Bitcoin faucets are dead.
At least that’s what I’ve been hearing in the past month or so from Bitcoin faucet owners around the web. Ever since Google Adsense decided to massively slap almost all remaining major faucets I can now say in 99% certainty that you can not monetize your faucet with Google Adsense in the long run.
A lot of faucet owners are currently trying to dump their faucets on Flippa. Personally, I decided to only sell one faucet I owned (Bitcoinker) and keep the other one (Milli). If all this sounds too confusing perhaps you’d like to start out with my previous post, or with my initial post about how to make money from Bitcoin faucets.
So how did I start off June?
Table of Contents
At the beginning of June I still owned Bitcoinker.com (aka 99Satoshis) which was banned from Google Adsense. I took some counter measures to try and keep Milli from getting banned as well. These measures included:
- Disabling Milli’s referral program so that spammers won’t bring in junk traffic
- Cutting off all “funky” traffic sources to the site
My main goal was to avoid Milli’s detection on Google Adsense’s radar.
Milli did not survive..
Shortly after my previous post about 99Satoshis I got an email from Adsense’s support telling me that they are probably going to disable ads for Milli as well. Instead of waiting for them to ban me, I removed all ads from Milli myself.
A few days later Milli was indeed disabled from showing Google Adsense ads on it. However, my account was still active and I managed to get my remaining funds (around $4000).
I have no idea why my account remained active even though Milli was disabled but I have a couple of theories:
- Since I also show ads on 99Bitcoins (i.e. an Adsense legit site) they didn’t want to disable the whole account.
- Since I took active action to remove the ads before they disabled the site they considered “doing me a favour” and letting me withdraw my earnings.
So I was left with a site the is actually losing money and has 6 million page views each month. I was pretty much screwed. I thought about selling Milli but then I decided that there has to be another way to monetize the site.
So on June I decided to embark on a monetization journey. Basically I wanted to try out as many Google Adsense alternative ad networks as possible in order to keep Milli alive.
Why did I want to keep Milli alive so badly?
First, Milli has grown to be a part of the 99Bitcoins family. I really enjoy operating that site and a small community was built around it through the comment section. So it sort of became a hobby on mine :)
Second, Milli has good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) value. Meaning it can rank high for keywords on Google. For example, at the moment it’s #1 for “How to make money with Bitcoin”. So this may be useful in the future.
Of course not all Ad networks worked for me. I tried out about 15 overall, but most “non Bitcoin” ad networks didn’t accept Bitcoin faucets. I assume it’s because they deemed the traffic to be of low quality. However, I have found 5-6 networks that are a good fit for faucets and create a decent revenue stream.
I want to take this opportunity and thank Bitcoinker’s new owner who was a big help throughout this last month. Without him I don’t think I would have come up with these results as his knowledge of different ad networks was far greater than mine. So thanks and go check out Bitcoinker.
So here there are…
The complete Google Adsense Alternatives for Bitcoin Faucets
I decided to group the ad networks I’ve found profitable into 2 groups – Bitcoin ad networks and non Bitcoin ad networks. The main differences are that Bitcoin ad networks pay you in Bitcoins and they all accept faucet traffic.
At the end of this list I will also let you know what ad networks I’ve tried that didn’t work out or didn’t accept Milli as a publisher.
Bitcoin ad networks for Bitcoin faucets
Coinad – The leading Bitcoin ad network
Pros: Highest paying Bitcoin network, fill rate of ads is good
Cons: Can be accepted only by invite (directed at high traffic faucets only), limited stats
Profitability: Gets you around 0.0001+BTC CPM, at today’s exchange rate this equals to $0.07 which is nice. Also Coinad calculates your revenue and pays you in Bitcoin so you’re not affected by the exchange rate.
Overall: If you have a Bitcoin faucet you have to apply to Coinad. I don’t think there’s any way to keep a faucet profitable without it. If you’re just starting out and don’t have enough traffic, you’ll need to operate for a few months at a loss until you’re big enough. Another option would be to run Adsense on your faucet, knowing you will get banned eventually, but at least cutting your losses.
My rating: 95%
Cointraffic – A highly profitable Bitcoin ad network
Pros: Pretty profitable, awesome support
Cons: Limited statistics, payment is in Euros (affected by BTC exchange rate), limited stats
Profitability: At the moment I cannot say exactly how profitable Cointraffic is. The reason is because they recently started to integrate pop-up banners that are highly profitable. However, these pop-ups are still in Beta. They claim to pay €0.05 cpm for a slide banner and €0.5 CPM for the pop ups.
Overall: For now I’m still testing Cointraffic out, but they seem to be a very legitimate Bitcoin ad network. I especially like the fact that their support is quick to answer and addresses every issue I have. Unlike other ad networks they only allow one banner per site (and one pop up). Their biggest downside is that they calculate revenue in Fiat even though they pay out in BTC. That’s why if the BTC price goes up you get less Bitcoins sent your way. Finally, they are a relatively new ad network which is always a risk.
My rating: 90%
Mellow Ads – Nice addition, but wouldn’t build my hopes on it
Pros: OK fill rate of ads, allows up to 5 ads to be placed on the site, veteran in the market
Cons: A lot of downtime, low payouts, pays per unique click / view, limited stats
Profitability: I assume that MellowAds’ low profitability is related to the fact that MellowAds pays only for unique views / clicks and most of a faucet users are returning users. So even if you put more ads on the site it wouldn’t bring in that much more in revenue. For now I’m seeing around $0.05 CPM from Mellow ads but it varies a lot.
