Text Link Ads have been on my mind ever since The Link Nazi made it public that Google would be cracking down on sold links.
Many individual bloggers make the majority of their income from Text Link Ads. But I want to talk about another virtue of Text Link Ads: they can generate the revenue that publishers need to hire better writers.
If you’re like me and you own a large number of blogs and websites, then you also know all about the economy of content creation. For those of you who don’t know, let me educate you.
The fact of the matter is that search engines have yet to create the algorithm that can distinguish keyword rich crap from literary greatness. Since AdSense has been the main driver of content monetization, and since traffic is the key AdSense monetization, website owners have often resorted to buying lots of keyword loaded crap in preference to a few high-quality articles written by professional writers.
For $100 you can buy 1 or 2 excellent 500-1000 word articles or for $100 you can buy about 30 pieces of just legible English written by not quite fluent non-English speakers (not to offend any of our not quite fluent non-English readers). That’s just a fact and the explosion of crap content on the web is directly attributable to the economy that Google AdSense has created. It is Google’s monster. There’s no doubt about it.
Enter Text Link Ads. The TLA economy doesn’t directly depend on traffic, and so doesn’t depend on squeezing pennies out of the long tail. There is far more pressure from AdSense to create lots of crap content then from TLA. In fact, I’d argue that TLA creates an environment in which owners of blog networks, or multiple sites are freed up to migrate from content churning to actually being proud of the content they commission.
In my own case this is certainly true. TLA has finally gotten me to a place where I have the luxury of paying a premium for the content I commission. Rather than pursuing bulk content, I’m pursuing quality content. Worshiping the long-tail, in the name of almighty AdSense is no longer a priority. Creating good literary content is.
Because of TLA I now feel like a legitimate publisher, whereas before I had to wash my hands of AdSense blood each night before I went to sleep (well, not really, but you get the point).
let me know if I can help. I always recommend Performancing to bloggers looking to improve both their skills but also their opportunities.
Fantastic idea Brett. Maybe we could organize something here at Performancing to coordinate this. Let’s keep it in mind!
I also think writers should be given ‘freedom’ just to avoid a the burn out and dropping quality. Also many times it is too easy for many writers just too kick out the daily quick and dirty $5 entry without even thinking.
Series surely are interesting and co-authorship can IMHO long term also be a factor to keep authors more interested and motivated.
Credit should be partly yours as the thought partially came up during a conversation we had several days ago.
Great idea, Brett. I’m going to kick that off with a listing shortly, in the blogger jobs area.
I work on both sides of this fence (paying writers and being paid to write).
Seems to me the biggest problem is time. When I have the time I will write for affordable rates, but I can’t give a long term commitment to write at those ‘affordable’ rates, because in 2 weeks or 2 months I may not have the time.
Seems to me that we need a writing pool / job board etc that doesn’t look for / ask for 1 blogger to write 1/3/5 articles per week for $1 – $20 per article with an open ended commitment.
Instead we need to get used to the one off idea, of paying for 5 articles on X topic for X amount, then people could check in and check out of the writing market more efficiently. This is probably one of the reasons why the helium/AC model works. People can come and go as they like.
Then there are all those people out there writing for free too!
re: Funding Good Writers With Text Link Ad Revenue …
I’m finding it hard to fund BAD writers with text link ad revenue ~ !!
But – one thing that I have noticed .. for those blogs of mine that have sponsored ads on them, I am more inclined to “up” the quality and keep the content more “on topic” than off-topics and ramblings .. which, probably encourages more sponsors to take a chance and spend money advertising on my blogs. It’s a viscious cycle. I’m always looking for new writers but not looking hard enough obviously.
Gary, as usual that is a Google secret but I think it has been much overhyped in a typical blogosphere scandal way. That said, I believe that using a correct rel= policy on your sites can improve the TrustRank (TR) of a domain. And likewise if you have many external links, probably non related, in your footer, sidebar your TR might suffer slightly. Although I do think that nowadays Google pays less importance to site wide links already (especially if you use semantic classes for your divs such as footer, sidebar).
Links in entries have always been picked up very fast by Google on my sites (I ping Google with Arne Brachold’s Google Sitemap plugin for WP).
Ryan, I think they work hard at the AI (they surely aren’t as close to AI as Sergej wants us to believe), but A will never beat H(uman).
And the best example for this is IBM DeepBlue.
@Garri: Matt Cutts wants people (google army?) to snitch when they find paid links. He even told people how to do it.
I make no revenue from Adsense because I refuse to use on my site (it’s not political, it’s just that I myself get fed up seeing sites littered with Adsense)
I don’t use TLA either because my site doesn’t have the required PR minimum of 4.
That said, I am incensed that if what you say is true, and Google will be clamping down on sold links, it was Google in the first instance that created the PR environment which has provided the motivation for people to profit from selling links.
Does anyone have any idea on how they propose to crack down on TLA? I assume their lawyers have researched the legal implications as this could be seen as being anti-competitive, given that Google has its own text link ad system 😉
Sure, splogs are shitting up the web too. But Google’s going to crack down on text link ads? Why not work harder on their “true AI” promise of locating high-quality content.
If I go to Blogspot I still find more splogs than the genuine, but crappily written stuff I produce in my fourth language. My kingdom for a first language with more than 14 million speakers. 😉
You certainly have a powerful writing style.
I make a small amount of revenue from the AdSense feature on my sites.
I confess to weighting some of my work with key words.
I would love to monetize my site by providing salable material to other sites, but findiing a market is a great challenge.
Which of your sites do you accept content submissions for?