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BizyDad

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Is social a hamster wheel? If you stop posting then does everything dry up?

My experience on Twitter was that as soon as I stopped tweeting I stopped getting followers and engagement.

At the moment, I’d rather create evergreen content to go onto YouTube and a blog.
I actually consider Youtube to be a social channel as well. So, as with everything, it depends.

But my site is billed as an educational publication for a community of enthusiasts. If we build a group following, we have a responsibility to that group following. At least that's how I look at it, and I don't want to go down that road unless I'm going all the way.

Especially if I'm building this to sell. Built on SEO traffic, I can build it as relatively passive for the next owner. With social added in, it might be less so. Or they'd have the added expense of having a social person. On the other hand, an engaged community behind this might make it more attractive for sale.

Too soon to tell if it's worth it.
 
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BizyDad

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Ok, quick update.

Not much has happened. But that opened my eyes to some more kinks in the system. It's ok, this is a side project (repeat 5 times).

The Bad News First

1. My newest team member found a higher paying job. In the short term, this means more work for me, something I hope to rectify in the coming year. I need to build more redundancy into my agency, so I don't become the bottleneck. Also, he was my "wordpress guy" and he was pretty good and fast about it, so it stinks losing that skill.

In the long run, this is a blessing. I hired him to handle all our ad campaigns as his primary job duty, and contrary to my normal modus operandi, I gave him a long leash and trusted him more than anyone I've hired for the position. Now having gone through his body of work, our campaign results decreased 10-30% overall, with only 2 campaigns actually having been made better by his being here. So that was an expensive lesson. Hopefully I've learned it.

2. I had left the putting up of article to the team. I assigned a number of articles and the WP guy was to make sure to get them on the site. My writer rightly focused on other activities, but no one communicated to me that we only put up 2 articles in the last 7 weeks.

3. We still haven't built any real links for this bad boy (and I refuse to buy links for this project, although that would really be much easier and I'm starting to consider it. Ok, I considered it. Still no.)

4. We are still months away from even thinking about monetizing this site. We only got 4 search engine visitors in December, down from 11 in November.

The Good News

1641279415112.png

1. Things are improving of their own accord. Average ranking shows most things in the page 3-page 7 range, but we are now showing up for 135 phrases (102 last month) and we had many jumps in rankings. Several phrases (about 10) are on the verge of getting to the first page.

2. After a meeting about this last week, my lead writer on the project pumped out 6 articles that I have to find the time to get scheduled on here.

3. Given that there is so little work done so far, I take this update as confirmation of 2 things.
  • We chose a good niche and good keywords. (At least good in terms of traffic. Until I put affiliate links on here, who knows how good the niche actually is).
  • There are dozens (hundreds) more searchers for some of these topics than my original research showed.
I expected this would be the case, but seeing it "in the wild" bring a renewed sense of confidence. These impressions are all from 6 articles. I have dozens of topics researched. (Insert fingers crossed emoji here).

4. Just want to say thanks to @MTF for his writing about Jarvis.ai.

My writer's feedback has been quite positive about it helping him write these articles, as well helping him overcome writers block on our client work. He echoed what others have said in other threads, that you really have to fact check the ai. But today he reported back that he's categorized my list of future articles into low and high fact checking. And his taking some initiative like that to do something that I hadn't asked him to do was pretty awesome.

I'm not sure when I'll next post an update...
 
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Cameraman

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Also, he was my "wordpress guy" and he was pretty good and fast about it, so it stinks losing that skill.
Any chance you could pay him to do some of this as a side hustle? He may have a higher paying job but I bet it still isn't paying him enough.
 

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Normally I would poo-poo something that relies entirely on 3rd parties and affiliating, but one look at digital properties for sale at Empire Flippers, Flippa and other websites, it's clear that the strategy works and can deliver 5-figures monthly nets.
 
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BizyDad

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Any chance you could pay him to do some of this as a side hustle? He may have a higher paying job but I bet it still isn't paying him enough.
I have people who freelance WP already. It was nice not to have to go outside my agency for it, for once.

Although his WP skills were solid, my review of is main work has me questioning his ethics, and that's a deal breaker. I'm not saying he's a scammer or anything drastic like that, just that he isn't the most forthright individual and let's say his problem solving skills are lacking.

Frankly, I'd rather hire someone from the forum than give this guy another penny.

Normally I would poo-poo something that relies entirely on 3rd parties and affiliating, but one look at digital properties for sale at Empire Flippers, Flippa and other websites, it's clear that the strategy works and can deliver 5-figures monthly nets.
That's precisely how I feel/felt.

