Start an Online Advertising Agency?

There are times when idea people get in their own way. Or, they at least need to take a step back and see what it is they really are thinking. Pulling it all together, from a distance. This happens to me. This has happened to me, today.

I’ve been making a web directory. But, I keep changing my mind about details, adjusting for new ideas and just generally fumbling around – knowing what I want but not getting it done.

Then, while looking at another site, I understood that I’ve been misleading myself. I don’t want a web directory, I want an online advertising agency. I want to be my own public relations business, online.

The funny thing is… although I feel like a fraud, I actually do have the background for it. Corporate Communications (my college education) included PR, writing and publishing. In actual experience I have been online since 1996 building my own sites, maintaining, managing, promoting, writing and publishing other sites. I’ve been doing it all, all along. But, mostly for myself or as a contracted employee (contributor) for others.

Am I rushing into this? Quite likely, I tend to jump in when I think I have a good idea, before I have the plan all sorted out.

But, it does feel right. It is what I’ve been trying to build without really putting a label on it.

From Entrepreneur:

Online Advertising Agency

Startup Costs: Under $2,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? Yes

Not only will you be providing a valuable service for site visitors, but you will also be establishing your own potentially successful business. The business concept is very straightforward. Start by designing a website that features information about various advertising mediums including rates, contact information and any special promotions or discounts in terms of advertising rates. Business owners who visit the site simply locate the type of advertising that suits their marketing program and budgets. Income is earned by charging the advertising companies a fee to be listed on the site, as well as by selling advertising space featured on the site.

I think I have start up costs covered, one way or another. I know how to put things together, free, online. I’ve been working that way for twenty years.

Resources for Starting an Online Advertising Agency:

I’d start with an ad exchange. I already have all the links saved to become a directory. This would be a simple way to build the directory, see which sites want to be part of exchanging ads (which would help me eliminate those who are not active, don’t want to mess with code to make ads for themselves, etc.). The sites which want to exchange ads would have a fancier spot in the directory of links. I can give them an image, a larger description, and so on. All of that I can do with what I have now.

The next step would be finding outside advertisers from related businesses which would pay for ads (without being part of the ad exchange network). I’m not really confident/ bold when it comes to approaching people to ask for anything, but it could be done. I might even find someone to help me at that point.

That’s how I see it, for myself.

I do have the niche – urban exploration.

I have found a few ad exchange software possibilities, for free, just having a quick look this afternoon. I may be missing something but I am wondering where the people at Entrepreneur found a need for $2,000 start up costs? I guess I will find out along the way.

Software (RTB – Real-Time Bidder):

Applying for Wisdom Pills

Yonder crazy woman who is she? Where and what her dwelling?

Good King Wencelas has been on my mind over the holidays. Is it true that people don’t know the lyrics beyond the first couple of sentences? It’s one of my favourites but, I admit, I’d have to have the words in front of me to get very far. (It’s a long song!)

Anyway, tonight I impulsively looked at Craiglist. Not for good reasons. I started with the platonic friends and it went down from there. But, I thought I would check the writing/ editing job posts before I left. Usually it’s a lot of freebie work, scams, etc. But, tonight I found and looked into, Wisdom Pills. I read the site, checked the author bios to see what kind of space they get and I read a few posts. The site looks good. This from someone who has reviewed about 500 writer sites in the past two days with dmoz.org.

I had a good feeling about it and… I applied for the job posted. I applied for the midlife topic at BellaOnline this week too. But, I knew that was more about fixing and saving the current topic than something I really wanted to do for myself. It wasn’t a good kind of challenge for me. (I haven’t heard back from them, and likely won’t for awhile, but I’m not going to do it for other reasons too).

Meanwhile… there is Wisdom Pills. It’s a challenge that gives me a bit to worry about and I need something I’m not sure and confident about because I’m letting myself be ok with less, under achieving and just taking on challenges I’m sure of. They aren’t really challenges if there isn’t at least some hint of risk and danger and possible failure. I don’t really think I will fail but… I don’t feel sure about it.

This is what I sent to them tonight:

wisdompills

Wisdom Pills – Something For Your Soul?.

Ad Blocking May Change the Way the Web Works

The open web was around before advertising and SEO and the commercially focused web. The open web was not based on making a buck by turning the web into a spam pool.

If advertisers want my attention they can find a better way to get it than aggravating me to the point where I block their ads!

But, it’s so much easier for them to keep on spamming. Using sneaky, under-handed and aggressive tactics treats people like robots. No one wants unavoidable advertising, running on bloated software, forced on them over and over and over. Why do you think people go ad blind? Part desensitization and part self preservation, ad blindness keeps people from getting spam overload.

Capture

PageFair chief executive and co-founder Sean Blanchfield, said: “With ad blocking going mobile, there’s an eminent threat that the business model that has supported the open web for two decades is going to collapse.”

