Best Places For Adult Advertising

With the number of advertising programs that limit or down-right prevent adult products, services, and websites from participating, I’m often asked about just where adult businesses can advertise online. Today, I’d like to discuss two of them. However, before we get into advertising, there are some simple facts you should know about advertising as it pertains to this article.

1) Advertising is one of the marketing tools at your disposal. It should not be the only one used, nor should it be ignored; advertising is part of your marketing mix.

2) Advertising should primarily be considered in terms of paid options for promoting your business ~ which means it should be continually be examined in terms of ROI and remain part of your businesses budget.

3) Advertising online is one way to generate traffic to your website, leads for your online business, and branding for your website. Since these ads link to your site, it is imperative that your site be ready for visitors. That means you shouldn’t bother to pay for any advertising (or do any promotions, really) until your website is completed and ready for potential customers. Bringing folks to unfinished and/or poorly designed websites only serves to provide bad impressions ~ impressions which last long after your website is fixed. In fact, many visitors who remember visiting your “bad” website may recognize your ad and avoid visiting you again in the future ~ which means they won’t click your ad again to see what you’ve fixed. So do not bother to promote your site until it is ready.

4) There are some online advertising terms you should know: click through rate (CTR), cost per click (CPC), cost per impression (CPM). Most ad networks will do the math for you and provide statistics, as shown below. However, you should understand what they mean ~ and how they might differ across various markets, networks, countries, etc. Also, it is imperative that you note how advertising works: Impressions matter. A commercial on television doesn’t make you get up from your Lazy-Boy and dash to the grocers for a bag of Cheetos; nor is it designed to. Ads are to help build awareness ~ so that the next time you are at the grocers you have Cheetos on your mind. Ditto online ads. Only with online ads, they can remain in their Lazy-Boy and surf to meet their needs and desires.

A Tale Of Two Adult Advertising Networks

Juicy Ads

Juicy Ads is one of the oldest online ad networks working with both adult and mainstream sites ~ and the two areas are not split apart, which means you can search for and buy ads on adult and mainstream sites at the same time. That is important for a lot of businesses.

juicyads home pageJuicyAds also sells pop-under ads and mobile traffic, but I’ll be focusing on Direct Buy ads.

Direct Buy JuicyAds are sold by length of time: one week, two weeks, one month and you can opt to have the auto-renew or not.

The interface can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but that’s because there are a lot of options. You can narrow your search by price, niche, website type, ad size, country ~ and even do keyword searches, narrowing the results by the aforementioned options. Click the image to see the options.

FireShot-Screen-Capture-#250---'JuicyAds_com---The-Sexy-Advertising-Network---Buy-Ads-and-Sell-Ads---Get-Juicy!'---www_juicyads_com_buy_phpOnce you receive the list of options, you can sort by number of impressions, clicks, price, and Google and Alexa rankings. You can sort from highest to lowest, and vice versa, to refine options you want.

JuicyAds focus offers mainly image ads, buttons and banners (sometimes animated images as well), some of which are quite small (125 x 125 pixels), with a single line of text, as seen here (example from my site, Sex Kitten).

juicy-ads-at-sex-kittenSince images are the focus, it is important to create great graphics. You’ll probably want to test a few images to see which perform best.

As mentioned, JuicyAds will provide statistics for CTR, CPC, and CPM. You can see from the stats shown here, this particular JuicyAds campaign has a lot of impressions, but a rather low click through rate, resulting in lots of viewers being shown the ad, but few visits to the site. While the CTR may seem low, I can tell from my monitoring my other site statistics how long those visitors referred from JuicyAds stay on the site, etc. And, again, there are those impressions ~ which I hope are leaving positive impressions on those who see them.

juicy-ad-stats

For those with deeper pockets, and more certainty about investing in advertising, there are also Juicy Network Ads. Also called “Filler Ads”, these are ads which are shown throughout the network. Rates available upon request (quote), but the minimum deposit required to start such campaigns is $250. These are available in banner ads, pop-unders, and mobile versions.

Another fact worthy of mention: JuicyAds is the only 6-time award winning ad network in the adult industry, recognized by YNOT, GFY, and XBIZ.

The best things about JuicyAds:

* Ability to reach mainstream and adult sites.

* Many options; easy sorting.

* Instant ads; using Direct Buy ads at Juicy means you can have your ads up in seconds.

