MSN Spaces and Advertising

I find it interesting to see that MSN Spaces is now adding advertising to their blogger’s blogs. In a way if makes sense – they have 4.5 million users, even if it was just the users themselves who saw the ads thats significant exposure – let alone all the readers.

I’m surprised however not to see much reaction from bloggers about this yet. When I first heard the news I thought that there might be a bit of an outcry from MSN spaces users who resisted the idea of MSN using their blogs to make money for themselves without giving them anything but a free space to write. Perhaps I’ve missed these sorts of blogger’s posts – has anyone seen any? Update: in digging around I’ve now found a few but not as many as i’d have expected.

I’m also a little intrigued by MSN’s business model in comparison to Blogger’s (owned by Google) who used to have their Adsense ads on every free Blogger blog but who removed these ads about 18 months ago for some reason. I’ve always wondered why they removed these ads – Did they just not work? Were bloggers protesting too much? Do the search boxes that they now put on blogger blogs pay more? Or do they hope that every blogger in their program will add their own Adsense ads and blog better and smarter if they give them the chance to earn a share of the revenue.

I’ll be interested to see how this strategy goes for MSN Spaces and am especially interested to see if they offer a paid version where bloggers can opt out of the ads or even a system of sharing revenue on advertising with bloggers using some sort of system like Adsense.

The advantages of Different Types of Traffic

WorkBoxers writes a great post comparing Search Engine Traffic to Daily Visitors, Which Is Better? I agree with Scrivs again on this one – its a ‘both’ thing – both types of readers have their value to your blog. You can successfully target either one exclusively or even both depending upon what the goal of your site is.

Targeting Search Engine Readers – For example when we ran the Olympics blog last year we were not really too interested in loyal daily readers (apart from the two weeks of the game themselves) – we did have a few of them but the vast majority of the 2 million readers we got that month came in via Google. Whilst the loyal readers were great and added something special to the site they were in the minority and not our main focus. As Scrivs say its the SE readers that most believe click on ads more than loyal readers so this group of readers can be quite rewarding.

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Pay Per Click Advertising Costs Increase by 9% in March

This article is good news for those of us who are publishers for pay per click advertising programs like Google’s Adsense with advertisers paying 9% more for keywords than they were earlier in the year.

‘PRICES FOR PAID SEARCH LISTINGS rebounded in March, rising 9 percent to an average of $1.75 a click, according to the most recent Fathom Online Keyword Price Index, released today.

The average cost of keywords–which had fallen during the first two months of the year, after rising steadily from September through the holidays–now exceeds last December’s $1.70 by about 3 percent. Matt McMahon, Fathom Online’s executive vice president-corporate development, attributed the upswing in keyword pricing to seasonal shifts in ad spending.

While some industries’ keywords went up in price more than others, none of the categories tracked by Fathom Online fell last month. Telecom/wireless terms gained the most ground, growing by 23 percent to 95 cents a click–although this figure is less than the $1.09 per click that the category garnered last year….’

Read more at Search Advertising Costs Surge In March

Blogger Supports Comment Spammers?

Duncan from the Blog Herald is on a Comment Spammer Hunt with two of his late posts – (here and here). Go Duncan Go!

Following the links in his posts I found a post at SEOBook ( which left me feeling disturbed. Aaron writes it with qualifications that comment spam brings ‘negative 1000 karma points’ but he links to sites that sell comment spam technology and in reading his post I can’t help but feel he’s almost promoting it as a viable option for Search Engine Optimization.

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Great Blogging Day

I love days like today when it comes to blogging – where a lot of hard work, planning and a bit of luck comes together for a satisfying day’s work. The past 24 hours have been quite satisfying on many levels:

  • Last night I spoke at a seminar with a number of business people about my blogging. Some great opportunities have emerged for some consulting.
  • On getting home from the seminar I found that one of my smaller blogs that averages around 500 visitors per day got a link from Slashdot which in the past 20 hours has brought 50,000 visitors to it.
  • I spent a little time this afternoon with a business person and friend who I am pitching an idea to which I’m really excited about. It’s not just a money making idea which is what particularly excites me – it has the potential to have significant impact upon the lives of many in a sustainable business model. I’ll share more on this as it comes to be (or not).
  • With the funeral of the Pope tonight that blog is obviously doing some pretty reasonable traffic and has generated quite a bit of interest from around the world.

