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10000-20000 visitors each day, no income
Fall




msg:365996
 1:19 pm on Mar 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I've written about this before, but my site is getting more and more traffic, but my income isn't increasing... I sometimes need 4gb of transfer for one day, so if I don't start making some money and the traffic keeps increasing, it might get expensive... My site is about free flash games that I make myself. Most of my traffic is coming from links in my games (I submit them to a few other flash sites, and they spread like wildfire).

It's is only a month and a few days old, but yesterday I had over 23000 unique visitors, and the past few days it's been about 10000 each day. I think that's a lot, even though it might be peanuts to some of you.

As I stated before, I can't use adsense (if only I could turn back time...), or Yahoo (if only I could fast-forward to when thay'll allow European publishers...), and some of the other bigger advertising networks (fastclick, casale, chitika) have rejected my applications, probably because I don't have enough content yet - I guess they don't realize that writing a quality flash game takes a lot more time than writing an article.

I do have some other ads on the site, but it's only making me about $1 to $5 each day - I do think my clickthrough rate isn't bad, it's just that my current ads have a very low ppc . My affiliate links are not converting at all either.

Any advice on how to monetize my site would be greatly appreciated.

 

celgins




msg:365997
 2:47 pm on Mar 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

You might have received better responses to this question in the Google Adsense forum.

In my opinion, this sounds like a common problem I see with gaming websites. Most of your site visitors are arriving at your site through a link built-in to your games, so this tells me that they are probably a bit, "tech-savvy".

Tech-savvy guys and gals don't usually click on advertisements as much as average web-surfers do. This is because tech-savvy folks pretty much know what they want, what they're looking for, and how to find it.

This is just my observation.

I haven't seen your site, but that number of visitors each day (10,000 - 20,000) is too high to not be making a bit of money.

JollyK




msg:365998
 3:31 pm on Mar 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Fall, have you tried generic things like Amazon associates, CJ, LinkShare, etc just to find things that you can put up? (Sorry, I know CJ and Amazon have some international stuff, but I don't know about LinkShare.) You can try different "run of network" type ads and just try to see what people are clicking on. Of the three, CJ is my favorite for reporting, although they all kind of leave something to be desired. :-)

But honestly, with that many views, eventually, *someone's* going to click on "Get out of Debt" or "Free Stunt Car" or "Meet Women in your Area" or whatever, fill out the lead, and make you a buck or two.

Amazon, CJ, etc, often have a reeeeeeally low click-thru compared to Adsense, especially if they're not really targeted to your visitors, but that's why you try different things for a bit and see if they work. If you're not making money now, it doesn't hurt you to not make any money while you're testing.

Others on here are a lot smarter than me about these things, but I would try picking maybe 3 - 4 things to advertise, and rotate them for one week. Check the reports and see how they look. I would pick things with high earnings (CJ tells you this, which is one of the things I like about them), or things with a high commission rate for "free" things. (Basically, pay per lead is sometimes better than pay per sale, depending on how much you get per lead or sale.) If your visitors come to your site for free games, they may be more likely to click on other ads for free stuff.

Hm.

I think that's about all I've got.

Good luck!

JK

LifeinAsia




msg:365999
 4:26 pm on Mar 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't want to sound too harsh, but I think you need to do a quick reality check. Re-read your post and concentrate on this line:
I guess they don't realize that writing a quality flash game takes a lot more time than writing an article.

This sums up the focus of your site. You have been told by Google (and probably others) that you don't have enough content. But instead of retifying that issue, you continue doing what you've been doing, then post that things aren't working out for you.

As has been pointed out, at gaming sites people usually come and go straight to the games. They're not going to click on ads. So you need to develop content to get people to come and read, then offer relevant ads that would encourage people to click (and possibly buy).

Most of us would rather spend time working on things that we really enjoy. But msot of the time, that doesn't make as much money. So we grit our teeth and also do the things we don't enjoy so much. Or we continue to focus on the fun stuff and give up the monetary aspect of it.

There's certainly nothing wrong with the latter- lots of people do it. But if you're going to make that decision, deal with the fact that you made your choice and accept the consequences (no Google and poor revenue from other ads).

For you, or anyone else who feels they've been spinning their wheels and not getting the results they should, I suggest reading "Who Moved My Cheese?" by Spencer Johnson, MD.

Fall




msg:366000
 4:55 pm on Mar 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't need a reality check, I just need advise :)
You have been told by Google (and probably others) that you don't have enough content.

No I haven't, google suspended me on a previous website.
But instead of retifying that issue, you continue doing what you've been doing, then post that things aren't working out for you.

I'm not 100% that this is why they rejected my website - it is just my guess. And with "not enough content" I meant that there aren't a lot of games on my site yet, but I'm working on more, which I though was rectifying that issue.

Nevertheless, your advise is good - I might write some tutorials on making flash games, which would fit my content pretty well. Problem is, not being a native English speaker, it's hard to explain things very well (but I think I'll manage).

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions.

