Saturday, July 08, 2006

Clicksor User Reviews

Clicksor is an ad network similar in function to Adsense.


  • 70% publishers profit share
  • Affiliates earn a 10% referral commissions
  • $.10 minimum CPC

User Reviews: 2/10

I had registered as publisher in tht site and started displaying their ads on my page for a WEEK. But thier report for a week SHOWED 0 IMPRESSION, I get more than 10,000 impression (Google Adsense) per DAY.

While Clicksor has enough reach to deliver traffic fairly quickly given enough keywords are bid on, the traffic quality is lower than other pay-per-click search engines. Conversion rates are simply not up to par.

I've disabled the ads, because they slowed down the site somewhat and the revenue is much less than with google adsense. The test is too short to draw any conclusions, but I don't think I'm going to use Clicksor.

I run clicksor ... its the best I have found which I can run on my one website(Gambling). The CPM is fairly decent and I havent had any problems with them ... I think they have some potential.

I run Clicksor on a few things as a test... for my stuff, it's TERRIBLE compared to AdSense. It's a little more than 1,000 times (no joke) less revenue for the same amount of impressions for me.

Just finished a campaign on clicksor. Their minimum 10 cents CPC ran through 150 dollars in one day and without a single conversion. I was using their keyword and content match. Obiously they do not work for me. is pretty bad, sort of a last resort type thing.

I like clicksor and lately as long as you choose good keywords, the ads are decent.

For the impressions they've counted, they've paid us 33 cents, which makes for an effective CPM of about $1.26--pretty low for popup ads. If you base that figure on our actual server logs rather than their reported impressions, it drops to $0.77 CPM--unacceptably low.

I've used Clicksor and was extremely unimpressed. Both low CPC and CTR.

Adsense Ethics: High Paying Keywords

There are numerous lists out there displaying some of the highest paying Adsense terms. Many bloggers will develop entire blogs or entries that are optimized based on these lists. In certain situations I see this as an acceptable yet slightly unethical practice. In other situations I see this as an extremely unethical practice that should be viewed on par with click fraud.

Acceptable High Priced Keyword Targeting
Lets say for example you have established a small but growing blog on dog food. After a month or so you are starting to run dry so you start researching new topics. Through your research you find that the terms ‘organic dog food’ and ‘California organic dog food’ both pay very high through Adsense. Therefore you decide to do your homework to find out what is so great about organic dog food from California. You find that three of the top five suppliers of organic dog food are based out of California. So you call up all three suppliers, interview them and feature the interviews through your blog.

Unethical High Priced Keyword Targeting
You decide you want to make a quick buck blogging so you find a list of the top Adsense keywords. Through your research you find that a ton of keywords ending in loan consolidation fetch a very healthy price. So you start a loan consolidation blog and jam as many ads in as possible. Then you start topics starting with every US state followed by loan consolidation. In order to get enough information in your entries to display the Adsense ads you display a list of affiliate links to loan consolidation companies. The only thing you change throughout your lists are the states in the anchor text. Then you send as much spam traffic as possible to your blog in hopes of a few clicks per day.

The two examples I have displayed are pretty much black and white. I could have listed 10 more examples that fall within the grey area but I think you get the idea. If you are targeting high priced keywords make sure you have solid content to match the terms.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Digg vs. New York Times

On July 6th Hitwise reported that Digg eclipsed New York Times in page impressions. (Full Story) I would like to see the trend continue for at least a few more months before making any conclusions. Never the less, this has to be seen as a positive sign for the blogging community as a whole.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Ebay AdContext Selling Point

While reading through opinions on the new Ebay AdContext program I thought it would be a run of the mill ad network.

