Online Advertising

An Alternative to Annoying Ads (Is there one?)

I often have brilliant ideas (for websites) while trying to get back to sleep in the early hours of the morning.

If I can still remember them I do a little research, only to discover that the idea has been done, and often done to death and there is now a website listing all the websites that have successfully implemented “My Big Idea” (MBI).

Scamdex/Scamalot uses online ads to generate income to pay for the hosting etc and to give it’s owners a trickle of income to compensate for the significant effort in keeping the sites running.

No one likes ads on websites. It’s a fact, proven by the enormous popularity of ‘Ad Blockers’. This is made worse by deceptive, loud, fraudulent, offensive etc ads that make your browsing experience unpleasant.

Scamdex/Scamalot uses Google Adsense mainly, this is because I trust them not to try to trick my visitors, they use their vast databases to attempt to tailor ads to the visitor’s interest and also because they pay ‘per click’ – so if someone clicks on an ad on my site, I get a couple of cents (the amount varies widely). This isn’t exactly a quid pro quo – I have a Click Rate of around 1% – so for every 100 visitors, one person will click on an ad that they see there.  I also use a couple of other ‘Affiliate’ ads, one for a respectable on-line lottery and one for, oh and one for, a search engine for people. I am not making much, let me tell you!

So, ads are annoying and they bring in a pittance – what alternatives are there?

Well, there’s only one – a ‘Paywall’ – You need to signup and pay to get into the website. Like the newspapers do. But everyone hates that idea. We all visit hundreds of websites and only the very big/popular sites (Think ‘New York Times’) can possibly expect to get signups (and even they struggle!). A low-volume website like Scamdex would simply not get enough visitors to justify the implementation.

Anyway, you see the problem now?

Back to my early-morning “Eureka” moment – I was thinking of a way for public websites to generate incremental income without showing ads and I came up with this:

  1. Create a website called ‘Pennies from Heaven’ (PFH) or somesuch that allows people to click a link and automatically credit a website that they are visiting and appreciate with a penny (or more), from their account.
  2. PFH would aggregate these micro-donations and, assuming a certain threshold, pay out monthly.
  3. The websites would be free from annoying ad clutter and be free to fill in the gaps with more content.
  4. People would become members of PFH and set a monthly maximum amount to donate. At the end of the month, that amount would be billed to them.
  5. A discrete button on PFH-affiliated pages would invite the visitor to contribute, ostensibly to support the site financially and to thank the site for not showing ads.
  6. Another option would allow visitors to websites to automatically contribute based on page views or some other scheme – monthly, perhaps.

Sounds good eh? A Win-win as far as I can see – except perhaps for the ad companies (and the ad-blocker companies )

Well I went to a website last week and saw a button that just said ‘Flattr us’ –  Flattr this – and knew immediately what it was – My Big Idea! (MBI)

I signed up and you’ll see the button on a couple of pages.

They implemented MBI in a slightly different method, probably due to some major brainstorming sessions and logistics (I’m guessing some thresholds to do with payment processors).

So How does Flattr work?

  1. After signing up, you choose a monthly budget – say $20
  2. Every website you visit (that’s part of the scheme), you can click on the Flattr button and make it a recipient of part of your budget (for that month).
  3. At the end of the month, your budget is divided up between all the websites that you’ve ‘Flattr-ed’
  4. 90+% goes to the website(s) and the remaining 10% is split among the Flattr website and to pay Payment Processing fees.
  5. You can be a Contributor and a Recipient of Flattr income – as I am.

Ok, so it’s not MBI, but it’s close and I can see a great future. I think Micro-donations (and Micro-payments generally) are the way forward. aggregating is (currently) the only way to achieve this, mainly due to minimum charges made by payment processors – I think it’s around 30-75c per transaction.

I haven’t looked around to see if/how other micro-donation sites are doing, but if you know of one, please feel free to let me know – and your views on this subject



An Own-Your-Own Website Business Opportunity where consumers would make money from links to major retailers was halted by the FTC.
An operation that lured consumers into spending thousands of dollars for Internet websites and advertising by misrepresenting that they could make lots of money by linking the sites to major retailers. The court ordered a stop to the defendants’ allegedly deceptive practices and froze their assets pending further litigation. The action is part of the FTC’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers in financial distress.

There are many of these ‘Business Opportunities’ on the Internet and only the most egregious (read “Greedy”) are ever brought to account. The rest go on taking millions of people’s hard earned money with dubious, immoral, illegal and downright criminal schemes. As soon as the current pool of suckers is exhausted and/or the law start sniffing around, they close up shop and reopen with a new name, domain name and logo and just carry on.

WORK FROM HOME!!! (yep, it’s yet another scam)

Anyone online or offline has seen the ads by now –

Money Motivated Pros | Team Leaders Needed | Looking for Recruiters | Professionals Needed | Remote Agents Needed | Top Guns Only | Business Development | Marketing Reps | Senior Account Executives |
Promotional Managers | Looking for Talent | Junior Account Executive | Marketing and Sales | We Need Strong Phone Associates – Incoming Calls | Seasoned Reps /Team Leaders | Looking for Experienced Team Builders | Inbound Phone Associates |Sales Openers and Closers Needed Now – All Inbound | Confident Strong Reps for Easy Phone Work | Inbound Sales/Marketing Representatives | Phone Based Sales | Team Leaders Needed – All Calls Incoming

Whether it’s spam, popups, ads on your favorite website, flyers stuffed in your letterbox or even personal solicitation – it’s everywhere and there is a very good reason.

I’m talking about the ‘Free Cash Machine’ or ‘Daily Income Career Network’  (aka hundreds of other names which change daily).

It’s an operation which while technically isn’t a scam, it sails as close to the ‘S’ word as possible and uses every unethical and questionably moral trick in the very same book that scammers use.

How it works
Daily Income Network Video – How it all works (according to them)

This is a very sophisticated operation that strings together every tried and trusted technique (Ponzi, MLM, Affiliate Marketing, Spam, Deceptive Advertizing) into one large funnel, with your money at one end and their bank account at the other.

Their advertising is very keen to make out that it costs you nothing (to get started). This alone helps them get past one hurdle, the on-line job websites will not accept any vacancy that carried an up-front fee. So that means that CareerBuilder, Craigslist, Your-Local-Classifieds and more will be full of the same ad in a different cloak.

Scam Job Listing on CareerBuilder

Part 1 – Trainee
After looking through their training materials, it first appears that the ‘job’ is signing up for trial periods with web-based companies (such as Free Credit Reports, ID Protection, Satellite Dishes etc.). After doing this, the job is to get as many other people to do the same thing. This generates affiliate income which is where all the $20 bills start appearing. Spam more of the people you know into signing up for dodgy services and the more money you make. (more…)

Asterpix (who they?) vs. Google

Some Background FirstAsterpix Logo

A company called Asterpix ( have a cool tool (Searchlight) for websites (such as this one!).  They analyse the page you are on, include any recent search terms passed in (eg. from Google) and the website you are on and generate a Tag Cloud of words and phrases that seem to be interesting, by means of search terms or frequency of occurance or other weighting.

When a user clicks on one of the phrases in the tag cloud, they are taken to a fairly plain looking Google Search Results page with a (Google Adsense) ad block at top and bottom. While the search page is hosted on Asterpixs’ website, the Google Adsense account is the original site owners.

A visitor clicks on an ad, the revenue goes to the site owner – what could be simpler?

The Problem is ….