* Ability to edit ad while it is running.

* Low investment. You can actually find ads for under a dollar, so you ought to be able to both start advertising as well as find inexpensive ways to test your ads within any budget.

* If ad spaces you desire are sold out, you still have options. One, you can create a watch list to monitor when there are available spots; two, you can try to out-bid to get the space.

Blog Ads

BlogAds is another ad network which allows you to reach mainstream and adult sites for advertising, all from one login ~ however, adult ads are not always accepted. Read on to find out what you need to know.

blog ads home pageThe BlogAds network consists primarily of blogs. The online ad network was founded with the idea of politics in mind. Not only political blogs, but blogs willing to promote candidates and issues during elections. Given the large number of liberal blogs which are sex positive and open to sexuality, finding space for your adult advertising is more than just “possible”. (More details to come ~ just hold on!)

BlogAds are also sold for a period of time: a week, two weeks, a month, three months. And they can be scheduled ahead of time for use in book launches,events, and the like.

There are other ad options, including banners, video, flash, skins, etc. But I will be focusing on the standard BlogAds.

These standard BlogAds look like miniature blog posts, complete with images, text, and links. Yes, multiple links! Link to your main URL, link to specific products and services, link to your “about page” or FAQ, link to your social media profiles, link to your sex worker profile at another site ~ all within the same ad.

You can jazz-up your ad’s text, using italics & making it bold. You even have a “Tweet” option you can use, and edit, at no extra charge. And there are several sizes to choose from as well.

Here’s an example of BlogAds (again, from Sex Kitten).

blogads-example

You can search for advertising options (more on that in a minute), but you must begin with your ad type (size) and duration (how long you want the ad to run) before you can actually get to really searching for results that you can “toggle” to accept and pay for. That’s probably the most annoying thing about BlogAds.

You can search BlogAds for sites based on keywords, like “sex”, and use the advanced sorting option to sort advertising space by ad size, price, various demographics (including age and gender), and by politics, of course. But perhaps the most useful place to begin is with the niches.

blog-ads-sorting-options

The niches, called “hives”, are groups of like-minded blogs and bloggers. You can search within hives as well. Here are some of the hives with members which I’ve found are open to advertising from adult websites:

Liberal Blog Advertising Network

Blogs For Dudes

Women’s Blog Ad Network

Love Hive

Reach Women

Gay Blog Ad Network

Gay Blog Ads Adult

The Lesbian Bloggers Hive

Bargain Blogads (the cheapest 5% — all under 50 cents CPM)

Ads submitted are manually reviewed by the bloggers themselves. Should your ad be rejected, you may be able to converse about what changes you might make to your ad in order to get it accepted. But, again, not all sites (especially the conservative ones) will accept adult or even risque ads. Typically, you will find out if your ad has been accepted or rejected in 24 hours.

BlogAds will also provide you stats for your advertising campaigns. You will see impressions, clicks, number of Tweets, etc. both in a quick overview format and with individual pages with detailed reports as shown here:

blog-ads-stats-page

The CTR rates are generally much higher at BlogAds. Likely this has to do with the more generous (blog-like) advertising and, in my opinion, is a bit more selective in terms of accepting blogs into the advertising network. However, that comes at a price; BlogAds are not as inexpensive to start. The cost per click average etc. may make BlogAds cheaper than JuicyAds ~ but there are no $1 ad campaigns at BlogAds.

The best things about BlogAds:

* Ability to reach mainstream and adult sites.

* Ability to have more than one link in your ad.

* Ability to edit ad while it is running.

* Allows for people to tweet your ad.

* Ability to create text only ads.

* Incredibly high CTRs.

Summation

If you are looking to give online advertising a try for your adult website, I highly recommend both sites. If you are leery about investing in advertising, you may want to being with JuicyAds first. Not only is it a minimal cash output, but the low investment means you can easily test different graphics. Once you’ve found some graphics that work, you can put them to use in bigger buys at JuicyAds or feel better about investing with BlogAds.

PS Remember, if this blog looks small or too-new, there are the archives of the old site here.

Tumblr Stumbles, Tries To Right Itself, Banks Left

On July 16, 2013, Tumblr creator David Karp was on The Colbert Report. During the short interview segment, Karp and host Stephen Colbert discussed a number of issues ~ including the naked, and sometimes fornicating, elephant in the room: porn on Tumblr.

