We were approached by "Danial" (spelling?). He was looking to place text advertisements inside three or four of the Paki's Corner posts. Now, the ads weren't written in the most delicious English I've ever seen - but this is a global economy. You don't have to speak or write English properly to make money or do business on the Internet. Google pretty much entrenched this view by giving in to Chinese censorship demands just to keep their service alive behind the red curtain.
Copy of ad (links removed) below:
Not majority of people like to take one way flights, but there are many times when they may have to, and other times when they want to so they can prolong their vacations. The online presence of many commercial airlines facilitates their customers who are in search for bargain flights. These companies provide you such interface where you can check the Real-time flight status and historical flight delay information. You can also track a flight arriving or departing form your city.
There are two, quite contradictory ways that I could view this almost-deal.
1. It's a clever way of placing ads.
$10 per text ad, once off payment. Advert gets placed at the end of your blog post (only on the specific post). Ad stays up as long as your blog does.
It's patently obvious that this guy was taking advantage of SEO. I presume, to get his $10/ad worth, he would have done some analysis. Chosen posts that were rich with generic keywords and well ranking.
Proportionally high investment upfront (when you compare with CPC models) - but you've got to take a bit of a long-tail long-term view here.
If the groundwork was done - I say clever.
2. OR it's an unethical way of placing ads.
The ads had sweet bugger all to do with the content. And, I was requested to add even more generically confusing titles to them (Reader's Toolbox - treading that fine line between context-sensitive advertising and duping your users into a click).
So he choose super generic keywords, attracts accidental "Google traffic" and works on a conversion rate of 0.001% over the next 5 years.
Do that on enough sites and an investment of $2000 could pay off a lovely unethical affiliate / adsense monthly income after a while.
The dark art of SEO at work? Of course, it could also point you towards a phishing site - designed to seduce credit card details or the like.
Well, the deal fell through. I'm out $40. Bollocks. :)
I refused to take the words PAID FOR ADVERTISEMENT away from the ads. Mr Danial put tail between virtual legs and disappeared.
Still - it's fascinating how clever individuals are pushing the boundaries of advertising models and business models on the Internet. Perhaps, with a bit of strategising - this approach could be turned into a legitimate source of revenue for net companies.
What's your vote?