Source: The impact of ad blocking set to hit $41bn | The Drum

New Scammy Ad Sales Technique to Watch For

There is a technique in real estate (and other sales related situations) to offer a buyer in order to create a sale. The buyer is fake. In real estate the technique is used to keep sellers on the hook, hoping for a nibbling buyer. So the real estate agent keeps (or renews) the listing. The buyer then disappears.

I’ve been getting more offers to place ads on my sites again, now that I’ve been getting them active again. Some are the same old scammy things, like guest posts. A few are legitimate offers and I have accepted a couple and been paid. Others are sneakier, or is sneaky really a fair word? Maybe I should just consider them all sales pitches, even when they are deliberately misleading.

The sales pitch below came into my email this week. What do you think when you read it?

realorscam

 

I went to the site because I wasn’t sure. I do try different sites and services and then forget about most of them. So it was very possible that I did begin an account there. But, I was suspicious.

I had to get a new password sent. This wasn’t horribly surprising but it could also be a great way to get people to join a site they think they have already joined. I’ve seen other social sites pull this scam.

Then I looked at the ad they were offering. I wasn’t very interested. Also, I didn’t see a mention of payment, an actual amount or a time period the ad would run. That is a little red flag. I like set terms. Real advertisers will want set terms too.

Next, I looked at the site they wanted to run the ad on. That was when the final curtain came down for me. The link they were using was not one I would have used. (Or, very, very unlikely at least). It’s a link from my old Blogger site. The link now redirects to it’s own domain. So, if this were legitimate why would they be using that old link?

On the other hand, the description for my old Blogger site was there, along with other details which I very well could have done myself if I had set up an account on that site. Still, I really doubt I would have set up an account for an old redirct link and not any of the domains I currently use.

I’m careful. I try to be fair to the advertising services. Still, I’m not so trusting that I’m gullible (I hope). We all need to be careful. Most bloggers and online writers do not have a staff to help them keep up with scammers. We just have to do it ourselves and hope we get it right. Err on the side of caution, especially when money is involved.

Selling Ad Space with WordPress Plugins

The goal was to find a WordPress plugin which would let me sell ad space on my site, paid ads through PayPal.

Although I did not find one plugin which accomplishes everything… I do have some reviews for you.

The Easy Ad Plugins

Two very simple plugins which worked were WP125 and WPX Affiliate Manager. Both of these were simple to set up and you could have ads in your sidebar within an hour. (Your own ads or those of friends are good to start with). Both of these use ads which are 125 x 125 images and a link to the site. WP125 gives you more features and choices such as setting ads to display randomly or in order. Neither of these has anything to do with PayPal. But, almost none of the plugins I have reviewed here included getting payments.

Note: I used WP125 several months on one site. So of all these, it is the most well tested and the one I would rate my second favourite. One thing I especially like about WP125 is that I can upload images directly rather than typing in a link to the file I manually uploaded into the Media Library, or elsewhere.

adsmgr3adsmgr2

The Other Three

I tested all these next three but did not keep them around long. Simple Ads Manager loaded with an error message so I deactivated it without any testing. MyAdManager says it works with PayPal, but I didn’t get that far in the testing of it. Meks Easy Ads Widget was interesting but the settings are all in the widget, not in the admin. So, I didn’t see how I could keep track of the ads and how they were doing on my site.

adsmgr1

The One I Kept…

datafeedr ads pluginThe plugin I have switched to from WP125 is Datafeedr (Ads by Datafeedr.com).

First, it is not a plugin you need to sign up for their service to use. That is one of the things I don’t like to do. I’d rather keep as much as I can at my own site and avoid relying on another site to still be there.

Another good thing about Datafeedr are the support videos. Need some help figuring out the set up? There are several video tutorials to help you get started and go from there.

Datafeeder lets you choose text ads or image ads. You can choose sizes, add code, pretty much anything – because you add the code and the image into WordPress just like making a blog post. Simple. Don’t forget to add the link along with the image when you upload it to the Media Library. Text ads can be bolded, linked, etc.

When you add new ads you can sort them into groups. This makes it much easier to find your images again to update or delete them when the ad expires. You can set ads to expire at a specific date or limit them to a number of impressions before they expire. Or, set no limits at all, just a start date if you don’t want the ad to expire.

Choose to place your ads in the sidebar or footer widgets but you can also place them in your posts or pages too. Just add the automatically generated shortcode to widgets or posts. Choose which ads and how many you want to be included.

The only thing missing for me is the ability to accept payments for the ad space. But, I will look into that next. For now I’m the only one with ads on my sites. My next project in running ads will be to set up ads for other sites (free ads for friends). After that I can tackle the finer points of seeking paying ads.

Social Popularity Checker

Why hasn’t anyone made a plugin like this? It would need a shortcode to place it on blog pages and posts, not just left as a sidebar widget. Great way to show advertisers your site is worth a paid ad. Likely other good applications for this too. My brain is just focused on advertising and promotions today.

socialpopularitycheckerCheck popularity of your website on different social networks

Source: Social Popularity Checker

Why didn’t Klout do this?  Popuri has something like it but not as much detail.