Just wondering; is there a special technique / ruleset towards appraising your banner space? Currently, I 'dump' adsense on the spot for a couple of weeks / months and note the eCPM as a rough measure of my ad space value. Is that an accepted way of doing things? Personally, I feel direct banner sales are still where the money's at for content sites, but with less people clicking banners all the time, I find it hard to be profitable as well as competitive.
Adsense * 2 is what I sell direct at. I only sell impressions directly, too many of them out there that can't create proper copy for me to rely on getting clicks. I only sell it with me hosting the banner (I'm not going to rely on a slow server) and that way I can stop moving gifs and the like that put off my visitors.
I often refuse deals for advertising that are offered to me directly: quite a few are outright scams, or would feel like a scam to any visitor.
As for affiliates: choose them very well and users will click on it. I try to keep those visitors with e for as long as I can.
To combat banner blindness I rotate direct ads, banners for affiliates, and adsense on the same spot in my layouts, it's not great but ok-ish I guess.