JollyK




msg:366001
 5:07 pm on Mar 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

LifeInAsia has a great point -- it may be that this is just not the way to make money. There are lots of sites with high traffic that don't even make enough to pay their hosting costs -- some topics/sites are just not real big money makers until they get into the millions of visits, and sometimes, not even then!

I would like to add a couple of things, though. First: the sites that make me the most money are not the sites I like the most. I have one site that is a total labor of love, and like your games site, really doesn't bring in much money at all. I do put most of my work into that one because that's what I love doing, but honestly, I do have other sites that are more lucrative, and they pay the webhost fees for my beloved hobby site plus a good deal left over.

So, don't feel you have to give up your games site, and do at least try CJ/Amazon/Etc ads, but at the same time, think of other sites that might make money enough to cover this site and maybe build those.

Or add content to this one! How about *writing* some content pages on how to make flash games, for example? You can discuss various methods and tips for making the games, and use your games as an example. How about writing about other flash games, reviews, etc?

How about selling your games? Heck, if you're letting people download them, try "Put this on your site for only X dollars/Euros/pounds/yen/what have you." Even though there are a bazillion free things out there, people will still sometimes pay either because they don't know they can get it for free elsewhere, or because they believe something they pay for is "better" than the free things.

If the bandwidth is being taken up by people hanging out and playing the games, maybe build in a cookie of some sort to your games that keeps track of how long a user has played, so that someone can only play a game X times before it says, "Sorry, to keep playing you must register/donate/give me money/whatever." That may cut down on the bandwidth, unless your bandwidth is mostly people downloading the games.

Maybe make a subscribers section with full access to all the games, charge a small amount, and limit access to people who don't subscribe. Paypal even has a "subscription" thing so that you can automatically charge/invoice people for their fee, but I don't know if you can get PayPal where you are.

Put giant PayPal/Amazon "donate" buttons on the site. You never know.

There are a lot of things you can try, but like LifeInAsia said, this site just may not be cut out to be a money maker no matter what you do. Be prepared to accept that at some point, and change what you're doing.

JK

Fall




msg:366002
 8:14 pm on Mar 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

How about selling your games? Heck, if you're letting people download them, try "Put this on your site for only X dollars/Euros/pounds/yen/what have you." Even though there are a bazillion free things out there, people will still sometimes pay either because they don't know they can get it for free elsewhere, or because they believe something they pay for is "better" than the free things.
SWF files can be downloaded from a server, so people could just rip them.

I did forget to mention one "small" detail - my games themselves are being sponsored, I'm getting about $350-$500 per game already, but this would be the case even if I didn't have a website for them, just submitting them to a few portals would be enough. So the games are making me some money already, but the site is not (yet).

maybe build in a cookie of some sort to your games that keeps track of how long a user has played, so that someone can only play a game X times before it says, "Sorry, to keep playing you must register/donate/give me money/whatever."
Well, it doesn't matter how many times they play it, once they downloaded it once, they've already used the bandwidth, and they can play it as much as they want without using more bandwidth.
But I'm working on a game where I'll charge some money, but it'll take a few months to finish.

Thanks again for the feedback.

httpwebwitch




msg:366003
 4:31 am on Mar 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

SWF files can be downloaded from a server, so people could just rip them

Anything can be ripped with enough effort... but you can make it really difficult by embedding security in the SWF (a simple check if the host matches your domain; if it doesn't, then nothing works), and obfuscating the code against anyone who would dare to rip it apart with an Actionscript spy.

Fall




msg:366004
 8:27 am on Mar 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Anything can be ripped with enough effort... but you can make it really difficult by embedding security in the SWF (a simple check if the host matches your domain; if it doesn't, then nothing works), and obfuscating the code against anyone who would dare to rip it apart with an Actionscript spy.
Yes, I realize that I can do checks with the server, however, it is not an option - my traffic comes from submitting my games to flash portal sites, and my sponsor wouldn't pay me if I didn't submit it to bring in traffic to their websites. Plus, my games have a "free games for your website" link in them, which also goes to a page at my sponsor's website. I think my sponsor pays me more than anybody would pay me just to put the games on their websites. It's not a bad idea, but it's just not very practical in my situation.
LifeinAsia




msg:366005
 4:39 pm on Mar 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm sure there are ways to include your sponsors' sites as well when checking the host.

In other words, if the game is running on yourdomain.com, sponsor1.com, or sponsor2.com, run it. If not, then stop running and display, "Please purchase to play."

wolfadeus




msg:366006
 5:05 pm on Mar 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Impressive, I've never heard of anyone with that problem...whish I had a tenth of your traffic.

Think about affiliate programs such as amazon; try to find a partner - ie. toys websites or alike - that make money with existing link programs and might be willing to share if you link to them a lot; or, my best bet:

Build text-content. Not the easiest way, but with that amount of traffic certainly worth the effort. Good luck!

andye




msg:366007
 5:12 pm on Mar 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

google suspended me on a previous website

Any advice on how to monetize my site would be greatly appreciated

Seems to me that maybe you should sell - or perhaps even lease - the site to someone who can try Adwords with it?

