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Not aggressive enough about monetization?
Makaveli2007




msg:4077738
 4:55 pm on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I was gonna post this half a year ago, but then didnt. Now I cant help but post it - please keep in mind this involves a lot of speculation and I dont insist that I'm right about this; its something I cant help but wonder:

Some people say adsense is better for them on many of their websites than affiliate programs.

Other people seem to claim that they have (almost) always been able to find a better monetization model for their websites than adsense.

Im wondering if the main difference between these kind of people is that some people are persistent but in a "lazy" way, whereas others are persistent in an "aggressive way".

For the latter 'wheel' from the link building forum is someone who I must think of immediately (think I remember him/you having said adsense should be renamed into "adsense for underachievers" lol).

It also reminds me of a former professional athlete I know (not trying to brag - not in a major sport, anyway) who would never waste an opportuniy to get better at whatever he does. (perhaps not a good trait for life, but that'd be another debate)

I also feel like I know someone who imho falls into the "simply not aggressive enough with his website's monetization" category.

I hope Im not pissing anyone off with this thread - and I dont insist that Im right about it, but cant help but wonder if thats the main difference why some people (supposedly) always find a better monetization model than adsense, and others claim adsense works best for their sites.

 

dertyfern




msg:4077752
 5:09 pm on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've done both adsense and other and in the early days there was nothing better, I mean it was amazing the money to be had!

Since, making a respectable amount of money with adsense has become a major hastle. Those that actually have a business that can grow with adsense, hats off.

But frankly, the overwhelming majority of websites don't fall into the above category and the people behind them very likely believe that their genius of doing what every other person on the web does--put adsense on their site--is going to make them tons of cash.

It's actually this very notion that effective ruined adsense for most websites; there's simply too much simply out there.

buckworks




msg:4077824
 6:50 pm on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

This would vary a lot by site and by sector. There are no across-the-board answers.

I've removed AdSense from hundreds of pages where affiliate links were performing better; on other sections of other sites AdSense is the primary money maker and I removed affiliate banners.

Test, test, test ...

Makaveli2007




msg:4078237
 11:21 am on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

"I've removed AdSense from hundreds of pages where affiliate links were performing better; on other sections of other sites AdSense is the primary money maker and I removed affiliate banners."

Dont mean to read too much into this - but it reads a bit like the cases where affiliate links ended up performing better than adsense were much more frequent than the other way around.

But Im probably doing just that, and reading too much into it, right?lol

dertyfern




msg:4078245
 11:27 am on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

But Im probably doing just that, and reading too much into it, right?lol

Maybe, but I think everyone has their own answer and it's a moving target. Programs that perform well one day, week, period can perform badly in others. I think buckworks advice on testing is the right approach--though testing can cost money in lost revenue!

buckworks




msg:4078274
 12:26 pm on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

cases where affiliate links ended up performing better than adsense were much more frequent than the other way around


No, they weren't ... I have a lot more pages with AdSense than without ... but on one site in particular the affiliate links performed so much better that I removed AdSense so as not to distract people from the affiliate links.

testing can cost money in lost revenue


You can lose a lot more by not testing!

The gains from finding a winning idea and letting it run will more than offset some ups and downs during the testing phase.

purplecape




msg:4078419
 3:40 pm on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think my experience runs pretty much counter to your theory, which suggests that, as someone said, it's impossible to generalize.

I had had Amazon for years on my site before I added AdSense. I worked hard to increase my earnings, but when I simply threw an AdSense block on about 1/3 of the pages of my site, I was instantly earning more than I was from Amazon. AdSense grew even beyond that for the next couple of years, and has since dropped off, for various reasons (including the economy). Amazon has grown slowly, interestingly enough, in proportion to the work I put into it, and is now catching up to AdSense. But what seems to work with Amazon just doesn't work with AdSense--for me. I can work on Amazon and gradually build. AdSense success seems to be far less subject to my control.

Makaveli2007




msg:4078777
 2:23 am on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Admittedly (and unfortunately) this again is mostly speculation (Im not very knowledgeable about the monetization part of this game, yet),

but I would have put amazon's affiliate program sorta in the same boat as adsense.

With affiliate programs, I was thinking more along the lines of finding a certain product that your visitors might be interested in buying (as it solves one of their problems etc.), and especially one with a decent profit margin (software, e-books..ok these probably dont really sell anymore, but you get the idea :-)), so that the affiliate pay off is more than a tiny percentage (that's why I'd put adsense and amazon's affiliate links in the same boat (in my mind))

Please be aware, that I realize this is mostly speculation and I do not insist to say that I'm right about this :-)

purplecape




msg:4079240
 8:00 pm on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

"With affiliate programs, I was thinking more along the lines of finding a certain product that your visitors might be interested in buying"

Yes, and that's exactly what I do with Amazon! You seem to assume that the only way to work with Amazon is to throw up banners around a site. Amazon has a massive collection of products, and people who can recommend specific items do very well. I started out with my Amazon links being a mix of banners in generic locations and book recommendations and reviews. Over time, I have just removed the banners. They got very few clicks, and when they did get clicks they didn't convert. So they were just a distraction.

