Extending the Reach / Circulation of a Web Based Content Site & Ad Network

Once you have a trusted market position advertisers will buy in even if you hurt their business model or call their products crap:

To my enormous surprise, the company that threatened to call the feds on me made another offer to advertise on CamcorderInfo.com. Because of our popularity - we have the No. 1 search listing on Google (Charts) under "camcorder reviews" - it couldn't afford to avoid us anymore. I okayed the deal, comfortable that the electronics firm was aware of our ethics policies. It has since become one of our largest clients. When I asked the executive if he ever actually called the FBI on me, he insists he did. He said the agency found me guilty of nothing except a passion to build a reliable company.

Every Ad Network is Flawed:

Once an ad network has buy in they look for ways to leverage that market position. And there is fraud involved nearly every time

  • newspapers puff up their circulation numbers

  • magazines run ads and give themselves away to boost circulation
  • a keyword that normally costs me $4 a month on Yahoo! cost me over $100 this month due to syndicated click fraud
  • look at how much of the web spam Google funds

How to Extend Your Reach Without Getting Too Dirty:

Once you establish a trusted market leading niche site you can extend your circulation by buying traffic from cheap sources. Some people will just send fake traffic generators over their own site for impression fraud, but there are many cheap sources of traffic that may provide ongoing value and look much more natural than blatantly committing circulation fraud.

  • Keep your feed rather clean so it is easy to subscribe to. The people subscribing to it will likely be the people who link to your site. Maybe put one exclusive sponsored by ad unit in your feed.

  • Create an email newsletter that recycles your best online content. Maybe run one or two ads in it, and use it to drive traffic back to your site.
  • Buy interstitial ads from AdBrite on related websites. If AdBrite is underpricing the inventory of a strong site try to buy out all their ad slots.
  • If AdSense is under-priced in your market consider buying AdSense ads on related sites to drive longtail traffic back to your site and further position yourself as the market leader. You see this sort of activity all the time with web directories, where a couple of them have ads on other web directories.
  • If you are really motivated you may want to resell ad inventory of other smaller players in your field.
  • Buy traffic from StumbleUpon.
  • If you write what is essentially a news site try to get syndicated in Google News and other related news sites.
  • If your site has a high authority score, write a few posts here and there that use analogies or other ways to pull in related traffic without looking like you are straying too far off topic. For example, one of the leading search queries for this site is Google Auctions.

  • Interview industry experts that have greater reach than you do.
  • If you have been ignoring SEO at least give the topic a cursory look, and consider buying a few trusted links by doing things like joining trade organizations.
  • Create linkbait and get it exposure on the popular social news websites. Also consider promoting your best content via Review Me buys on popular channels. (disclaimer: I have an equity stake in Review Me)
  • If you have enough time to manage it (or know someone else who can) consider adding a forum or other user generated content sections to your site. Active forums can have hundreds of thousands or millions of page views each day.
  • Have your pages refresh once every few minutes to rotate through advertisements. I believe MarketingVox does this.
  • Make sure your site design is clean, you publish quality original content, and your about us page looks trustworthy. These will make it easier for people to buy ads directly from you, and will make it easier for the media to use you as a source.

If you have a high value market position in a large competitive sector and are not making much from AdSense make your site brand ad friendly by pumping up your circulation numbers. Many of those ad buys are cheap on a CPM basis and will lead to additional recurring traffic and links. In many high value markets as your get more exposure your ad revenues increase logarithmically because you get more traffic and people are willing to pay a higher CPM rate.

Published: March 28, 2007 by Aaron Wall in publishing & media


March 28, 2007 - 7:33am

Hey Aaron! thanks a bunch for thip on AdBrite and StumbleUpon. I didn't know that I could buy traffic there. thanks for all of the information that you give away. You are truly an asset to the web! No brown nosing intended!

March 28, 2007 - 8:46am

...but if you buy traffic from Stumble people might thumb it down and call it crap if it's crap. :)

...But it's traffic.

And AdBrite. There are some advertisers offering as low as a penny trying to get in on my sites which means "that could be anybody." Considering that most publishers probably opt for the auto feature, these penny ads could pay for those trying to extend their reach.

March 28, 2007 - 3:49pm

Lot of info. It seems that there is not enough time in each day. I set up an account on stumbleupon but it to good to be true. We will see.

It used to take a lot more for me to see what was real info. After a lot of hard work my self I realize that being real takes good old fashioned hard work and in this day and age the majority is not willing. It is so easy to become tainted.

Thanks for being real.

April 25, 2007 - 6:45pm

Uh "fake" traffic? What is fake traffic? They send you random traffic that will likely not convert into sales immediately. If the site is of high quality though, you will get a thumbs up and if you get enough of them, you will be in their inventory of sites worth "stumbling" on, which will lead to long-term residual traffic in theory.

I bought a few dollars ($25?) in traffic just to check it out on a site that sells t-shirts. No sales, but several favorable reviews which lead to unpaid traffic trickling in for several weeks. I don't check the server logs on that site really, but I may still be getting the odd hit from SU.

tony spencer
March 29, 2007 - 4:20am

funny. i read that article in FSB recently at the office in hard copy form (i think AMEX sends it for free). i thought "that girl looks familiar.... OH YEAH!"

March 31, 2007 - 9:58pm

Thanks for all of the information.

April 13, 2007 - 8:35pm

Don't even think about stubleupon. All they send you is send is fake traffic.

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