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I'm in the midst of creating a couple of personally owned sites. Neither are aimed to be the next Facebook/Twitter/whatever, but I'd like to be able to make some money off of them, at the very least to cover a portion of my hosting costs. The problem is, I'm not sure where to look. I know of things like AdSense and other PPC 3rd party advertisers, but am worried about their relevancy. I don't want ads for things that aren't at least tangentially related to my content. I'm also concerned that these generated ads will be ugly, and detract from my site.

And, to clarify, I'm looking for ads to display on my sites, not for a service to advertise my sites on other sites.

So, what would you (the collective you) suggest as the best bang for my buck? Ideally, I'd grow to a point where I could get direct advertising, but that's definitely a long term goal.

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4 Answers

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You could try project wonderful, it has a pretty unique model. It's really transparent, and it's a relatively rare opportunity to get pay-per-view ads even on a small site.

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I physically went to stores in the near-by area, printed out a few pages of my site, and asked them if they would like to advertise their business on my site.

I made 4X's as much as AdSense this way.

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Very interesting anecdote. What type of website do you run, and did you target particular types of local businesses? Also, how did you sell your inventory (PPC, CPM, etc.)? –  Lèse majesté Nov 30 '10 at 11:00
    
@Tommy: could you explain more plz, thanks! –  Marco Demaio Nov 30 '10 at 11:48
    
I'm not sure how feasible this would be for me as I'm not selling a product or service, but rather reviews of products and humor. I don't see local businesses wanting to spend money advertising on sites that aren't in their field of business. –  KevinM1 Nov 30 '10 at 13:21
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It was a dating site for a specific college. So I went to all the local Pizza store, bars, car dealers, property managements, off-campus books store, etc. It was easier since the site was for a specific location. However, what would stop you from calling comedy clubs or companies who make similar products? The idea is going to the actual source. –  Tommy Nov 30 '10 at 18:14
    
I get what you're saying, and agree in general. The problem is that it's not really applicable for my specific cases. I'm going to be reviewing video games and movies (I know, how original) and producing humorous videos/skits. With anything else, I'd definitely look at local advertising, but it's not really a fit here. –  KevinM1 Nov 30 '10 at 18:19
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I would say AdSense is a great place to start (but not to end up with), in small sites, there un-expensive, easy to manage and with enough traffic, profitable!

Eventually affiliate systems and direct ads, will be necessary, but not until you have sever hundred* daily visits.

Good luck!

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I think Adsense only approves sites that are over 6 months old. Till that time, you can try an ad network like Adbrite. There are also services which pay if a user from your site will fill a survey for them (and you in turn should provide some "premium" content for the users in exchange for them filling up survey).

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