Sax on the Web is a 40,000 member online community dedicated to saxophone players. The site was launched over 15 years ago by Harri Rautiainen, a currently retired computer professional and self-proclaimed “advanced-amateur” sax player, in an effort to organize saxophone related links. Later, pick-up tips from fellow players became an important element as well.
The site quickly grew and today receives an estimated 500k visits and 4 million page views per month.
While the site sprung from Harri’s passion for the saxophone, it quickly began to consume both time and monetary resources. In addition to donations by satisfied users, Harri turned to AdSense and banner ads as a means to monetize. However, it was important to him that the site not become “overrun” visually with advertisements.
“I’ve come across a great deal of music-focused sites that exist to simply promote other sites,” said Harri. “They are clogged with advertising and it looks overly commercial. As a user myself I know it isn’t fun to scroll through a lot of banners to get to the actual content on a page.”
As a result, he chose to limit the space he dedicated to advertisements and augment banner advertisements with less obtrusive monetization options.
One year ago, Harri found VigLink and decided to implement the content monetization solution on his site.
VigLink leverages the actual content on a site to help a publisher earn revenue, rather than delivering advertising in the white space surrounding a site’s content. The service recognizes when content compels readers to leave a website seeking a product or service and gets site owners paid for each action its readers take.
“The results of using VigLink surprised me,” according to Harri. “I knew what I was making with AdSense and I expected something in that range, but it was actually a great deal more.”
VigLink now comprises 50% of the site’s revenue — while still allowing Harri to keep his focus on the end-users. “If I were to offer a single piece of advice to publishers just starting out, it would be keep your readers in mind,” says Harri. “If you deliver a great experience to them they will come back, and also tell their friends.”
Posted in Building Communities & Forums, Content Monetization, Publisher Spotlight