Google Maps Meet Search Engine

Behold the power of Google Maps.

Two of Google's best services are making a collaborative effort for the first time this week. It is now possible to search Google Maps directly from the Google Search Engine. For anyone who hasn't used Maps, where have you been for the last 3 years? You've been missing out on a treat. Maps brings together state of the art cartography and aerial photography to produce the most comprehensive global map available online. The system also has an integrated journey planner and allows you to flick to a hybrid mode where you can see place names as you scroll over the aerial photograph. The above aerial photograph of the Pentagon highlights how powerful a tool Maps is. If you haven't been already go and have a play with Maps now!

Google Checkout - A New Referral

There's a brand new referral product available to AdSense publishers - Google Checkout. Checkout, which I mentioned briefly before in relation to the appearance of shopping carts on AdSense for content units, is heralded as a faster, safer and more convenient way to shop online. Anyone unfamiliar with Checkout can sign up and test drive it them self, gaining a $10 welcome bonus in the process. The payment system is gradually creeping into online stores as an alternative to PayPal, although it will have to make mammoth inroads to topple eBay's dominance in the market.

The bottom line for AdSense publishers is that for every visitor you refer to Checkout who makes a $10+ purchase within 90 days you get a $1 referral bonus - kind of like Firefox with Google toolbar, but with more of a wait for your cash! Note that Checkout referrals are currently open to US publishers only.

Recall that AdSense rules allow a publisher to display a maximum of 2 referral buttons per referral product on each page of their site, meaning you could now display 10 buttons total per page (not recommended, because it'll look like a Japanese Admiral's medal ribbons).

For more news on Checkout referrals visit the official Google blog, Inside AdSense.

Text Link Ads - Great Earning Potential

This post doesn't include any referral links - if you find it useful and would like to try the Text Link Ads experience yourself please use our referral banner on the sidebar to tell them that AdSense4Dummies sent you.

I haven't talked much about Text Link Ads (TLA) so far other than to announce their recent compatibility with Blogger hosted blogs. TLA works by allowing advertisers to directly purchase link space on websites and blogs. Every site involved in the program is listed in the TLA directory and if an advertiser finds it suits their needs they can purchase a link. Links are priced automatically by TLA based on the traffic, link popularity, Alexa ranking and PageRank of the site. The publisher receives a 50% share of advertising revenue, which is quite a generous amount at TLA prices. Payment is made by either PayPal, where there is no minimum payout, or check, where there is a $25 minimum payout. You can play around with a link price calculator on the TLA site to see what each of your links is worth - I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

The actual links are very discreet, looking very similar to any other sidebar link. To receive ads the site needs to be accepted on the TLA program and have a small piece of HTML/feed inserted in the template. The bonus of this is that, unlike other sidebar links, these 'outbounds' can't have a detrimental affect on the site PageRank. Another bonus of TLA is that payment is received simply for displaying ads - the number of clicks, if any, is irrelevant. As a publisher, every time an ad appears in your TLA space you can be confident it's money in the bank already. Any advertising slots unsold remain empty so you aren't giving away free advertising as is the case with most other advertising services.

Click here for proof of Text Link Ads earnings.

TLA also offer a 'feedvertiser' service, whereby ads appear when the site is displayed in feed readers. The payment rates for feedvertising are comparable to those of normal links. Another attractive proposition is the referral program, which most webmasters can participate in even if their site isn't accepted for the main program. If you successfully refer a new publisher or advertiser to the TLA program you receive a $25 bonus.

The main downside to TLA is that it's difficult to attract advertisers amid the vast array of sites to choose from. It's also quite difficult to get accepted into the main program too - you really need a decent amount of traffic (200+ uniques per day), a reasonable Alexa (less than 1 million) and a fair PageRank (PR3 at least). If you don't get accepted they will keep your site on record and review it every month until it does eventually meet the criteria. As I mentioned above, even if you don't make it to the main program the referral program is a very attractive package and will probably make you some cash in the meantime.

If you're not using TLA and have a site that you think is up to scratch, I recommend you give it a go. You really have nothing to loose because ads only appear if they've been paid for. If you've found this article useful and would like to try the TLA experience yourself please use our referral link to tell them that AdSense4Dummies sent you -> Sign up to TLA now - Contextual eBay Ads

eBay auctions direct from your blog.

