Written on October 12th, 2005 at 12:10 am by Darren Rowse

Smart Online Marketing

Advertising, Writing Content 21 comments

Yaro has a good post on his experiment to buy a 100×100 pixel ad on the Million Dollar Homepage. The results were disappointing for the investment of $100 - especially when he compares the results of the ad to the results of writing a quality post on his blog that brought in much more traffic for no cost except for the time it took to write it. Yaro’s conclusion might not be rocket science - but it makes sense!

‘The clear answer to successful online marketing is that content is king. We know this. Looking at the big picture content maybe the most important ingredient but without consistency content is not a long term strategy. If you do not continue to produce fresh content then you won’t build on your efforts in the past. You must commit to building an audience using each new piece of content as a building block placed on the previous piece of content. Only by doing this as a long term strategy can you hope to build and retain an audience that will keep coming back.’

21 Responses to “Smart Online Marketing”

  • Unfortunately for Yaro he was about 3 weeks too slow to benefit from buying one square. The earlier placed single squares scored thousands of clicks due to little competition when the buzz began.
    It’s a case of first movers advantage.

  • With all due respect to Yaro I think he’s looking at it in the wrong light.

    Anybody who bought advertising space on The Million Dollar HomePage looking to see an upsurge in traffic was never going to be anything but disappointed.

    The benefit of buying space on a site like this isn’t for a quick boost in traffic but for the long term benefits of the link. This small site has links coming from some of the most popular news sites in the world and each of those is given weight by Google and the other engines.

    In turn anyone being linked to from Million Dollar HomePage will see some of that link weight transfered to their site.

    In short you’ll improve your PR, which in turn will allow you to link to other pages on your site and improve their SE Ranking.

  • I bet he’d do better if it actually was a 100×100 pixel ad. In fact, it’s just 100 pixels (10×10). Tiny and not particularly eye catching, can’t really expect much from that.

  • Well John, but then they had made a bad deal, too. Matt Cutts said in an interview with Aaron Wall about the milliondollarhomepage : “I hope that the people buying pixels don’t assume that those pixels will flow PageRank. :)”

  • The lesson here is that hype does not equal proift. Sure Yaro’s page rank will have been given a boost, but to invest in something so short-term and expect any sort of medium term benefit from it is fanciful.

    How can one expect to have the same or similar results from a non-targetted and poorly visible space when compared to contextually targetted ads on an established site with regular readers and not just gawkers.

    Yes Yaro, content IS King; but common sense is the Queen. And we all know who runs the court.

  • I’ve got to agree with HostingDiary. I wouldn’t expect to put up just any banner on an ad filled page and expect results, neither would I expect one pixel to bring me results on a page that has 10,000.

  • As far as page rank goes, Google’s Matt Cutts recently said this about the Million Dollar page:

    “Of course, I hope that the people buying pixels don’t assume that those pixels will flow PageRank. :)”

    (source: http://www.search-marketing.info/newsletter/articles/matt-cutts.htm)

    …and even if they did, what use is one link on a page that contains 10,000 links? You’re better off doing a link exchange or two, or posting in a forum with your URL in your signature. Or leaving a comment here. :)

  • I think one key for something like the Mill. $ Homepage is to have the page linked to something with content.

    Content is indeed king, however and ad-board directly linked to a regularly updated site with good content might be a good way to go.

    See how I’m approaching it at:

  • Well, it seems like a significant investment to pay US$1000 for such a tiny space in the middle of thousands of other links. I agree that posting content does attract traffic, however the difficult part is getting your site known. Even digg.com is becoming congested.


  • In turn anyone being linked to from Million Dollar HomePage will see some of that link weight transfered to their site.

    As far as I recall, the links are done by an image map and not proper tags. This might present a big problem to those counting on it helping their PageRank, etc. Can’t confirm all this though..

  • Oops, shouldn’t have directly referenced the A tag in my post.. closing it here.. apologies.

  • If you really want to see a better ROI, you got to buy more 100×100 pixel… and use words in your ad.

    I received over 1000 unique visitors after buying a single 100×100 pixel ad. Overall, my traffic increased by 30%.

    The adsense profits have risen slightly and the 100×100 ad will pay for itself in 1 month. PLUS the ad will remain there for 5 years. Not 1 month, not one year, but 5 years.

