal, or coming in 07, straight to a blogkits designed debit card :) If you want that.

Allen.H December 18, 2006 at 9:28 am

Excellent observation John, I’ll sign up and see how things are there.

Allen.H

Eclipse December 18, 2006 at 7:23 pm

Just Curious to know what level would be considered low, medium and high traffic. Is there an actual standard? Or is it just a general consensus amongst bloggers as to the size of a site, in terms of traffic? If no universal standard exists should there be one created?

From what I have experienced as new blogger, when sites review your site based on traffic they compare it to there own. Ive been accepted to certain programs by having them state that I’ve received an acceptable amount of traffic. While the same traffic levels for another site are claimed to be to low. So since my traffic level is the same, its the sites tools that are different, it would seem. Correct?

By the way john great blog!

Paul December 18, 2006 at 9:11 pm

I actually tried running the blogkits program on my site for a few days. It had a very low CTR, which would probably convert to nearly no chance of actual purchases. Therefore, no money since it’s CPA. I think you would need a lot of traffic to get just one person to buy something. As for me, I’m discontinuing its use. I get about $10 a day from adsense. So I guess blogkits is not too sucessful. But only time will tell us if it ends up working.

Jim Kukral December 18, 2006 at 9:20 pm

If you make $10/day from Adsense already Paul, that’s great, congratulations, you’re just about breaking into that “Google sweetspot” of publishers. I would say that BlogKits isn’t for you, it’s for millions of bloggers who make 5 cents a day, or less.

You should start selling your own site sponsorships or cpm by now if you’re doing that well, you’ll probably make more money. That kind of stuff isn’t an option for low-traffic bloggers.

Paul December 19, 2006 at 12:32 am

Thanks Jim, I’ve been trying to sell sponsorships, but it is quite difficult with all the competition out there. There’s a lot of opportunities out there. Just need a bit of researching and gaining more traffic to tap into networks with prerequisites.

Work At Homes December 22, 2006 at 12:33 am

Thanks for the info. Looks like I might have to check out Pay per post and blog kits. It might give me extra income and maybe traffic.

David Mackey December 23, 2006 at 5:08 pm

John – I was thinking about driving traffic to my blog and had a quick question for you. I am somewhat of an eclectic personality. I enjoy a wide variety of topics and post on all of them. In my blog I have pre-created the following tags: Books, Christianity, General Technology, Mental Disorders, Movies, Music, Personal Life, Politics, Programming, Science, Youth Ministry and person 10-20 more. I post on each of these topics somewhat regularly. I was wondering – do I need to separate these into separate blogs? I was thinking about it and wondering if people wouldn’t subscribe to the blog by RSS or read it regularly b/c it covers too many topics. Any thoughts?

Harry January 13, 2007 at 12:54 pm

As per David Mackey question above. I am preparing some blog sites and I would like expert thoughts on how niche should a blog be?

One of my sites is about franchise opportunity feedback from satisfied/unsatisfied business owners. Should I have individual sites for for food, automotive, child care, home improvement etc. or just franchise opportunity in general with sub groups?

Experts are welcome to comment. Harry