I Sell Viagra and Casino Links?
Many sites are created as hobby sites which earn no direct revenue. To make money one
AdSense works surprisingly well for some sites and affiliate programs work better for
others. The only way to know what will work well for you is to test it out. A few of the
larger affiliate program networks are CJ,
LinkShare, Performics, and Clickbank (Clickbank sells electronic
downloadable type products).
The two biggest currencies on the web are reputation and link popularity. Once you
build up enough reputation suddenly your words become "more true" or "more
important" than they otherwise would be.
When you know thousands of people see what you have to say, but may not have to
directly answer to anyone for your words it becomes a bit easy to forget how precious that
reputation is. Once you abuse it or lose your reputation it is probably going to be much
harder to reacquire than it was to initially acquire.
With enough money you can buy whatever you want. New webmasters who are seeking to make
small profits from their site probably do not have an infinite income stream and do not
realize the value of their reputation or link popularity. Many poor webmasters have built
up an unbelievably large amount of social currency.
Social currency and link popularity to some extent parallel one another. While most
sites do not have profitable business models many of them do have something which is
desired by thousands and thousands of webmasters: link popularity.
When you write quality information in a non commercial setting people will naturally
reference it. I was referenced in some paper a person wrote about Islam (though I know
little about Islam) just because I once posted about a guy who called me from Kuwait
asking for promotional help.
Most commercial sites usually do not naturally pick up links in that manner. Without
giving away any unique useful and interesting information acquiring links becomes much
The same commercial sites must compete against each other to attain top search engine
placement in search algorithms which are primarily driven by linkage data.
Instead of trying to create anything original or citation worthy most websites
participate in various linking schemes to build whatever link popularity they can (and I
perhaps am just as guilty as the next guy).
In one way or another most non commercial sites are related to commercial ideas. There
is absolutely nothing wrong with selling on topic relevant advertising. Most large
companies that are deeply involved in the web either buy and / or sell ads.
Selling ads only to related sites will mean that you will shrink down your potential
target link buying market (and that may mean smaller short term profits), but most
visitors are not going to be annoyed by a small amount of relevant on topic advertising.
Sometimes we sell ourselves short in the long run to make a buck now. Online casino,
debt related, pornography, or pharmacy sites can afford to pay a ton for advertising.
If you view some of the larger more reputable link brokers (Text Link Ads or Text Link Brokers) you will see
what the going rate is for text link ads.
It takes a ton of effort to match on topic supply and demand, and it may even require
deeply discounting your initial ad price. In the long run selling on topic ads will likely
pay off more than selling off topic ads. There are a few major problems with selling off
- Your site can get penalized by search engines. This is usually rare,
but it is something which should be considered. Many of the other lasting effects of
selling many off topic links are more likely and eventually end up being much worse.
- You could lose credibility with your readers.
- You could make your site less desirable to link to. Either indirectly
from search engines or directly from following links people will cross your site. If you
sell lots of off topic high margin links some people may be less likely to link at your
site. With less inbound links you will end up with less readers and you may not grow as
fast as the web does.
- You could corner yourself into an area where you can only sell links to high
margin sites. Your advertising space has some finite value. With each additional
link you add to your advertising space it leaves less link popularity to parse off to
other advertisers. More importantly though, your early ads set the tone for your later
ads. If you are selling to exceptionally off topic links then webmasters with on topic
sites may not want to advertise on your site.
When I was newer to the web I placed many off topic links on many of my sites doing
link exchanges and other schemes, but over time I moved away from doing that so as to not
harm my credibility.
When you go off topic it eats away at your reputation and credibility. Any site that
you intend to run long term probably should not advertise extremely off topic websites
without first considering some of the potential side effects of said advertisements.
- by Aaron Wall, author of The SEOBook .
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