31 Jan

Bad News for Independent Bloggers – Ad Network Closing

Pajamas Media blog advertising networkThe downturn in the advertising industry claims another victim. The Pajamas Media ad network, which placed ads mainly on political blogs, is closing effective April 1, 2009.

According to Instapundit, the business model wasn’t working:

YEAH, the PJM ad-network model isn’t working. I don’t have much to do with the PJM business side, but online ads just aren’t producing revenue like they were a few years ago, and the blog-network thing was apparently a tough sell.

The past five years have seen an influx of entrepreneurs and people looking to make big money or just side income from selling advertising on their blogs (among the 70 million blogs out there). For some independent bloggers this will mean the loss of a nice income stream as one notes:

Damn. I was finally starting to make an amount of money I wasn’t utterly embarrassed by, too.

For another, whose sole source of employment is his blog, the news is worse.  He says he will be out of a job come April.

The downturn in the economy has hit the advertising industry.  Mostly you hear about big media, with  newspapers laying off staff and even eliminating paper editions in favor of online-only. Or you hear about venture-backed startups and their trials and tribulations with ad revenue.

What doesn’t get talked about as much is the impact on independent bloggers — the entrepreneurs or wannabe entrepreneurs who are trying to create a revenue stream from their blogs. Sometimes it’s only a small side line — moonlighting — but still important to them.

Most bloggers underestimate the amount of work it takes to make money from a blog. I’ve found that like most business ventures, your revenue from a blog tends to be in lock step with the amount of time you put into it.  If you only spend a couple of hours a week at it, it’s tough to make more than a couple bucks.  But for those who work at it and build an audience, there is some money to be made.

But in times like these, it’s harder this year to make money than it was last year or the year before.

Google AdSense is one alternative that some will turn to, although I’ve never been able to make much from it myself. (There are plenty of entrepreneurs making money primarily from AdSense, but I’ve found that a site has to be optimized a certain way to maximize AdSense revenue and/or you have to have to a lot of sites.)  Some political blogs and free-wheeling blogs may be rejected by Google anyway, due to the language they use and the topics they cover. 

Perhaps a more viable option for some sites will be affiliate offers. 

Affiliate networks and vendors that sell through affiliates might find opportunity by targeting select blogs from defunct or discontinued ad networks.  Just saying ….

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  1. Denise O'Berry said on February 1st, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Sad to hear about any business closing, but not unusual in these times. It’s a good reminder that diversifying revenue streams is critical for any small business owner. Having all your financial eggs in one basket is always a mistake.

    Reply
  2. Anita Campbell said on February 1st, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    True, Denise.

    And anyone who has an online money-making offer for small businesses — and who doesn’t try to take undue advantage of the small business — could be seen almost as a savior. The next 12 months could be a great time to develop loyalty among online small businesses to represent your offering and sell it as an affiliate.

    Reply
  3. Bianca Aquino said on February 2nd, 2009 at 1:58 am

    How does affiliate network works, Anita?

    Reply
  4. Dennis Yu said on February 2nd, 2009 at 4:58 am

    Bianca,

    You can earn more from affiliate network ads than Google AdSense because you’ll likely be running the same ads anyway. Thus, you earn an extra 30% by just cutting out the middleman. And based on what your blog is about, you can run ads that are more relevant. The downside is that it’s a tedious process to grab ad tags from various affiliate networks and then having to maintain your advertising, as offer performance will change. At one point it might be business cards, V-day offers, mortgage refinance, or whatever. We do affiliate marketing professionally, so ping me if you need advice. Happy to help here and there.

    Reply
  5. Amanda said on February 2nd, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    This is one subject that I wish was touched on more. I would be interested to hear what the pros and cons of each are (adsense vs affiliate) and how you go about getting affiliate ads.

    Reply
  6. Bianca Aquino said on February 3rd, 2009 at 6:22 am

    Dennis,

    Thanks for your very helpful reply. I would love to learn more about this, how to get started and any related activity to become a successful network affiliate.

    Reply
  7. Mary Grace Ignacio said on February 4th, 2009 at 5:08 am

    This is bad news, Anita.

    Also, what do you mean by this Anita -> And anyone who has an online money-making offer for small businesses — and who doesn’t try to take undue advantage of the small business — could be seen almost as a savior?

    Reply
  8. Rose Anderson said on February 4th, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    It’s a good reminder that diversifying revenue streams is critical for any small business owner. Having all your financial eggs in one basket is always a mistake. -> I strongly agree with this Denise. Putting your eggs in one basket is always a mistake that most often overlooked on it.

    Reply
  9. Rose Anderson said on February 6th, 2009 at 2:04 am

    In addition, sometimes people became lazy and fearful in investing to others especially if the ‘basket’ where their eggs are, are currently doing well.

    Reply
  10. Ivana Taylor said on February 7th, 2009 at 10:39 am

    I think we’re going through another shift. But Anita is right about one VERY big thing. Making money from an online business requires as much time (if not more) than the traditional brick and mortar – and in an environment and market that is changing so fast – it’s really difficult to keep track of all the different models. I was just reading an article that compared facebook and twitter and drew a connection between these two and the Search Portal wars in the 90′s. It wasn’t until Google “cracked” the code that people started making money. I think we’re in for a ride on this topic – so lean into it.

    Reply
  11. Martin Lindeskog said on February 8th, 2009 at 8:05 am

    My EGO blog belongs (belonged?) to the PJ network. Click on my name (“Martin Lindeskog” said) and you could read my post, Pajamas Media and Blogads, for my experiences and take on the situation. I think that Henry Copeland’s BlogAds will pick up some of the bloggers. I like his idea of a conversation between advertiser and blog readers.

    I haven’t made much money on Google AdSense yet due to my small traffic, but I think it could increase a bit now with my new template. I will play around with Chitika’s premium ads that has an interesting feature with showing ads only when a visitor is coming to the site via a search engine.

    Reply
  12. Luz Spielberg said on February 9th, 2009 at 7:13 am

    I will play around with Chitika’s premium ads that has an interesting feature with showing ads only when a visitor is coming to the site via a search engine. – Martin, don’t you think it’s quiet limited? Your chances of earning is a little small?

    Reply
  13. Martin Lindeskog said on February 9th, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Luz,

    Yes, it good be pretty limited, but at the same time focused and directed to visitors coming from key word searches. If they see things that they have been looking for, maybe that is a greater chance that they click on ad, don’t you think? I will have a mix of Chitika ads. You could have this premium ads together with more “regular” ads that is filling in if you don’t have a specific ad that is matching the key word search or regular returning visitor. I will write a post on my experience with Chitika later on.

    Reply
  14. Luz Spielberg said on February 10th, 2009 at 3:53 am

    Oh I See. Keep me posted on that! Thanks Martin! ; )

    Reply
  15. Martin Lindeskog said on February 16th, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Luz,

    I will. Have you read my post, Ads Popping Up?

    Reply
  16. Luz Spielberg said on February 16th, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    Ooops. Yes I did Martin. But I’m sorry I quiet didn’t get it. :(

    Reply
  17. Luz Spielberg said on February 16th, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    I sent you a note in the comments section, Martin!

    Reply
  18. Martin Lindeskog said on February 16th, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    Luz,

    Thanks for your comment on my blog! :) I have replied. Talk to you soon again. Please feel free to send me an email at Martin AT Lindeskog DOT name.

    Reply
  19. Luz Spielberg said on February 17th, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    Yes. Thanks Martin! :)

    Reply

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