How to Monetize Traffic

Scott Rabinowitz
This year looks to be one of those focused years in which so many of us will be reviewing what we do well, what our businesses can do to grow or become more efficient, and finally to look in our own backyards for under or nonutilized assets to make these goals a reality. On the latter item, yes, we are talking about a good-old-fashioned "Smith Barney"-style approach to seeing what resources and dormant products can be made to generate new revenues.

An obvious place to start is with an assessment of how you generate value from procured traffic. Even while some of the biggest money to be made over the years from Internet traffic came through recurring content subscription access sales, there have been a number of companies that took a different view toward how best to monetize traffic that could be generated. Traditional agencies that deliver traffic to clients, sponsors, etc. have worked toward maintaining an effective cost-per-click through or costper- thousand impressions valuation for their inventories. While nothing new, this approach has been limited in the adult industry to a small number of firms whose traffic needs to be accounted for in a more steady and predictable fashion than getting compensated solely for sales.

Regardless of whether you presently send traffic from your adult network and get paid on a per-sale, per-click through, revenue share, clicks or impressions- based model, it is a highly recommended strategy to standardize how you value the traffic, creating an effective value per click or thousand impressions. This will help decision makers gain an alternative perspective on the value of this key asset. At the same time, it provides for a neutral base of measurement for evaluating prospective new monetization methods and revenue sources to be derived from your traffic.

In order to provide this neutral measurement standard, you need to gauge the value of traffic you send outbound and administer the delivery of traffic through a neutral management and counting platform. I will admit to obvious bias in favor of ad-serving technology to accomplish this. In our business, we have used multiple systems, including our own platform Ad Zones, to help us manage ad sales on websites that contract with us to look after the revenue side of their traffic. You also will gain a traffic count for impressions and click throughs on all types of banners and links you use to send traffic to other sites. That count is the one that matters. Every revenuebased count system, including those that are part of affiliate tracking software, will count traffic based upon criteria set by developers and their management teams that are appropriate to the needs of the company and the revenue model. Conversely, an ad server will allow you, as the sender of traffic to set the baseline of what a click through or a thousand ad impressions should be worth, in effect the ad rate.

If you have an agreement to drive 100 sales per day to a trading partner, client or sponsor, it is to your advantage as the sender to track delivery through an ad serving system so that you can see how much traffic in the form of click throughs and impressions it takes to make these sales. With that information, you can plug in the value of the sales made and figure out what an average click through sent to a sponsor is worth.

Centralized methods of sending traffic mean greater access to targeting parameters. Clients will ask you if they can purchase or have you send traffic only from certain countries. You can do that; but furthermore, you can track delivery on the same basis of impressions and click throughs, broken down per country or geographic region. Perhaps you operate a searchable directory, archive or portal type of site. If you do, the ability to serve ads to your revenue partners on a keyword-targeted basis is another profound way to affect your traffic revenue values for the better.

Ad agencies from the adult and mainstream sides of Internet media have relied on network traffic management and ad delivery systems for many years. The technologies have allowed both privately held and publicly traded firms alike to not only manage traffic delivery for the needs of both buyer and seller alike, but also to provide the means for vendors, customers and auditing groups to get access to the data they need and provide overall return on investment to the companies themselves. The value of Internet traffic management methods and mechanisms should never be underestimated.

Scott Rabinowitz is president of Traffic Dude, a company that oversees some of the highest traffic volume adult media networks in the world. For more information on the company and its offerings, visit