That's why I see this as a short term play, not a long term hold. Like I said at the outset, if someone else had made this thread, I'd probably be rolling my eyes. Affiliate payouts can drop or disappear at the whim of the producer, and that's just one possible risk.

Which is why the site/brand is structured in a way that it could morph into an ecommerce store if we want to go that route. Time will tell...
 

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Although his WP skills were solid, my review of is main work has me questioning his ethics, and that's a deal breaker.
You can't argue with that. If someone's ethics aren't in line with what you need it's a costly exercise to work with them.

I'm looking forward to reading future updates on this thread. Thanks for sharing.
 

BizyDad

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Well, nothing has happened. Literally, we've accomplished nothing since the last post. This is on me. I've just been so busy, I'm the bottleneck.

Impressions plummeted on Jan 13. Rankings too.

And then a week ago rankings perked back up. Our articles are ranking higher than previous. (orange line) Impressions (purple line)are coming back too.

1645233648866.png

Most are on the 2nd or 3rd page of Google. We're getting a few visitors a day. And they seem to be reading the articles. Here's the change in the time on site the last 6 days vs the previous month. I can't figure this out, because we didn't change or improve any of the content.

1645233540170.png

Anyways, I hope to have more content on there this weekend. This is still a tiny site with not even 200 daily impressions, but its funny to me how close we are to popping through to the first page considering we still have only built 1 solid link.
 
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Well, nothing has happened. Literally, we've accomplished nothing since the last post. This is on me. I've just been so busy, I'm the bottleneck.

View attachment 42186

Anyways, I hope to have more content on there this weekend. This is still a tiny site with not even 200 daily impressions, but its funny to me how close we are to popping through to the first page considering we still have only built 1 solid link.
My business uses a similar model and one key thing I've learned is: it takes time. Our Content Writing efforts usually show up in traffic growth 6 months to 1 year later. (See pic below)
Screen Shot 2022-02-18 at 8.46.28 PM.png
Keep it up and you'll get there!
 

BizyDad

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My business uses a similar model and one key thing I've learned is: it takes time. Our Content Writing efforts usually show up in traffic growth 6 months to 1 year later. (See pic below)
View attachment 42187
Keep it up and you'll get there!View attachment 42187
That's fantastic. I have so many questions. Like, you said "our", so how many people are on your team? And is that a monthly or yearly chart? Either way, that hockey stick look has to feel to gratifying. If it is yearly, I want people to really look at that chart. How many people would have stopped after a couple of years maybe feeling stuck? Your team's perseverence sure looks to be paying off! Thanks for replying.
 

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Well, nothing has happened. Literally, we've accomplished nothing since the last post. This is on me. I've just been so busy, I'm the bottleneck.

Impressions plummeted on Jan 13. Rankings too.

And then a week ago rankings perked back up. Our articles are ranking higher than previous. (orange line) Impressions (purple line)are coming back too.

View attachment 42186

Most are on the 2nd or 3rd page of Google. We're getting a few visitors a day. And they seem to be reading the articles. Here's the change in the time on site the last 6 days vs the previous month. I can't figure this out, because we didn't change or improve any of the content.

View attachment 42185

Anyways, I hope to have more content on there this weekend. This is still a tiny site with not even 200 daily impressions, but its funny to me how close we are to popping through to the first page considering we still have only built 1 solid link.
The increase in average session duration is odd. If I had to guess, I would say that before, mostly bots were crawling the site (and not staying on a page for very long).

Now that the site has been crawled (and no new pages have been added recently), there are fewer bots and more real people reading the content, resulting in higher average session duration.

Either that, or one person left your site open in the browser for hours, leading to a huge time on page that skewed the average upwards (pure speculation on my part). This would matter a lot early on, when you have very few visitors.

I'm glad you recovered some rankings in the new year!
 
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T. Davis

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That's fantastic. I have so many questions. Like, you said "our", so how many people are on your team? And is that a monthly or yearly chart? Either way, that hockey stick look has to feel to gratifying. If it is yearly, I want people to really look at that chart. How many people would have stopped after a couple of years maybe feeling stuck? Your team's perseverence sure looks to be paying off! Thanks for replying.
Thanks for your kind words!

I now get ~215k/mo. All the little 01s at the bottom show January of the last 6 years. As you can see, it took me years to get the hang of SEO. During this time, I was actually building my skills freelance writing on a higher ranking site (I actually get 200k views/mo there as well, but get paid pennies for it).