When Colbert called Tumblr “porn central”, Karp defended the site, saying not only that there’s “everything” on Tumblr, but expressing a non-censorship stance:

We’ve taken a pretty hard line on freedom of speech, supporting our users’ creation, whatever that looks like, and it’s just not something we want to police … I don’t want have to go in there to draw the line between this photo and this behind-the-scenes photo of Lady Gaga and, like, her nip.

But then, just two days later, Tumblr instituted a new policy about adult content. Along with the pre-Yahoo sale attempts to exclude search engine indexing of adult Tumblr bogs, Tumblr’s new rules meant that adult-rated blogs and their posts would no longer show up in site tags; the former preventing blogs from being found off-site, the latter keeping blogs from being searched and found on Tumblr itself.

Obviously, this lead to quite the reaction from Tumblr users.

Perhaps the most eloquent argument I read was this post on Somewhere West Of Hell:

Two points.

1. Those of whom know of tumblr but do not have a tumblr blog, are aware that tumblr is a place of free expression; thus, some “inappropriate” things such as porn and smut are undoubtedly likely to show up. As a result, if said people do not like or agree with porn or smut, they have three choices: if they went ahead and made a tumblr anyway, they can either delete their account, or unfollow blogs that post smut or porn. Or, they could just not create a tumblr in the first place, knowing that if they are uncomfortable with anything sex-related, that tumblr was obviously not the place for them.

Therefore, if people already had choices in avoiding sex on tumblr, and were most likely doing fine in avoiding sex on tumblr, why should the rest of us be punished and shunned, if those people whom are uncomfortable with the human body failed to create their own chosen environment on tumblr? (This being a non-sex, strictly “safe-for-work” environment). Tumblr is unique in the fact that we can choose what shows up on our dashboards based on which blogs we follow. Thus, it is therefore our responsibility and freedom to follow and unfollow those who either add or detract from our blogging experience. That’s what makes tumblr unique.

2. Who says sex is a bad thing? Why does sex have to be such a secret? It’s the key to almost every species’ survival. It brings pleasure. It has loads of beneficial aspects going for it. Overall, sex is a good thing. We are free to visit porn sites if we so choose. We can talk about sex openly with others. We can educate those who do not know about sex and its potential cons. Therefore, why can’t we blog about it without being judged and shunned? If this was a website created with freedom of creative expression in mind, whatever that entails be it smut, fan-fiction, porn, fashion, poetry, photography, what-have-you, why should only some forms of creative expression be accepted? Aren’t we allowed to express ourselves in whichever way we deem fit? In daily life, we are. So why can’t we express ourselves the way we want, in a place that was originally founded on the principle that we could do it here without being judged? Judged, by our families, our friends? A place of which many refer to it as a safe harbor? A place where those who need help in dealing with a problem; those who maybe want to kick-start their artistic careers; those who are outcasts in a society that already judges them; those whose interests and views on life clash with their family’s—can come and be themselves, and interact with many other people who are here for the same reasons? Tumblr is not just a website. It’s a community. We come here to have blogs that show what our specific interests are, and be with people who don’t judge us for it. So if one of those interests is, say, sex, who is to say that sex is a “bad” interest? Are we really going to sit here and just accept the fact that we are being judged and shunned, on a website that was originally created as a safe harbor from being judged and shunned? Are we really going to accept the fact that our personal interests and ways we express ourselves are no longer of any importance?

What I want to know, is where is David Karp? Didn’t he vow to protect us from such outlandish (and frankly prejudiced) changes to a website we hold dear?

Those “two points” may be preaching to the choir here; but it’s also an excellent (though brief) tutorial on what makes Tumblr tick ~ and what ticks-off Tumblr users. Privacy or anonymity is a large part of Tumblr’s appeal; something directly addressed on Karp’s appearance on The Colbert Report.




This issue of privacy was more sharply addressed when, Karp fielded questions from Colbert regarding the National Security Agency (NSA) and the PRISM program. When specifically asked what he would do if Tumblr was approached to turn over data to the NSA, Karp responded, “That’s a complicated question, Stephen, you’re putting me on the spot. We don’t want to give you anything that’s not in the best interest of our users. We’ve fought for that for six years.” (The matter of whether or not this all goes out the window if Yahoo forces folks to login to Tumblr with a Yahoo account, etc., remains to be seen.)

