In Dead End Blogging , I introduced the concept of the Blogging BlackHole. Today, I’m going to look at the Money PotHoles that you will likely encounter as you drive up Dead End Lane.
We’ll Look After Your Money
There are many sites out there that provide services to bloggers, some for free and some for money. In either case, it is the blogger who decides whether the site is of value or not.
But there are also sites out there that prey off the bloggers, esp. the new bloggers, the ones without much experience… Such sites will purport to provide bloggers with opportunities to earn money by advertising their services on your blog. When a reader clicks on the ads, joins up or purchases a product, the blogger willl earn a sale – Chaching!
Show me the money!
Except in many cases, you the blogger will NEVER see the money. Yes, that’s right. NEVER. Why? Because you failed to reach the minimum cashout limit. For example, if you choose to be an affiliate with a well-known hosting company, you may earn upto $65.00 per sale. Sounds great. However, the minimum payout is $100. Oops! Sorry. Everything will be okay if you make another sale…
Reasonable? Perhaps. But when sites like Google pay cents on the dollar for clicks, it can take months for you to reach the magic payout number of $100. And that’s if the site is honest. Everyone knows that Google undercounts clicks.
Are you all honest, guv?
But what about those other smaller sites, the ones that come under the radar? Affiliate advertisers, content providers, and ad networks? Are they as scrupulous as Google is? Worse, are there sites that take the money and never seem to payout?
AdToll ($6.00) is also holding on to some money that belongs in my bank account, as are a number of other companies: Scratchback ($12.00), TTZ Media ($1), Amazon Affiliates ($21.36), SocialSpark ($20), PayPerPost ($26.50), Linkworth ($35.00)… The current outstanding total from sources that I’m aware of is in excess of $215.00. Not a lot of money, but I’d rather it was earning interest in MY bank account, not theirs.
Even, it seems PerformancingAds is facing similar issues. Transactions booked on PerformancingAds just disappear, despite having registered as a payment. There are no stats to show that an ad has been recorded if you happen to delete the region you created. Oh, and for that booking I had – sorry no payout. My account defaulted to $50 minimum cashout.
Scrooge – you’re hired!
In other cases, there are sites that make even typical CPC rates look generous. The NewsRoom was one that I used to generate interest, earn a little revenue, and add video to my site. Wow! That backfired.
First, the videos weren’t properly archived, although my posts were. I still get a lot of traffic on pages that are several months old. But that’s bad luck, the video footage is often unavailable on old stories. Whoa! Sorry. So now I have to go back and remove the old footage which is often attached to relevant stories.
Secondly, and I’m sure this is against their TOS, I have so far received 25 cents for 157 plays. In other words, they are siphoning off my viewers, for less than 1/6th of a cent per view. I have earned 25 cents in total … and the minimum payout is 100 times that amount. That’s an awful lot of plays by my reckoning. Even John Chow would be raking in just $300 per month on that one.
Lies, Damned Lies and Affiliate Statistics
My affiliate account with two host companies has recorded literally hundreds of clicks, perhaps even thousands, and how many have signed up over the two or three years I have worked these programs. None. Not one. Zero.
I’ve pushed a variety of affiliate programs over the years, as well. I’ve seen consistent success with Amazon Affiliates but other programs seem dubious at best in terms of performance (ie. clickthroughs). But what is to stop an affiliate scheme from deliberately undercounting its clickthroughs? I guess that’s where a new blogger won’t be able to tell. Only an older or more experienced one may know that you need to track the clicks yourself. Don’t rely on the site’s stats alone.
I don’t want to sound negative, but in this series of posts on Dead End Blogging, I do want bloggers to realize that they are at a distinct disadvantage when using a middleman for the transaction. So make sure the middleman you are using has a good reputation, pays out regularly and/or has a low mimimum cashout.