The Coolest Blog Ads Experiment

I set myself a goal for this Christmas season and that is to earn an extra $50K over November and December. To achieve this goal I’m using a few techniques that are new to me, so far some have been very successful whilst others proved a good learning experience. For obvious reasons I don’t want to share everything that I’m doing (probably will in the New Year) but I’d like share something I’ve been running for the last couple of weeks, it has broken even but I am certain with a few tweaks somebody could make a lot more out of it, I’m going to call this “The Coolest Blog Ads Experiment“.

In my daily gadget search I came across what I think is a very cool product (in a “I’m a complete geek” kind of way), the Wi-Fi Detector Shirt, it’s an animated T-Shirt that, you guessed it, displays the strength of any Wi-Fi networks that you’re within range of. So I did the obligatory gadget post and earned a bit of commission by selling a few but it also got me thinking.

wifi-ad.jpgI loved the product and thought if I show it to enough people I’m sure to get more sales. It’s not the sort of product that people will search for (how many times have you searched for “animated wifi detecting apparel”) so I wanted a way to get it in front off as many, well geeks, as possible. Which is where Blog Ads came in.

The great thing about Blog Ads is that it is image and text based and you can target specific blogs. As my image is animated I was pretty sure that it would attract attention and as I use Blog Ads on Coolest Gadgets I am able to test one advert at a time with no charge (which is a good bloody job as it’s my site). So I quickly worked out how to resize an animated GIF to fit dimension and file size limits and then cobbled an advert together. On it’s first day I sold 2 T-Shirts, success!

So I now had an ad that had a proven track record (this is where my affiliate marketing newbie status shows as I now don’t think 2 sales in a day is really a proven track record) so I thought I’d have a look at what other gadget and tech sites I could show it to on so I headed over to the Blog Ads Gadget Network. There are a load of quality blogs in the network and being able to see price, traffic estimations, where the ads will be placed and knowing the CTR on my site made it an educational guess on the best blog to choose, I went for a two week slot on TechEBlog.

Over the last 2 weeks I’ve been checking stats each day, traffic, CTR and CPC has been excellent IMO however conversions were not so good.

From the figures above you can see that the CTR on CG was 0.409% compared to only 0.105% on TechE, this is likely caused by me fixing the ad at the top position on CG whilst the position would of been in rotation on TechE. If I’d paid for the ad on CG it would of cost $75 (for 2 weeks) which makes the CPC $0.03, darn cheap. Whilst on TechEBlog it would of been $0.11 (estimated as there are still 2 days to run), which still ain’t bad IMO.

In total I made 17 sales from the advert on CG and 6 sales from the advert in TecheBlog and I must admit this was both surprising and a bit of a disappointment. Commission is only ~$3 per T-Shirt but fortunately some of the buyers bought other products so total commissions are around $100 which by the end of the campaign should pay for the TechE ad but if I’d had to pay for my own ad it would be running at a loss.

After analysing it this is what I put the poor conversion down to:

  • The T-Shirt looked cool but let’s be honest would you actually wear one, I know that I wouldn’t unless I was severely intoxicated, so I reckon it was just too much of a niche
  • The animation on the advert was great for getting attention to the product and I reckon people clicked it to see how it worked with no intention of buying (see first point)
  • For the fourth time this month I’ve suffered from shops selling out or changing URLs

Overall I’m happy with the experiment, it hasn’t been a success financially but for the time involved I’ve learnt a fair bit and I’ll certainly do something similar when I find a more suitable product and next time I won’t choose something because it’s “geekily cool” I’ll choose it because it will sell to “normal” people.

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. Interesting campaign you had. I just recently found Blogads and I am doing a bit of advertising of one of my blogs with it. I especially like that you can add your RSS feed in you ad — good for advertising blogs.

  2. Now a cynic may say the point of the post was to get me to go and buy a tshirt, well I won’t I refuse to click on your affiliate link.

    damn I clicked on it :(But they are out of stock and given its a US supplier no chance of getting them shipped over here before Christmas.

    Al you ruined my Christmas I will be sitting eating my Turkey thinking how cool it would have been for the family to be showing how much their brains were being fried, while I wore my tinfoil hat!

  3. That is one of the coolest t-shirts I have ever seen. Thanks for planting the idea of creating your own banners for advertising.

  4. Thanks for the great post Al. Nice to see I am not the only one who sees hope for something and it not coming through. I have worked with my drawing site for over half a year thinking it would generate some sort of revenue and traffic. And, although it has generated over 6k page views per month I am not sure what that means since it does not seem to get my adds displayed and certainly not clicked. I must have been a bit of a dreamer to think I could use my ample supply of free ‘art’ to make something, but at least i am not alone. Now to explore other ideas I have been thinking of which may have better revenue potential - onward and upward 😉

    • If you try long enough you’ll find something that works, I’ve had market stalls, bulletin boards and all sorts of stuff until I found what I’m doing now, just keep plugging.

  5. Yes, the eternal struggle between our passion and what earns money online- 😉

    If only you can get these two to work together. Thanks for sharing the analysis.

  6. I have now set a goal of $2k from affiliate sales for the 2 months leading up to Christmas. Rather then say I am going to set a goal I figured I would write it here so it’s set.

    • Nice goal Matthew, with your site and niche that is certainly achievable. I’d concentrate on AMazon, TG and Hammacher, a bit like me really :)

  7. I hadent thought of Hammacher but do link to them every now and again. I will check them out today. For the UK I also use IWOOT and Firebox (which now are in the US too).

    I based my goal on a % of my traffic compared to yours 😉 I’m on my way to start the ball rolling now and will let you know 1st Jan (maybe 2nd) how it went.

  8. Thats a really clever idea.shame it didn’t work as anticipated.

    But I am sure it can be optimized again and a better profit could be gained from it.

  9. Thanks for sharing this experiment.
    Very good.

    I look forward for more experiment, next time hopefully I will try as well!

    I am Italian, so I am not a competitor! 😀


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