In yesterday's blog I discussed the birth of my first major website, SprintMogul.net. What I didn't mention was the monetary side. As traffic began to increase, I realized I might be able to cover the expenses by placing a Google Adsense banner or two on the site. I was thrilled to see it generating approximately $10/day in the first week. That's over $3,000 a year and more than enough to cover costs. In August I added inline linked advertisements through Vibrant Media as well as a ringtone referral through Commission Junction, which pushed my revenue to approximately $50/day. Traffic continued to grow and so did revenue. It peaked at the end of 2007 with just over $100/day. By this point I had purchased a rack mounted server at Dolphini, a professional hosting facility, and my operating costs had increased significantly.
I soon learned that the end of the year also means the end of advertising contracts, which was reflected in the revenue dropping drastically at the beginning of 2008. Although this effect would only be temporary, by the time advertising contracts picked back up the Mogul was on it's way out. Most of the site traffic was from people who were thinking about purchasing the Mogul or who already had and wanted to customize it. Revenue leveled out to a slow decline where most of the current traffic consists of existing owners who continue using the forum to ask questions and discuss issues. Thus is the life cycle of a website devoted to a gadget. The initial buzz dies down and eventually the gadget becomes obsolete.
I didn't enjoy having to pay taxes on those unexpected earnings, but they got me through a rough time in my life and helped me establish a platform from which I could develop new sites and create new sources of revenue. Here's to the next wild ride!