In my first installment, I left off by stating that historically, the ‘punishment’ for violating the AVS’ site standards was removal from their ‘participating sites’ links list – the quality traffic from which was the main benefit to their use (besides the degree of legal protection) that drove many of us to start building AVS sites in the first place, and how the trade-off was not a worthwhile one. Until now, that is.
When I started building AVS sites, my “AVS of Choice” boasted only a few thousand participating sites, which meant that anyone who purchased a membership, and was looking for a place to use it, had a damn good chance of landing on one of my sites. Now, with well in excess of 300,000 participating sites, traffic from the list is spread out so thinly that after your site loses its “New Site” designation, the trickle of fresh surfers you receive from it is so small that it’s almost inconsequential; regardless of how high the quality is.
While every surfer is a good surfer, especially if he is a pre-qualified adult with a credit card who does not mind using it to purchase online porn, and is still ‘unsatisfied’ – which is why he’s ‘working the link list’ in the first place, getting a hold of these prospects may not be nearly as valuable to you as what you might else be doing to make a profit with your site.
Traffic Trade Offs
This brings me back to traffic, because without it, you won’t be making any money, and your ‘business’ will be merely a ‘hobby.’ But if you are no longer getting it from the AVS’ link list, where will you get it from? For many Webmasters, search engines will be the most favorable option that comes to mind, and the option that will produce the highest conversions, especially if you now intend to sell initial AVS site memberships.
The problem is that unless you have the money to purchase a decent placement through one or more of the many “Pay Per Click” search engines and directories, or for an “adult site” listing in Yahoo!, you probably won’t be getting enough traffic from the SE’s to make the effort worthwhile. And frankly, if you had the $600 to pay Yahoo!, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article, since you could afford to pay VISA!
This will inevitably lead us to the free site promoter’s standard favorites: adult site link lists, top lists, and directories, nearly all of which (if they are worth submitting to) require (and rightfully so) reciprocal links. The problem with this, as I stated earlier, is that the AVS services limit the number of outbound links that they allow you to place on your site, even going as far as disallowing ‘links’ pages, which, when everyone wants a front page link trade, are of questionable value anyway.
This is especially true of premium level AVS sites, which are usually the only ones to offer recurring monthly revenues – a vital ingredient for any “pay” site. For instance, one popular AVS states “You cannot have any links or banners on your front end pages to any other site/s…” If that’s the case, then how can you legitimately have the reciprocal links that you will need to drive traffic to your site? The short answer, is that you can’t..
Breaking the Rules
Unfortunately, this leaves the Webmaster considering the use of premium level AVS services as a payment option in the position of either breaking the rules, or abandoning the AVS in search of a more ‘lenient’ one. While you could go with a ‘standard’ level AVS program that lacks many of the rules of the ‘premium’ level services, you would also be foregoing the recurring payments, and potentially end up with an $11 payout for a whole year of access to your site.
Yep, that’s a ‘typical’ Webmaster commission on the sale of a full year’s membership to his own site. Makes that $42 / signup “GigaCash” payout seem mighty tempting, doesn’t it?
Now given the AVS’ desire to be competitive with one another, you will find most of them have very similar rules, so I do not think that you will find one that allows the type of linking leeway you will need to drive a substantial level of traffic to your site with. So what do you do? Ignore the rules, make yourself a few dozen doorway pages with a handful of recips on each, and hope you don’t get caught… Of course, that IS NOT what I recommend you do, since you should never violate a sponsor’s (including an AVS’s) rules, as they may just cancel your account, and keep all of your hard-earned money.
Still, the thought of trying to legitimately profit from an AVS site in today‘s market, relying on their link list traffic, plus whatever non-recip link list and SE traffic you might obtain (without spending enough money on it to pay Epoch or ibill, et al, for pay-site processing), leaves much to be desired.
And this, my friends, leaves me contemplating the possibilities: the potentials and pitfalls that make me believe that, while not as appealing to me as they once were, AVS’s do have their place, but as a method of monetizing a pay site in lieu of ‘paying off’ VISA, they’re not the best solution… Until next time ~ Stephen