WidgetBucks – A New Advertising Option for Your Blog

Earn $$ with WidgetBucks!I’ve just heard about a brand new advertising option for bloggers by the name of WidgetBucks that is launching as we speak. I’m yet to test it live on my sites as it is brand new – but from my initial looking over of the service I’d say that it has promise. The nearest thing that I could compare it to would be Chitika eMiniMalls as it is an interactive ad unit that flashes through different purchasing options for readers for different products. Here’s how one of their ad units looks (there’s another at the base of this post):

Widgets come in a range of sizes and can be customized to different colors. They will also let you target 13 different categories (each category has sub categories) if you choose to manually set them – but will let you run it in a ‘contextual’ mode (called ‘MerchSense’).

How Do You Make Money?

You make money on a ‘per click’ (CPC) basis and WidgetBucks claim that those who’ve tested them are getting $3-$6 CPM. Payment is via Check but you need to hit $50 before you trigger your first payment.

$25 SignUp Bonus

In fact this is actually easier than it might seem as they start every publisher off with $25 in their account as a signup bonus so all you need to earn is another $25 to get a $50 check.

WidgetBucks will allow you to run as many ads on a page as you like and you can use this system with AdSense according to their FAQ.

Tracking is on a Widget by Widget basis and the reports page looks pretty good.

What I like about WidgetBucks

Keep in mind that I’m yet to test it out and am writing this as a first impression review

  • I like the ad units – they are very clickable
  • There is a good range of colors and ad unit sizes to choose from
  • Reporting looks good
  • Reported CPM is reasonable considering you can run multiple ad units and other ad systems on your page
  • This strikes me as being a good system on ‘product related blogs’

What I’d like to see Added

  • My experience with these types of ads shows me that the more targeted the ads are to your content the better. If you’re writing about a particular model of MP3 player you want to see an ad for that MP3 player served. When Chitika made this available in their system my earnings skyrocketed – I hope that WidgetBucks has a way to do this shortly.
  • Referral system (which I’m using in this post) – it pays $5 when the person you refer earns their first $25. While this is ok – it is nothing in comparison to other referral systems that payout a % of the earnings of those you refer. While there is some incentive to get some sign ups there’s little incentive to help those you sign up to increase their earnings once they are signed up. update – great news, they’ve taken notice of this complaint and have increased this to 10% of earnings for 10% (something I’m proud to say that I suggested to them!).
  • The smallest ad unit is 468×60 – while the 5 units are pretty good to choose from it’ll be good to see if they add more later – particularly smaller ones.
  • I’ve never really been a fan of ads that have lots of animation. These could be annoying for some blog readers.

I’m sure I’ll discover more that I like and dislike about WidgetBucks as I test it more – but overall it looks like a system worth testing out to see if it works well on your blog or not. I’ll be giving it a go in the coming days and look forward to hearing how you find it too.

What do you think of WidgetBucks?

Techmeme Launches Top 100 Leaderboard

Techmeme LbTechmeme have announced their Top 100 Leaderboard page in the last 12 hours. It’s being called a something that attack’s Technorati’s Top 100 list by some (of course they are listed #1 on the list – so they would) – however I think that while it’s a great list and concept that it’s far from killing anything. As Gabe says in his launch post – it just tracks Tech sites that are part of the Techmeme system. They tend to track tech blogs with more of a business focus – so really it’s just tracking a small part of the TechSphere. It also isn’t really just a list of blog either – with a variety of types of sites included.

I think that Marshall Kirkpatrick’s analysis of the list is one of the best going around – Techmeme Launching Leaderboard – World Likely to Keep Turning. It’s a great tool – but if this is a Technorati killer then Techrnorati really must be in a sorry state.

PS – Yuvisense does some interesting analysis comparing the Top 100 at Technorati, Techmeme’s leaderboard and top sites on Digg (thanks to Maki for the heads up on this via email).