In any case, privacy is one of the reasons why porn is so popular on Tumblr. Just how popular? To have an understanding of the actual amount of porn on Tumblr, we need some data:

According to an analysis of Tumblr’s 200,000 most-visited domains, 22,775 of them are adult – or 11.4 percent. The analysis was performed by web measurement firm SimilarGroup, a company which raised$2.5 million earlier this year with the intention of competing with Alexa’s stronghold in web rankings.

The measurement firm analyzed the volume of visits to these adult subdomains, and found that 16.6 percent of the traffic that visits Tumblr takes place on adult blogs.

In addition, 22.37 percent of incoming referral traffic from external sites to Tumblr is from adult websites, making that the leading category for referrals. Meanwhile, 8.02 percent of outbound traffic from Tumblr goes to adult websites.

Truth be told, porn and adult content is everywhere on the web, including other popular mainstream social or curation sites; no matter how you define it or try to scrub it (or force folks to opt in or out of it). And I feel this is what was largely reflected in Karp’s statements on The Colbert Report. Even if those realities are, as some say, likely to “disappoint one of Karp and Yahoo’s key audiences: advertisers.”

This issue of advertising is key to profitability, of course; so it’s not irrelevant. But, as Peter Kafka reports, Tumblr is only showing ads on the dashboards of logged-in users, anyway. “Non-story. Tumblr is the Internet. It’s a dashboard follower model, opt-in.”

In Karp’s defense, he quickly responded to Tumblr user upset and “clarified” a few things about the NSFW/adult content policies (greater details of which can also be found in Violet Blue’s recent article at ZDNet). But another issue stands out here…

In point three of his censorship response, Karp wrote:

Earlier this year, in an effort to discourage some not-so-nice people from using Tumblr as free hosting for spammy commercial porn sites, we started delisting this tiny subset of blogs from search engines like Google.

Like Ms Naughty, I wondered just what this meant. “Spammy” can be just as subjective as “pornography”; what are the guidelines? According to the Tumblr Community Guidelines, under “Spam” the following is listed:

Don’t use deceptive means to generate revenue or traffic, or create blogs with the primary purpose of affiliate marketing.

That sentence is more than a little clumsy, so let’s clean it up a bit. The message is “Don’t create blogs with the primary purpose of affiliate marketing.” Hmmm, this is starting to smell of the recent Google Blogger/Blogspot adult blog policy changes which target “blogs which are adult in nature and are displaying advertisements to adult websites.”

I can’t help but feel that the real problem here is people profiting off “dirty money” ~ money that these companies, Yahoo, Google, Tumblr, all leave on the table when they refuse to serve/offer any adult advertising. (The only ones brave enough, smart enough, to actually profit from adult advertising revenues appears to be JuicyAds and BlogAds.) When the search engine ad machines eschew such adult funds, why, then, are they saying we can’t pursue them via affiliate programs? I tell you, this growing pornocalypse has more to do with the finance sector than anyone, even Google & Yahoo, are willing to admit.

*sigh*

It almost makes one long for the good old fashioned mafia… At least that way you knew who was in charge, calling the shots, and there were rules with those shakedowns and payoffs. Now who the hell knows?

Tumblr Panic

I’ve been busy with clients (and curating the adult industry and sex worker news and info at Scoop.It), but given all the Tumblr panic I thought it might be helpful for me to give a concise post (including a link round-up) of all the best info on the current situation.

Tumblr, for those who don’t know, is a site as well used (the term “Tumblr” overtook “blog” in Google searches in January 2013) as it is loathed ~ in mainstream and adult circles, for the same reasons.

For adult webmasters and bloggers, the real ruckus started when Tumblr prepared itself for a Yahoo buy-out by appearing to purge itself of adult content. The micro-blogging site did this quite effectively when it dealt a dirty blow to Tumblr users by using robots.txt to exclude the search engines from indexing sites labeled as “adult”. This was reported in accurate detail by Bacchus at the long-respected ErosBlog. (it must be noted that Tumblr does not seem to be using the Robots Meta Tag. Do you know about robots.txt files and Robots Meta Tags?)

This was reported by Bacchus before anyone even had an idea that Yahoo & Tumblr were in talks. Just days later, Bacchus again discussed issues for adult bloggers at Tumblr, i.e. how difficult it became to even search your own Tumblr blog & how to back-up your Tumblr site. By this time, the rumors had become official news: Yahoo had purchased Tumblr.

