Well look at that…

…a blogging ad system that actually pays out.

As I’ve disclosed in the past I’m not running this blog as a deliberate/planned income stream but I do run ads in various spots on this blog. I do this largely to get a feel for, and see the mechanics of, the different programs/systems on the market today.

I just got a PayPal notification that my first payment came through from Text-link-ads.com – a translation firm actually bought one of the link spots on my blog for most of last month (and this month too it seems) which means I triggered a small payout.

I actually like the idea of their system more than the other options that I’m running here – it actually paying out is probably the top reason.

If you’re not familiar with the different affiliate style ad systems here’s a quick run-down on the three most common styles:

  • Clickthrough-based: Google AdSense uses this model. Basically every time someone clicks on an ad the blogger gets a small fraction of whatever the advertiser is paying the ad network (i.e. AdSense). Everything I’ve seen/read suggests this is really only a money maker for very high volume sites (i.e. not this one). Even then I think there are only a handful of verticals/topics that this type of system would make sense for a blogger – at the end of the day you need to play in a space where the types of keywords you use are highly desirable and people are paying top-dollar to be associated with them. And as you’re no doubt aware clickthrough based models have lots of questions around them as to the legitimacy of all the clicks – lots of fraud going around.
  • Action/conversion-based: In this model clickthroughs aren’t enough, these advertisers will pay only for the user who clicks through performing a specific action – usually purchasing services/products or registering for a site (a.k.a a “conversion”). The bonus is the payouts are higher, the drawback a very small portion of the clicks will convert. This is the model used by blogkits.com. Again – I think this type of system needs a large volume of traffic and a tightly focused, desirable topic.

Both action- and clickthrough-based models are great for the ad networks – they can charge advertisers by clicks or even by exposure (views) while only giving bloggers a small portion of the ad revenue. Even then they can set the thresholds for payout high enough that the vast majority of bloggers will a) never make it or b) take a very, very long time to hit it. – Either way the cash is in their bank earning interest for them.

  • Subscription-based: The last model is subscription-based, basically you put the space links/ads on your page and people rent the slots at a set rate, regardless of clickthroughs/actions/conversions. Your monthly rate is set based on your site’s traffic and a variety of other metrics but the rates seem to be pretty fair. This is the model text-link-ads.com uses and it seems to work. The nice thing is they pay every month, no limits/thresholds or nonsense. This is the model Text-link-ads.com uses and strikes me as the most effective for small bloggers.

What I do know from the past 18 months or so of blogging is that I have no interest of trying to become a “professional blogger”. Revenue is tied to traffic and traffic is 100% tied to how often you’re posting – I have enough trouble coming up with something once every day or two – I can’t imagine trying to put out 5-10 posts a day. I have no interest (and more importantly no time) in basically becoming a content machine.

But, if you’re a casual blogger and want to try to earn a little extra pocket money here and there then consider text-link-ads.com – they’re probably your best bet. But, like with anything it takes time and patience, the text-link-ads code was on my blog for almost four months before the first link was bought. To be extra clear here though, the “earnings” in question would have just covered lunch today (I had a sandwich, no drink) – small but it’s nice to see one company actually deliver on their value prop in a timely manner.

Disclosure: I was not paid for this post by any of the ad companies mentioned. The text-link-ads.com links on this page do contain affiliate codes – if you sign up from clicking on one of those links I get a referral ‘bonus’. I’m recommending them because I find their service delivers on the value they promise not because they might throw me a couple bucks if someone signs up for their service.