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I've got a relatively small site that allows users to submit their opinions about widgets. I currently monetize the site w/ Adsense and a few niche affiliate programs.
Recently, I've been contacted by two different retailers (very targeted to my site's content) that want to "sponsor" my site by paying for banner space. How do you guys handle requests like this? I really don't want to deal w/ the hassle of posting banners, tracking, and sending out invoices for payment (that's why Adsense is so great)...but I also don't want to simply turn these opportunities away.
I was thinking that instead of banners, maybe I could get these retailers to offer product discounts exclusively for my users (maybe I could start some exclusive email promos). Any other suggestions? I guess I can also suggest that they start an affiliate program, but that's a decent amount of legwork for them.
Again, I'd ideally like to avoid banner sponsorship so my site stays unbiased and also to avoid all of the hassle that comes w/ managing many small players.
The company wanted to "sponsor" my website in this one category so I gave them special placement of ads and links that looke like content.
We tried a three month trial for $1,000 and after that they signed up for a years worth at $5,000.
Worked out great for me, I can still sell advertising to other businesses just not in the category.
There has been some discussion on the AdSense forum that CPM-based ads--which is what the site-targeted ads are--can pull down your earnings, though they are not supposed to. However, if you've got two advertisers competing for space, that might not be a problem.
That is always an options, although you can ask higher prices by avoiding networks (in this case AdWords). Even if he managed to work out the same pricing that they were willing to pay via AdWords, he would earn the extra 10% - 30% that Google earns a cut off.
Keep in mind, it is definitely easier to go through AdWords as they have full tracking systems in place. Figure out what they need, if they need stats and what not, it may not be worth your time if you don't have that already setup. If they are ok with just a set price and all you have to do is put the banner up, I'd say do it that way, just make sure you figure out what it's worth. Make sure that inventory space you are selling won't produce more income with alternative advertising methods like AdSense.
I really don't want to deal w/ the hassle of posting banners, tracking, and sending out invoices for payment (that's why Adsense is so great)...but I also don't want to simply turn these opportunities away.
If you don't want to mess with tracking, charge a flat monthly fee.
I run things "paid by the month in advance". I've been able to establish this type of relationship with three companies. The billing/accounting for these sponsorships takes less than an hour a month. When that dreadful day comes that I get accused of "invaid clicks" by Adsense and my account is terminated these sold sponsorships will provide the income to keep my site in very black ink until I get reestablished with Adsense or start up with YPN.