Once I learned SEO in my field, I started funneling these efforts into my own site. That was right at the bottom of the hockey stick in the chart.

The business is small—it's me and 4 part-time contract writers. We publish about 10 articles per month but each one is long form and SEO optimized (and better than 99.9% of other articles on each topic we cover). There is so much garbage content on line. That leaves a huge opportunity for those who want to do better.

Looking forward to seeing your progress!!
 

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Oh, one more thing to note. Each of those jumps in traffic is only from 1 or 2 articles each. The results are not evenly spread out so getting just a few big hits can lead to a ton of traffic.
 

BizyDad

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Been a minute, update time. Like T Davis said, sometimes it doesn't take much to get things rolling. My chart is nowhere near as good, but we have achieved liftoff.

1649651141204.png

That's what I call it when you stop hitting 0 traffic days. This graph is just our organic search traffic chart.

We've put up a few articles. One of them got indexed and ranked on March 27th and it is ranking high.

1649651314400.png

It's a little phrase, and we've been half-assing this thing so far and the last 3 days its been #1 for the main targeted keyword.

So that's our first #1 ranking. Woo Hoo! Still only 1 link built.

I'm a little more motivated to get content on this thing. We are actually a few weeks ahead, so that's progress too.

Until next time...
 
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BizyDad

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How's this been going
So far, so good.

I hired a new team member to replace the one who quit in Dec. With her on board, I am digging out of my backlog of work, and we have finally gotten on a content schedule that is working.

Oh, and we got our first #1 ranking about 4 weeks ago. It's a little phrase, about 150 searches a month. I'm on my phone and don't want to share fancy graphs this time, but I know we are getting daily traffic, I'm guessing maybe 10-30/day now.

Funny thing about the #1 is I still haven't really started doing SEO tricks. It's just good keyword research, decent articles that address the topic (search query), and like 2 or 3 links.

Still a ways from monetizing, but starting to give it actual thought.

Edit... Just realized I already mentioned the #1 ranking. And it was closer to 6 weeks. So yeah, not much new I guess. Lol.
 

BizyDad

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We are thiiiis close to getting our second #1 ranking. The last Google update (or maybe it was the one before the last, I mean, who can keep up these days), a recent Google update was good to us.

1655253240779.png

Here's our month over month #'s

1655253307583.png
This is basically going from 1 or 2 pages getting some traffic to 4 or 5 pages getting some traffic.

We've been consistent with posting articles. Most of the articles have been of a "newsy" variety, as opposed to the keyword specific ones I expect will generate affiliate revenue. That said, the keyword ones are the ones Google is bumping higher in the rankings.

Also, we did get 1 link (finally) from an article we published in an online magazine. The link date does coincide with the bump in rankings/impressions. I don't think this was the cause, but I also can't rule it out (see red indicator below).

1655253821040.png

Here is a chart of how many pages Google actually allowed in their index. Again, is it the core update or the single link? Prob the update...

1655257624676.png


One last thing. I don't know if this is because of this new level of Google trust, or because of our improved consistency, or because our stories have taken a turn for the "newsy" angles, but we are now getting some of those sweet "discovery" clicks. In my agency, my clients don't create content so we don't usually see this.

1655254023425.png
Its tough to tell from the graph but we are getting the same or slightly more clicks from the discovery stories than the search results. But it is so few clicks and impressions that the Google report won't tell me what URL's are being shown.

I think I mentioned previously that I hired a new team member so I am hopeful that everyone knows their roles and we can maintain this level of consistency. So far so good.
 
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James Schramko calls it an “infinity project”…

Have a project running in the background that your team loves working on, and can switch to when they’ve completed client work.

I try to always have a couple of non-client “infinity projects” on the go.
This is a great concept.
 

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It has been a year. It's probably pretty close to a year to the day that we decided on the niche and moved forward.

Here's my last 3 months chart.

1658514548885.png

Here's our traffic to the site.

1658514418149.png


Still no monetization. Won't worry about it until we hit 1k visitors. But this is growth and the system we have in place continues to do the right work.

This is still the result of just writing decent articles based on carefully selected, low competition keywords, on a website that has received very little publicity (no social, and a couple of links).

I have nothing to brag about here, and I know we could have achieved this faster, but I am proud of my team for what they've done and where we are. I'm looking forward to the coming year. Unfortunately, it won't be ending with a big sales figure, that will have to come in a future year, and I'm ok with that.
 
