A Primer in Thumbnail Gallery Marketing

Today we will discuss how to maximize the value added by your thumbnail gallery marketing efforts. Future articles will cover bulk processing for maximum efficiency, submitting to the Thumbnail Gallery Posts (TGPs), and analyzing the results of the documented experiment.

Thumbnail gallery posts are the most readily available source of adult traffic utilized by any webmaster. Quite simply, almost all of the Internet’s high-traffic adult sites are thumbnail gallery posts of a similar tune. According to Sextracker, 8 of the top 10 individual pages on the adult Internet are the home pages of TGPs. These 8 pages combined receive nearly 4 million unique visitors a day, and an especially successful round of posting your galleries can funnel more than 100,000 of them through your site daily.

Assuming you’ve found an appropriate sponsor (one whose banners aren’t overused, whose front end is high-converting, and whose material is actually special or unique in some way), there are two fundamental problems with being a thumbnail webmaster: finances and time. Anything that you can do to maximize the value your galleries in respect to either finances or time logically follows the “a penny saved” philosophy, and should be your primary goal as a thumbnail webmaster.

Financial Wear
Here is a pretty good thumbnail gallery scenario: in the last week you’ve had more than a half million visitors visit your array of galleries. Since you’ve found a good sponsor that offers something special, you were able to get 4,000 of these people to click on your banners (1:125), and your sponsor has converted the visitors you’ve sent at a decent rate of 1:1,000. Congratulations, you’ve made around $140 for all of your hard work, at least before expenses are considered. Some webmasters are more successful than this, and others less so.

Incredible Bandwidth Usage
Now, if you’ve signed up with a free host this doesn’t apply to you.

If you’re trying to pay the bandwidth bill yourself, you might be in trouble. Assuming your images are fully compressed, an average thumbnail visitor will use up about 70 K of your bandwidth. This means that you’ve consumed (70 K * 500,000 visitors) / (1,000,000 K / GB) = 35 GB of bandwidth. At an excellent rate of $1.50 per GB, you’re left with only $87.50 profit. Sound bad? It is, and its far too common. And thats not giving consideration to the higher bandwidth requirements of movie files and Flash galleries!

The Cost of Quality Content
If you’re going to do this, you need your own content. There is no way to get around this expense, and the only way to really maximize your purchase is to buy a bulk package. Surfing around and stealing images is both illegal and time-consuming. Buy your own material from one of the content providers on this site, or go to Matrix Content, Pornholios, Python Video, or Z-Master - all four are respectable establishments that have only treated us well. Getting any decent collection will cost several hundred dollars. You can’t buy the premium stuff (100 images for $50) because you’d have to buy a new CD every week. Instead, buy a bulk package if you can afford something near a $500 fee. It will last you months, and you can use them on your pay sites or AVS sites, too. Some sponsors now-a-days do offer free content to their affiliates, but in many cases this content may be over-used and may not maximize the potential of your traffic.

The Time Factor
Okay, youve decided between (hopefully) free or personal hosting, made the necessary investment in some real content, and youre otherwise ready to get started. Now all that you have to do is edit your images, find appropriate TGPs to submit your galleries to, actually create your galleries, and then submit your finished product. Sound time-consuming? It is, but here is an overview of what to do.

Image Editing
As a thumbnail gallery webmaster, this is your golden rule: compress your images! A 100x150 thumbnail doesnt have to be crystal clear, and you dont need a 400x600 full-sized image. The golden rule applies to both free and personal hosting – smaller, faster-loading pages will be at worst more likely to retain a visitor (and hopefully get him to your sponsor) and at best save you a bushel of cash.

Crank up the JPEG compression to 40 or 50 if appropriate, and resize your full images to something between (depending on the pictures shape) 300x400 to 400x500 pixels. This will keep all of your full-sized images between 15-25 K, and more than clear enough to be high quality.

To batch process images (for compressing and resizing), check out ThumbsPlus - its simply the best bulk image editing tool youll ever find. Note: since this article was first published, both Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Fireworks have implemented batch processing to handle bulk image editing. Check out Marcomedia Dreamweavers gallery generator, too!

Finding Thumbnail Gallery Posts
This wouldn’t be such a Nazi-harsh task if there weren’t so many of them, and then each one requires a reciprocal link! Also, you don’t want to waste your time submitting to TGPs without a traffic base, so this leaves you searching for the good ones.

In order to develop our own proprietary list, we simply visited the top sites on the Sextracker and Sexlist page listings, and then followed the "top lists" to find other high-referring TGPs. Top lists are those (usually) numbered lists near the top of most TGPs with (hopefully) referral numbers next to them. Follow the circles around for a while and log the important sites that you run across. Bookmark their submission pages (or better yet, make them links in an .html page!) and save their reciprocal link buttons. You might want to make a giant .html page with rows of appropriately matched TGP recip buttons for easy copy-and-paste into your galleries for mass production. This method still takes a while, but it’s as good as it gets when you make your galleries manually!

Gallery Creation
Each gallery doesn’t need to be unique or special in any way. Pretty galleries don’t send surfers to your sponsors any faster than do ugly ones, so don’t fret over making them your pride and joy or design masterpieces. There are some automatic thumbnail gallery creation programs, but I’ve never run into one worth using – that’s why we developed our own.

If you’re doing everything by hand, you need the following things: a gallery design template, pictures, and an .html page with copy-and-paste sets of TGP reciprocal link sets.

Create as many different gallery setups as possible with the pictures that you have. Don’t limit yourself to using each picture once. These are your gallery templates. We’ll pretend that you’ve made 5 templates, numbered template1.html, template2.html, and so on. After you’re done, copy each of your TGP reciprocal link sets into a new copy of every template. In other words, reuse template1.html for every TGP that you can. Copy the recip bar onto the top of the page, and resave it. Then repeat for every other template. This will make the process go as quickly as possible.

Submitting Your Galleries
It’s a waste of time to wander through each TGP Website until you come to the submission page – save yourself as much hassle as you can. When you make your reciprocal link sets, create a corresponding set of submission pages for your own use. Then you can submit your pages as efficiently as possible. You’ll also need to create a log for remembering which galleries are submitted to whom.

David Wolf has worked in the adult industry for three years. He specializes in international marketing strategy and web spider creation. David holds a BA in Business Information Systems, is currently pursuing his MA in Strategic Intelligence.


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