Are you looking for an alternative to Text-Link-Ads? I know I am.
I was recently contacted by a company that is breaking into the text link marketplace. They offer a service that I feel may just be superior to that which is offered by Text-Link-Ads. If you click on the flash banner above you will be taken directly to their site. Yes it is an affiliate link and I will get into why that is good later on in this article.
Selling your own text links
It can be hard for a webmaster to sell advertising space on their blog when no one knows they exist. You can put up an advertising page and hope someone sees it but you are far better off being in some sort of marketplace where advertisers can find you.
Unlike previous entries in the text link market TNX has put a new spin on the act of purchasing text links. Instead of digging through a directory of sites and looking over each one TNX offers you the ability to just buy links en masse from sites that you never even need to see based on their Page Rank and content.
Think about that for a minute. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is all about getting back links from sites that are in the same niche as yours. There are thousands of PR 0 sites out there in your niche. To manually go through and find all of these sites would take forever and provide negligible results compared to the effort needed to buy the links.
By using TNX's system you can simply tell them you want 1K PR 0 links in the technology niche and they will do all the work for you.
Let's take HMTK dot com as an example. I want to create a text link ad for this site but I only want it to appear on sites in my niche and language. Can TNX do this?
Creating a campaign
The first step in creating a campaign involves naming the campaign and setting the initial parameters:
- Google Page Rank: 0 to 5
- Yahoo Backlinks: 0 to 250K+ in 5 levels (0-500, 500-5K, 5K-50K, 50K-250K and 250K+)
- Site Category: 17 categories listed and you can choose up to 7
- Geo-targeting: English only, German, Ukraine and Russian sites.
The Page Rank and Yahoo backlink sections are self-explanatory. The higher you go the more it will cost you to get the link. The site category box tells you to select between 4 and 7 categories but I could not get the listbox to work correctly. When I tried to select multiple categories it selected everything in between instead of just the ones I wanted. As for Geo-targeting, they do tell you that they have a small inventory of English-only sites. This is to be expected as they are only now breaking into the English speaking market.
The second step is to load your ads.
- Here are the basic rules for adding ads:
- Upload at least 10 different ads (max. 2000 for each campaign).
- Your ads should contain links, that will lead to different! pages of your website. Your campaign will not be declined, if all of your ads lead to the main page, but for best results in search engines we recommend that at least 70% of links lead to relevant internal pages of your site.
- Text inside your links should be different. Keywords in links should present on pages advertised for best results.
- Plain text should be placed before and after the link (anchor). Make it so those who interested may be able to click on your link. Your ads should not look like senseless bunch of keywords.
If you are going to be creating a large amount of ads they offer you the ability to save them as a text file and upload them directly. If not there is a collection of textboxes you can use for creating your links.
The third and final step is where you choose how many links you wish to purchase.
- During this final step you will be able to select:
- How many links to purchase
- What category gets how many links
- Maximum number of links for any one site to get
TNX also has some rules for advertisers that will insure only quality links get in the system:
- Campaigns that will not be approved:
- Contain spelling and grammatical errors, lead to pages that don't exist.
- Contain words written in all CAPS with the exception of acronyms and trademarks.
- Lead to websites that do not contain any information related to the keyword given in the link.
- Have nothing to do with the chosen subject or contradict it. Also, we will not approve campaigns that advertise pharmaceutical products and gambling.
- Are unethical and offend public morals.
- Can lead to claims from third parties and TNX webmasters. For example: TNX will not approve ads such as "download windows vista" or "make extra $1000/month"
After you complete your campaign it will be reviewed by a staff member prior to going live. You will be paying for any and all approved and placed links with what is known as TNX-Points. This is the currency of TNX and will be explained in greater detail later on.
That covers the advertiser side of things but I know that most of my readers are interested in the publisher side of things. Can you make money with this? Is it worth running? Well, I covered the advertiser portion first because the first thing you want to know is the kind of ads that you will see on your site if you choose to sign up with TNX.
- Publisher website Requirements
- No Free-hosted sites with just rare exceptions.
- No Doorways - pages created only for search bots.
- No New websites without backlinks - before using our system you need to at least register the site in catalogues.
- No Involved in illegal activities.
- No Selling confiscates and others that require advance payment.
- No Political sites and slogans.
- No Websites promoting violence, pornography, extremism etc.
As long as your site does not fall under the above list of exceptions you should have no problem signing up with TNX. You can sign up by clicking on this link to the TNX site. Yes, it is an affiliate link.
