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Text Link Ads has a free tool called "Text Links Ads Calculator". Here you enter your url, choose a website category, ..., and choose an area of the site where the text link would be shown. Then this tool calculates the value of the link.
Can anybody tell if the value one gets there is for real? Or is it there simply to entice the visitor?
The only ad it displays is an AdSense skyscraper on the right side with the usual 4 ads in it. AdSense has been paying something like $14/month for it (average of the last 12 months).
I entered the page into the TLA tool and received that the value of the 4 ad spots on the right column would be 4x$14=$56/month, i.e. they would be almost exactly the 4x that I get now with AdSense.
Too good to be true? Could they really perform like this?
1. It has it's own heatmap. You select the area of the website and it'll compare it with its predefined heatmap. Certain areas will have higher value compared to others.
2. It pulls traffic data, maybe from Alexa, and multiply this number of visitors with a fixed rate for a particular industry. Thats why you need to select "website category" in the calculator.
If my assumptions above are correct, then the arbitrary values would be "values of different areas on the heatmap" and "the $$ fixed rate" for the industry.
Why would there be such a large differential?
All sorts of factors at play. How many links on the page. What page(s) is/are the link(s) on? Where in the html do the link references appear? What is the surrounding text environment like? All sorts of things to consider.
I would think a PR7 .org site offering a few select text links could easily garner $1,000+ per month. It is all relative to value. What value does that link provide to the purchaser?
If the .org is sitting at PR7, that's something to consider. PR7 is a whole nuther' playing field. But remember, it shouldn't be the sole determining factor. It just tells you that the site "may" be trusted and anything sitting at PR7 is going to have plenty of eyes!