How to Advertise for a Blogger

Blogger-JobsHaving run the ProBlogger Job Boards for over a year now and having seen hundreds of jobs advertised in that time – there are a number of tips that I’d give to advertisers looking to fill job positions via our blogger job boards (note – if you’re a blogger looking for a job then I wrote a post previously on How to Apply for a Blog Job).

1. Headlines are Vital

Most bloggers who follow our job boards are tracking new ads via RSS in news aggregators. I find that many of them scan these feeds and therefore your headline needs to stand out and be specific as to what you’re looking for. In a similar way to the way I advise bloggers to carefully consider titles of posts you should do the same for the ads you post on our job boards.

2. Specific Ads Work Best

Ads for specific jobs tend to get a higher quality of applicant. Advertise for a ‘tech blogger’ or ‘entertainment blogger’ and you’ll filter out bloggers who are not interested in these topics. You’ll also attract bloggers who have more experience in these areas. Advertise for something general like ‘bloggers’ or ‘writers’ and you’ll attract a less focussed applicant and possible miss out on exactly what you’re looking for. Be specific in your headline and the body of the ad itself.

3. Advertise Actual Jobs

Some advertisers put up more general ads as they are looking for more than one blogger. While this is ok by us and I find that these advertisers do get results – it is those ads that are for one specific position that tend to be filled fastest and which get higher quality applicants. This enables you to be specific with your ad and the applicant to respond more specifically. Advertise for more than one position in an ad and you risk confusing your potential applicants.

4. Clearly Outline what You’re looking for from a Blogger

The more information you’re able to give potential applicants the better the applications will be and the more targeted they will be to your particular needs. Give information on:

  • what the job entails (topic, posting levels, other roles you expect them to perform)
  • payment (if applicable share either how much you’ll pay or what type of payment you go with – ie is it revenue share, flat fee per month, payment per post etc)
  • how you want bloggers to apply (give information on what you want in an application – ie do you want a resume, examples of previous work, links to other blogs, an answer to a specific question etc)

5. Be Concise

Clearly written ads that don’t overwhelm prospective bloggers tend to do better than longer and more complex ads. Tell people what you want and how you want to be approached in the ad and leave it at that. It doesn’t hurt to proof read your ads also – nothing puts off a potential blogger more than an ad with mistakes. We can edit an ad for you after it goes live – but this can take up to 24 hours on weekends and depending upon what time your request comes in – this can be after bloggers have already seen your ad (ie too late).

6. Acknowledge Job Applications

Jobs advertised on ProBlogger get a varying number of applicants. Some advertisers literally get hundreds of applications while others get a handful (often depending upon the above factors). Whether you get a few or a lot of applicants – I’d advise you to have an email response ready for applicants that:

  • acts as a receipt for the job application
  • outlines the process from here on in (including a time line for the decision)
  • gives any follow up information or questions that you want applicants to respond to

Having spoken to many applicants from the job boards – there’s nothing that frustrates them more than putting together a response to an advertisement (which can take some time) and then never hearing anything back from the advertiser. Even just a short an generic email back to applicants can help them a lot and will help your reputation as an employee.

7. If you Fill the Job Email Me to Mark it as ‘Filled’

If you manage to find a blogger to fill your blogging job shoot me an email and I’ll mark it as filled so that bloggers stop sending you applications. This will not only relieve the strain on your inbox but will save bloggers the time of applying for a job that’s not even open. Just email me via my contact form with this request and I’ll close the job off quickly.

$54,000 worth of Prizes on Offer in the ProBlogger Birthday Bash Competitions!

Problogger-Birthday-BashOver the next week here at ProBlogger I’m planning to give away over $54,000 (USD) of cash and prizes in the ProBlogger Birthday Bash! (you can see the full list of prizes here).

You heard me right – over $50,000 in cash and prizes have been donated by generous sponsors to this event and every cent of them will be going to ProBlogger readers in the coming 7 days. The prizes will be given out over a number of days through a variety of different competitions.