Overall: In all honesty I don’t like MellowAds that much. It’s too much hassle for too little of a profit. The ads have a lot of downtime which also slows down your site. Even though I know the founder personally and he’s a great guy, I think more can be done to improve this ad network. I’m guessing that once I manage to stabilize the faucets revenue stream I will remove MellowAds from the faucet completely.
My rating: 73%
U-Ads – The newest player around
Pros: OK fill rate of ads, allows up to 5 ads to be placed on the site
Cons: New in the market, limited stats, technical issues
Profitability: U-ads seems to act as a “MellowAds” mini-me. revenue is pretty low (around $0.03 CPM) but I have only been trying them out for 1 week so I can’t be sure yet.
Overall: U-ads seems ok, however my greatest fear is that it is very young. This means that I can’t count on it in terms on income since it may disappear at any moment. For now, the revenue from U-ads isn’t substantial so I may be opting out of them as well in the future.
My rating: 82%
Non Bitcoin Ad networks that work with Bitcoin faucets
Propeller Ads – My personal favorite pop up network (for now…)
Pros: High CPM, good support
Cons: Annoying pop ups, no way to control pop up frequency, limited stats, no Paypal withdrawal option
Profitability: I’ve been using Propeller ads for almost two weeks and have been seeing an average CPM of $0.16. This is pretty good, however keep in mind that on every click after a site refresh an annoying pop up comes up.
Overall: I wish I didn’t have to stoop to pop ups on the site but for now this seems like to only way to get Milli to be even close to breaking even. PropellerAds seem to be a legit ad network with decent CPM. I’m still debating whether it’s better than PopAds or not.
My rating: 88%
PopAds – High revenue pop up ads
Pros: The highest CPMs around, pop-up configuration
Cons: Slow support, low level advertisers
Profitability: PopAds is by far the most profitable ad network available out there. CPMs can reach up to $0.7 which is pretty crazy. If you only care about profit, use PopAds.
Overall: Even though PopAds is insanely profitable I’m not using them at the moment. The reason is because their advertisers are of the lowest level (i.e. porn, multiple pop ups, etc.). You have an option to disable specific advertisers and also put a delay between pop ups but for me that option didn’t work. I contacted their support but they haven’t figured it out. So for now they are out of Milli. I may be trying them again in the future.
My rating: 90%
UberCPM – A Young and promising ad network
Pros: Good fill rate,
Cons: Very young ad network, low CPM
Profitability: For the short time I’ve been using UberCPM it’s been showing a consistent ratio of $0.03 CPM. Although this is nothing to write home about it’s a good add on to any site.
Overall: UberCPM seems to me like a “nice to have” ad network. I wouldn’t go nuts if it ended out not paying me or defaulting, and if it does work out it’s a nice small addition to the revenue stream. I know as a fact that they have banned faucets in the past due to illegal traffic sources (i.e bots), but for now Milli seems fine.
My rating: 82%
SolveMedia – A captcha and advertising solution all in one
Pros: 2 in 1 solution (captcah + ad network)
Cons: Payout is net +60, support is limited, doesn’t eliminate all bots
Profitability: SolveMedia’s profitability has fluctuated greatly over time. After using it for almost 6 months I can say the it will usually be somewhere around $0.05-$0.1 in it’s CPM.
Overall: SolveMedia is a MOST HAVE for every faucet owner since you get to monetize a feature that every faucet has to have – Captchas. I’ve written about them extensively in my previous Bitcoin faucet updates. In the past I’ve made insane amounts of money from them, but I think it’s due to the fact that sometimes new advertisers come in with very deep pockets. However, even at the lowest profitable periods it was still a good addition to my site.
My rating: 94%
So there you have it, the complete revenue sources I found suitable for Bitcoin faucets. I’ve also tested various other networks but either didn’t get approved with Milli or the earnings were too low. To name a few:
- A-ads – tried them out for a short while but earnings were really low so I stopped.
- Coinurl – This one I actually haven’t tried out yet.
- Bitmedia – For some unexplained reason they did not accept Milli to their program nor did they repond to emails I’ve sent.
And these are non Bitcoin networks that didn’t approve Milli:
- Chikita – got the ads running but never saw any revenue. Support did not respond.
- ExoClick – got approved but CPM was too low
How much did Milli make in June?
Nothing….I actually lost money.
As always I’m embedding the exact chart I’m using to track my profit and loss, hope it’s clear enough. Just scroll over to June’s columns.
So as you can see I lost around $30 in June. I would have lost more if I didn’t have aroudn 10 days of Adsense income to cover for the rest of the month. But I’m at a loss not only because I got banned by Adsense. It’s also because of the soaring BTC price. As I’ve mentioned in the past, when Bitcoin’s price goes up faucet profitability goes down.
Of course I also reduced payouts a bit on Milli in order to help it survive and notified my users that I may be shutting down the faucet. I think it’s very important to be transparent and not just “run off” without paying. However, as you can see from the image below this had a significant effect on Milli’s traffic.
In the following months I’m going to focus on either keeping Milli at a breakeven point or at a profit. If I see I can’t sustain it after 1-2 months I’ll probably shut it down. But for now I’ll continue updating you on my progress. If any of you have additional inputs on additional Adsense alternatives I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below.