So, there you are--it's good that you raised this question, though, because it provokes us to think about our strategies.

Lexur




msg:4079314
 9:21 pm on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Monetization is just a fraction of the webmaster work. You can spend your time the way you like but I really hate the affilate thing (search, test, promote, test, invoice, test...) so I spend my time building content to having more cows better than agressively milk the cow.

purplecape




msg:4079812
 12:55 am on Feb 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think that could be a slogan for the content-oriented developer!

"I want to have more cows, not milk one cow aggressively!"

koncept




msg:4081441
 5:46 pm on Feb 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

haha. I love milking the cow aggressively! Hate creating content.

In my niche adsense came nowhere near my affiliate earnings. I had a site with both, and like others here completely removed the adsense once I compared the two. I began to see each adsense ad as a leak on my page, taking visitors away from my lucrative affiliate links. So away they went.

That said, I monetized another site in a completely different niche, where the visitors were not likely to be buyers. (free software). Here the adsense was the money maker.

So like others have said or implied, it depends on the niche and the visitors and even where that traffic is coming from that will determine what works.

As for adsense being the lazy mans monetization model - could indeed be true! I say this because if you sold the ad space yourself you 'could' definitely make more because google aren't taking their cut. However, it would take a lot more work to make advertisers aware of the space to begin with. But now that leads me to think about networks like adbrite which allow you to show your site to their network, but you can set the price and only accept particular advertisers if you wish - a good alternative.... but now i digress.

Good topic!

Lexur




msg:4081950
 7:51 am on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Regarding the lazyness, it's just a question of points of view.
While some can see Adsense as a resource for lazy people, other can view affiliate marketing as the resource for lazy people, mostly those with poor writing skills or short editing abilities.
There's a kind of people who find pleasure in creation (and thanks to Adsense can now have a decent income) and can't find the pleasure in selling, re-selling or best-selling the same thing once and again.

Everything changes according the colour of the glass you're looking trough.

tangor




msg:4081974
 9:03 am on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

The real question is: "Do you want to make money or not?" The query was regards monetization so therefore all on this conversation are interested in making money. Which begs the second question: "Which is the best way to make money?"

And there we have many opinions, all valid, and all over the place! :)

I, too, have many opinions in that some of my sites work great with affiliate, some with Adsense, some with direct marketing (best of all and where I concentrate my work these days).

maximillianos




msg:4082075
 12:25 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

From my experience, the amount of work it took me to be successful with an affiliate program was 10-20 times more work than getting Adsense to work. But in some niches we were very successful, more so than Adsense.

I think it can also depend on the size of your site. My site has over 100,000 pages spread across thousands of topics. That can be a lot of work for one man to target affiliate offers to the right pages. Adsense is my savior for that reason. I just don't have the time in my day to manage the hundreds or thousands of affiliate programs I would need to scale to Adsense's level of coverage on my site.

That said, I have run both in the past on certain niche pages and watched certain affiliate offers crush Adsense. But those offers no longer produce for market reasons, and yet Adsense continues to produce since it changes with the times and demand behind the scenes.

Am I lazy? I guess some might say that. Others might say I'm better at time management and delegation of work. If Adsense wasn't my ad sales partner, I'd never have the time to grow my site and traffic to the levels it has reached today.

directwheels




msg:4082203
 2:28 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I just don't see how adsense can make significant money for anyone, but apparently it does and I am happy for those making it happen. Also, everything varies and things that work for one person doesn't always works for others.

Here is a story of how both adsense and affiliate monetize poorly compared to ecommerce(I am not looking for people to agree with me, just wanted to share the story):

I have this old and ignored site about widgets for teen girls. It was running on adsense for the over a year. After getting sick of adsense, I established an affiliate relationship with a widget store and the site made 3-4 times more than adsense.

Starting in 2010, I set up an online store on that site and found a supplier to dropship my orders. Now, the site is doing 8-9 times the more $$$ compared to using affiliate programs. It's maybe 5-10 minutes of work a day organizing the orders and passing them onto the suppliers, but it feels great that see an ignored site come such a long way.

alika




msg:4082208
 2:32 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

For us, it is more of the reliability in terms of payment of those offering affiliate programs.

We have promoted affiliates that generated substantial revenues for us, but we never got paid. Even this program that worked for us extremely well on CJ.com still has not paid us the "revenue" we supposedly got back in October (the advertiser has left CJ).

Adsense, on the other hand, is very reliable in terms of payment. We know we're going to get what is shown to us in the dashboard.

