Forgive me the cryptic title...it's just my personality.
CPC and a few honest ramblings
There, I wanted to give you an idea of what this post was about before you had to read much further. I haven't posted here much, but I read often, and I really needed to post a few of these things in a place where I knew that the members would understand.
I operate a few websites, one of which does fairly well, and I run CPM and CPC ads. Also, I constantly battle between the desire to work for myself and manage websites full-time, and the desire to have a life and not put my family through hell because of my ambitions.
That being said, I've got a few honest and open frustrations/rants/ramblings that I would like to pass on to you guys. I full expect and even welcome frank and candid feedback, because I don't have the chance to talk to webmasters locally.
CPC. My aggravation with this whole way of thinking as it pertains to advertising is another whole topic, but I wanted to say upfront that the process (to me at least) is built for frustration, at least if you are a web publisher.
With the amount per click that I'm making now, I could no doubt be making a full time income next week if not for those pesky rules. :) Oh, and before you think I'm advocating the breaking of any company's click rules, I'm not. I've gone out of my WAY to make sure I'm well within the rules, and I guess that's what has me frustrated.
I place the CPC ads on my site, following every tip and legitimate trick I've been able to find, and they do ok, but no where near the level of clicks it would take to support my family. THEN...I notice a few other sites, and speak to a few other webmasters who own sites in my little 'community' and I find that some of those guys are openly asking people to click the ads to support the site, and others are sending emails to users asking for a click every now and again to show support.
It's flat-out wrong (according to the rules), but they're doing it, making money, while I sit back in my click-righteousness and think, "Well, at least I follow the rules." Somehow, that doesn't negate the fact that their checks are 10 times the amount of mine.
I can hear all the arguments now. They'll get theirs. Their accounts will be canceled. They..etc.
Indeed. The fact is I know I'm right, but here's my thoughts, and stuff like this has been driving me NUTS.
On the edge of the knife.
I don't have the type of personality that enjoys skirting the rules, so it's very hard for me to draw the line between being creative and being corrupt (as it comes to obeying the many rules of the clickmeisters).
I thought to myself, "What if, instead of actually asking my users to click anything, I simply make a lengthy post explaining how website ads work in general?"
The killer here is that with sites like mine (a community portal of sorts), people don't come to buy a product, or check out a service, or find info on widgetBx9. Because of this, they focus on community (the real point of the place after all), and not the ads. Part of me is very glad about this, but my pocketbook often disagrees.
My thinking was that the majority of my users don't understand how vital these ads are to our survival, how they work, and why we even place them on our pages. Surely (I thought), they would support us, take a more honest look at the ads themselves, and click every now and then, if they understood the whole picture.
Nevermind the fact that a simple mass email to my users could get me plenty of clicks (in small enough batches not to be noticed for some time perhaps), had I the desire to go that route. I don't.
Lastly (I know, sorry guys), I even sent a lengthy, but pithy email to the ad company that I use asking them about this very practice, explaining that I had no desire to bend the rules, and that surely inviting my users to take more of an interest in the content of the ads would be beneficial to both the advertisers, and to me.
The canned response I received said something along the lines of "We really cannot advise you on how to layout and administer the ads on your site, but we can say that you can change the color of the ads and [insert more canned stuff we all know here] if you want to increase the clickrate.
So now I find myself in a quandry. Do I or don't I? Where the black and where's the white? After all, making ads bold or contrasting colors could be considered incentive, because you're drawing the eye and the users' attention somewhere that it normally wouldn't go, right?
Look, although I'm adding a few grains of salt to all this, it really is bothering me, so much so that I've even talked it all over with my wife (I normally don't mention geek stuff around the table).
Part of me wants to believe that the guys making boatloads of money from CPC aren't doing so by simply placing ads on their sites and then kicking back and watching the dough roll in. I'd love to believe they are creatively skimming the edge of the rules.
I'd like to believe that, but it's probably not true.
Perhaps I've spent literally hundreds of hours developing a site that simply isn't cut out for monetization, dunno.
THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading all this, and moderators/admins please feel free to move this if I've posted it in the wrong place.
I'd love to hear your feedback folks. You have a brother that's in need of a hand. I'll just stoke up the campfire, pull up a chair, and wait for you all to join me.