Oct 3, 2011 by Matt | Posted in Social Media
Google announced on one of their blogs that their AdSense network will be getting +1 buttons on display ads. So not only can users “endorse” products or services by clicking on a +1 button, but it will cause the ads appear more often to their social connections, hopefully making for more relevant ad targeting.
Starting in October, the +1 button will begin to appear on display ads on your site. With a single click, people will now be able to endorse specific ads and make them more likely to appear to their social connections. We believe that these recommendations could lead your readers to notice ads on your site more, leading to more clicks and higher returns for you over time.
Clicks on the +1 button will not count as ad clicks, and publishers will not receive revenue for them, but should help increase CTR. (People are more inclined to click ads that are recommended by people they know.)
+1: Now making Display ads more relevant [Inside Adsense Blog]
Apr 29, 2011 by Matt | Posted in Monetization
Flattr, the social micropayment service, will no longer be requiring that publishers maintain an active balance and be actively participating in the service in order to accept “Flattrs” from users. This will go into effect starting on May 1st, and should increase the number of blogs using the service.
If you’re someone that’s using Flattr primarily to make micropayments to others then you’ll soon have tons more blogs and websites to flattr.
If you’re using Flattr to both pay and get paid, you now no longer need to worry whether your Flattr button is active. Feel free to add money to your account and flattr others at your own pace.
I’m excited about the change, since few of the sites I read use Flattr, and the money I put into it either goes in one huge chunk to a single publisher or to charity. Hopefully more bloggers will try it out.
Opening the floodgates [Flattr Blog]
Mar 18, 2011 by Matt | Posted in Monetization
Google is finally doing the same with AdSense, with new asynchronous ad-serving code that is currently being used to load ads quicker in Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer 8. (They plan to expand to support other browsers after they’ve ironed the kinks out of the new script.)
The old show_ads did lots of work: loading additional scripts, gathering information about the web page it was running on, and building the ad request to send back to Google. The new show_ads has a different job. It creates a friendly (same-origin) iframe on the web page, and starts the old script with a new name, show_ads_impl, running inside that iframe. The _impl does all the heavy lifting, and in the end the ads look exactly the same. But there’s a substantial speed advantage: many things happening inside an iframe don’t block the web browser’s other work.
Publishers don’t need to change anything; Google took care of everything on their end. Supposedly it should shave off about 12% of the time it takes for the page to load, since the ads won’t hold up the page while they load.
Feb 18, 2011 by Matt | Posted in Monetization
I’ve been keeping an eye on an interesting service called Flattr for awhile now. It’s a “social micropayments” service that had been in private beta for awhile, but is now open to anybody who wants to join.
Flattr’s premise is that you, as a user, choose a small amount of money to pay each month — anywhere from €2 to €100 — and split it up evenly amongst websites you like. Suppose you read an interesting blog post here and click my Flattr button, and do the same for nine other websites in the space of a month. If your monthly contribution is €2, each of those ten websites will get €0.20. The more items you Flattr, the less everyone gets, but they still get something. The general idea is that if enough people are in on this, web publishers could make some nice pocket change without putting a dent in their audiences’ wallets. It’s as easy as voting up a story or retweeting, but with a direct monetary benefit.
Anyway, I really like the idea, but it suffers from a lack of users. There are some large blogs and open source projects using it, but it’s not quite mainstream enough to be a big deal.
If you’re a publisher or open source software developer, add a Flattr button to your website. It’s a great way to get a small “tip” once in awhile. If more frequently-trafficked sites implement it, more users should surface. You have to be an active Flattr-er yourself if you want to receive Flattrs as well.
Jan 17, 2011 by Matt | Posted in Monetization
BuySellAds has just released a new extension for Google Chrome (with a Firefox version on the way) that is aimed at advertisers. It displays a BuySellAds icon in your toolbar, which lights up red when a website you visit has BuySellAds zones available. Clicking it displays a popover dialog that shows the publisher’s zones and lets you buy them out.
I think it’s a neat idea. It makes it easier for advertisers to find and buy ad space, which could potentially result in smaller publishers having their ad space filled.
If you do any advertising, or just like seeing how much publishers charge for their ad space, you can download the Chrome extension here. (And don’t forget, Webmaster-Source has BuySellAds banners…)
Jan 14, 2011 by Matt | Posted in Monetization
I’ve long been a fan of the “freemium” business model, especially when it comes to online games. I’ve enjoyed playing Dungeons & Dragons Online partially for this reason, and was excited to hear that switching to their freemium approach increased their revenue by 500%. Following that success, Turbine eventually made the same move with their Lord of the Rings Online game.
The results are in: Lord of the Rings Online is making three times as much money as it was before it went free back in September.
This is a big win/win scenario for game developers. They have the opportunity to gain more users, as the barrier for entry is lower, and potentially make more money than their usual monthly fee from their most hardcore users. (Imagine $12.99 a month becoming $20 a month in additional quest packs and emergency mana potions…) I’m still hoping Blizzard will experiment with this for World of WarCraft.
