Image hosting can provide a fun, steady income stream for the webmaster who has some extra bandwidth and disk space. It can build up a
, which in turn can be monetized using the right techniques. The trick is to find the best places to get the users, and the best places to advertise.
Even with all the “free web hosting”, low disk space costs, “unlimited” bandwidth, and other freebies, a lot of people just don’t want to manage their own disk space and bandwidth when it comes to hosting images. Many people use auction sites where the primary content is hosted by the auction itself, so if the user wants to add extra images they have to pay fees from the auction site. And some email systems don’t support sending attachments, even if they are zipped. Or maybe the file limit is 1 MB and you have an image that’s 2 MB.
That’s where image hosting comes in. Hosting sites give users the ability to upload images of all kids (some adult, some family friendly – check it out before you use it). The original image gets uploaded to the free image hosting site, which converts it to a thumbnail. The thumbnail is then shown with several link types, usually including:
The forum links usually come in two flavors. One of them will work depending on the forum or bulletin board software you are using.
People who are uploading images to eBay pay extra fees for all the images they want to show. If you have dozens, or hundreds of posts, or your a business with thousands of auctions, these fees really add up.
Marketing directly to eBay sellers can provide a user base that is willing to pay fees that are lower than eBay’s fees. If you also provide image features that eBay does not provide, even better! Some users are willing to pay extra for fancy albums, slideshows, and other features that will make their eBay listing more attractive to buyers.
The mainstay of classic “free image hosting” is the advertising model. In this model, the free hosting site owner places advertisements around the picture. Ads are clicked on, and the site makes money! It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme, but it will provide a steady income stream once the user base is populated. How do you get set up? You need a hosting provider, advertising partner, and if you can’t build a website yourself, and webmaster.
The 500-pound-gorilla here is Google AdSense. They have so much advertiser inventory they can provide the publisher (you) with contextually relevant ads for almost any traffic in the world. Here’s the catch with image hosting: the traffic is on the lower end of the value range, so to make millions of dollars you need a site with a ton of traffic. But even a site with a moderate amount of traffic can make hundreds of dollars a week – if monetized properly. Once you have your site set up, you define ads in AdSense, place a simple snippet of code in your page, and viola! – ads automatically appear.