Wednesday, May 13th, 2009...9:27 am

I’ve had it with the random hotties!

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I started an experiment a couple of months ago. I was playing around with Google AdSense and figured I’d give it a try. So I added a 200×200 contextual ad spot to the right column of this site. To spice it up a little, I added a 200×200 image module directly below it, and hooked it up to an RSS feed of the top hotties from Pixnay.com. On every page load, a new beautiful woman showed up directly below the ad. Eyes just had to be drawn in that direction, right? Well, maybe. But none of them were paying any attention to the ads.

My weekly uniques increased 100x, and my weekly page views increased 1000x. My bounce rate dropped from 60% down to 25%. The reports on search terms that led people to my site were becoming more and more vulgar. And the gross revenue after 2 months was $0.01.


So now I’ve pulled the hotties and the ads from the sidebar and this has returned to being a somewhat wholesome blog. And, with the removal of my weekly Twitter summary from the main story line a couple of days ago, it has once again become far less cluttered, though admittedly sparse.

The moral of the story? It’s the same thing we learned ten years ago with Love@AOL, Love@CompuServe, Love@Netscape, and Love.com. You can put all the user-generated eye candy in the world onto a free site, drive traffic through the roof, become the first team in your company to break the million page view mark, but display ads alone still won’t make enough money to cover your operating costs.

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