So all in all its been a big day. Big in traffic, big in earnings (it was my biggest ever with Adsense) big in dreaming and ideas and big in connections with others. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Hustle, Passion and Resiliency

Another good post over at Jason’s Blog particularly this bit:

‘The older I get the more I realize that business is about three very basic things:

1. Hustle
2. Passion
3. Resiliency

You have those things it really doesn’t matter what the idea is… you can change your ideas all day long, in fact evolving is what you’re supposed to do in business. However, you can’t substitute hustle, passion, or resiliency.’

When Blog Competition is Good

A number of people have asked me in the past 24 hours whether I feel threatened when a new blog starts up with the same topic as one of mine.

It is an interesting question and one that I usually answer in a number of ways.

Firstly I admit that I do feel a bit threatened. I think its a fairly natural feel some anxiety, threat or worry when someone else steps on what you perceive as your patch. I feel these emotions when I first see new blogs set up that have complete or partial overlap with a topic I’m writing about. It worries me from time to time that there is only one top ranking in the Search Engines for a keyword that I might be targeting – in a sense my ‘competition’ and I are in a contest for such positioning. The more sites on the same topic the harder it is to get to the top of the pile.

Many people respond to such competition in a negative way. In response to the threat they tend to either:

  • ignore the competition (and hope they’ll go away)
  • attack their competition (discredit and try to undermine them)
  • worry themselves silly by monitoring their every move and attempting to copy everything they do in order to keep them covered

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$1,000 a day on Adsense

Jason Calacanis is talking Adsense earnigns again. I’m a bit surprised that a publisher like Jason is revealing his Adsense CTR and CPM figures so explicitly post. Not because I’m offended by it or anything (I actually find its pretty interesting) but because its against Google’s rules. (‘m not going to refer to his actual figures here in case he decides to remove them later.)

A few people have asked me to comment on his CTR levels which I always hesitate to do mainly because comparing CTR from page to page or even blog to blog is so difficult to do.

Whilst I can look at the CTR he’s mentioned and see its at the lower end of what the range of my blogs do there are so many factors that can contribute to it ranging from positioning on the page, to design of ads, to the amount of other outbound links you have on your page (both within your blog or to other sites), to the topic of the blog that it is almost useless to compare one blog’s performance to another one.

What I’m more interested in with my CTR is comparing one blog’s figures over time – this (in my opinion) is the main usefulness of the statistic and I track my CTR in this way on all my blogs.

Jason talks about how they’ve optimized their Adsense ads the past few days which has seen a good rise in their earnings – up from $600 per day (just a week or so ago) to $1000 per day. Its amazing what a tweak or two can do for people. Yesterday I helped one person with their ads and they increased their CTR from less than 1% to over 5% with one small adjustment – quite amazing what a change of colors or position can do! I’m not going to go into what the strategy for doing this is because its all in my Adsense category already and I’d just be going over the same old stuff.

Update – Of course within minutes of posting this Jason has removed his CTR and CPM figures as I went over to leave a comment suggesting he did.

What still concerns me however is that in his comments others have followed his example and are revealing their own figures which could get them in trouble with Adsense.

Australian Blogger Get Media Attention – Is this as Good as it Gets?

A few days ago when I was lamenting the fact that Australian Bloggers don’t get enough local press coverage I was hoping that it might cause some reporters to do a feature or two – but I wasn’t expecting the article that the Herald Sun published today which highlighted a post on my personal blog that was written over a year ago titled I’m Pro SPAM! (click to enlarge the article – no online version that I can find). I laughed so hard when I saw this – I guess any publicity is better than nothing.

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Blogging Fears – Disappearing from Search Engines

A couple of days ago I started a Blogging Fears mini-series and talked about Getting Hacked. Here’s another – Disappearing from the Search Engines

As many of you know I’ve been there – it sucks and has the ability to almost completely cripple a blog that relies upon SE traffic. If you’re relying heavily on search engine traffic for most of your posts – be warned – it could happen to you.

Advice: Diversify your blogging interests. Develop a variety of blogs on different topics and domains. Look at non blogging income streams or related blogging income such as consulting, books, speaking etc. Work on generating traffic from other non Search Engine sources like other sites and newsletters to loyal readers. Even consider keeping or getting a part time ‘real’ job until you know you can survive on your blogging income even if the Search Engines abandon you.