    The ROI is there. Content is king - but not everyone can write well, or even has the time…

  • Maybe it was all a plot to get “enternetusers-ed”. I’m sure a link from Darren is worth $100 to Yaro :)

  • Million Dollar Homepage - there are better ways to spend your ad money

    You probably heard of the Million Dollar Homepage – set you by a guy trying to pay for college. The idea is simple – he has 1,000,000 pixels in an image to sell and you buy a small block (minimum purchase 10 x 10 pixels = …

  • Yaro doesn’t need ploys to be get a link from me - he’s got one of my favorite blogs :-)

    I’d also agree that this wouldn’t help PR very much as its an image link on a page with hundreds (thousands?) of other links.

    So many links on one page reduces their power heaps.

  • I would never purchase a link from a site like the MDH looking for a PageRank boost. The MDH will probably end up having a PR 7 or something relatively good because it already has prominent links from some of the largest news sites in the world ,not to mention probably thousands, maybe millions of links from smaller sites (I linked to it a handful of times myself!).

    As a backlink the MDH theme is totally off topic to what I do - the relevancy is well, almost non-existent to my content (Internet business education). So yes I might get some PageRank but the “vote” for my site will hardly be relevant so frankly a waste of cash if that was the strategy.

    The MDH in the early stages would have been a good way to get a lot of bad traffic. My experiment took about 5 days to generate the donations to pay for the ad. In that five days the MDH had about another $100,000 worth of advertisements go online effectively destroying the impact of any of the smallest ads, like what we eventually bought. As people have said, we missed the early rush where the small ads could stand a chance.

    The only type of marketing where I think the MDH might be effective now is as a highly generalised branding strategy, and only if you don’t mind being associated with the MDH and are willing to buy a big advertisement (spend at least $1000). Brands that have mass market appeal and spend loads of cash keeping their brand in the face of a generalized market (think coca cola, apple, nike) might benefit from the exposure from a “stunt” ad like this. Again though, does a company like Apple want to be associated with a fad like the MDH?

    Ideally I think something like a Richard Branson Virgin company would match the MDH well. I could see them taking on MDH as a poster child of sorts, using it as a marketing stunt, which is basically what the MDH is. I’m still amazed the damn thing managed to take off, but the fact that I’m talking about it now demonstrates why it did - it’s interesting, I’m just surprised it managed to get off the ground from being a “silly idea” that could never work to an Internet fad that did work. There had to be some good viral marketing going somewhere and the first few companies that paid for advertising were really gambling on the site taking off.

  • I’m not sure I agree with it being “silly idea that could never work”, this was just the type of idea that could skyrocket on the internet. All this needed to be successful was press coverage the guy went about promoting it in exactly the right way - as a novelty piece.

  • As an advertiser on MDHP, I’ve been quite successful. A group of us went together and purchased a 10×30 ad. We went live Sept 26 and have generated over 1250 click throughs. My share is 125. From those I’ve sold 2 high end products and have 4 very serious prospects.

    I got so excited about it, I got my own ad people involved and we have set up PixelsAnyone.com.

    Our advertisers are reporting some awesome results just in the few short weeks we’ve been online. They vary from “20 list signups”, to several new orders tracked directly to this ad, etc.

    Now, here’s one reason I believe our site as well as Alex’s site is successful. We continue to add fresh content using our blog, and updating 3 other pages within the site regularly.

    We also are working at driving traffic to the site using a system of JV Partners who have very large subscriber lists. Starting now and over the next 6 weeks, they are conducting a mailing campaign, with two mailings each to over 10 million subscribers.

    Couple that with well-placed and well-timed press releases and additional promotional tools, we are geared for success.

    And lastly, we’re already planning for second and third generation techniques.

  • Here is a great site! The http://www.milliondollarpixellottery.com
    where you buy a block for $150 (i.e.$50 more than Alex T’s but it give you the chance to win $1.000.000 with your PayPal Transaction Receipt Number! Great Idea…I think! For $50 you have a 1 to 100.000 chance or more..depending how may you buy to win the Million…a much better chance than any other lottery i have come across!

  • IMO, Yaro should have purchased 10 pixel squares on a targeted pixel space - like brad fallons blog. That would be targeted traffic.

  • I bought the big target in the centre of the MDHP for our Corporate Gifts company, the daily response has been absolutely phenomenal (up to 5000 unique visitors / day). We’re just glad that we got in there early and took the chance with spending quite a lot of money on it. With regards to copycat sites - I am looking for something with even 10% of the initiative, to no avail.

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