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BizyDad

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1661797809855.png

Shoot, we got almost as many impressions this last month as we did the previous 3 months combined. Good ranking movement too. That's cool.

1661798781738.png

Nice percentage jumps in traffic too.

But I am no longer happy with where we are at. I had a chat with a friend of mine. 8 months ago she launched what is now a 2000 page blog. This past month she garnered 120k visitors, and made $3.5k in ad revenue. She isn't even doing affiliate stuff yet. It's just her and a well trained VA. She's going to launch another site soon, and she thinks her revenue should grow to $5k next month.

Her lane is so much faster than this...

Just goes to show what's possible out there.
 

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View attachment 44917

Shoot, we got almost as many impressions this last month as we did the previous 3 months combined. Good ranking movement too. That's cool.

View attachment 44918

Nice percentage jumps in traffic too.

But I am no longer happy with where we are at. I had a chat with a friend of mine. 8 months ago she launched what is now a 2000 page blog. This past month she garnered 120k visitors, and made $3.5k in ad revenue. She isn't even doing affiliate stuff yet. It's just her and a well trained VA. She's going to launch another site soon, and she thinks her revenue should grow to $5k next month.

Her lane is so much faster than this...

Just goes to show what's possible out there.
I'm glad your site is picking up!

Yes, there are site owners out there who have a dozen sites, along with dozens of outsourced writers, and they bring in $10,000s per month.

At that point, it is a human resource system, since you need enough good writers (or people you can train) and probably editors and managers when you have enough writers.
 

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View attachment 44917

Shoot, we got almost as many impressions this last month as we did the previous 3 months combined. Good ranking movement too. That's cool.

View attachment 44918

Nice percentage jumps in traffic too.

But I am no longer happy with where we are at. I had a chat with a friend of mine. 8 months ago she launched what is now a 2000 page blog. This past month she garnered 120k visitors, and made $3.5k in ad revenue. She isn't even doing affiliate stuff yet. It's just her and a well trained VA. She's going to launch another site soon, and she thinks her revenue should grow to $5k next month.

Her lane is so much faster than this...

Just goes to show what's possible out there.
What's she doing different that you can start doing?
 
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But I am no longer happy with where we are at. I had a chat with a friend of mine. 8 months ago she launched what is now a 2000 page blog. This past month she garnered 120k visitors, and made $3.5k in ad revenue. She isn't even doing affiliate stuff yet. It's just her and a well trained VA. She's going to launch another site soon, and she thinks her revenue should grow to $5k next month.

Her lane is so much faster than this...

Just goes to show what's possible out there.
So she puts out 8 pages onto the blog daily for last 8 months. That's pretty solid work daily! Different niche then yours?
What's she doing different that you can start doing?
@BizyDad did you have any major takeaways after talking with her on her process vs yours? Does she just pump out that much more content? Any outside promotion? Different Niche? More / less targeted? 120K visitors is nothing to sneeze at at such a short period of time. Did she have prior experience building up content / sites before launching this one?
 

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Unfortunately, it won't be ending with a big sales figure, that will have to come in a future year, and I'm ok with that.
Thankfully sites sell as a multiple of revenue, not EBITDA, so you'll be able to get more on your exit.

I was seriously surprised by this, it's the only industry I know where buyers really don't care if you hire a writer for $5k monthly to rank the site. They'll still pay a premium!

Wishing you the best in growing and monetizing this site. This is a very cool industry to be in...

You're sort of like a spec builder: Everyone knows you won't hold these sites longer than 16-24 months, so you build a site, develop content, monetize to fund continuous development, and eventually sell the finished web property for a premium (compared to other industries).

@BizyDad if you ever need someone to spitball ideas, let me know. I've brokered a few dozen content sites by now and have seen the good, bad, and ugly. Cheers!
 

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What's she doing different that you can start doing?
So she puts out 8 pages onto the blog daily for last 8 months. That's pretty solid work daily! Different niche then yours?

@BizyDad did you have any major takeaways after talking with her on her process vs yours? Does she just pump out that much more content? Any outside promotion? Different Niche? More / less targeted? 120K visitors is nothing to sneeze at at such a short period of time. Did she have prior experience building up content / sites before launching this one?

First off, she would probably say she's not that experienced and doesn't know much. It is her first site that is solely a blog, but she's been around the block and she definitely doesn't give herself enough credit.

As for different tactics, I can only speak generally. I didn't bother to ask because I know she and I have different approaches to this.

