Bloggers often start with advertising as their first line of defense when it comes to monetizing. Granted it's the easiest to think of being as publications have been making money off of ads for over a century. However, actually building up enough revenue with ads is easier said than done. Ad networks generally pay in the neighborhood of $1.50 CPM for better ones, I've seen them as low as $0.58 CPM. Some grant higher premium rates, but when you're starting out, or even if you have built up a good amount of traffic, like say 1M impressions per month, that would only warrant about $400 each ad (being as much of the inventory is localized).
Selling your own ads can be a great way to boost the income. For years, bloggers have utilized what's called “boutique ads” to give smaller companies access to their dedicated niche audience. You can see on blogs like A Beautiful Mess as an example of this. However, actually setting something like this up, requires setting up your Media Kit (which you should have anyway) answering emails, negotiating, processing the orders, following up with payment etc. Sending 10 emails back and forth for a $50 ad is not an example of good productivity.
…answering emails, negotiating, processing the orders, following up with payment etc. Sending 10 emails back and forth for a $50 ad is not an example of good productivity.
Which is how Passionfruit Ads piqued my interest. As a WordPress (self-hosted) user, there used to be many plugins to help ad management. However, over the years, as the Open Source community has increasingly gone the way of actually charging for their labor, finding quality plugins, even premium plugins turned out to be a daunting task.
Passionfuit Ads works with any blogging platform, except WordPress.com (because WordPress.com does not allow ads.) the service helps you set up your ad space, allows you to set your price and description and then gives you the code to set up a page where potential advertisers can pay and upload their ads. Taking the guesswork and negotiation out of the whole ad-buying process for both you and the sponsor.
According to Jason Lynes, founder of Passionfruit Ads, currently, they have about 6,000 bloggers in their network and are in the process of building tools for advertisers to find blogs. Eventually the network will allow you to set up a profile brands can review, so you can have more access to potential sponsors than through your own blog.
Update: A number of you were commenting about controlling the ads that appear on your site. Passionfruit does have an approval process for advertisers, so no ads go on your site unless you give the ok.
So far, it looks promising. I wonder if cutting out the negotiation process with reduce sales, however not having to deal with the emails an uploading certainly increases productivity, so we can all focus more on what we love most, and that's blogging.