If the site didn't belong to you then your banned status at Adwords wouldn't be relevant any longer - it was a different site that got you banned, rather than this one, is that right?

hth, a.

trader




msg:366008
 5:18 pm on Mar 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

IMO gaming sites convert very poorly, with both extremely low CTR and PPC. The main category which is even worse is forums.

StuntasticAudi




msg:366009
 7:46 pm on Mar 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Try CPM advertising. Some companies will pay you just for page impressions. More traffic you get the more money you'll make.

viggen




msg:366010
 8:04 pm on Mar 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Try to monetize the demographics of your visitors not the "content"!

cheers
viggen

celgins




msg:366011
 12:08 am on Mar 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Fall... if you are content on sticking with the Flash gaming site, JollyK's advice sounds pretty good.

If you check out some of the banner/text ad affiliates like CJ, Linkshare, etc., you may be able to find ad programs that better fit with your niche. Most of your Google Adsense ads are text-based, but there are many gaming ad images within CJ, Linkshare, etc.

By the way, JollyK...

Of the three, CJ is my favorite for reporting, although they all kind of leave something to be desired. :-)

Have you tried Linkshare's SynergyAnalytics? It's a step up from their previous reporting system, but it's still in beta.

Demaestro




msg:366012
 2:07 am on Mar 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

This isn't the best business model and by no means is long term, but if you do need some extra capital to implement some of the great ideas in this thread you may consider placing screens in between game loads asking for donations. Set something up with paypal or something like that and explain the reality of hosting and bandwidth transfer ...

You can even on the same page list donaters or a website of the donor which if they are 'tech savy' as suggested they will know a popular site with games would do good things for their link.

I have this on many sites lately. Some gaming, some internet radio streaming sites in any case their primary service is free.

onlineleben




msg:366013
 4:00 pm on Mar 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Putting a donation button on your site has beenmentioned already. Why not put a donation button directly into the game?
Either as a permanent display orsomething that pops up afterx hours of use.

oddsod




msg:366014
 5:10 pm on Mar 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Isn't the standard practice to hook people into the game and then sell them goods/lives/cheats/tools they can use in it? :)

JollyK




msg:366015
 9:04 pm on Mar 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

By the way, JollyK...

Have you tried Linkshare's SynergyAnalytics? It's a step up from their previous reporting system, but it's still in beta.

Haha! Last time I tried it, it couldn't deal with the cookies, either in IE 6 *or* Mozilla. Every time I tried to get any kind of report, it sent me back to the login screen. :-) I tried on and off for a few days, then stopped all my LinkShare ads until they can get it a little less beta-ish. I guess I'll try it again, tho'.

JK

surfin2u




msg:366016
 4:39 pm on Mar 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Design great looking t-shirts and hats and sell them

Agzl




msg:366017
 8:44 pm on Mar 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Join an affiliate program
THE END
staring
A.N00B

Fall




msg:366018
 2:36 pm on Mar 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, I tried a number of affiliate programs (cj, shareasale, linkshare), and they haven't made me any money with them yet. However, I've signed up for a cpm program a few days ago, cpxinteractive, and things are a bit better now. Still not as much as I would think this kind of traffic would make, but it's something.

The stats for cpxinteractive also shows the conversions, which is about 1-25 a day, so it should be possible for me to be successfull with affiliate programs too, I just don't know what I'm doing wrong here, as I choose only relevant ads (more relevant than the cpxinteractive ads).

What's weird is that my cpm is a bit low, and I mailed cpxinteractive, and they claim only 10% of my traffic is from the US - but according to awstats, I have about 64% US traffic. I do have a geotargetting system in place, but I don't use it anymore, I just made it for when I need it, so I'm a bit puzzled why they would recognize all my traffic as non-US. Any ideas?

Kufu




msg:366019
 9:30 pm on Mar 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

Try using some of the bigger ad brokers like Gorilla Nation and Tribal Fusion.

Automaton




msg:366020
 1:31 am on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

A lot of sites like to offer flash games to their users, but don't have a staff of programmers writing games. You could sell your games to such sites.

You could begin a community for flash game programmers and newbies. They could post up games they created, which could draw even more outside traffic.

You're welcome... I take paypal :)

Fall




msg:366021
 1:02 pm on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

A lot of sites like to offer flash games to their users, but don't have a staff of programmers writing games. You could sell your games to such sites.
I highly doubt they will be paying more for my games than my sponsors (they pay me between $400 and $1000 per game), and my sponsors require me to distrubute my games freely, so this is not an option.

You could begin a community for flash game programmers and newbies. They could post up games they created, which could draw even more outside traffic.

There's already a number of well established flash dev communities, so it would be some tough competition, plus it doesn't really fit with the concept of my site.

You're welcome... I take paypal :)

So do I :)

sewpersbider




msg:366022
 4:48 pm on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

OP, Can we exchange links? I also have a website of my own.

20000 visits per day. That's truly amazing. I can't believe it!

Fall




msg:366023
 6:12 pm on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, it's gone down to about 8000 visitors a day right now, but I'm a bout to release a new game soon so it should pick up again soon.
About the link exchange : sned me a sticky with your url and I'll evaluate.

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