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Newbie's Guide to Sponsor Programs

by Lopix of

Visits almost any adult site today and you are certain to get flooded by a series of pop-up consoles leading to a variety of other sites, in the hopes that you will find something that you like and continue through the console's site and sign up. While many surfers have grown to hate this ad method, packing your site with a bunch of pop-ups has become a mainstay of the online adult world.

Why? Because adult webmasters are trying to profit from their traffic in any way they can. If they handle the ads the right way and avoid being an irritant - sponsor ads can be a great source of revenue.

Some many pay sites today are just one part of a larger family of sites, owned by a larger parent company. Most of these companies use the different sites to advertise and promote the others. However, even single site webmasters can benefit from this form of advertising. In essence, sponsors are just an affiliate program, not that much different from the more mainstream options like LinkShare or Commission Junction. Just in the adult world, we tend to call them sponsorship programs, rather than affiliate programs. Same idea, different name.

This type of advertising works because the adult industry tends to advertise in a fairly targeted manner - if users are viewing content of a specific nature, those users can easily be shown specific ads to target their personal preferences, rather than be exposed to random ads that are more than likely going to be ignored. Webmasters who have a good handle on their niche can profit enormously from advertising a similar third-party site - who should be more than happy to pay for such targeted traffic.

Commission programs are the most common sponsorship - you refer targeted leads to the sponsor and, if the visitor signs up to be a member, you get a commission. Commissions are usually either a flat fee or a percentage of the sale. These programs are one of the easiest to run, as the sponsors really don't care about the type of visitors you send, or even what methods you use to send the traffic to their site, since they only have to pay up when they get a sign up.

While the payouts for this type of program are usually the highest, the signups can be harder to get, depending of course on the quality of the sponsor's sites and the traffic you send. Commission programs can take a a fair bit of effort and marketing knowledge to become profitable, but the potential for good money is there.

There are many different flavours of commission program, ranging from a percentage of lifetime membership costs, to a one-time flat fee when a new member joins, to a combination of both. Many programs offer a one-time payment if someone signs up for a trial membership, which is pretty much the most common type of commission payment. Many also offer a higher fee for a member that signs up for the trial and then converts to a full-price member. Of course, the higher the payout, the harder it is to achieve.

Other sponsors offer a fee for every month members you send are active. Again, this can result in large or recurring payments, but it also means that the user has to stay with the sponsor's site for three or more months for you to see the bigger payouts.

Lastly, some commission programs will pay you a mixture of the trial signup, plus the conversion to full membership, plus a fee per month they are a member.

Whew, what a selection of commission programs! But the big question is, which is right option for you? Well, that all depends. A good way to find out would be to find a sponsor that allows you to change your payment scheme on the fly, so that you can see what payment plan best suits the traffic you send, allowing you to change plans whenever you want and maximize your profits.

If all the commission options sound too confusing for you, you might want to try the cost-per-click (CPC) model. The simplest form of sponsorship really is CPC, where you simply run a sponsor's banner and they pay you for every surfer that clicks through to their site.

But, don't get excited about the tons of money you think you can make by clicking the banners yourself. You have to understand that sponsors can easily distinguish between your fake clicks and real traffic. While a unique visitor may click on the banner many times, generating a raw hit with every click, sponsors will only pay for the unique visitors to their site, and usually only if they click through to a second page. Just dumping people on the front page of the sponsor's site will not earn you any money.

Many sponsor programs will also pay for other webmasters that you refer to them. They want you to generate sales for them, so they are more than happy to pay you for increasing the size of their sales force for them. Again, don't get too excited yet, you aren't going to get paid just because you convince your buddy to sign up - sponsors pay a percentage of referred sales. Thus, your referral has to start making money before you see any.

In the end, remember that when you sign up for a sponsor program, you are agreeing to spend your time promoting their site(s). This is a product that you do not own or have any control over, so be sure and insist that the sponsor provide you with all the tools you need to ensure success.

A good sponsor should provide: A wide variety of sites to promote - you need to match their site(s) to your traffic; fast-loading, well-designed sites; constantly updated content, both inside and outside the member area; high-quality banners that encourage clickthroughs; customer support, through email, phone, ICQ - as long as you can reach them; some sort of control panel so you can track your payouts; prompt payment of commission fees.

Good luck and happy sponsoring!

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