Tuesday, June 28, 2011...9:00 am

SEO Week: How Broadband Genie makes money from online content

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Can you make money online through editorial content? In a series of videos filmed last year at UCA Farnham, Chris Marling explains how broadband comparison site Broadband Genie achieves £1 million in annual revenue through clever use of SEO and targeted consumer editorial content.

The Broadband Genie business model

The Broadband Genie web site makes all the profit for the company (it also has smaller sites, including Office Genie.

  • 150,000 unique visits a month
    [UPDATE: rose to 250,000 after the video was shot, as BBG amalgamated another site, adding a lot of traffic in the process. Plus the site had a few really good months news-wise, thanks to Apple.]

This doesn’t sound like a massive number – but it’s more than enough if you run your website properly.

“Overall annual revenue is projected to be £1m – there’s a lot of money available if you do the internet properly

The model is referral-based advertising – visitors click through to links and a cookie is dropped on their computer; if a visitor buys anything from that site within 30 days, without going via anyone else’s referral link in the meantime, Broadband Genie gets the money.

These transactions can be anything from a tiny 3 dongle that might only generate £5 in affiliate fees to a big Sky package – buying all this online can generate £200-£300.

The beauty is Broadband Genie is not a retailer, so it doesn’t have to deal with customers direct.

“People see comparison sites like us as a kind of Carphone Warehouse – wide boys who try to sell you a phone because they know they’re going to get the most profit out of it. That’s not what we do – we send you through to the actual person. You’re not buying from us – you’re buying from, say, O2, and you get O2’s customer service.”

Income breakdown:

  • 75% – referrals
  • 20-25% – banner advertising
  • Around 5% – Google Adsense revenue

“When I started at BBG I couldn’t believe how easy it was to get those tenancies. I come from a B2B publishing company where you had an advertising team that was sitting there all day, every day phoning people up saying ‘the next magazine’s out in a month, do you want to buy an advert?’ and the response was ‘no’. They were ending up giving adverts away – selling them for £10 in a monthly magazine. We’ve got these guys ringing us up a month before their tenancy runs out wanting to renew.”

Google Adsense revenue comes from sponsored links. Clickthroughs on sponsored links get a tiny fraction of 1p in revenue – but when you’ve got them all over a very big website with a lot of content, that adds up.

Broadband Genie has same revenue model as other familiar comparison sites: Kelkoo, Compare the Market, Confused.com. But Broadband Genie does it with editorial, which makes it stand out.

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