Now, if only Turbine would work on OS X clients for their growing MMORPGs…
Dec 31, 2010 by Matt | Posted in Monetization
Project Wonderful is an ad marketplace that is commonly used on webcomic sites and lit-blogs, partially because of the large community of independently-operated websites that use it. They use a nifty “infinite auction” scheme where advertisers bid how much they are willing to pay for a day of advertising, which can get pretty cut-throat on larger sites.
I recently noticed that Reddit had a Project Wonderful ad zone in their /r/comics section, and the current bid was only $4.40. So I decided to seize the opportunity to try out Project Wonderful on a heavily-trafficked web property and promote my younger brother’s comic site a little bit. So I upped the bid by a couple of dollars, became the high bidder, and waited.
After enjoying my victory for a few minutes, and racking up a few impressions, I was outbid by a seller of geeky plush animals. I retaliated by upping my bid a few dollars, and my ad immediately returned to it’s rightful place in front of thousands of Redditors’ monitors. About a half hour later, my squishy nemesis had once again outbid me. Not only had they outbid me, but they had raised it about $10. So I slowly raised my offer until it was just over theirs.
They must have given up for the time being, as my ad remained up for the next day and a half, when my fundage ran low and the ad was finally replaced once again by my foe’s plush Cthulu banner. I ended up spending about $10 for over 50,000 impressions. Not bad.
I’m now trying out Project Wonderful from the Publisher side. I have some ad space on my fantasy book and movie site, where I’m trying to see how quickly a smaller site can start getting bids. A couple of free banners (because bidding starts at $0) are up right now, so I could see others’ bidding them up a few cents in order to get wicked cheap advertising over a few weeks.
How “awesome” Project Wonderful is for a small site, we shall see, but the service certainly lives up to its claims for advertisers.
Dec 22, 2010 by Matt | Posted in Design
Apple has just launched a new OS X application intended for advertisers looking to run ads on Apple’s iAd network. The software package, called iAd Producer, gives you an iLife-style tool to visually design interactive HTML5 ads.
The iAd Producer displays a chart giving an overview of the ad bundle, allowing you to double-click the different elements and make changes to them. You can drop in graphics and videos, choose from the common page types used in ads (such as photo and video galleries, wallpaper pickers, coverflow views, etc.) and then preview the final ad in the iPhone simulator. The application also allows you to build iAds for the iPad.
It’s a great idea, I think. It may mean more advertisers will join the iAd network, since they will have to invest less resources into their ad in order to get started. A lot of big-name brands probably don’t have serious web developers on their marketing teams.
Dec 15, 2010 by Matt | Posted in Monetization
Just last week the much-anticipated Infinity Blade iPhone game from Epic Games was released. The first to use the new iOS port of the Unreal Engine, it’s stunning graphics have been a major selling point for the game.
The big news is just how amazingly successful the game has been thus far. In its first five days, it earned a stunning $1.64 million. Quite an achievement, breaking Cut the Rope’s record of $1 million in its first ten days to boot.
At $5.99 per copy, the sword-fighting app will thus have mustered over $1.64 million in sales for publisher Epic, whose studio Chair Entertainment created what is widely-hailed as one of the most technically impressive iOS titles to date.
According to GamesIndustry.biz, at least 274,000 copies of the app were sold to produce that figure.
This really shows how viable a platform iOS and the App Store are. There is a lot of money to be made, and the barrier for entry is very low in comparison to most other gaming platforms. At last, indie developers are finally on a fairly even playing field with the larger game companies.
Dec 8, 2010 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
WPCandy, the prolific WordPress blog, has just released a new iPhone app for easy mobile access to their content. The interesting part isn’t the app so much as their “reverse launch” deal.
The app costs $0.99 normally, but they are charging $5.99 instead for the first few weeks. They’re sort of doing what Apple did with the original iPhone: dropping the price after the early adopters made them enough money to pay for the R&D.
Why would we do this? We want to give you, the awesome WPCandy readers and community members, the chance to support what we’re doing here. We run an ad-free site, with regular, high quality content containing zero affiliate links. We publish things that are of community interest (tutorials, comprehensive WordPress news, editorials) and we do it every single day. Many have called us crazy for not allowing advertising. They say we can’t make any money without ads. They say a community-driven site just doesn’t work.
We want to prove them wrong.
I still think they are a bit crazy for their no-advertising policy. (There’s nothing wrong with some minimal advertising, and companies like Fusion Ads help publishers make some good money by selling less ads.) Not so much that they don’t run ads, but their subscription to the pervasive attitude that ads are bad. However, I do like the reverse-launch idea. I don’t know if just any developer could get away with it, though. It takes a certain critical mass of users.
Introducing the WPCandy iPhone app, and our reverse-launch deal [WPCandy]