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Text link ad networks

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Thursday January 11, 2007 )

Hunting down link exchanges can be an awfully time consuming exercise, especially the pursuit of links on quality sites. Sometimes it can work out to be cheaper to pay for a text link; but you still have to hunt around for the best deals.

If you’re a site publisher looking to sell text links, sourcing quality advertisers can be equally labor intensive and once you’ve found an advertiser, there’s payment issues, maintenance and other administration issues to contend with.

Enter text link ad networks.

There’s been a plethora of these networks pop up over the last couple of years, but one of the better established services with a solid reputation is Text Link Ads.

Before I go any further, I’d just like to point out that I’m being paid for this post; but I’m quite comfortable in promoting the service as I’ve made mention of Text Link Ads in other areas of Taming the previously. As a result of my various communications with their team and visits to the network over the last year or so, I’m quite familiar with how the service operates.

Co-founded by Patrick Gavin, a search marketing expert and speaker at industry conferences, Text Link Ads is a premium link marketplace for buyers and sellers.

How it works – publishers

Publishers who are accepted into the network offer space on their site for text links ads. An algorithm calculates the value of that space based on elements such as site traffic, industry sector, position and link popularity; i.e., how many external links point to the site.

Once a value is calculated, advertisers pay a flat rate per month in advance for a text link ad and the publishers earns a 50% share of the fee.

The publisher is provided with a code snippet; which when activated will start displaying the text links purchased. One of the great aspects for publishers aside from the revenue generation potential is they also have the power to approve and deny ads before they are displayed.

Aside from that, there’s very little ongoing effort on the publisher’s part; Text Link Ads does the rest, leaving the publisher free to improve their site and as a consequence, being able to achieve better ad space valuations.

How it works – advertisers

For buyers, the marketplace is very easy to use. Once you sign up for an account, which is free, you can browse by category or by keyword. Sites can then be sorted according to their Alexa ranking or ad prices.

Clicking on a “reveal” link in the listings brings up further information about the site of interest, including a screenshot, description, how many pages your ad will appear on, site link popularity and how many text link slots are offered and available.

After selection, then it’s just a matter of adding the site/s to the shopping cart, specifying the link and link text (maximum ad length is 30 characters) and paying for your ad. It’s a very smooth process.

Advertisements submitted are then flagged with the site publisher/s selected who then approve or deny the ad. Publishers have 48 hours to complete the approval process and the 30 day billing period does not commence until the ad is actually live; i.e., if your ad is rejected, your card isn’t debited.

Why use a network?

The benefits of using a network such as Text Link Ads:

a) No more hunting and pecking around for links on quality sites or chasing for advertisers. This can save a great deal of time; leaving you to focus on core activities.

b) There’s accountability on both sides of the fence – the network looks after all the payment related issues and monitoring of text links. So, for publishers that means guaranteed payment and for advertisers, guaranteed position and duration of link display.

c) No need for reciprocity – yes, that’s a real word :). Advertisers buying links do not need to link back to the site that they purchase an ad on.

By the way, as a sweetener for new advertisers, Text Link Ads are currently offering $100 in free ads when an advertiser places an initial order of $125 or more.

Other Text Link Ad services

Aside from basic text links, Text Link Ads also recently began trialing advertising in RSS feeds. The company also offers an article link service; whereby they will create an article on any subject, embed your links and submit that article for syndication to other sites.

While the Article Link service isn’t cheap; the pricing is justified in my opinion. If anyone is offering to write and distribute original content for you at bargain basement rates, the chances are that the article has been plagiarized and the distribution channels very questionable.

How do I know this? I’ve seen some of my articles wind up with another author’s name on them and have traced these articles back to shady companies offering to write “original” content for peanuts. What you pay for is what you get – best to spend the extra money for a quality service and save yourself some embarrassment and possible legal headaches.

Check out Text Link Ads


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