Making money from ads

I’m thinking of creating a service that will monitor discounts on games and email people when their chosen game’s price is reduced.

I’m planning to have a free, limited version, that I plan to support by ads. So I will send weekly game news type emails, and insert ads into them.

Has anyone tried this? What are your thoughts?

What’s your email list size projected to be? Say 100,000 people (which is optimistic, I think). Click-through can be estimated at 1%, but this is click-through to the main topic of the email, i.e. the link to the discounted game. The ad in the email is a second order object, so it could be as bad as 0.1% or even 0.01%. Let it be 0.1% for the sake of optimism.

Then on one email you’d get some 100 clicks.

Well… if ads are $1+/click, then it is something. But not much anyway, and there were a couple of optimistic assumptions made already.

If you’re able to build a price watching service, why not watch something expensive so that watching people could actually pay you a cut? That sounds a safer way to do it.

I wasn’t actually planning to do a pay per click ad campaign. More like fixed price ads, based on number of subscribers.

That, sir, sounds like a great idea. I might just steal it. :slight_smile:

Ads don’t make much money in my experience, without very high volumes of traffic.

I wouldn’t get distracted by them - focus instead on making a free version that is fairly limited, and exists in order to get people to upgrade to the paid version.

Your customers are going to be, by definition. price sensitive (aka cheapskates). That means they are going to be a lot less valuable to advertisers. So I would guess the rates you will be able to command are going to be pretty low.

You could try to find affiliate schemes for the places you’re linking to, then you’ll get a cut of the sale too.

Wouldn’t a service like for games be more valuable? Of course you would not get big names but maybe some indie games or the like?

If you’re keen on having ads in your email list, I’d suggest contacting potential advertisers right now to get a sense of the market. Here’s a great video by Gary V about that:

+1 for exploring affiliate ads. Pat Flynn of makes a lot of money off of affiliate ads and niche sites. Even better, he writes and podcasts pretty transparently about it all. I’d spend a few days getting familiar with some of his introductory content if this is a path that you are seriously considering.

Based on my own experience, trying to target game-players and monetize with ads is pretty much waste of time. I tried both Google and affiliate ads and at 15,000 stable visitors per month I was earning only $3-4.

Gamers, like @Andy already said, are not only cheapskates, but often also kids. Super-blind to any ads. And finding proper affiliate offering that these people would be interested in is real hard too.

I don’t think all gamers are highly price sensitive (some of them will queue for hours and pay £50 to get Battlefield on day 1 of release). But ones that are interested in a discount monitoring services certainly will be.

Thanks everyone. I’ve already killed the project.

I did try Google ads and Twitter ads to get signups, as well a note in the game forum, but all I got was 2 signups. Since I didn’t want to spend too much time or money on this, I decided to just kill the project.

I’m trying another experiment, this time targeting people who spend a fair amount of money to fix a problem they have. This is a community I am a member of, so I know of their problems first hand. I put up a landing page describing exactly how I’d fix the problem, but the signups are still only a trickle.

Boy, asking money from strangers is hard!