I've tried several monetization methods on my site over the last few years. I've learned a ton about the search powered ecology works by actually participating in it. I've figured out what works, what doesn't, and what effects various tweaks have on the payouts.
It's one thing to hear about this stuff second hand (or from the folks on either end with a vested interest in "selling" their idea to publishers), but it's quite different to become a participant in the system. I've experimented with AdSense an YPN in various forms. I've tried paid job listings (never worked out, which is a story for another day). I've used Amazon.com's affiliate program. I've even tried AdWords. And each time along the way it's been a useful exercise. Sometimes it works well, other times not. My success rate has been rather mixed so far.
However, my latest test (sponsored links) seems to have stirred the pot a bit. Greg in particular seems tweaked by it.
I'm a little (but not completely) but not completely surprised by this.
Going into it I thought about what I did and didn't like about existing advertising systems and how those play into this.
- I didn't hide the links. (Remember the WordPress fiasco?)
- They're clearly labeled as sponsored links.
- They're far less annoying than distracting graphical ads.
- I've made it possible for anyone to comment on them. In public. Who else does that?
- They don't show up in my RSS feed(s).
- I rejected the on-line casino, drug sales, cheap hotels, and really offensive stuff--basically, anything the reminded me of blog comment spam I've bit hit with or that sends me to a sleazy feeling site. No need to encourage 'em.
- The links aren't permanent. They go away after a month (see below).
Nobody seems to be up in arms about the fact that I run advertising from Google's AdSense program, one of my company's largest competitors. They are ads that are sometimes graphical and more disruptive than those in question right now. (I also use, gasp, Google Analytics too.)
When this one month test is over, I'll decide what to try next. Maybe I'll drop the links. Maybe I'll keep 'em. Maybe I'll refine 'em. Maybe I'll try another service (BlogAds? AdBrite? I signed up ages ago but didn't finish.). Maybe not.
It depends on feedback and how the experience goes.
What next? Put up a poll to decide which non-profit gets the cash? Or can I decide that myself? ;-)
Actually, that's not a half bad idea. There are probably a few good causes I'd like that aren't on my radar...
Posted by jzawodn at December 12, 2005 11:00 PM