BuySellAds: Buying Banners and Spotting Cheaters
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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 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!
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.