So even if affiliate advertisers approach us, we just ignore them. Yes, we may be leaving money on the table. But we've been burned so much that we'd rather leave them there on the table than take them along with mountains of stress

explorador




msg:4082222
 2:46 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I also feel like I know someone who imho falls into the "simply not aggressive enough with his website's monetization" category.

I'm probably there, but I'm more in the group of "confused people". Trust me I've done my work creating original great content, I read WebmasterWorld constantly and learn and tweak here and there. I'm 100% clean hard work but even as traffic comes the earnings almost never change (in some way lucky me). I've run a lot of tests and increase my traffic, I also posted everyday and nothing made a change. I can get my earnings to go up for a couple of days and then go back to "normal". I have several sites to experiment and still the same results (so is not a specific niche thing). Anyway after reading some testimonials of other webmasters I see I need less clicks than them to make more money. This is not a rant, I'm just trying to explain and clear things up. Time goes by and it just seems I reached some sort of "ceiling".

Test, test, test ...

Yes, I agree. I also agree with the thing that NOT testing can make you loose money... but testing also made me loose a lot of time... and money!. Each site, each niche is different and the same tricks won't always work on every area.


haha. I love milking the cow aggressively! Hate creating content.


I love creating content, what I hate is link building, that's my weakness but I'm working on it.

Returning to the title of the OP, I see others making great progress but taking huge risks (getting their accounts banned per example) but one thing I just won't do is copy content... We all know the "tricks" to get more traffic but really, HOW OTHERS DO IT to "create original useful content" and still post everyday on all of their sites. I know that's one key to success but I just can't keep up with creating so much content on a daily basis for all my websites.

Still, returning to my first paragraph, my best performing site receives no updates and is an ugly abandoned site. </confused>

tangor




msg:4082231
 2:55 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sorry, kiddies, Google and Soros think everybody should earn at least THIS much but not more than THIS...unless MONEY is invested to the next artificial level. And don't tell me you haven't wondered this!

netmeg




msg:4082232
 2:56 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have some sites where I've tried everything but only AdSense earns consistently well.

And I have other sites where AdSense just dogs, but affiliate stuff does pretty well.

And this year I am actively pursuing direct advertising.

I guess all that makes me passive aggressive.

#sigh

maximillianos




msg:4082237
 3:00 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

For us, it is more of the reliability in terms of payment of those offering affiliate programs.


This is a good point. We have wasted countless months testing various affiliate programs only to find they don't pay out, and those that do often retract payments weeks or months later.

With Adsense, I know what I made by the end of the day.

But I agree with everyone who says "it varies" for everyone and every site/niche. I have a few sites that Adsense does awful on, but affiliate programs did better. Smaller sites that are highly targeted I think lend themselves to affiliate programs better if you can match them up with one or two good products/programs. At least for small one man shops like me where time is a valuable resource.

incrediBILL




msg:4082266
 3:28 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I hope Im not pissing anyone off with this thread


Too late.

I was always aggressive with affiliates and one day they simply stopped paying.

Perhaps it was cookie washing, I have no clue, but anything from CJ died despite having millions of impressions a month and tens of thousands of clicks.

They couldn't tell me why, if they replied at all, so I dumped it all and replaced it with AdSense which paid off immediately and had no way 3rd parties could game the system after the fact by replacing my cookies.

Lately I've been re-introducing affiliates but only dedicated direct affiliates, nothing from a large affiliate site that's easily a target and not-so-surprisingly, these programs are paying off like CJ used to pay.

So lumping everyone using AdSense as "lazy" while there is so much affiliate fraud going on is a crock and a cheap shot IMO.

Jane_Doe




msg:4082328
 4:32 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Perhaps it was cookie washing, I have no clue, but anything from CJ died despite having millions of impressions a month and tens of thousands of clicks.


I was using an indie affiliate program for a product for many years. They switched to CJ and sales just plummeted. Click through stayed the same, but sales totally tanked. Recently I took the CJ links off in favor of Amazon products and sales returned to normal (as a percent of click throughs).

My experience pretty much matches incrediBill. I try to stick to Adsense or in house affiliate programs, or at least Linkshare if I am using a network program.

This is a good point. We have wasted countless months testing various affiliate programs only to find they don't pay out, and those that do often retract payments weeks or months later.


I have had similar experiences.

skibum




msg:4082367
 5:13 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

AdSense vs. affiliate comes down to at least in part, the intent behind why someone came to the site. What keyword led them there? If it was a "buy" keyword (brand derivative, model number, something with buy, order, send in it) and the person is more likely to want to buy now then affiliate programs will likely pay more. In that case, the site needs to be geared to sell. For a more general site with a different keyword referral set, AdSense is likely to be more profitable. It always comes down to testing of course but if you are getting buyers, then aff links should probably perform better.

glitterball




msg:4082385
 5:38 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Perhaps it was cookie washing, I have no clue, but anything from CJ died despite having millions of impressions a month and tens of thousands of clicks.

