These are dark times for online ad revenue

posted by Jeff | Sunday, January 22, 2023, 7:48 PM | comments: 0

This is going to be the second month in a row that ad revenue from my sites will not cover expenses. It's not a traffic problem either, because while CoasterBuzz is down a little, PointBuzz is way up by about 25% compared to last year. The issue is that what I'm getting for those page views is about half of what it was last year.

My hard costs have come way down over the years, thanks in part to the cloud resources I'm using (in my case, Azure). My total hard costs monthly are about $250, and that includes a buttload of redundancy and pretty spectacular performance. It's a little more than I paid for the last dedicated server I ever had in 2014-ish, but that included no redundancy and pretty mediocre performance. And of course, in the early days, I was shelling out over a grand per month for a dedicated connection to my house.

There are soft costs, too, like the annual LLC fee to the state, an accountant fee for my taxes, monthly fees for software (mostly Adobe, though I've been able to keep that down to $30), domain name fees and some other things I'm not thinking of. Half of the PointBuzz revenue goes to my long-time partner Walt. Spread out over a year, it probably averages between $300 and $350. That sounds like a lot, but it's a small miracle to be able to pay that little for what it gets me.

Not sure exactly what I can do about this. If you've been to any site lately, especially on mobile, you know that they're loaded with video ads and all kinds of bullshit. I don't want to have that on my sites. If I were particularly wealthy, I'd just eat the cost and not worry about it, but this makes me uncomfortable. November to January are always slower months, but I'm not seeing any signs of improvement.

I hope it gets better, but hope is not a strategy. I hate this world of the ad duopoly and platforms running everything. That's not what we signed up for on the Internet.


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