May 10, 2007

What can webmaster's learn from the "Life's short. Get a divorce" billboard ad?

I usually stick to online advertising, but this offline ad was so successful that maybe we webmasters can learn a little something from it:


According to the AP, since it went up last week, attorneys Corri Fetman and Kelly Garland said calls to their law firm have gone up dramatically.

What makes it even more successful is that it caused such a controversy (some people didn't like it) that it's now a national news item. How's that for publicity? It just goes to show you that you don't want to try appealing to everyone. Be willing to piss some people off.

Posted by James Trotta at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

April 9, 2006

What is excessive PPC advertising?

So I recently submitted a page about writing business emails to WoW Directory. It was rejected due to excessive PPC advertising. When I went with the Adsense in both right and left columns I did consider that this advertising might be excessive.

It's been about 2 years though and I don't see it as excessive at all these days. Every newspaper site, every page, and most free content sites will have as much or more advertising. So today, what is too much PPC advertising?

Of course, WoW is free to make up its own standards. However, it seems to me that if the ads don't interefere with readers ability to see the content (in other words ads should be off to the side and not flashing) they won't be excessive.

If the ads are placed in the middle of the content or get in the way somehow as people try to read the content, then the PPC is excessive.

Posted by James Trotta at 7:16 AM | Comments (2)

February 16, 2006

Starting a contest to get links

When V7n announced their now famous SEO contest, they required a link back (this requirement was later removed). The contest generated good publicity and increased forum activity. They probably got a few links as well.

This new contest is being done on a smaller scale, and that's exactly why I mention it. It shows that even smaller sites can use contests to generate links. In this case, the owners will select one person who blogs about their site and giv the lucky webmaster 250.00. It looks to me that they'll get more than 250.00 worth of publicity (and links) out of the deal as bloggers like myself link to to earn our shot at winning the 250.

Posted by James Trotta at 3:40 PM | Comments (2)

February 10, 2006

Approved to Chitika - should I begin?

I was recently approved into the chitika mini malls program. I ahve also recently read numerous posts on webmaster messageboards about Chitika canceling accounts and not paying balances. Basically I'm looking for something to display when Adsense wants to show public service announcements but am unconvinced that chitika minimalls are the answer.

Posted by James Trotta at 6:33 AM | Comments (1)

January 19, 2006

Adsense payout ratio

The New York Times reported that with AdSense, "for every dollar the company brings in through AdSense and other places that distribute its ads, it pays roughly 78.5 cents back to sites..." That's better for publishers than I expected actually.

Posted by James Trotta at 6:20 AM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2006

Million Dollar Homepage pixel advertising

Seth Godin was right when he talked about purple cows. Do something extremely different and you have a chance. So some British kid took the idea of a spammy web site with nothing but ads and made it more useless than just about any other site on the web. And he made a million dollars on The Million Dollar Homepage.

"The lesson is that consumers are willing to go to good ideas, things that are unique, things that are novel," says Tew. "Rather than copy each other, spend time thinking up new things. . . . Creativity works."
I suppose it makes sense that mostly spammy web sites advertise on Alex Tew's spammy web site.
Buyers create little ads and choose open ad space on a 10,000-block grid. It's more than 2,000 advertisements, their dimensions ranging from postage-stamp size to a Tart N' Tiny candy (sorry, we couldn't think of anything else small enough to compare!), displaying words normally red-flagged by spam filters -- EZ Money! Hair loss? Poker! Loans! Get Girls! Freebies! Cancer Cure! Casino!

Some of the ads are illustrations or photos -- images of bikini babes, cartoons, Che Guevara, the British flag, a marijuana leaf, a bull's-eye, the dollar sign. When you drag the cursor over any one of them, a small read-out appears identifying the advertiser -- dating services, online poker, loan companies, bookies, bloggers, ring tone sellers, snoring remedies.

Within the first month the site was getting 200,000 unique visitors daily, and more than 3.2 million in the past two weeks, Tew says. "The more people talked about the site, the more money I made," says Tew. "And the more money I made, the more people talked about the site. It's a self-perpetuating idea."

You can see it at the last thousand pixels went up for auction on eBay and went over $150,000. Now an Ebay search for "million pixel" shows lots of imitators making a lot less money.

Posted by James Trotta at 6:10 AM | Comments (1)

September 13, 2005

Casale Media

Casale Media offers branding campaigns and pays publishers on a CPM basis. I understand that the payout is reasonable so I applied to become a publisher and carry their ads. My site was denied because "the area of our network that your site caters to is currently full in terms of available campaigns."

I've never heard that one before. Sounds like saying we don't have enough advertisers to place ads on your site...

Posted by James Trotta at 4:20 PM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2005

Wasting time

One problem I've encountered selling ad space on my sites personally is that too many webmasters waste my time. For example:

Stupid webmaster: Please tell me a little more about the traffic you attract for your site that would help me..thanks

Me: Thank you for the email. I presume you are speaking of
although there are also advertising options at my web directory - and my blog - averaged 896 unique visitors/day in March 2005. Generally
speaking, this number increases every month. Since most publishers speak
in terms of "hits" I mention that also: 17,224 / day however I think the
unique visitors is a more important number. The homepage was viewed
14,604 times and has a Google page rank of 6. This PR has been maintained for
over a year and indicates that it is considered an important page on the web.
If there's more information you need, you can view my stats directly at or ask me. Also please inform me if you
were not interested in advertising on the homepage.

Stupid webmaster: Ok-just looking now--not sure it will suit my needs.
If i do not decide to, its because i have found another means.

Me: Please let me know what your needs are. I'll be a much bigger help.

Stupid webmaster: Not sure yet -just looking around....not sure i want to use an internet site
...But i appreciate it.I am soooo busy these days but thanks

(Apparently not too busy to waste my time...)

