Bringing Big Bucks By Blogging29 Nov 2006
A while ago I reactivated Google AdSense on PapaScott. I've never had much success with AdSense, my revenue barely covered the cost of maintaining the weblog (since our employers cover our phone and DSL costs, and my web hoster is prepaid, the running cost of PapaScott is close to zero). I'm not going to make any radical changes to PapaScott (like, say, writing interesting content) just to increase ad revenue. I did run my URL one time through AdsBlackList to filter out low-paying ads, and that seemed to work as advertised. My revenue doubled... from barely $10 a month to barely $20. Nothing to get too excited about.
A couple of months ago I signed up for Text Link Ads (TLA). They sell static links (which can co-exist with AdSense) and pay out 50% of the revenue. You need to be able to add some code to your blog template, so it won't work for a lot of hosters (like BlogSpot). I was shocked to see that they priced my links at $125 each. I was even more shocked when the first two links sold almost immediately. As you can see in the sidebar under "Sponsored Links", I'm currently at six, so you can figure out my revenue yourself. Let's just say it's time for me to consider the tax implications.
I've even had a couple of websites contact me asking if I would sell links or posts directly. No, I don't, the idea is that I don't want to do any work, that's why TLA can keep 50%. But if you want to buy a link, you can check out my listing at TLA. I just opened two more slots, for a limited time only.
Let's face it, the advertisers are buying the links so they can game Google. With PapaScott they get links from over 4000 pages dating back to 1999 with a PageRank of 7 out of 10 (top 20 blogs like BoingBoing might have a PR of 8, you can also check any site's page rank). The links are valuable not because actual people see them, but because they get followed by search engines. My Technorati rank is about 63,000, which is impressive only if you believe there are really 55 million weblogs. There aren't.
Does selling links dilute the value of search engines? Of course it does, but search engines are not a public good. They're big business, earning money from our content, and I have nothing against skimming a little off the top. I don't approve the ads myself, by the way, they just have to meet TLA's guidelines. No sex, drugs or casinos.
It's interesting to see that when selling links, language matters. I noticed a couple of top German blogs (Powerbook Blog, Basic Thinking) listed at Text Link Ads with prices well below $100. I don't know of any German blogs with a Page Rank higher than 6. So when Nicole says noone will read you if you blog in German, she's right. Try Chinese or Korean.