Many of you know me as The Firefox Referral King, because my website was published by Google as an Adsense Success Story back on 2006. Since then, the sources of my traffic, the type of traffic and demographics of my visitors has changed, and I’m no longer making ~$1,500 $2,000 a month from (only) Firefox referrals. I still make a tidy sum from Firefox referrals, but probably only around half of what I was getting throughout most of 2006.
Back then (and still) I drive a lot of traffic from other pages on the site to my main “Firefox Information Page” where visitors can download Firefox via my referral link. I do this by adding a WordFilter (Drupal.org/Wordfilter) that converts any instance of the word “firefox” or “Fire fox” into a link to my Firefox info page. Anytime a member makes a forum post that mentions Firefox, a link to the download page is automatically created.. I also get a lot of direct traffic to the page, and use other methods to push visitors to the page, but that’s not what this post is about.
My Firefox info page has an Adsense for Content leaderboard across the top that’s always gotten a few (low paying) clicks per day. Beginning in December of 2007 I started noticing something odd – the ePC for those content ads was beginning to rise. More and more often I was seeing an ePC of nearly the full payout of a Firefox Referral, and occasionally even more than the $2 referral payout. It seems that the Arbitragers have been paying more and more to drive traffic to their own Firefox download pages and they are paying dearly for it. As a result, for the last two months or so, the Adsense for Content ads on that page have been earning as much, if not more than the Firefox referrals from that same page.
Realizing that my Firefox conversion percentage has been dropping and that a click on an ad is now virtually guaranteed to pay nearly as much as a full Firefox w/Toolbar conversion, I changed the Firefox referral on the page from a button, to a text link, making it just a bit harder to find. This resulted in an even higher CTR on the Adsense ads and even higher earnings. My next test will be to remove the Adsense Firefox Referral link altogether, leaving only the Adsense ads for Firefox downloads. My guess is that earnings will be even higher.
My point? If you have a Firefox referral ‘squeeze’ page with a low conversion rate, try throwing some Adsense blocks on the page and see if they earn as well or better than your referrals.