Are Third-Party Advertisers Needed?

There’s been some discussion about lately, about whether third party advertisers such as Text Link Ads, Review Me, and Sponsored Reviews are really needed. Here are a few people’s differing points of view:

  • John Chow thinks that the relationships are important, and we need to continue using them. Without these services, John says, we wouldn’t get nearly as many advertising deals.
  • Garry seems to think that we need to cut out the middle man, and go after the advertisers ourselves.
  • Kyle is of the “do what works best for you” school. If you want to be lazy, use the services. If you don’t mind hard work, get the advertising deals yourself.

So, where do I stand? I think the third party advertisers offer a fantastic service, for both the advertiser and the publisher. From an advertiser’s point of view, it’s much easier to browse the available inventory at Text Link Ads or Review Me. The choices are laid out in categories, and priced clearly. This is a much better solution than trying to find sites individually, and negotiating prices directly.

From a publisher standpoint, third party advertisers are a fantastic thing as well. Once you sign up for the service, a price is assigned to your ad spots. There’s no worry about negotiating or haggling over prices – they are set in stone for the most part. Advertisers find you, when generally they probably would not. You get much more opportunity for exposure when you’re part of a site like this.

Who should use third party advertisers?

Here’s where I’m going to branch out and go a different route than everyone else. I think the novice and mid-level bloggers should absolutely sign up for and use the third party advertisers. Without a big name or a big brand, it can be hard to attract decent advertisers. Not to mention negotiating and handling payment. It’s simply not feasible to do it on your own at a lower level, and not efficient.

However, I think that big name bloggers are better off going it online. When you get to the point that a Review Me review runs you $300, then it’s pretty safe to say that you have made a name for yourself. People know who you are, you have tons of readers, and you’re popular. You’re also giving up $150 per every review, which probably doesn’t make much sense anymore. It would make more sense for you to use the Bankroll plugin or something similar, and cut out the middle man, or middle service in this case.

Once your site and your name gets big enough, people know who you are, and advertisers will seek you out. When you start getting emails about direct advertising on your site, it’s time to stop using the third parties, and start making a lot of money.


  1. Alex Goad said

    April 11 2007 @ 5:33 am

    Smack on.

    Are they needed? No. Nothing of the sorte is really needed. Are they useful. For sure they are.

    As you so eloquently put it, the small and medium sized publishers can benefit from extra revenue without having to do much work to solicit advertisers, and that’s definitely a strong positive.

    When you get “a-list” status and your blog numbers are insane, there’s no reason no to cut your own deals, the advertisers will probably flock to you anyways…

  2. Adam Ferguson said

    April 11 2007 @ 7:02 am

    While I do agree with you in theory, a lot of it simply has to do with what you want to do, and what you have time to do. Some people just don’t want to deal with finding advertisers, even if it’s as simple as responding to an email or inserting a graphic into your layout.

    It remains easier to plop the TLA code in your sidebar and let them handle the rest. And of course, a benefit to being a big name with lots of money is that you can afford to give half of your ad earnings away to make your life a little bit easier. When I’m rich, I’ll probably never mow my own lawn. It’s the same reasoning.

  3. Everyday Weekender said

    April 11 2007 @ 9:31 am

    yeah i think your right on with this one. They’re not really needed but no doubt they are useful.

  4. Leroy Brown said

    April 11 2007 @ 9:53 am

    I think once you get to be at the top of the web publishing world, you’ll likely have a dedicated advertising rep, who handles all of your ad deals. An ad rep would likely cost you much much less than the ad networks slurping up their 50% share. So you get to be lazy, and still make more than you would with the ad networks – win win.

  5. Adam Ferguson said

    April 11 2007 @ 9:57 am

    Touché. I’ll look forward to that, but I’m still trying to average 10 visits a day.

  6. Leroy Brown said

    April 11 2007 @ 10:26 am

    Today 10 visits, next week it could be 10 thousand. At least now you have a plan in place for when your traffic goes through the roof. You’re one step ahead of a lot of people.

  7. Adam Ferguson said

    April 11 2007 @ 10:31 am

    Haha, yea I suppose. Figuring out how to best squeeze money out of my thousands of visitors would be a great problem to have.

  8. Leroy Brown said

    April 11 2007 @ 12:06 pm

    Exactly – now you’re thinking! I work with guys who complain every single payday about the ridiculous amount of taxes they have to pay each time. I say, most people would LOVE to have the problem of seeing a $3 or $4000 deduction on their paycheck for taxes. Some problems are good problems to have; it’s all in how you look at it.

  9. Brandon Hopkins said

    April 11 2007 @ 4:03 pm

    Needed? Absolutely! I don’t want to, or have time to, find advertisers and change text links and contextual ads every month. Especially when you have a lot of sites, this becomes VERY tiresome.

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    Green Llama is a place to learn about making money online. Any ideas or walk-through's I have, I'll post here for your enjoyment. I also do product and online service reviews.

    However, I tend to run off on tangets quite often. I call this part of the site 'random crap'. Basically I'll go off and post about whatever I want, just to keep things interesting. Have fun and stay tuned.