The primary objective of any webmaster is to make money. For proxies this means that the site must at least break even with its hosting, domain renewal and advertising costs.
Some of the appeal of proxy websites is the fact that they are easy to get online (within minutes) and the fact that they require little-to-no maintenance once uploaded. This hands-off (passive) income is extremely desirable.
While the site itself will require little attention once online it is however necessary to allocate time for tweaking and promoting the site to ensure profits are maximised. A webmaster that continually tests different ad placement, on page content and promotion strategies is far more likely to realise a sizable income than one who barely covers hosting and domain renewal fees.
The two most prominent advertisers on proxy sites are Adversal and Google’s AdSense program. Both of these programs are discussed in depth on subsequent pages in this series, but the key metric to monitor and improve is click-through rate (CTR). This figure tells you the percentage of people that clicked on ads compared to those who did not. By adjusting ad size and placement it is possible to improve CTR dramatically.
Another important factor affecting whether someone clicks ads is how relevant the advert is to them. Google AdSense is a contextual advertising platform. That basically means that Google serves adverts to your visitors based on the content it scans on your site. This is why it is important to have good, keyword-focused content on the page. If, for instance, you know most of your visitors are teenagers visiting myspace, you should include keywords relevant to that audience such as ‘myspace’, ‘myspace friends’, ‘myspace music’, etc. Some keywords offer higher earnings potential than others, so make sure you target good keywords.
The ‘quality’ as well as quantity of traffic to your proxy will also dramatically affect earnings. The most valuable visitors are those from western English speaking countries (USA, Canada, UK, Ireland etc.) These visitors will be served higher value adverts than visitors from Eastern or developing countries. Iran and China both seem to constitute a large bulk of proxy traffic. This is because the Iranian and Chinese governments actively block certain websites from being viewed in their countries. The problem for webmasters is that these visitors are unlikely to understand or recognise advertising on your page. This can sometimes result in inadvertent ‘click bombing’ (repeatedly clicking adverts in succession) which can lead to your publisher accounts being suspended and earnings lost. Suggestions for how to deal with these issues are covered on the traffic and bandwidth sections later in this series.
Selling text links is an often overlooked monetization strategy, but one which can bring an additional income stream to high traffic proxies. If the proxy is receiving a fairly sizable volume of traffic, say 500+ unique visitors daily, other webmasters will be willing to purchase links for a monthly fee. Webmaster forums, such as Digital Point, abound with threads for this kind of sale. Purchasers will want to know exactly how much traffic your proxy website receives, and its Google Page Rank (PR). The higher these figures, the more you will be able to charge.
As you can see there are various methods to monetize proxy traffic. The ‘best’ method is whichever generates the most income for you. It is important not to sit back, since constant developments are being made, with new advertising models and styles available to test. If you do not constantly evaluate performance you will soon be losing out to competitors.
To summarise, earnings are affected by a number of factors:
- Style of advert – banner/image, text, text links, popups, popunders, affiliate referrals…
- Payment method of the advertiser – pay per click (PPC), pay per impression (PPI/CPM), referral/cost per acquisition (CPA)…
- On-page content (affects quality of contextual ads)
- Volume and quality of proxy users visiting the site
- Position, size, style, colours, borders, fonts etc. used on the adverts themselves.