Posted by James Trotta at 2:19 PM | Comments (0)

March 5, 2005

Letter to advertisers with expired ads

Just thought I'd share the letter I sent off to a couple of advertisers who have expired ads and may wish to renew. I was thinking I would add that links may become stronger as they age, but I'm not going to be heart broken if these ones don't renew so I didn't spend much time trying to sell them on renewing (they say long copy when filled with selling points is more effective than short copy). Anyway. here's the letter:

I'm writing because my records indicate that the 6 month text link ad
purchased on Aug. 26, 2004 has expired. Since then has
become a stronger PR 6 by adding link partners and directory listing.
Traffic has increased substantially, averaging 823 uniques daily in

This link popularity and traffic means that ESL go is a better place
to advertise now than ever before. Current prices are available on

Posted by James Trotta at 10:35 AM | Comments (1)

December 14, 2004

Where do Adsense ads go?

When I was just an Adsense user, I always wondered how some of my competitors got away with putting adsense on their awful sites.

Now that I'm an Adwords advertiser, I really worry about my ads showing up on some of my competitors ugly sites. I don't want to be associated with low quality sites; it's bad for branding. Google says it's all or nothing. Your ads appear across the content network or on none of the content network sites.

There's at least one case where Adwords publishers got a site removed from Adsense by requestion the removal of their ads, but it was very high profile. Most bad sites never get much publicity.

I wonder if we can start a "clean up adsense" movement. See a low quality site publishing adsense? Post a reply to this entry with the URL in the comment body. Hopefully everyone using Adwords who reads this will read the comments, check out the bad sites, and of they agree contact Google complaining about the low quality of the site in question. Maybe we can help Google clean up Adsense.

Posted by James Trotta at 3:12 AM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2004

New advertising model

In this new model for advertising on blogs, a CPI model of advertising is introduced in which bloggers who display ads are not only paid per click or impression but also according to influence. The stressed point is that advertising revenue should be based on incoming links and feeds rather than impressions and clicks.

A very clear explanation is given the name sell side advertising at Searchblog. The idea is that anyone who sees the ad and meets certain requirements can place the ad on their site. Clearly advertisers are giving up a degree of control and one has to wonder who monitors the ads to make sure there is no fraud. So far as I know, no advertisers are using this model and its unclear if any are seriously considering it. It's important to not ethat this eems to ahve been conceived by bloggers (not advertisers).

Posted by James Trotta at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

2 ad units where there used to be one

So now that Google allows multiple ad units (by the way, last time I looked at that page there was a big image ad for Google Adsense which I'd never seen before), I'm experimenting with my New York Giants site. Previously I only had 4 ads displayed in a 728x90 leaderboard across the top of the index page, but now I've added 5 ads in a 160x600 skyscraper. I can't tell you the exact CTR or CPM but I will tell you if they increase.

Posted by James Trotta at 9:40 AM | Comments (0)

September 3, 2004

Google adsense news

Some neat new things with Google adsense include up to three blocks of ads on every page and collapsing ad units:

Google's collapsing ad units ensure that your page space is used to its maximum potential at all times. When targeted ads aren't available for an ad unit, the collapsing ad unit feature will shrink the empty ad unit, so that blank ad spaces are eliminated from your page.

Another thing that's more of a curiosity is that Google is experimenting with "ads by Gooooooogle". The number of Os seems to vary.

Posted by James Trotta at 2:58 PM | Comments (0)

September 1, 2004

Behavioral targeting in online advertising

A ClickZ article about how beavioral targeting influences online advertising is very convincing - we should use behavioral targeting. While it does a good job explaining the theory, there is nothing in the way of practical examples so if you want to explore behavioral targeting, you'll have to look elsewhere for "how to" inofrmation.

Posted by James Trotta at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)

Protection from adware

Here's a very good article about protecting yourself from adware. It details how people unknowingly install adware on their computers, how adware invades your privacy, and what to do adware:

Third, you can find ad-ware lurking on your machine by periodically running one of several utilities available to detect it. One of the best, Spybot search and destroy, can be downloaded for free at Spybot will search for the presence of ad-ware on your system and remove it. There are many commercial offerings available as well.

Posted by James Trotta at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2004

The future of online and offline advertising

This Boston Globe article explores how TiVo and similar products are changing the advertising industry. A few interesting extracts from various advertising people who were asked for their opinions:

Eventually, I expect online advertising to become more of the constant ad message supported by product placement in movies, sponsorships, and other types of ads.

The problem is that there are too many delivery devices for mediocre content. We don't need more places to put ads. People are tired of being interrupted and invaded.

Posted by James Trotta at 5:11 AM | Comments (0)

August 28, 2004

Are banner ads still useful?

Rick Rouse argues that they are, but offers some strange logic to support his claim: a banner that looks like a normal text link. I'll take the text link (and the anchor text) over a banner ad that looks like a text link. I suppose the only useful advice is to create a custom banner for every web page you advertise on. The banner should blend in with each page. Mastering the obvious, we're also told that the web page should be related to the ad...

Posted by James Trotta at 4:40 PM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2004

Branding online

Here's an interesting article about how Honda used internet advertising for branding purposes. The claim here is that online branding will become more popular than paid search engine placement.

This is more likely to benefit portals than smaller sites, and even portals have a tough time selling these ads because measuring their success is harder. With this sort of online advertising, one has to conduct before and after surveys tailored to discerning if customers were affected by the ads in question.

Posted by James Trotta at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)

9.1 billion and growing

Here's an interesting article about how huge the online advertising market is (9.1 billion dollars huge). One interesting thing is that paid search makes up 40% of the market. Also intersting are the varied predictions about the growth of the online advertising market.

Posted by James Trotta at 9:26 AM | Comments (0)