Two giants in the world of blogging and online advertising, MediaWhiz and ShoeMoney Media, have teamed up together to launch a brand new advertising service called AuctionAds. AuctionAds publishers insert a small piece of HTML into their blog template and receive targeted eBay ads in exactly the same way as they would other PPC advertisements. When a visitor clicks your AuctionAds unit they are taken to a search results page that lists all the eBay auctions relevant to keywords in your page content.

Publishers receive a small cut of the sale price when one of their referrals makes an eBay purchase. AuctionAds are coy about how much the payment actually is and I guess only time will tell how popular their rates are in comparison to other services. Payment is made on a weekly basis by PayPal, with the very modest minimum payout rate of USD $10. The ads, which are currently displayed in English only, are geotargeted to match the visitor's country of origin. Publishers are allowed to display as many ads on their site as they like and there is no clash with the AdSense TOS.

To find out a little more about AuctionAds go visit their website.

SponsoredReviews is Officially Launched

SponsoredReviews - the new kid on the block.

This post is sponsored by SponsoredReviews. To view my policy on sponsored posts click HERE. There are no referral links in this post.

You might remember a few days ago I discussed the imminent launch of a new paid to post service called SponsoredReviews. They are now sending out their first offers to publishers, which is why I'm writing to tell you more about the service now. I did consider just linking to my previous post but that would be a bit sneaky! I'm sure you're all familiar with the concept of paid to post services - namely, an advertiser pays bloggers to write in a 'natural' way about their product or service so that they can acquire some organic links, surrounded by relevant content and hopefully get a few hits into the bargain. Traffic isn't the main consideration - it's more of an attempt to increase link popularity and search engine standing, so opportunities exist for small scale hobby bloggers as well as full-time blogging professionals.

There are a few key details that make SponsoredReviews stand out from the crowd. The 65% revenue share that the blogger receives is obviously an appealing proposition for some, but the biggest novelty is that bloggers can look for advertisers in their niche and negotiate directly. This 'cutting out of the middleman' should mean that bloggers can earn by writing reviews that are closely matched to their blog content and don't detract from their usual style. Another useful thing about SponsoredReviews is that your account and blogs are approved (or not) almost immediately - there isn't any of the waiting associated with existing paid to posts. Each blog receives a guideline price based on Link popularity, Alexa rank and Technorati rank, but the blogger is free to set their own pricing if they so wish. Reviews can attract payment of up to $1000 ($650 publisher share) but a price even higher than that may be offered for exceptionally popular blogs. As with all the good paid to post services disclosure is compulsory and reviews can be written in an honest way without fear of reprisals.

I'm still a very new publisher with SponsoredReviews but I'm so far impressed by the simplicity of the approval process, good payment rates and being able to deal directly with advertisers. So far, so good but you can be sure I'll give you an update in a few months time!

Exoclick - A Good Low Payout Pay Per Click

A picture paints a thousand words.

There's no doubt that AdSense and YPN are two of the highest paying and best known contextual advertising services in the business. The main draw back of these two giants is that payment is slow and their rules are petty and prohibitive. They're also pretty unforgiving if you've fallen foul of their rules and been banned. A fairly new kid on the block is Exoclick. Exoclick offer a range of (roughly) targeted contextual ads, search boxes and web portals which operate on a pay per click basis.

Advantages of Exoclick:
Exoclick offers instant account approval, easy to implement HTML code and a low payout level. Ads are rotated so that the highest payers are always displayed. Some of the ad formats have integral images, which prove particularly useful for increasing your CTR. Probably the biggest advantage Exoclick has is that it pays by PayPal on a weekly basis if you reach the modest minimum payout level of only USD $10. Also, gone are the days of the mysterious 'zero cent' clicks that you get with some of the bigger players - every click pays something, so your efforts aren't in vain. Your Exoclick code can be implemented on any of your sites and they aren't too concerned about your content (adult, gambling etc. are all allowed). They also have good online support and you can easily speak to a real person if you prefer. They also have an attractive referral program.

