December 2, 2009

689 words 4 mins read

Adverts, Costs & Amazon

If you’re a regular reader, you may have noticed that there is a banner ad on the right side of your screen. This is very surprising to many of you because you’ve got adblock on and it is unusual that things like that slip past it. This is happening because I know how adblock works (I run it myself) and I also know how to bypass it. I am not really sorry for doing this to people, as I think it is only fair. Let me explain.

This blog is getting more traffic these days than it has ever seen, by a significant amount. In the month of November 2008, the blog received 1,954 page views. November 2009 it received 9,584 page views (+390%). The visits and absolutely unique visitors are also up by approximately the same percentage.

So… more people, great! We love new people.

The problem is the blog costs money to run, not a lot mind you, but some. To be specific, I pay $15 a month for VPS hosting — not a very big number. For those math impaired, like myself, this comes out to $180 a year, so it starts to add up. I’ve been paying roughly this same amount since I started the blog wayyyy back in 2005. Approximate total cost of the blog: $900 (not including domain name registration and renewals).

Now I could go to cheaper hosting, but anything significantly less than what I pay now would just end poorly for everyone involved. In fact, when I got dug back in 2007, this host couldn’t handle the traffic. Apache was crashing left and right, but alas, you get what you pay for. So what is my final point here? It costs me $15 a month to run this site, and I’d like to make at least that. I’m not trying to make a profit, or become a full time blogger or anything crazy like that. Just get to net zero, just earn $15 a month.

Hence the advertising.

I tried Google Ad Sense once and they really didn’t do it for me. I made a total of zero, so that got scrapped. This is where Amazon comes in. Amazon is a great deal for all involved and I’ll explain why.

#1 — The adverts are fairly innocuous. They aren’t in your face like some other graphics can be.

#2 — Most of the Amazon “advertisements” aren’t in the form of banner ads, but links in articles. We link only what should be linked to Amazon (John has fun with that). These links still count as referrals too.

#3 — It does not cost you any more to click through an ad to Amazon, than to go to Amazon direct.

#4 — Everyone wins.

So yes, if you click through any of our referral links in articles (which John is fastidious about putting tooltips on to indicate where you are going with each), or click on the banner ad, then make a purchase, you get your item for exactly what it would cost normally. Better still, Amazon gives me a little bit for “referring” you. This value ranges, but typically it is 4-6% of the total price. In some special cases like when they want to boost sale of a specific item (Like the Kindle) or the Black Friday deals, they can go as high as 15%. I’ll even share with you how much I’ve earned year to date, $144.46. Most of the earnings are in $0.32 pieces for a DVD/BluRay purchases, but a few are higher, such as the $29.99 I received for a Kindle purchase. So while I’m close to my $180 goal for the year, I’m not quite there. Hence the banner ads.

While I doubt I’ll manage to earn $40 in referrals in the last month of this year as that would take between $266 (15%) and $1,000 (4%) in referral sales, I will continue to strive for net zero over next year. I hope you’ll consider at least clicking the banner ads, or keeping me in mind should you need to make an Amazon order.