Over the years I have tested many ways to earn money online. Probably more than I could count, or even recall off the top of my head. What worked, I stuck with - and shared on SSWT (which is my Learn Internet Marketing website).. What didnt, I ditched - and also shared through my Internet Marketing sites.
After testing Adsense on various sites over the past couple of years, more recently I tried my hand at selling ad space through the advertising brokers. I thought it might be interesting to compare the profit potential between the two, and I liked the idea of having a bit more editorial control over ads that are displayed. The three I have tested to date are Text Link Ads, AdBrite and Performancing.
Performancing being the newest network I have tested, I have only been signed on for five full days now. However, it appears as if I may experience the same results as with the other two networks: zip. It's too early to tell for sure, especially considering that the Performancing Publishers Program itself is brand new - and I imagine you might have to run the code for these networks for a good month or more before seeing any substantial results.
Selling advertising directly on my websites was an extention of my testing "selling ad space" as one of the many ways to earn money online.
Obviously this gives site owners the ultimate position: complete editorial control. There is also no profit-sharing involved like there is with the Ad Brokers, so you keep all of the earnings. AND you have full freedom to cut deals, run sales and barter with other Internet Marketers.
The downside: You have to manage it personally... which means making the sale, collecting funds, reviewing ads, placing ads, offering customer service, removing ads, handling renewals, etc.
This was the main reason that I stayed away from that profit model all these years. It seems like a lot of WORK. And you probably know by now that I prefer Passive Income models 😛 . (And now that I am actually selling advertising, I can tell you that it IS work!)
Another reason that I havent sold advertising until now is that I reserve the space on my websites for my own links - links to my other sites and offers, or to affiliate programs that I promote. Considering that I make a living from those links... I wasnt necessarily willing to part with the space. Not cheap anyway.
I always said: "If that space is making me money, why would I sell it? And if it's not, why would anyone want to buy it?"
But the more that I expand my 'profit portfolio' and test the potential of various income streams, the more I understand the dymanics of each of the "link profit" options...
Affiliate Marketing only pays on conversions. It does require a bit of skill with copy and pre-selling, along with targeting a specific market. The upside is that the payout is great, and the commissions are long-term. Meaning, if you get a great pre-sell indexed in the major search engines for the right keywords... you could earn nice commissions consistently, month after month.
Selling Ad Space requires more "foot work" (management/maintenance), but you will get paid regardless of whether the landing page converts or not. You can also sell out blocks of ad space, earning the money upfront versus waiting for affiliate commissions to roll in.
And then there is also PayPerPost, which hooks bloggers up with advertisers and pays you to include text links in related blog posts (basically "sponsored posts"). Like selling text links, you are paid for each post whether the advertiser receives clicks or sales - or not. You dont have to rely on conversions, presell anything or be able to write good copy. You simply have to include a text link in relevant content.
The bottom line is that Affiliate Marketing stands to earn you more in the long run, while selling ads/links is a way to earn a chunk of money 'upfront'. Obviously a site/blog owner can use all three of these options without conflict, which is a great strategy. You can get paid for the text links that you sell, the blog posts that you publish... AND include Affiliate Programs on your pages for long-term income potential at the same time.
How you monetize your web space is entirely up to you of course, but it pays to weigh out your options and consider using a variety of income streams. Over time, you will find the perfect combination of opportunities that provides balance in developing quality websites and increasing your overall profit.