Choicest Games is now ad-free

The only advertisement I'll ever need.

At one point a few years back, I decided to run a single banner ad to see if I could earn some revenue by running a PC gaming blog. It was mainly done as an experiment since I was sceptical that one could really live off a blog's ad revenue.

Well, turns out I was right, at least in the case of my blog – which leads me to believe, while it might be possible to live off a blog's ad revenue, you've really got to be good at writing quality articles and marketing yourself, non-stop in order to succeed. So only the passionate, eloquent, determined and outgoing need apply.

After running the blog for around 7 years I made a measly $18 from ad income. The amount is so small I can't even cash it out!

I've come to the conclusion that there are pretty much three reasons ads failed to generate considerable revenue on my blog. I've listed them below:

1) Ignored recommended formats

Blogger/Google Adsense has recommend ad formats. For example, they suggest you place an ad on the sidebar and one under each post.

Blogger's suggested ad formats

Being the terrible marketing guru/businessman that I am, I thought "but wouldn't that really be annoying having all those ads all over the place? What happens if someone accidentally clicks on them?" I guess that's the whole point right? Nevertheless, this is why I ended up narrowing down the advertisement to just one measly banner ad.

2) Not an "A-list" gaming blog

Let's be honest here, Choicest Games is obviously not an A-list blog. With one part-time contributor doing blogging in his spare time (me) and a few other contributors that occasionally contribute every so often, there's no way I can compete in terms of the frequency of content or breaking news. Sure, there was that one time I managed to break the news about the Police Quest Kickstarter that was covered here, here, here and even here, and there are many other posts that are linked on reputable sites, but it's not enough to get the high amount of traffic needed to make ad revenue profitable.

3) Target audience are too savvy

My target audience are PC gamers and I like to think that PC gamers are generally a pretty savvy bunch (you need to in order to not only build a PC but to get the games to work on it)! Consequently, there's probably already many readers that are wary of clicking on any ads (I mean, if you're interested in something, why bother clicking on an ad when you can just Google the official website and go from there?) or they don't even see the ads at all in the first place (many users install ad blockers on their browsers so they don't see ads). Consequently, running these ads are in some ways insulting the target audience's intelligence (although that doesn't stop the aforementioned A-list gaming blogs advertising products like there's no tomorrow).

Obviously the fact I haven't been earning much ad revenue has been going on for a while. So why am I turning the ads off now? Well the final straw was this article that states that ICANN may reveal your personal contact details on the WHOIS database if your site is listed as a commercial site. How do they define a commercial site you ask? There are some suggestions that sites that even generate ad revenue could potentially be a commercial site. So even though my ad revenue is pitiful, it's still technically a commercial site, which means running the ads is more trouble than its worth. Obviously, no final decision has been made with respect to this (and hopefully it's thrown in the bin) but why bother continuing ads if they're not really generating that much revenue anyway?

That's why I finally decided to take them down.

Will I ever re-activate them? Maybe, if the offer is right and it's not too disruptive. But for the meantime, enjoy an ad-free Choicest Games!

What I am thinking of doing though (and who knows, this might also be considered commercial activity down the track) is re-opening a Choicest Games merchandise store hosted through Zazzle. I haven't done anything yet but expect to see some products (such as coffee mugs) in the near future!