There are 115 sponsors (give or take a couple that we’re finalizing) – some are offering multiple prizes (one is offering something for up to 500 of you – which pushed up the prize pool value). Prizes range from getting theme songs composed for podcasts/videos (something I wouldn’t mind winning myself), to iPods, to logo designs, to magazine subscriptions, to books, to cash and vouchers and so much more. Prizes values range from just a few dollars in value to thousands of dollars.

Here’s how it’s going to happen….

But first – to increase your chances of taking home some of these prizes you’re going to want to subscribe to my RSS feed so that you’re up to date with the different competitions that will be running (note – this is not a condition of entry – just a way to make sure you get all the updates you’ll need to participate).

The details:

  • Prizes will be won given away in a series of different rounds over the next week – mostly between Friday and Sunday (a little weekend fun).
  • Tomorrow I’ll be posting a full list of prizes that have been donated. They’ll include both the prizes and who they’ve been donated by.
  • We’ll also launch the competition tomorrow with the first round of giveaways – the purpose of this first competition is simply to spread the word of the competition.
  • The competitions will have a range of entry criteria. Some will simply be asking you to leave a comment to say that ‘you’re in’. Others will require you to write a post on a particular topic or in a particular style (like my Group Writing Projects).

Lara Kulpa will be helping me to administrate the competition (in fact she’s doing most of it). Lara has run her web consultancy for several years  – if you’re looking for Web Design, Marketing advice (online or off), Social Media Consulting, SEO, or anything related, you should probably get in touch with Lara – she’s great!

So stay tuned – we’ll post the first competition tomorrow and will continue to update you on all of the opportunities to win in the days that follow.

Subscribe to my RSS feed to keep up to date and put yourself in a position to win!

PS: To see the latest round of giveaways check out the birthday prize giveaway category

Google Reader Suggest ‘Feed Bundles’ to Users

It looks like Google is rolling out suggested prepackaged ‘bundles’ (or is this something that they’re just promoting afresh? – update – seems it is an old feature according to commenters below) of RSS feeds for it’s users to subscribe to.

In categories like news, technology, video, cars and photography (a total of 15 categories) they are bundling popular feeds with between 5 and 9 feeds in each category.


Taking a quick look through the bundled feeds there isn’t too many surprises in the feeds included – although I’d have thought that they probably could have found a few more feeds in most categories.

Being included in one of these bundles would mean a serious increase in subscriber count – I wonder who one has to sleep speak with at Google to get included in one of them! I can think of one useful addition to their photography bundle!

How Much Social Networking Do You Do?

Social-NetworksIt struck me today that while I signed up as a Twitter user quite a few months ago – that I’ve never been back since and never have posted anything to my my Twitter account. So today I logged in and found that despite me never mentioning my account that I have 60 ‘followers’.

I posted something – and within minutes people were replying – how bizarre.

I think it was partly because when I first signed up I couldn’t post to it via my mobile phone service (I’m presuming I now could as I see a lot of other Aussies using it). The other reason I’ve never really used it was simply because I sometimes feel quite overwhelmed by social media sites. I find it difficult enough to keep a couple of blogs going and to play my part at b5media without up keeping lots of social media sites.

I do attempt to keep social networking sites like my facebook account up to date and log into mySpace and LinkedIn from time to time (as well as attempting to be an active StumbleUpon user) – but between them and day to day blogging I guess I find that there’s only so much a guy can do in any given day. While I’m convinced that social media is an amazing tool and something that bloggers need to explore – I guess I’m starting to feel a little social networking burnout due to the number of options to participate.

My question to you (and I know this makes two posts in a row where I’ve asked questions) is:

“How many social networking sites are you actively involved in?”

And which ones are you most active in (list them from most active to least if you like).

PS: and one last question for you hard core Twitterers (I can’t believe my spell check didn’t flag that!)…. How do you use Twitter? Is it purely for friendship, do you use it to promote your blogs, is there some other business application that you’ve found for it… etc?