My initial reasons to avoid the Ebay AdContext program.
1) To me their initial screenshots look like a mix between Adsense and Amazon.
2) I have little doubt ads will be served up through javascript. In this case its not that big of a deal because to the best of my knowledge advertisers are not paying for these ads and most auctions themselves are over too quickly to launch an SEO campaign. Never the less, as a publisher I would like to be able to supplement my content with something viewable.
3) 2.6% to 4.55% commissions seems a little weak. If you look at the adsense model you can generate a few dollars on a single click. From Ebay it looks like your users would have to click through and actually buy something to earn a similar commission.
4) Ebay already dominates the online auction market.

Initially I was compiling data that might dissuade publishers from signing up for the AdContext affiliate program. Then I stumbled upon a piece of information that is in my mind game changing. While reading through this blog entry by Darren Rowse I came upon this comment…

Winning Bids/BINs: Note that the publisher can actually generate revenue from multiple winning bids/BINs (not just one). The publisher “owns” the referral for up to 7 days and any winning bids/BINs generated in this time period contribute to the revenue shared with the publisher. For instance, a person reading a cell phone review can click on an ad unit for a cell phone and purchases it via Buy-It-Now and then may decide to place a bid on a bluetooth headset and win that auction 4 days later. Both the revenue on BIN cell phone and the auction bluetooth headset are part of the revenue share to that publisher. Note that since tracking is done on a “last publisher to refer the user wins” basis by CJ.

Initially I thought this would be another check mark in the bad column. Snagging a referral for a meager 7 days is nothing. I’ll bet if you statistically look at new Ebay users they are probably a little apprehensive the first week. Then after a month or so when they have familiarized themselves with the system and feel comfortable their bidding starts going up.

Then the last sentence really struck me. “last publisher to refer the user wins” basis by CJ. I guess this means I can effectively refer active Ebay users for up to 7 days. This completely wipes out my reason to avoid AdContext above. ( 4) Ebay already dominates the online auction market.) This means I don’t have to target non-Ebay users so my potential number of qualified viewers dramatically goes up.

This also means I can refer veteran Ebay users who might have 20-50 bids going on at one time as opposed to someone who might be a little apprehensive at first. I would like to see the 7 days turn into 30 but being able to refer existing Ebay users more than makes up for it in my mind.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

SEO: Keyword Length Guide

Before you start writing website content it is a good idea to do some keyword research but don’t overlook your intuition. There are a lot of solid tools for developing a list of high competition phrases. (Nichebot, WordTracker, Overture, Keyword Discovery…)

The problem is internet users are becoming more and more sophisticated in the way they refine their searches. This makes the longer low competition phrases increasingly more valuable. From what I have seen most keyword research tools seem to loss their effectiveness once you get into the medium to low competition terms.

Note: I’m not taking anything away from the generic high competition terms but the average webmaster simply does not have the resources to target those terms.

Creating and targeting 3-4 word terms is easier than you may think. Start by compiling a list of generic themed keywords for your topic. Then look through your list to see if you can mesh 2-3 short generic phrases into a coherent 3-4 term phrase. That’s basically it! Now title your content a variation of your 3-4 term phrase, plug variations into your title, description and keyword tags then add the term 1-3 times throughout your content.

Note: Don’t incorporate keyword stuffing into your optimization. Add your term only where it naturally fits within the context.

Note: Be sure to add your theme words to your content. Themed content has a lot of SEO value.

Why is it better to target 3-4 term keywords as opposed to 1-2 term keywords?
1 Term Keywords = 1 high competition term.
2 Term Keywords = 2 high, 1 medium competition terms.
(A) :: (B) :: (A) (B)
3 Term Keywords = 3 high, 2 medium, 1 low competition terms.
(A) :: (B) :: (C) :: (A) (B) :: (B) (C) :: (A) (B) (C)
4 Term Keywords = 4 high, 3 medium, 3 low competition terms.
(A) :: (B) :: (C) :: (D) :: (A) (B) :: (B) (C) :: (C) (D) :: (A) (B) (C) :: (B) (C) (D) :: (A) (B) (C) (D)

Note: The above diagram only displays exact matches. It does not include proximity which favors longer terms. Going beyond 4 term phrases in not advisable as it reduces readability.

