I've been advertising for CashDuck for about six weeks now, and I thought I'd post my thoughts about what methods worked and didn't work, both in terms of how many people signed up and how much it cost. The only way I know where people come from is what they put in the "How did you hear about CashDuck?" spot, so efficacy is more or less estimated.
Yes, I actually put up some post offers on PayPerPost. I did it in two batches for a total of eight bought posts. I offered $4 per post - the total, including fees, was $20 for 3 posts and $30 for 5 posts.
Was it worth it? Um, not really. The first round was very disappointing - one of the posts got it all wrong on what the site is about, and another post literally just copied the explanatory text and added some stuff. (Including the part where I suggested that they put up a referral banner and earn 10% of anyone who signed up under them - I intended that they would do that in the post, since the first time I didn't require a picture.) Only one actually was any good and I think I got a few users out of that. The reason I'm so annoyed about those is that I emailed PayPerPost to say that those posts were unacceptable, and they told me that they would reject them, but not to worry since their regular quality control should take them out anyway. They're still there.
The second round was somewhat better, and I got some users, but it was underwhelming writing to say the least. The big downside of PayPerPost is that a lot of these blogs really do seem like they were started just to do PayPerPost - or they have so little traffic it's hardly worth it. The posts went up two weeks ago and two of the posts in the second round have only 15 views! So considering how much it cost ($50) I don't think I'll be doing PayPerPost again.
2. Google AdWords
This was relatively easy to setup, and with a monthly budget of only $15, I think it's been reasonably worthwhile. I have a cost-per-click of about 40 cents for the words I chose, and although I can't precisely track whether they actually used the AdWords link if they state that they found it through searching, I have noticed a lot more people saying that they found it on Google. Given the low cost I think it's worth it to keep on, but it's not the best bang for my buck.
3. Ask.com Sponsored Listings
I actually was called by a rep from Ask.com pushing this product - it's basically Google Adwords, with a slightly longer area of text for the ad. You set a daily budget and when you run low, they auto-charge your credit card. Big downside - there doesn't seem to be a way to just cancel the campaign and use up the remaining funds. I was going to take it down, but then I got auto-charged another $25, so I guess I'll wait to cancel the campaign until it gets close to empty again. I have a budget of $2 a day, which is usually about 5 clicks. I don't think this has worked particularly well, but I could also have chosen better keywords.
4. Project Wonderful
This is really a cool site. Basically what you are doing is purchasing ads (tiny ads, regular span ads, and skyscrapers) on various sites, many of which are comics or something similar. I imagine as they expand their advertising base, different kinds of sites will come in, but right now it's pretty much advertising for the 18-to-30 market. You bid on ads on a cost-per-day basis, and whenever your bid is the high bidder, that's when your ad runs and you get charged. So if you bid twenty cents a day, but someone else has bid a maximum of 30 cents, you won't be the high bidder right then - but you will when the 30 cent bid runs out. You can set a time for the bid to expire, or a maximum cost. I like to put up bids for ten or twenty cents, with a maximum of $1 or $2 - since there aren't a lot of paying advertisers on the site right now, you could probably get an ad on more than half the sites for ten or twenty cents a day. I got the biggest boost in traffic from one site - I noticed a lot of people were coming from this site, which was one I'd actually bid 50 cents on. I went to the site and lo and behold, the comic owner was so happy that I'd paid for his hosting for the next two months that he'd gone to CashDuck and written a little review about it, and encouraged his users to try it out! So that was definitely worth it, and I was happy that he was happy for my patronage. I found a post on a forum where people were bitching about my ads (apparently they look "old-internet") which kind of took the wind out of my sails, but I am back in the game now. You can also post ads for free, if you're the first to bid. I've spent about $75 at Project Wonderful so far and been quite pleased with the results.
5. 50,000 banner impressions at Keenspot
Keenspot is a consortium of comics - when you buy impressions, your ad shows up on all of them. This was at a rate of $1 per thousand so I spent $50. I think this has been pretty effective, I've seen several people mention it in their signup, but what I think will really pay off is the fact that I'm reaching groups of people who weren't already out looking for ways to make money. (The issue sometimes with using things like AdWords is that I get lumped in with sites that are actual scams - and then it rubs off on me.) So since it's not presented that way, I think they are more apt to get into it and tell their friends, which will have ramifications beyond just those initial signups. This was also very easy to setup - they have an insertion order form right there on the website so you just give them the banner, the link, and the money, and it starts running.
6. 50,000 banner impressions at Blank Label Comics
Blank Label Comics is another comics consortion - can you tell what kind of demographic I'm going for? ;) This is also $1 per thousand so I spent $50. This has been somewhat more successful at initial signups than Keenspot, since the sites are somewhat higher traffic, but I'm probably burning through those impressions a lot faster.
But the ultimate winner of the ad-off is...
7. Regular banner ad on a single site for one day
I purchased the right to the top spot on SomethingPositive.net, a popular comic which I read regularly, and so do about a bzillion other people. (They get about a million hits a day.) I commissioned a banner ad from the artist and he did a great job, see here:
I thought that was just the funniest shit ever, and apparently so did a lot of people, because I got more than a HUNDRED signups off this ONE ad. This was run on Dec. 12th - I immediately signed up for a day in January and one in February. I'm still getting a few scattered signups that state that's where they saw it. Cost for this ad: $40 for the artist to draw the banner, and $35 for the actual ad space. The extra two days is another $70, but I think it'll definitely be worth it.