Buying Banners on BuySellAds and Spotting Cheaters

dukeo.com

In my effort to grow the number of visitors to Dukeo, I’ve been searching for various traffic sources that could bring a decent number of people on this website and grow my brand. Some of you may already know the website BuySellAds from the webmaster point of view, but do you know it from the advertiser side?

buysellads

BuySellAds is a very easy way of selling some advertising space on your website without going through the trouble of manage the ad space yourself and relationships with the advertisers. In exchange of 25% of your banner price, BuySellAds does all the management for you. Some well-known bloggers in the industry are using it, such as Michael Dunlop from Income Diary or Zac Johnson from ZacJohnson.com.

But today, I’d like to talk about the other side of things: using BuySellAds to buy some advertising space from other bloggers.

Buying Banners on BuySellAds

I made some research in BuySellAds inventory to find some websites in my niche, which have low prices (Dukeo is still young and I’m not going to spend thousands of dollars in advertising) and a decent number of pageviews. This way, even if I don’t receive clicks, my brand and logo will be seen by potential visitors and hopefully they will remember it at some point.

I found a few opportunities which seemed like some good deals in the $10 to $20 range. After checking the websites I was a little skeptical regarding their audience but I bought some ad space anyway because I wanted to give it a try.

Analyzing First Results

After buying the ad space and setting my banners, the impressions started to add up. A few days later I came back to the statistics page to check how things were going. To my surprise, some of these banners had amazing Click-Through Rates. It sounded too good to be true so I went to Google Analytics to check how this traffic was interacting with my website.

It didn’t take long before I figured that almost 97-98% of this traffic was not backing up and bounced away from my site (spent less than a few seconds on my domain). I was really suspicious about this traffic so I figured a way to make sure the website owner was not clicking himself on the banners.

Spotting Cheaters on BuySellAds

BuySellAds allows you to set several banners from the same advertising spot, so I did setup two exact copies of the same ad for each spot. This way, if the website owner was cheating and clicking the banner himself, he wouldn’t know there was several banners and simply click several times on the same… And this is exactly what was happening!

Final Results

I already canceled the subscription on 60% of the 10 websites where I bought ad space, and I’m doing some more testing on 2 others that I suspect of cheating the system too.

Overall, I would say that BuySellAds can be a good place to buy advertising space because I already used it in the webdesign niche when the site was only a few months old. But in a niche such as “make money online” where there is a huge number of people just looking for ways to make a quick buck, you should be extra-cautious with the ad space you’re buying.

Additionally, bigger sites are probably more legit. I doubt Zac or Michael would try to cheat the system for this kind of pocket change.

Stéphane Kerwer
Article written by Stéphane Kerwer (1995 Posts)
Bonjour from a french guy. My name is Stéphane Kerwer and Dukeo is my blog. I do most of the heavy lifting in here but from time to time, you may see some guest posts. To receive updates from Dukeo, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.
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15 Comments (Add one)

  1. Dino Vedo
    Dino Vedo

    Interesting! But aren’t you purchasing ads per month bases so if the owner is clicking on the ad who cares since you aren’t paying per click anyways??

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Well, I care because some of these guys are faking their traffic and faking their clicks… If they have almost no real visitors and not even 5 legit clicks on my ads per month, I gain no brand exposure and no fresh visitors… Resulting in a complete loss for me.

      Let’s say I buy a banner for $20 and the guy claims 10,000 page impressions per month but he is faking it, and he has a shitty 0.01% CTR: that means 1 legit click to my site (hurray for the $20 eCPC). Now if he is faking the clicks, I might see CTR such as 0.5%. If I didn’t dig more into it I would think that the guy is sending me 50 legit visitors per month (which would be nicer for $20… with a $0.4 eCPC).

      As you can see, this makes a HUGE difference in terms of ROI.

  2. Flash Games

    This is definitely the kind of problem you wouldn’t face if you were buying some ad space from the “big guys”

  3. First Website
    First Website

    Cheaters are and always will be a big problem on the internet and unless proper systems are put in place, it’s always pissing me off to try to spot them!

    1. TheShadow

      This is a nice review but i would like to know few thing regarding impression. why is buysellads impression less than google analytics? should it be same? if i am wrong please tell me why

      1. Sté Kerwer

        I think this is not really a problem related to either BuySellAds or Google Analytics. Whenever you try to compare traffic stats from various sources, you’ll find out that they don’t show the same value.

        This can mostly be explained by the fact that all the Stats Services are using different architecture, different safeguards and different ways to compile the data.

        You should probably not worry about seeing a difference between these two, this is something usual.

  4. Webdesign Inspiration

    BuySellAds is still a place where you can find some pretty good deals for banner advertising… I didn’t try their text-based advertising yet.

  5. Sean Supplee

    Bought some ads on BuySellAds last month and this month so far. I tend to only buy from sites that are larger and from the $80 + up range. Yeah your going to pay a bit more but the quality and real visitor the blog gets out beats what you would by at 4 smaller $20 blogs. It’s a great service but with any service there are always cheaters. Just play it smart.

    1. Sté Kerwer

      In term of traffic this is definitely true. But in term of brand awareness buying ads on several small sites can prove to be useful. If you buy ads on several websites with lower traffic, you are reaching different communities.

  6. Timeshareking
    Timeshareking

    You should try advertising on AffBuzz.com…

    1. Sté Kerwer

      I tried… But as I have almost no connection yet, the owner simply refused to include me on AffBuzz.

      I then tried to purchase some ad space: he didn’t even bother to reply to me.

      It appears that I don’t meet his “quality” standards.

  7. How to earn
    How to earn

    Am doing a research on BSA and i never thought this happens! Am going to include it. Thanks for the head-up.

  8. Nathan

    Thanks for this post!

    I just found your post here because I am being cheated on by a website I purchased ad space on through BSA.

    I have 1 website I buy ad space on that I don’t use BSA for and when they send me their Click Through stats, it matches up almost exactly to Google Analytics.

    3 of my 6 websites I buy ads on through BSA aren’t even close to Google Analytics stats.

    1 is WAY off. I know – for sure – they are cheating big time. CTR’s are 4 times that of the closet other site. Plus they didn’t even show up in Google Analytics at all until yesterday I went to the site and clicked on the link myself. Behold, the next day 1 click shows up in Google (me). So the 70 Clicks the website stated they sent me are ALL bogus.

    I honestly feel that at least half of them are cheating. It’s just the website that is way off is not any good at cheating.

    Purchasing paid media is all about metrics. When you are deciding on where to put your money there is a big difference between 0.1% and 0.5%.

    In your opinion, for example if Google Analytics states I have 10 click throughs, would you consider that pretty darn accurate?

    Thanks!

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Nathan, from what I experienced in all my years of working online, comparing data from 2 different analytics sources is not going to get you anywhere. The numbers will NEVER be exactly the same. A good way to spot cheaters and people who get their own banners clicked is to set 2 banners with the exact same graphics and compare the CTR on BSA. If one of them gets a crazy CTR and the other gets almost nothing, you can be pretty sure that someone is clicking their own banner to inflate the numbers.

  9. James
    James

    Why not check the sites traffic before buying the ad and not paying for clicks but a flat monthly rate. Only buy ads from blogs or sites with high traffic, forget about the ones with less than 200k visitors a month.