Like a lot of people that do marketing, I have my ways that work best for me. One of the few things that I don’t pretend to be good at is SEO. Bottom line I am too lazy to work at it, it bores me, and I’m too cheap to pay people to rank for me. However somewhere along my travels I was grinding on too much soda and was up late at night and spotted a low competition niche and decided to crank out a site for it. So I made some lame long tail ‘.com’ ending blog, did like 3 pages of half ass content and wrote about 5 blog posts. I think I commented on like 5 other blogs to try and grab back links and that was that.
A few months later I was pretty excited to be ranking #2 for my main keyword that got approximately 5k search a month (according to Google).
I was originally running some weight loss ads on the page and eventually switched over to Google adsense ads being displayed on the page. In case you live under a rock, those are part of Google’s content network where other’s ads would then display on a CPC basis on my site. After running the adsense for a few months the cash really wasn’t piling in (not that I expected it) so I jumped at the opportunity to work with ‘Blam Ads!’ to try putting a content locker on my site.
A content locker basically is one of those annoying popups that appear internally on a page until you complete a required action. The actions are usually like filling out an email submit or filling out a survey. The payouts are usually a lot less than you would find at Blam’s sister company EWA (both are long time sponsors of the blog, thanks Ryan!) because the traffic is ‘incentivized’. Its pretty easy to guess that quality will suffer under those conditions.
I had a few issues with the content locker but since this site really wasn’t ‘BIG’ I figured it wouldn’t hurt. You can see them below.
The Myths About Blam Ads!
- Hinder User Experience - I really didn’t want my users to feel like I was trying to ‘use’ them. I then looked at my site and remembered that I hadn’t touched it in about 5 months and proceeded to lock away.
- Piss People Off – I was also worried that people in niche forums that previously would link to me occasionally might just start bashing me. I never saw any negative comments though to be realistic.
- Hurting My Rankings – I had heard that part of what effects your ranking in Google is how long the user is on the page/bounce rate, etc. I was really suspecting Google seeing this code on my page would hurt me. This really didn’t turn out to be any issue at all. The code goes at the bottom of the page in most cases anyway and is a .js insert that will load dynamically so search engine crawlers really don’t seem to care.
Ok so a few disclaimers here. 1.) I approached my Blam Ads! AM at the time and when I was going to content lock this page up he basically told me he didn’t think this niche would perform well. He suspected that people wouldn’t be willing to complete and offer for this specific content. 2.) When I started working with Blam my site was already being ignored by me and although traffic was starting to suffer its rankings went from a stable #2 to main keyword to bouncing between 3/4. It is currently ranked #6.
Here you can see the full comparison of the traffic as it came in during the dates for each experiment.
Although I really liked the idea of using the content locking gateway to help monetize the traffic to my site it definitely didn’t seem be a viable solution. Its a definite possibility that I could’ve split test some more offers or gateway designs to try and optimize. I’m confident that on my particular site, that a well placed AdSense theme could turn significantly more profit here than it did with its current setup. I do suspect that if you have the right content on your site Blam could definitely be the better choice. I suspect that content that revolves around downloads, tutorials, and media would work very well.
Not that I reached out for much help, but any help from Google would have been of course non-existent. Blam on the other hand always seems to be practically waiting for me to ask for help. I had the fortune of working with Dan Wolfe over at Blam who was always eager to get me to push more traffic any way I could. If you decide to work with Blam I definitely recommend requesting to work with him.
This particular experiment is very small of course. I wouldn’t pretend to know what the outcome would’ve been on a larger volume site. I do think though it gives you a good idea of the basic results you could experience yourself given similar conditions.
Is BLAM Ads! Just Not For Me?
After letting this experiment go on for a while it seemed that this definitely wasn’t going to work for me. I reached out to the Birdman Ryan Eagle himself and asked exactly what is the best use for the content locking gateways. Will they work on any site….should they replace Adsense?
“BLAM Ads monetizes sites that Google don’t monetize well, sites that get mass amounts of traffic from less-than desirable demographics. As you stated above, sites based around downloads, video content, fan sites, movie related sites always work well. The larger websites use it as an appendage to traditional ad networks to supplement their income and protect more valuable areas of their site also very successfully. Long story short: if you have a micro-niche website that has advertising that can actually pay, I suggest using it as a supplement rather than a replacement.” -Ryan Eagle