Quickly, Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer insisted that the company would “let Tumblr be Tumblr”, despite concerns regarding Tumblr content which is not “brand safe” for advertisers:

Asked by an investor how Yahoo would balance user and advertiser interests with regard to Tumblr content that is “not as brand safe as the rest of Yahoo” — content that presumably includes posts by sexually explicit Tumblrs such as “Red Hot Porn,” “Porn and Weed” and “Secretary Sex” — Mayer noted that the diversity of Tumblr’s content was “exciting” because it allowed Tumblr, and by extension Yahoo, to reach a far wider audience. She explained that carefully targeting ad placement should allay the concerns of marketers who might be skittish about placing their brand alongside explicit content.

“I think the richness and breadth of content available on Tumblr — even though it may not be as brand safe as what’s on our site — is what’s really exciting and allows us to reach even more users,” said Mayer, who did not mention pornography as such, but referred obliquely to content that was not “brand safe.” “One of the ways to start measuring our growth story here is around traffic and users, and this obviously produces a lot of that. In terms of how to address advertisers’ concerns around brand safety, we need to have good tools for targeting.”

You can, and should, read the rest of that article. But what does this mean for adult bloggers at Tumblr?

I have a number of clients that use Tumblr as part of their adult industry promotional needs. Those who have paid heed to what they paid my fees for, use Tumblr in conjunction with their overall strategies are less concerned than those who have relied solely on the publishing platform. Not having all their eggs in one basket ~ and a basket out of their control yet, has them less freaked. In any case, however, the following should be kept in mind.

1) Readers or surfers who want porn, erotica, and any other sort of adult entertainment, they likely already have found the smut they seek on Tumblr and they will just continue to Tumblr-hop (click) as they have been. New users can stumble into porn on Tumblr using the search function and clicking about as desired. It may not be as easy as before; but it can be done. And, as always, links to your Tumblr site from sites outside of Tumblr are a good thing.

Overall, this means your traffic may not be affected. (In fact, for all clients reporting stats during this period of panic, traffic has continued to steadily increase.)

2) Adult Tumblr sites (and many mainstream Tumblr sites as well) will likely start to feel the pain of loss of PageRank (PR) from Tumblr/Yahoo’s desire to hide if not suppress adult content. While the easy-breezy method of Tumblr reblogging once assisted in building PageRank (provided you earned a reputation and following on Tumblr that garnered reblogs), the foreseen loss of PR means a loss of PR to pass to your other sites. Again, see the info on robots.txt files and Robots Tags:

What robots.txt does not do is to keep files out of the search engine indexes. The only thing it does is instruct search engine spiders not to crawl pages. Keep in mind that discovery and crawling are separate. Discovery occurs as search engines find links in documents. When search engines discover pages, they may or may not add them to their indexes.

That means outside links to your Tumblr site and pages will be more important than ever.

3) The largest threat in this Tumblr buy-out isn’t the move to sweep dirty little adult blogs under a no-robots rug but the single fact that Yahoo is the new owner.

Despite public promises not to screw it up (also here), Yahoo has a history of killing the sites it buys. Generally, this appears to be intentional. Yahoo is really only buying the talent behind the technology, throwing the start-up babies (their users and loyal adopters) out with the not-Yahoo-branded bathwater. Of the 10 other companies Yahoo purchased in less than a year, only one, Summly, has been allowed to live. So far, it seems Tumblr may have survived the post-purchase shut-down. But for how long? Yahoo has bungled more than a few babies they’ve intended to raise. Case in point, Flickr ~ which they continue to beat with a big stick.

Whether adult blogging will continue to be allowed at Tumblr, whether you stay at Tumblr or go, these may not be the only questions here… Will Tumblr itself stay or go is another good question. Meanwhile, it would be a good idea to prepare for whatever may come of your relationship with Tumblr.

Legal Censorship & The Marketing Whore Is Back

There’s a whole big ruckus about PayPal’s legal censorship, i.e. denying service to online merchants selling “obscene written content.” I don’t know why anyone is really surprised; PayPal is owned by eBay ~ and I wrote about the problem back in 2007.

Anyway, I’m back.

Before I made the time to set up this “new” The Marketing Whore as a WordPress blog (old archives here), I published some Marketing Whore posts at Cult Of Gracie.

Go catch-up; class will resume soon. *wink*