When I started developing my domains back in 2007 AdSense really was all that I knew. It seemed easy enough, you just put a snipped of code on your site and the ads would auto-populate. That was all well and good until I quickly realized that I was making scraps off of visitors that would then go to the advertisers site and spend real money. I quickly moved-away from AdSense and gravitated towards affiliate marketing. Now more and more direct ad deals have been the direction I’m moving in, I like to decide how much a spot on my sites are worth, not Google.
If you’re relying on Google for your paycheck you are in trouble. There I said it and all the AdSense lovers can cry themselves to sleep now. No, really, you are selling your visitors for pennies on the dollar if you’re using AdSense and Google can reduce the value of your visitors overnight if they feel like it.
The problem is that most Domainers don’t know the first thing about direct advertising deals. You see, selling ad space isn’t like selling domains, it’s like, well, selling ad space. People will advertise with you if you can offer them new customers. If you can’t prove your case pretty quickly you will be ignored and, well, back to good old AdSense.
I currently have about twenty sites that I’m running direct ad deals on and while it’s a heck of a lot more work than AdSense or even affiliate programs, there’s nothing like getting paid what you think is fair. There are a few misconceptions about selling ad space though like you need tons of traffic. You don’t need tons of traffic, but you do need a brand. This is where Domaining comes in, a great domain name (especially a great .com) has a lot more brand-value than a website on a crappy domain.
If you want to know who the grand-masters are when it comes to direct ad deals then take a look at the Castello Brothers. David and Michael own some of the best .com brands out there and have been closing ad deals like it’s going out of style since the 90’s. When they started closing ad deals people weren’t even convinced that domains were going to take off, but that didn’t stop them.
So I thought now would be a great time to re-post one of my favorite interviews that I did with Michael and David at TRAFFIC Las Vegas 2010. I’ve learned a lot from the Castello brothers and still look up to them as a model of success in this space. It’s not just that they develop their domains into full-scale online brands but that they take their monetization efforts to the next level by focusing on direct advertising deals. I hope you enjoy the interview and as always, comment and let your voice be heard!