Ad Agencies Lack SEO Know-How

Ad Agency Problem

I just read this post by Mike Valentine and I could not agree more. Many ad agencies hide their ads behind redirects, javascript and flash while downplaying the SEO importance of the ads. There are a few text link brokers that require webmasters to manually plug in new ads which is good for SEO but losses out to the masses of one-stop plug and play webmasters.

Ad Serving Alternative

So, how do we get ad agencies to service up good old fashioned text instead of flash and bang? Why not offer a php solution similar in nature to the two major ad co-ops out there. (Digital Point and LinkVault) This would take a few extra steps for webmasters to set up but it would be well worth it in the long run.

Possible Solution

Better yet, why don’t we stop buying and selling unrelated footer and side bar ads and start putting the ads where they mean something. By this I mean contextually or, to put it simply, within the context of the articles, blogs or content. If such a service arises I would be willing to drop AdBrite and Adsense completely.

My Search Engine Preferences

Although Google reigns king over the SEO industry it is not, in my opinion, the best search engine for all situations. On about 80% of the terms I look for Google is my first and only stop but you are probably more interested in how I divide the remaining 20%. 5% - I generally use Yahoo as a secondary search option. If I am not finding relevant pages for my terms in Google I will generally see what Yahoo has to offer rather than digging 5+ pages deep. 5%
- Right now Technorati one of my top blogging resources. If I want to find material to blog about or simply browse the blogosphere this is my first stop. 5% - Sphere is climbing my charts pretty quickly. The general concept here is you add a Sphere It button to your toolbar and whenever you stumble upon an interesting page or article you click the button and it pulls up a list of other related pages. It looks like they still need to tweak a few things before their searches are highly relevant though. 3% - I pretty much only use MSN as an SEO tool. Last year they were by far the fastest page indexer. Over the course of a year they have taken a real speed hit but they still display the most comprehensive list of backlinks in their results.

Others 2% - I occasionally browse through or some of the other smaller search engines just to see how they are developing.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Revenue Sharing Communities Using Adsense

In the past I have been a little cautious about starting a revenue sharing community using Adsense. I don’t see anything in Googles terms to prohibit this but I do worry about potential click fraud. I don’t see any real way to prevent at least a few members from treating this as a click fest of sorts.

To prevent this I would like to see Adsense or any other PPC advertising network set up a site ip blocking system that could be initiated by the webmaster. The idea would be straight forward. Every member of the revenue sharing community gets their ip on the block list so there is no incentive for clicking on ads.

Today I just stumbled on this list of revenue sharing sites by AdMoolah. Apparently my initial click fraud concerns have not been a real problem for communities. I see a large number of sites adopting this model and thus far I only remember of one forum getting banned but it was not from revenue sharing. (I can’t remember the url, sorry.)

Of all the Adsense revenue sharing sites I am most pleased to see Digital Point on the list. I could possibly see some of the other listed sites flying under Googles radar. This tells me either 1) Digital Point has a very clear click fraud policy and they do a good job of weeding out spammers. Or 2) Adsense revenue sharing communities do not pose a high click fraud risk.

Intelligent Monetization

I agree that the old subscription model is not the right way to go for a website that offers information that is freely published across thousands of other sites. Even if you are able to supply a service that is keenly organized and of higher quality than your competition you would still have trouble filling subscriptions. In the past users have been spoiled by high quality free content. (as it should be)

So monetizing through advertising is one of the few options that seems to be working quite well throughout the industry. I hear YouTube counts their daily profit on six fingers.

Gary Reid references the approach to monetizing an open source website by acquiring venture capital from your initial users. This isn’t a bad idea if you have a loyal user base but realize the legal and financial obligation that comes with such a model.

I can’t seem to find details of the TextDrive venture capital agreement. (I doubt they would publish that anyway) Never the less, I am interested in their repayment terms. I’m guessing they are using some form of long term profit sharing system. As a venture capitalist I would be very interested in such a system if I feel the company has a sustainable business plan.