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Defcon1

Free game sites and money

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You know those sites where you can download free games like tetris or breakout or something like that (they have a lot you can download)? Well the people running the most popular sites seem to make a decent living out of it. Where does this money come from? Im guessing from traffic? Also, I've read some articles about such sites and I would like to read some more if anyone knows where there might be some online? Thanks a lot!

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They probably make money from the adverts on sites. If the have a lot of good free games and a lot of traffic then they'll generate alot of money from ad bannaers and such like.

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Banner advertising these days doesn't generate a significant amount of income, that's why most download sites sell promotion services to the developers whose products there are hosting. These services range from having a "Featured Download" link on the homepage, to having your file approved faster than other non-paying members. Basically, they try to entice developers to pay some money to help them get more out of their submission.
I unfortunately don't know of any books relating to this subject, but there are so many download sites around that it would be a very tough market to try to earn money.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
spyware and adware

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Speaking as the developer of one such site :) the secret is simply understanding how ad revenue works: the more traffic you get, the more money you get per click.

I.e. the relationship between number of visitors and money earned is non-linear. A site with 100,000 visitors per day is worth much more to an advertiser than 1000 times a site with 100 visitors per day (the latter is worthless, the former is hugely valuable).

You also get much more bargaining power if you have a large amount of traffic: small sites have to use middlemen (ad agencies) who rape them. Big sites can (and usually do) negotiate direct with the advertisers. Of the 5 or 6 organizations I know who make most of their revenue from ad-income they all negotiate directly (one of them I recall usually makes more than 5 times as much money from negotiated ads as from ones placed by agencies). Obviously, you need to be BIG to have that kind of clout.

That said, on the current site we're making in the region of $0.03 per month at the moment :). LOL. I wouldn't recommend it unless you REALLY know what you're doing (which, if you're reading this thread, you probably don't). On the site I'm working on at the moment, it's probably fine even if we never made any income at all - it's only going to be spent on paying the games developers anyway - so we're not particularly worried. But I wouldn't want to setup a pure profit-making business in this area right now, it's too late really.

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Many download sites also take advantage of affiliate programs. Basically they have a "Buy Now" button and they split any sales with the game's developer.

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