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Retailers want to "sponsor" my site

2:12 pm on Dec 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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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.


3:09 pm on Dec 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Offer them banner space for a VERY high price. If you can get 5x your AVG monthly earnings for EACH banner, go for it.

If not, your idea about a "special offer" for YOUR visitors is a good one.

Email promotion is also good. Sell them ad space in your newsletter.

8:05 pm on Dec 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I recently sold a sponsorship to a business for a certain category.

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.



8:26 pm on Dec 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Suggest that they use "site targeting" in AdWords to get banners to your site. If you allow image ads through your AdSense account, then they can get their banners.

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.

9:54 pm on Dec 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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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.

11:58 pm on Dec 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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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.

Quote a price high enough that you would be more than willing to deal with the hassle.

If you don't want to mess with tracking, charge a flat monthly fee.

12:04 am on Dec 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've been approached as well recently, by a price comparison engine. They wanted to purchase a "sponsorship pod" on the front page. Never heard of sponsorship pods before.
3:49 am on Dec 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for all of the responses/suggestions. I'm going to evaluate Google's site targeting vs. a flat banner fee and then make my decision between the two.
11:58 pm on Dec 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'd jump on this in a second. It's called income diversification. I have a few "topics" on my site that individual companies "sponsor". I set a flat rate for the sponsorship based on what I calculate my Adsense income would be from these pages (from time to time I take their ads off these pages and run Adsense for a day or two just to make sure I have an idea of what the current Adsense value of the pages is). I cater to these companies and do everything I can to make sure their sponsorships are a good value for them.

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.