1. I am sure she launched with at least 1k of those blogs written. She has a smart way of finding repeatable, low competition phrases and generating content that is unique enough for Google. I am curious how the current update will affect her site, but if it doesn't hurt her, I may look into doing something similar.

2. She buys aged domains and points them for link value. She's got method to that, but again, that's not something I do.

3. She is definitely in a different niche. That's my main takeaway. I chose a niche because I didn't want to have to rely on ad revenue. As I mentioned in my early post, my website could be turned into a store if I wanted it to.

Well, I really don't want to. Which leaves my primary focus being affiliate revenue. And like I've been saying, I'll be adding that soon.

But now that I know the kinds of dollars that can be generated of some of these ad networks, I'm much more interested in targeting a different niche entirely with easy to rank informational phrases.

Thankfully sites sell as a multiple of revenue, not EBITDA, so you'll be able to get more on your exit.

I was seriously surprised by this, it's the only industry I know where buyers really don't care if you hire a writer for $5k monthly to rank the site. They'll still pay a premium!

Wishing you the best in growing and monetizing this site. This is a very cool industry to be in...

You're sort of like a spec builder: Everyone knows you won't hold these sites longer than 16-24 months, so you build a site, develop content, monetize to fund continuous development, and eventually sell the finished web property for a premium (compared to other industries).

@BizyDad if you ever need someone to spitball ideas, let me know. I've brokered a few dozen content sites by now and have seen the good, bad, and ugly. Cheers!

So that's what you're doing. Cool man. Good for you.

When we get this built up a little bit more, I'll be in touch.

In the meantime, if you want to add some more value to the thread, I know we've got a few people on here that read and are building up their own content sites.

Do you have any general advice you'd like to share? What's a common mistake that you see people making? What's the thing that people wish they had done differently when they're at the finish line that they didn't know when they were at the starting point? Do different revenue streams generate different multiples?

----

It's funny, I told my business partner, and then I posted on here.

It wasn't enough until after that that I had a meeting with my team about this.

I was hoping the team would be supportive of running two content sites simultaneously.

But with the main goals that I have for them regarding client work, they are concerned that they don't have the bandwidth to have two content sites going.

Plus, they would rather see this one through at least to monetization before we switch gears.

I got out voted four to one. Lol. I'm good with it. Frankly, it's nice to see the rest of the team truly committed to the project. That was a cool takeaway.

This is the second time in the history of my agency when I sold the team on a vision, hit a point of educated doubt, only to have the team be resolute in their determination of achieving the goal.

I am certain we will be sacrificing money. But it's a "small" price to pay to see the team come together.

So we revisited our keyword research, and found some much bigger phrases that we probably can rank for now that we are a year into this.

We adjusted our upcoming editorial schedule for the next 2 months. And we came up with some new ideas for articles that will be relevant around the holidays and in 2023. We'll get those posted ahead of time so that we can be there when those searches actually start.

(Somebody remind me how this is just a side project please. Lol. Client work vs easy ad revenue. Decisions, decisions.)
 
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Thankfully sites sell as a multiple of revenue, not EBITDA, so you'll be able to get more on your exit.

What type of sites and where? Content sites are pretty much always sold as a multiple of monthly profit, not revenue.
 

Cameraman

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This past month she garnered 120k visitors, and made $3.5k in ad revenue.
Is this all organic traffic or does she use paid ads to drive traffic to the site as well?
If you are comparing your organic traffic to someone who is also using paid traffic, it's probably not a good comparison. If you're unsure what traffic she might be paying for try analysing her domain with SEMRush or Spyfu.
 

Andy Black

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Is this all organic traffic or does she use paid ads to drive traffic to the site as well?
If you are comparing your organic traffic to someone who is also using paid traffic, it's probably not a good comparison. If you're unsure what traffic she might be paying for try analysing her domain with SEMRush or Spyfu.
How's a cameraman know about SEMRush and Spyfu?!?
 
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BizyDad

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Is this all organic traffic or does she use paid ads to drive traffic to the site as well?
If you are comparing your organic traffic to someone who is also using paid traffic, it's probably not a good comparison. If you're unsure what traffic she might be paying for try analysing her domain with SEMRush or Spyfu.
It's all organic. We're in an SEO mastermind together, and she doesn't have the budget for paid.

But I forgot to mention this was her first month hitting that revenue figure. The reason being she qualified for mediavine. She thinks next month will be better in part because she will have the ads on the site for the full month.

Prior to this month she was making peanuts on Google adsense and a couple other smaller ad networks.
 

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