Updated on March 5, 2009: I noticed a huge discrepancy with my Google Analytics pageviews versus the impressions being reported by eBay Partner Network.
I did some digging and found that eBay counts link impressions not page impressions. For example, one of my posts has 22 links to eBay. This means a pageview is actually 22 impressions to eBay.
Needless to say that changed my calculations. I reworked the numbers and found that instead of 200% in the original post, eBay makes me 22 times more money than AdSense! Or in percentage terms, 2,100%. Of course, with this new knowledge, I’m very motivated to put eBay links on all my relevant posts, not just my most popular ones
I’ve been pretty excited the last couple days. I finally found an income stream for my gaming blog that actually makes a decent amount of money without hurting the usability of my readers.
At first, I tried AdSense but the ads I got were very irrelevant. My gaming blog is about a collectible card game called Magic The Gathering. As a card game, the word deck is huge keyword. However, that word was a problem since it would show ads about building a physical deck for your house. Also, since the title of the game has the word magic, I would get ads about magic tricks and how to cast actual spells.
I estimate that 70-80% of my ads were irrelevant. As such, I knew my readers were having a poor reading experience on my blog. I even hated looking at my site. The big intrusive irrelevant ads were a turnoff. I tried smaller ads but my income sunk too much. But even with the big ads, my income was not very good. Relevance is huge if you want to make money and very few people were clicking my ads.
My sister has a dating blog that gets less than half the traffic as my blog. But she has earned more with AdSense since her blog shows more relevant ads. After a while, I couldn’t optimize AdSense to make more money. My income was so low that I decided to drop the program and look for other ways to make money.
I tried affiliate programs from online retail stores but I couldn’t find a quality program. Surprisingly there was no info product I was comfortable with endorsing that had an affiliate program. I was close to giving up. I thought I would have to focus solely on creating my own products to make decent money from my blog. I’m working on my own info product but it will take a couple months to complete. I wanted to make some money right away without resorting to AdSense.
To add to my frustration, my blog was reaching new traffic highs every month for the last couple of months. I had recently reached the 1,000 daily visitors milestone.
eBay Partner Network
As a last ditch effort, I turned to eBay’s cost per click (CPC) program called eBay Partner Network (ePN). I knew they could be a great income source, since they have a lot of traffic and there is an active eBay market for the cards I blog about.
I sent my application but immediately regreted it when I read this article about how to get accepted in the network. Yeah, I know. I should’ve read the article first! My excitement and impatience got the best of me when I found out that eBay had a CPC program.
In my application, I wrote a 50 word blurb about my site. I didn’t put any effort in explaining why my site was a good fit for eBay. Needless to say, my site was rejected after a couple of weeks.
I then wrote them a 380 word email message asking them to reconsider my site. I explained my business plan and gave multiple traffic stats. I even included my experience as a search specialist and blogger. I knew my site was a good one for eBay so on the second try, I spent the extra effort to communicate that fact.
I couple days later I was accepted into the program.
I immediately create a couple eBay links and placed them on my most popular pages.
After a couple of days, I looked at the numbers and was very happy to discover that eBay made 22 times more money than my previous AdSense numbers (based on CPM, or cost per thousand page impressions)
Plus, the best performing AdSense ads are the big square ads that take up a lot of space and make your blog look cluttered. On the other hand, eBay has text links that can be placed in the middle of your posts. Therefore, you add value and an income stream without making your blog look cluttered with ads.
My blog doesn’t have any ads right now and it’s a great feeling. I do plan to sell ads on my sidebar in the future but I’m glad I don’t have to put ads in the content section of my blog. That section is the best place to put ads if you want to make money but it’s the worst spot from the user’s perspective.
I’m excited about the future with ePN. I haven’t done any testing on my eBay links so I think there’s room to optimize and earn more money.
If you have a product driven site, I definitely recommend eBay Partner Network.
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