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Obviously there are a million different ways to try and make money off a website, the easiest of which is slapping a couple Google ads on there and calling it a day. These three ideas interest me because they're different. They're not your regular CP-whatever deal, instead they're tapping into what makes blogs unique/special and monetizing that.
So without any further ado . . .
1. The Deck
The DECK bills itself as "the premier advertising network for reaching creative, web and design professionals." The network is made up of eight highly-regarded and highly-trafficed blogs/sites that rather than being specifically about design, cater to that audience.
Now the network part of it is not so revolutionary, what puts The DECK on this list is their standards for what advertisers they accept. As they explain, "WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re picky about the advertising weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll accept. We wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take an ad unless we have paid for and/or used the product or service. Sell us something relevant to our audience and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll sell you an ad."
The DECK understands that what these sites all have is influence. If they shill a product that sucks, that very influence that they've built their site on goes down the drain. Maintaining a very high level of quality helps all sides: The advertisers get a sort-of stamp of approval and most likely more attention than they would otherwise, the sites get to make money while maintaining a high level of control and the readers, in theory, get recommendations for great products.
1. Influence is the single most valuable feature of a blog. As the The DECK says, "itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not about 'cost-per-thousand,' itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about 'cost-per-influence.'"
2. Recommendations are the new advertising.
3. Niche is the new mass.
A secondary benefit of advertising on The DECK is the fact that the ads are not redirected. While that means you can't measure click-throughs, it also means advertisers get some serious Google juice from some seriously juiced sites (the average PageRank of the eight sites is 7.125 -- just for reference NoahBrier.com is a 5 as of this writing). Instead of going into this too deeply now, though, I'll save it for the next installment where I'll talk about Text Link Ads (which also just happens to be an advertiser on The Deck).
To be continued . . .
Update (9/6/06): Part 2 of the series is out: Text Link Ads. Enjoy!