Web Site and Ezine Sponsorship

"Strategies For Finding Web Site/Ezine Sponsorships Using Advertising Space Internally"


One of the problems web site owners, developers and ezine publications face is finding advertising or web site and ezine sponsorships. I have a pretty successful site that has had scores of inquiries from banner networks. I have declined every proposal so far simply because they aren't offering what I believe to be the site's real value.

An Overview Of Site Sponsorship

I have been offered anywhere from .06 to .15 all of which are IMHO an insult to my intelligence and my site. I don't blame the banner networks or advertisers because this is the going rate caused by a surplus of banner inventory. Basic economics tells me when supply is greater then demand goods become undervalued. However, what really frosts me is payment is based on click through.

I won't even go into the no mans land of loss of control of the look of the site or the creative being displayed. My biggest complaint is that this method of payment doesn't give any value to the brand awareness that banner impressions create. Recent surveys have finally proven that this is the case, contrary to what the networks would have you believe. That is, of course, unless you are a rep selling CT advertising then it seems to be an advantage!

So what does an enterprising developer do about the situation? Well, you can throw up your hands and give in to these modern day carpetbaggers or you can use the space in other ways. I'll now outline ways I've found to use this advertising and sponsorship space for the time being.

Some are designed to help you get true value from the robberbarons (networks) and some are designed to create revenues. All of these strategies I have talked to other developers about, read in articles or discussion lists and verified their advantages and disadvantages.

First off, before you try any of these you better have your media kit ready! This can take several forms from hard copy, an information page for sponsors including all the verifiable information you can muster about your users, a rate card or an autoresponder with all the information just mentioned .

4 Web Site Sponsorship or Advertising
Strategies I've Tried

1. Advertise Other Areas of Your Web Site

This has a couple of advantages that I'll quickly outline here. Using your site logs you can track what kind of CTR can be achieved on a page. Of course if you are using this strategy make the creative generic so the person you're giving the information to can realistically translate it into what your site could possibly do for them. The "WoD" is actually a trojan horse for my design firm and my banner is at the top of the pages that will reach this target audience. This strategy has produced more leads then any other form of advertising I've used!

The other advantage is it will enable you to funnel traffic to income producing areas on your site. Once again use this information (coming from site logs)to get some figures for ROI. I have found that some ezines, sites etc. have users that will not purchase. This is important on sites (like mine) where free information is the reason for being there. Some site's communities just don't buy!

This is especially useful for email publications. Always contact advertisers to see how their CTR and ROI was. This enables you to provide a potential sale with what works in your publication and what kind of ROI to expect.  If you can get them to give you a testimonial all the better.

One last thing don't advertise for advertising in the space that the ad will appear in. This looks bad and screams "I'M HARD UP GIVE ME A FRACTION OF WHAT THIS SPACE IS WORTH!"

2. Arrange Banner Exchanges With Similar Sites

I have heard this works real well but I found that the time spent looking for suitable sites and making sure they run the banners is too time consuming to do this on any big scale. The few times I did do it the inequities in banners shown, where they were placed and in every case notification of removing the banners quickly soured me on this strategy.

3. Join a Free Banner Network

I know what you're thinking! "T you just called these guys robberbarons and carpetbaggers!" Free banner networks like Link Exchange generate traffic! Some people (myself included) believe these programs are possibly counter productive but that's neither here nor there.

Patrick at HTML Tips has eloquently outlined the disadvantages to these programs at http://htmltips.com/rot.html . Different strokes for different folks, I'm just trying to outline some alternatives not tell you what you should do.

This is definitely not to say Link Exchange is a bad deal. It's just not one I think will achieve my goals. I will say though that if I was going to go this route they would definitely be at the top of the list. Any company with an affiliation with John Audette (MMG) is a step up in my books!

However, some networks can provide some valuable information to get sponsors for your site. For instance some banner networks give bonuses for click throughs so you could provide verifiable CTR's for possible sponsors by converting your bonuses to a CTR.

4. Affiliate, Partner Pay for Sale Programs

Here's 5 reasons why these programs are the best means of sponsorship.

  1. Total control of look of site and link type(banner or text)
  2. It Pays better (I make on average over $1/clickthrough!)
  3. Control of what's appearing on my site (I've heard some horror stories from site owners participating in networks)
  4. You can develop content around these programs (some even provide you with the content!)
  5. Point your community to products you know they NEED not products that get the space because they are willing to pay for it.


I have been using a combination of 1 and 4. A banner advertisement for my design work has resulted in ALL the work my firm gets. Nothing spectacular mind you, but much more lucrative then what I'd get elsewhere. The affiliate programs more than pay my business internet related costs.

Affiliate/partner programs are the Internet Equivalents of Mom and Pop shops in the real world and if you haven't gotten on this bandwagon than you don't know what you're missing. Who knows, most of the Internet giants started in someone's basement.

I've seldom heard a peep of negativity about these programs and when I do it is always about the same vendor! Amazon.com, who seem to be re-thinking their program and addressing the problems. It should be noteworthy that an Internet Marketing powerhouse like Amazon has moved quickly to keep their affiliates happy. Perhaps their sales are more dependent on these relationships then they would like to admit to the suits on Wall Street!

This is the first of many articles on affiliates and site and ezine sponsorship.   When it is finished there will be two new indexes. The first will be traditional sponsorship and banner networks and a separate site for Affiliate/Partner programs will be in place. This will be the resource center for a book that Terry Williams has generously offered to collaborate on.

So, if this topic is of interest to you, stay tuned and book mark this page.