Disadvantages of Exoclick:
As I briefly eluded to in the opening paragraph, the ads are not perfectly targeted - they will match the general subject of your site but they won't go into the fine detail that AdSense does. The price per click is also unpredictable and depends on your niche and where your 'clickers' come from.

Exoclick, although not quite a substitute for AdSense or YPN, can now be run alongside them as a complimentary source of income. It might also prove the ideal PPC if you've been suspended by one of the bigger providers. If you get a lot of traffic from the US/UK/Europe and have financial/tech related content you should see worthwhile results. I've been experimenting with it on a few of my blogs (not this one) and I've been pleasantly surprised by the results.

If you've found this article useful and recognise the huge potential in Exoclick please sign up using my referral link to tell them that I sent you: Try Exoclick Now.

Sponsored Reviews

Today, I'm going to talk about a new paid to post company - Sponsored Reviews. There are NO affiliate links in the text below and this ISN'T a sponsored post.

If you're a brand new blogger it sometimes takes a while to build up your contextual ads clicks to a decent level of income each month. What most people tend to do is register with paid to post type advertising companies to earn a few dollars while their contextual ads increase in popularity. I'm sure most people have heard of companies like PayPerPost, Blogsvertise, Blogitive and, the newest kid on the block, ReviewMe. ReviewMe is the highest paying of these (I get a minimum of $30 per post I do for them), but they're the most selective about which blogs they'll accept. Advertisers like to use blog posts because it gives them 'organic' backlinks surrounded by relevant keywords - very important in the search engine optimisation stakes. Traffic isn't usually much of a consideration for the advertiser, so even if you have a low number of hits per day you can still enrol in one of these paid to post programs.

This morning I got an email invitation to join a program called Sponsored Reviews. I have read about them before on TechCrunch but for some reason, unbeknown to me, they've decided to target my mini-network of blogs by personal invitation. I signed up because it would be rude not to, wouldn't it? It seems very similar to ReviewMe, but I think the sign-up requirements are slightly less stringent. The concept is very similar - you register your blogs, which are automatically approved or rejected in about 20 seconds. If they are approved a price per review is recommended depending on your link popularity, Alexa ranking, Technorati ranking and Page Rank. They claim that you can earn up to $1000 for a single review if you've got a TechCrunchesque blog. The blogger gets 65% of the fee, which is significantly better than ReviewMe's 50% share. Sponsored Reviews pay by PayPal on a biweekly basis. Another advantage over ReviewMe is that blogger can go searching for advertisers in their niche and make an offer directly to them. This means you can target the most relevant advertisers for your blog if you so wish.

An important point to note is that they are still beta testing the program and they aren't sending offers out to bloggers just yet. I anticipate Sponsored Reviews will offer a serious, well-paying alternative to ReviewMe. I'm sure it'll prove worthwhile signing up because their advertiser base is sure to increase.

Inline Ad Alternatives

I thought I'd tell you about a couple of advertising services that are complimentary to Google AdSense and the other contextual advertising services. Since the relaxation of AdSense's exclusivity requirements back in January it's now quite safe to try and boost your earnings by displaying in line ads alongside AdSense. Two inline ad services you might want to have a look at are Kontera and AdBrite. I shan't dwell too much on Kontera because they have high traffic requirements just to qualify for their program. Reading around it appears you can use Kontera to make about half of what you make on AdSense each month.

The real focus of this post is to tell you about AdBrite's new inline ad service which started back in February. An example from my YouTube Karaoke site (a very good site - if you haven't been visit it at once!) is shown in the image above. The ads are still very new and so far few advertisers are using them, so you only get maybe one in line ad per page. It should be a shrewd investment for the future - especially if you haven't got enough traffic to qualify for Kontera. My preliminary investigations reveal that AdBrite inline ads pay about the same as their conventional ad unit counterparts - usually in the range 5 - 20 cents per click. If you use AdBrite I recommend you head over there, adjust your account settings and give the new inlines a try. You'll certainly be no worse off than you are now - in fact, you'll probably increase your earnings. No adjustment to the ad code is necessary - just change the settings in your AdBrite account. If you aren't using AdBrite and think you could benefit from inline ads, then please sign up and tell them we sent you by using our link below.