Text Link Ads

I like to try out services and get a feel for them before recommending them to clients. One of the services I have been testing recently is Text Link Ads. I have been hesitant to try Text Link Ads, even though I have read many good reviews of the company and how effective it can be at placing links for advertisers and selling links for publishers.

Here are some things you need to know as a publisher before diving right in.

  • Server Requirements: Your site and server need to be running PHP. This is not a great difficulty, since any decent host offers PHP. But it is something to be aware of before you sign up.
  • Site Acceptance: Getting a website accepted as a publisher can be a little more tricky than some other programs. I tried submitting several sites, and from what I can tell website acceptance is based mainly on PageRank and Alexa rank. If your website is not at least a PageRank 4 you might want to hold off on joining.
  • Ad Acceptance: Once you have a website approved and have added the PHP code you can choose how the links are approved for your website. The default when I signed up was to allow Text Link Ads to approve the ads. I changed it to having me approve the ads. This way you will get an email when a new advertiser purchases a link and you can approve or deny the link. If you don’t do anything in 24 hours Text Link Ads will review the ad.
  • Payment: Text Link Ads pay be check or PayPal with a minimum payout of $25.00 for check payments. They pay promptly which is nice. You are paid no matter what so you don’t need to be paranoid about whether or not anyone will click on your ads to make you money.
  • Ad Pricing: Publishers receive 50% of the price of the links sold, with Text Link Ads keeping the other 50%. If ads are sold mid-month the cost is prorated for the month. Just be aware of that when you check your stats.
  • Other Ad Systems: Text Link Ads can be run with all other ad systems becuase the Text Link Ads are not contextual. This mainly applies to Google Adsense publishers and Yahoo Publisher Network. This could always change in the future so make sure you know your terms of service from the other networks.

I was sceptical about the service at the start, but after 48 hours I had my first advertiser, and within five days I had sold out my site. I initially only offered 4 spots. I increased that to eight after I sold out. It is nice having a revenue source to help cover hosting bills that I don’t have to worry about getting clicks on, or click fraud and all the other nasty things that can happen with other network ads. I plan on sticking with Text Link Ads for a few more months and I would recommend the service to those of you looking to add a relatively stable income source to your website without much work.

7 Responses to Text Link Ads

  1. Thanks for the review. I’ve used Text Link Ads on a couple sites and seemed to enjoy it. Nice extra income stream option!

  2. Thanks Ryan. I think Text Link Ads are a good fit for many websites. I have been impressed with them so far.

    You have a good blog with some interesting posts. I have stumbled upon it in the past. I might have to become a regular reader.

  3. Hey Lee,

    I think or possibly believe that I read in the past that having these will affect on your Google status or that google hated them for some reason… I’ll go find that article, please hold…

    *clock ticks*

    …Can’t find it.

    What are the cons of this? Can you show me a site with this in action?

  4. Rhett,
    The short answer is that Google does not like them because it messes up their system for return “relevant results” for searches. Reading Matt Cutts blog, he clearly states that “Google does consider buying text links for PageRank purposes to be outside our (Google’s) quality guidelines.” In my opinion this relates more to those that buy the links, since I am not selling links for PageRank purposes. I am selling links as a form of advertising. You need to read through some of the comments on the post. One of my favourites “Let’s face it, links are just another form of marketing along with copy, banner ads, flash ads, etc. Instead of making such convoluted arguments and asking the entire internet to regress by about a decade, why don’t you use your time to find better ways to judge the quality of a web page?”

    Link buying and selling has been around longer than Google has been. I did read a good post (I don’t remember where unfortunately) that you should restrict the links out to sites that are similar to yours. This makes sense otherwise the people are buying the links strictly for getting a little of your PageRank. All the more reason to setting the ad approval system to letting you control it.

    I have sold links in the past on sites if people have asked and if I felt the site had some value to it. Until now I have never gone out of my way looking to sell links. Text Link Ads has created a market place where it is much easier to sell them.

    Places you can find them. There are a lot of blogs with them. Some more obvious than others. Here are two: John Chow, a more high profile blogger where it is not so obvious and my video blog, Video Rambler, where it is a little more obvious.

  5. Rhett, Good question! I will have to write a post about how to check. In the meantime there is a good tool over at iwebtool where you just enter your web address and it returns the PageRank for your web address from all of Google’s servers. Make sure you enter your primary web address. For example: http://www.lgr.ca currently has a PageRank of 4 and it is the primary, but if you try lgr.ca it is a 0.

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