Much has been written about the demise of Google’s AdSense of late, but the advertising behemoth still seems to go from strength to strength, despite competition from Yahoo! and Microsoft and despite many webmasters’ dissatisfaction at how Google run their program and their labyrinthine Terms of Service (ToS) conditions. Yet, there are rumblings on the net about various ‘AdSense Killers’. Is Google’s behemoth about to be toppled from its dominant position, and who’s waiting in the wings, seeking the title of Giant Killer?
Many have pointed towards ClickBank as a possible ‘Adsense Killer’, but are they correct in this appraisal? On the face of it, probably not… AdSense and ClickBank work very differently. AdSense is very much a marketing tool. It is a way of displaying advertisements on your website that are matched to your website’s content by Google itself google scraper . As such it’s a powerful tool in that you get the ads in return for some of the real estate of your web pages. Each time someone clicks on an ad that you display money is credited into your AdSense account. AdSense is therefore a PPC (pay per click) system.
ClickBank works more like a brokerage house. Their aim is to put the vendors of electronic products in touch with affiliates who will promote those products. They handle the relationship and manage the sales. This is the major problem of ClickBank in that it’s geared towards managing the affiliate-vendor relationship. It’s not geared towards the selling of products. If you wish to promote a product supported by ClickBank then you have to go to the vendor’s website and either use their affiliate tools (if they have them) or you have to create sales pages and sales blurb based on the information you can find about the product.
You can then either create a sales page or you can create ads that resemble those delivered by AdSense for your own site. This is laborious, but can be done. But once you have those ads, things are still different. As an affiliate (though you are selling the vendor’s product you are actually, in effect, an affiliate of ClickBank) it doesn’t matter how many people click on your ad… you only make money when a product is sold. Admittedly, you could be making $40 or more on a single sale whilst you may only be making pennies from an AdSense click. So, if you have enough traffic ClickBank-based ads could be very lucrative. But you still have to create those ads yourself.
This is where a number of third parties come in. They take the ClickBank product feed, dump it into a database and create AdSense-like contextual ads based around the ClickBank product database. But there’s one major problem to this approach, in that many of the product descriptions and titles in the datafeed that ClickBank make available to all are designed to attract affiliates and not to directly sell the products themselves. In effect, the majority of the descriptions provided tell you how good the product is for an affiliate marketer to promote, rather than how good it is for someone to buy (and why they should buy it).
These sites have tried to address the various issues surrounding ClickBank’s products feeds. One of these is the Celtnet ClickBank Marketplace, which is unique in that each product is checked and the product descriptions and product titles are annotated by hand. Each product is also backed by an image either of the product itself or of the sales website. These are all loaded into a database which is searchable. Other systems either use the ClickBank datafeeds or take screen scrapes from Affiliate pages to populate their product description databases. Whatever the methodology employed, extended descriptions make these systems more versatile for any affiliate looking for ClickBank products to promote than ClickBank’s own search system as they are sales rather than affiliate centred.
But the real advantage of these sites is that many of them provide tools so that you can create your own AdSense-like contextual ads based on selecting a subset of ClickBank products, or on using searches within the sites’ databases to pick-out a range of products. For the main, simple tools allow ad blocks to be built (just like you do for AdSense). Typically, these can be configured in terms of appearance, like AdSense ads and the content can be specified in terms of the section of ClickBank you wish them to appear from or based on any keywords you specify. Thus you can make the ads as specific to your site or web page as you need. Most of the better ad providers serve their ad blocks dynamically so that the ads seen change on every refresh. Each time ClickBank updates its product feed the database and therefore your ads are also updated.
The newest feature for these providers of ClickBank-based ads is the development of image-based ads. These are AdSense-like contextual ads but they give the product/website image as well as titles and text. As research has shown that image-based ads can be more effective than plain ads this could be a real boon for your website.
The only problem with serving AdSense-like ads is that these are contextual ads an thus you cannot display these alongside Google ads, as this breaks Google’s terms of service. There is, however, a way around this problem. A number of sites providing ClickBank-based ads also allow you to generate an RSS feed of ads. These can be incorporated into your website or even your blog. But as this is ‘news aggregation’ and not a contextual ad you can mix these RSS feeds with Google ad units with no penalty.
Many of the sites will also allow you to copy a search box for your website that uses their databases and descriptions to allow your visitors to search the ClickBank products list for any product or service that they need or want. This can be a very powerful and simple way of adding a new revenue stream to your website, again without breaking Google’s TOS.