When adding a website you fill in much of the same information as when creating a campaign. You list the language (Geo-targeting), category of your content, short description of your site, how many pages on your site and your estimate of your daily readership. The last two items are for TNX moderator usage.
Your site will then go into a moderation queue for approval by TNX staff. This can take a few days depending on the nature of your site and the backlog at TNX. Remember, this site is just breaking into the English-speaking market so do not be surprised if it takes a day or two for your approval (or denial) to go through.
Adding websites to your profile is a no-brainer.
As I mentioned before the site runs on something called TNX-Points. These points can be purchased directly from TNX or from a TNX member. You can also sell back TNX-Points to TNX itself for about 50% (or more) of the cost of buying them (the price for the buyer depends on how many links he orders, I will cover this later on in the article). This may seem bad at first but it makes the secondary market for TNX-Points into a great way to make money. If TNX is selling 1K points for $1 you can likely sell yours for $0.90 per 1K to another member rather than just selling them back to TNX for $0.50 per 1K TNX-Points.
TNX does have a minimum payout of $5 on re-purchased points but that should not be a major issue for most publishers.
What does it cost an advertiser to buy links? If purchasing strictly based on Page Rank and not Yahoo backlinks it breaks down as follows:
- 20,000 TNX-Points gets you:
- 20,000 different PR0 pages from different websites
- 400 different PR1 pages from different websites
- 200 different PR2 pages from different websites
- 100 different PR3 pages from different websites
- 40 different PR4 pages from different websites
- 20 different PR5 pages from different websites
Let me clue you in on a little secret here. Most sites that have a high Google Page Rank will also have a high number of Yahoo backlinks, so the seller may get much more, depending on the parameters of his site. You can likely not even bother with Yahoo backlinks when creating a campaign. There are some exceptions to this rule so your mileage may vary. I also do not know if setting the Yahoo backlinks at the lowest setting will prevent sites with more Yahoo backlinks from getting your ad if they have the proper PR and niche.
OK, so now we know what a publisher pays, what does the webmaster get? According to TNX their commission is just 12.5% from each party involved in the transaction. Since I have yet to sell any links I can not give you any more information than that. Instead I will go out on a limb and say that if an advertiser spent 10K TNX-Points buying links from you 1,250 of those points would go to TNX and 8,750 would go to you. It will then be up to you to sell those points to TNX or another member to get your money.
At this point you should be doing some math in your head and thinking, "wait a minute. If I pay $1 for 1K TNX-points and the publisher only sees 875 of those points once I spend them and he can only cash them in for $0.44 didn't TNX make more than 12.5% off of the transaction? It looks like they made 66% off of the deal!" But price of TNX-Points for advertisers may vary: SEO companies that buy $250 worth of links are buying them for exactly the same price TNX publishers sell them to TNX. Wholesale discounts are activated for payments of $50 and above. So the maximum price Price-Per-Point is mostly for those people trying the service for the first time and depositing less than $50. Don't forget, about half of all TNX comission go towards refferal fees.
TNX also offers an affiliate system and unlike other programs from other link sellers their program does not pay a flat fee nor only allow you to accumulate money for a short expanse of time. Oh no, as long as you remain active in the system you will earn 10% of the TNX-Points of members who sign up under you.
My personal opinion
Now that I have provided enough information to explain to you what TNX is I'm going to take a minute and give you my personal opinion of the service.
Overall I like the service. Getting your money out of the system is not as clear cut as in other systems but you also do not have to give away 50% of the money you earn to the middle man. You also have direct control over what links appear on your site via the publisher control panel.
For advertisers this service is extremely good. All you have to do is follow a few simple steps and TNX will do the rest to send your text link to thousands of sites. Because rates are determined solely on PR, Yahoo backlinks and niche of the website, you do not need to worry about being charged different rates by different publishers.
Another point that many people may miss out on is that if you are both a buyer and seller of links you can use your incoming TNX-Points to pay for your own linking campaigns. This allows you to avoid taxation on income earned through this program simply because you never convert your points into cash.
- Simple interface
- Uniform pricing
- Solid advertiser and publisher moderating
- Never-ending affiliate income
- Uses PHP or Perl
- You can cache ads localy to improve performance
- Lack of English language sites
- You have to work the TNX-Point reselling system to maximize your income
- Moderation of ad campaigns by a live person slows down approval process
- Does not use a standard WordPress plugin but instead has you add a large chunk of code somewhere on your site.