Test Driving Text Link Ads 9 January, 2007 — Stuart Brown

For fun and profit

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Disclosure: This is a paid review via the service at ReviewMe. The opinions in this post are unbiased and my own, however.

The service offered by Text Link Ads is a little different to other advertising solutions - rather than pay per action, click or impression, payouts are based on an allotted value per month for a text link placed on a given site.

The system itself is a little more involved than JavaScript-based solutions, such as AdSense - it requires the insertion of code in PHP, or whatever language your site runs on (everything under the sun is supported, from ASP, .NET, RoR, to standard blogging platforms such as WordPress). Ads are served from an XML file stored on your server, and managed by the scripting that you install. It all seems speedy on the backend, so there's none of the delay associated with JavaScript ads.

The ads themselves are simple text links - no surprises there - but there's no 'Ads By Text Link Ads' or similar that clearly marks the ads as such. This is good in some ways - it allows webmasters to better blend and control how the ads appear - but the lack of a disclosure policy could be abused.

Lucky, then, that there are no incentives for clicks - payments are offered on a per-month basis for each of the links. From the webmaster's perspective, this is great - it essentially means a predictable, reliable stream of revenue - without the ups & downs associated with programs like AdSense.

The revenue is based on a number of factors - Alexa ranking seems to be one, with PageRank and Technorati rankings also being potential considerative factors. The more important your site is deemed, the more revenue per ad slot you will get. The higher-paying sites earn up to around $300/month, per slot - and with up to 10 slots available to sell, there's good potential for consistent earnings.

The publishers at TLA seem to be high quality sites - there's a surprising amount of established and reputable sites in the network. While I have some reservations about link selling, TLA do seem to have a comprehensive and well thought out system that can provide webmasters with an additional (and more reliable) source of income. If you're looking for a new way to monetize a website, and AdSense et al aren't proving up to the task, Text Link Ads looks like it could prove to be a viable alternative.

Text Link Ads