I have been promising many of you that I will do this post based on where things are currently on the internet. So here it is.
If you have a blog that you are trying to monetize, you have a few “levels” of options, depending on what vertical segment you belong to and what traffic level your site is at. These are:
* Google AdSense for Content (basic, lowest CPC rates for the most part, and unless you have huge volume, this revenue stream adds up to very little). If you are in India or Indonesia, however, and have a reasonably high traffic site producing $300 a month, that could be real money.
* Adify powered Vertical AD Networks run by major media companies like Forbes and IDG (Business / Technology), iVillage and Martha’s Circle (Women), HotChalk (Education). AD Rates can be both CPM and CPC, and depending on your segment, they can be better than Google AdSense. They can also be underwhelming if you take into account what the networks promise you when they are pitching to recruit you. Read this comment as several networks don’t really have their act together. Yet. Although I have been a very big believer in this business model, the execution has been thoroughly disappointing. The advantage of Adify is that you can be on multiple networks without having to commit to one. The downside – they don’t commit to you either.
* Premier Vertical Ad Networks like Glam Media (Women), Federated Media (Multiple, in fact too many verticals, but they do well in Business and Technology), Travel AD Network (Travel). If you have enough traffic to be interesting to any of these networks, at this point, these are the ones that are monetizing the best. All three that I mentioned above have big funding, and from what I hear, some of them are offering guarantees to publishers that they want to recruit into their fold as exclusives. Glam, in particular, is known to do exclusive deals with guarantees, which most certainly is great for the publishers.
As a thumb rule, you would get better rates from a vertical ad network than from a generic one.
If you have questions about your particular site and what strategy to adopt, I will take those in comments. However, I request that you do not send me questions via personal emails, as I don’t have the bandwidth to provide private consulting for your various wonderful sites.