Advertising on Breakthrough Communications Web SitesChances are you got here from one of our popular hobby, holiday, music, writing, or Bible web sites. These all grew out of one web page we started in the late 1990s to answer common questions about a single hobby. Then we found ourselves answering more questions, including questions on other topics. Sometimes it was easier to put a group of related answers onto a new web page than to squeeze them into one of our existing sites. So, the sites kept growing, and the number of sites kept growing.
However, all of our sites have several things in common:
In addition, except for the BigTrainStore(tm) and the GardenTrainStore(tm), our sites are all content-intensive. That is to say, they are each overwhelmingly dominated by free, professionally-written articles that relate to the core charter of the site. Our sites' "communities" are constantly being joined by people who "Googled" a question and found twenty thousand "answers," but only one "answer" that actually answered their question.
Our Advertising PhilosophyFollowing the "will this benefit our readers" philosophy, the first advertisement we ran (in 2004) was for a magazine that was the chief "competitor" to our biggest site - because the magazine benefits the same hobbies we do, and their writers have great ideas, too, and they often cover topics we can't.
After that, we started accepting advertising for products that related to the content of individual pages, from vendors we felt we could trust. Our readers don't seem to mind advertisements for trains on a page about trains, or for Christmas decorations on a page about Christmas trees. In fact, they occasionally express their appreciation that we brought something to their attention that they might not have known about otherwise.
Of course, such constraints limit the number of products we can offer at any give time. Across our entire family of sites - thousands of pages - we probably promote fewer than 500 individual products at any given time. That's not because we don't get offers. Since we started advertising, we have turned down thousands of requests by advertisers, relating to millions of products. But, unfortunately, most of these:
One problem with unrelated or intrusive advertising is that it wastes our readers' time. Advertising popups, text link boobytraps that take readers to unrelated pages, fourteen-inch-high banners that force readers to scroll down four times to read a single sentence, all inconvenience people looking for answers. It's no wonder that some of those more "profitable" sites spend a fortune each year to stay near the top of Google rankings. If you see one of our sites come up on the first page of Google for relevant searches (and most of them land there consistently) know that quality, relevant content and reader word-of-mouth are the only "tricks" that got them there. We hope you can see why we're hesitant to sacrifice reader good will for a few extra dollars of income.
How This Benefits Our AdvertisersBecause we are so picky about what advertising we will accept, our readers have learned that an ad on our pages is is the same thing as a personal recommendation from the authors and editors. If your product or service is approved for advertising on any of our sites, you will be part of a very small "club," and your advertisement will not be crowded out by dancing lizards advertising mortgage refinancing or whatever.
How we AdvertiseIf you still think there's a place for your advertisement on one or more of our pages, here are some ways you may be able to see that happen.
Affiliate ProgramsAlmost all of our advertising is through affiliate programs such as Amazon and Commission Junction. In a way, that takes the guessing out of the equation - we only make money if the advertiser does. This also gives us great visibility into which links are working and which are not.
If you have a product or business that you think relates to the content of one of our sites, and you have (or could set up) an affiliate program with Amazon, Commission Junction, Google, Pepperjam, or a similar intermediary, consider working that out, then getting in touch with us. Chances are that you will find a dozen other sites willing to advertise your product once you're in the system.
Other Hobby SitesBecause we are serious about supporting our hobby communities, we also look favorably on other folks who do the same thing. For that reason we often provide "free links" to other hobby sites that have beneficial content.
Mom and Pop Stores - If you're a hobbyist who also provides some product or service that will help our readers with their hobby, send us the information, including your URL. If we agree that it will benefit our readers to know about your product, we may add the link at no charge on the page(s) where it makes sense.
On the other hand, if you want to see links to your site from pages that aren't specifically related to the products you offer, that is called "ad placement" or "link placement" and that will cost you money up front (see below).
Other Informative Hobby Sites - If you have useful "how-to" or other informative articles on your site (whether or not you are selling products or services), send us the URL. If we determine that your content would be helpful to our readers, we may add the link at no charge on the page(s) where it makes sense. If quality is high, and you cover many topics, we may add several links from related pages.