They couldn't tell me why, if they replied at all, so I dumped it all and replaced it with AdSense which paid off immediately and had no way 3rd parties could game the system after the fact by replacing my cookies.


Exact same experience with CJ here, I've had some success with Affiliates (usually where the client that was being referred had already been qualified by enquiring about a complementary service), but the conversion rate with CJ's affiliates was always very bad for me.

Go60Guy




msg:4082416
 6:31 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

After "retiring" from the web arena again for a while, I felt compelled to commence rebuilding an affiliate agenda. I found myself on the brink of irreversible brain damage attributable to boredom.

I build sites strictly to operate as an affiliate. Primarily, I target revenue streams from AdSense, Amazon and eBay. I still get a few CJ trickles from old sites I've largely abandoned.

Anyhow, my current belief is that the best way to achieve success is to identify and pursue niches that show promise. Here's what I've been doing since the start of the year:

1. Refine keyword research to find keyword combos that have low competition, yet decent traffic.

2. Register a TLD (.com, .net, .org) that uses those exact keywords, e.g. pressuresensitivewidgets.com

3. Build a site with unique content targeting the keywords, and featuring one or more highly rated products in the niche from Amazon. I also display other Amazon listings as an adjunct.

4. Add AdSense to every page, and construct pages targeting the niche displaying rss eBay auction feeds for particular brands or categories in the niche (this is good for attracting long tail searches). Again, KW targeting is critical.

4. Do appropriate on-site, on-page optimization for the KWs

5. Link out to a bunch of other high ranked, related sites. Google likes this.

5. Get a small number of backlinks. If you've done your KW research properly, you don't need many backlinks.

6. Go live and wait.

So far, I've managed to get several sites on G's page one for the targeted KWs. AdSense and Amazon revenues are beginning to pick up. I realize it's early times for this strategy, and it, or variations, may be old hat for some of you. But it's new for me, and I plan to give it a few more months to see how it shapes up and whether it amounts to working smart (or dumb).

Hey, it's all experimental and subject to testing as mentioned earlier.

zdgn




msg:4082521
 8:43 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Some of my CJ advertisers pay consistently and throw regular generous bonuses. Some, however, pay in the beginning, then suddenly stop for no apparent reason, given same traffic, clicks, content and Terms. This has led me to believe too that CJ is easily manipulated by advertisers (though I don't know how, cookie deletion appears to be the reason here.) I don't even bother complaining to CJ. I have my own benchmarks for each site before I pull bad advertisers.

Amazon is only seasonal for me when it can give pleasant surprises.

AdSense, on the other hand, is painless and rewarding. Simple lock and load with a secure feeling (touch-wood) that Big G has the resources, will and means to kick baddies out. I provide honest/gameless content to visitors and advertisers and expect the same.

Oh, and AdSense pays me many-fold for a fraction of effort as compared to affiliate programs.

So I'd rather be comfy and lazy than unnecessarily overworked and frustrated. :)

freejung




msg:4082523
 8:44 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

It makes sense to me that the best answer is that it depends on your niche. In my niche, most of the traffic are not looking to buy something right now. Nothing I've tried comes even close to the performance of adsense. Adsense is doing quite well, and I've been able to improve earnings significantly through variation and testing.

Of course, maybe I'm just not trying hard enough, but you have to ask yourself, what is the best path to making more money? I can work on improving my site, which I know with a high degree of certainty will get me more traffic and consequently more money, and will also make my visitors happier and increase my overall reach and presence. Or I can try to find an affiliate program that performs better, which _might_ make more money after some indefinite amount of work. From my experience so far, that would involve quite a lot of work and might not ever pay off.

Seems like a pretty easy choice to me.

martinibuster




msg:4082591
 10:29 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hey Go60Guy thanks for that strategy tip, one of the best posts about monetization strategies I've seen in awhile. I think you're on to something. Particularly with Amazon I have found that tight relevance between the content and the Amazon link work exceptionally well with fairly eyebrow raising conversion rates. A similar example to your method is one of the site I built a few years back about a specific niche, with reviews about related products. Set it and forget it. It consistently brings in Amazon sales month after month. I'm a fan of their carousel link widget, too.

WebPixie




msg:4082596
 10:47 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

For us it's not a matter of being lazy as much as budgeting time. I'd rather spend time on creating more content or even building a new site than fine tuning the affiliate program for one site. In extremely broad terms I'd rather build 3 sites that make x, than build one site and fine tune how it is monetized until it makes 2x. Adsense is the obvious choice with this approach.

This 44 message thread spans 2 pages: 44 ( [1] 2 > >
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