Closing Direct Ad Deals – Stop Relying on Google for Your Paycheck!

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!

{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Leonard Britt April 28, 2011, 4:02 pm

    Yes, placing Google Adsense on a website is easy but oftentimes it is frustrating when I see payouts for products like wedding dresses in Spanish which I know deserve more than a few pennies, I feel there has to be a better option. My initial attempt at affiliate earnings was Commission Junction (700k+ impressions with no payout) which is why I am not a fan of affiliate programs. has probably resulted in lower payouts than Adsense. However, one program I have been testing lately and seeing some earnings accumulate with is The platform is operated by Domain Holdings and is based in South Florida. Regarding direct ad sales, I haven’t had ad sales yet but still feel a site needs a certain traffic level before you can pursue advertisers in that space. As you say, you need to be able to show how advertising on your site is more effective than print, tv or radio alternatives.

  • Indian Marketer April 28, 2011, 4:07 pm

    Nice post Morgan, direct advertising is far better than adsense or ppc!
    Sometimes adsense seem to be good and another day it sucks! For example, I have adsense placed on one of my laptop review blog. Today i got 4 clicks and $0.07 were all added in my account for 4 clicks. The question is, Does a laptop related niche values only this cheap amount of money for each click?

  • Poor uncle April 28, 2011, 4:24 pm

    You will never hear me say anything bad about google. It inspired me to try to make a buck online by injecting my websites between google and the end users. It is the easiest way to make a buck. It is the stuff that dreams are made of. Easy said that direct ads space is the way to go…hard to make that transition. Google I love u man. 🙂

  • David April 28, 2011, 10:28 pm

    Do you have a WP plugin that you would recommend for ad management?

  • Alston Balkcom April 29, 2011, 3:08 am

    I have using direct ads for about 6 months ago, with a lot of success. I use Fiverr, and direct selling. BTW the viddler video stucks a lot here in Jerusalem. Stick with you tube.

  • April 29, 2011, 9:11 am

    great post Morgan, but it’d be great if you can share some tips on how to get started with direct ads, some of the methods you use to convince them or even find direct ad advertisers.

  • Chris in NYC April 29, 2011, 9:18 am

    Hello Morgan,
    you have catched the point regarding to the creation of income from websites and that thing is called direct advertising. It is not recommendable to rely on just only one thing and therefore affiliate marketing is a good addition to that and of course a little bit of Google´s advertising will never harm the appearance of a website. I would say that diversifying is the key to success and never forget one thing: creativity when diversifying your income.
    Thanks to your blog I am learning a lot of marketing and income lessons,

    • Morgan April 29, 2011, 4:03 pm

      Thanks @Chris – really appreciate the positive feedback!! It is so important for Domainers to understand the power of direct advertising, it’s more work but with it comes more money 🙂

  • David April 29, 2011, 6:53 pm

    Morgan: Do you have a WP plugin that you would recommend for ad management? Also, brought up some very valid points. I would love to hear more about that as well…


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