This may seem like scant "support," but a single link from one of our pages has been known to move "startup" hobby pages significantly higher in the Google standings overnight. (Moving on from there depends on you, and the quality of information you provide.)
Also, our readers have learned that we don't insult their intelligence by linking to useless products and services - so when they do follow the link to your page, they are expecting to find something useful or infomative, and what more can you ask of a link?
Contributors - Over the years, we've made many friends who are as serious about supporting their hobby as we are. In several case, we have contributed to each other's sites, loaned each other collectibles for photo shoots, linking where it makes sense, and even in a few cases working together on joint "startup" sites.
In short, we believe that helping our friends support the same hobbies we support helps us, in the same way that a "rising tide lifts all boats."
Paid AdvertisingFor ALL paid advertising we have the following requirements:
You'll note that we keep saying "in our opinion." That is deliberate - our opinion is final, and yelling at us for turning down your advertising or for pulling your ad when you go from advertising Christmas music to X-Rated hip-hop won't do you any good.
Premium Ad/Link PlacementA "premium page" is any home page, any "primer" index page, and any page that appears on the first page of the most relevant Google search. If you have any questions about a particular page, please ask before you commit any resources to this project. As a rule, prepaid ad placement on a premium page will cost twice as much as the other pages.
In addition, people have asked about advertising in our e-mail newsletters, so we have included rates for each of them - the rates vary because of circulation differences.
Note: All advertising rates we have listed below (including the highest) are based on actual offers that we had to turn down for one or more of the reasons listed on this page. However we have established a discount plan for multiple ad/link placements, if you are interested. That plan is explained after the rate charts.
Rates for Prepaid AdsA prepaid ad is a visual image that a reader may click on to go to your landing page. The graphics and or message in the ad should indicate what the reader will find on the landing page.
Our pricing system is based on a 96-dots per inch model, in which a 96-pixel square image takes up about one square inch of screen space. (See right.) Yes, we know that 96-pixels don't make a full inch on the new high-resolution screens. But, frankly, a pretty high percentage of our target audience is using 1024x768 or lower resolution monitors, or even tablets their kids have gotten them. So for us it averages out.
Your ads don't have to be square; we'll calculate the size when we receive the image. Also, if you don't have a graphic, we can create one for an additional one-time fee.
Rates for Text LinkA text link is a key word or phrase, contained within the body of a document, that, when clicked on, causes the browser to go to another URL. that is contained within the text of a page. Like a prepaid ad, the landing page must be related to the key word(s) in the link and must not be changed without prior approval.
Discounts for Multiple Ad PurchasesYou can get a 10% discount by purchasing 2 ad or link placements, a 20% discount by purchasing 3 ad placements, a 30% discount by purchasing 4 ad placements, a 40% discount by purchasing 5 or more ad placements, or a 50% discount by purchasing 10 or more ad placements. You may mix and match different ad sizes, different sites, and different placement types (ad placements and links). All other terms and conditions apply.
ConclusionOnce again, if you are a fellow hobbyist and want to get notice on our site, simply contact us with your URL and anything you want to say about how your site, product, or services will benefit our readers. We are always looking for folks to form mutually beneficial partnerships.
If your interest is strictly in ad or link placement, simply contact us and tell us which page or newsletter you are interested in, and what product or services you hope to advertise. If we think there is a potential for a business relationship, we will get back to you. On the other hand, partial or misleading information on your contact form will cause your request to be discarded automatically by the system, so please pay attention when you fill out the form.
Looking forward to responses, suggestions, additions, criticisms, and anything else you care to send me, I remain,
P.S. Enjoy your hobbies. And be sure to enjoy any time you have with your family in the coming weeks.
Note: Breakthrough Communications™, Family Garden Trains™, Garden Train Store™, Big Christmas Trains™, BIG Indoor Trains™, BIG Train Store™, and Trains-N-Towns™ are trademarks of Breakthrough Communications (www.btcomm.com). All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically