Get more value out of download sites...
If you're an ISV (independent software vendor), then it won't have escaped your notice that download sites have become progressively useless as a marketing resource over the last few years. Thousand of clone sites using the ASP's PADKit have sprung into life, driven by the thrilling prospect of an endless stream of Google Adsense income. These sites are happy to use and abuse the content they get free of charge from the PAD files that authors submit to them. Many of them have started selling clones of themselves as complete ready the run businesses and barriers to entry are so low that there's nothing to stop pretty much anyone from running their very own download portal.
Because these sites only care about generating additional clicks on the Google Ads that plaster their pages, many of them actual hide downloads in a sea of ads and completely remove links to the authors site. This is a wholly inequitable situation and it's likely to continue to get worse for a very long time before it improves.
Fortunately, there is a simple way to fight back and gain some marketing value from these otherwise useless "Para" sites. I use the term parasite, since this sums the vast majority of these sites and their business model effectively. There are of course exceptions to this rule and quality download sites do exist, they just happen to be few and far between.
Adshots, not Screenshots
So here's the basic idea. Instead of thinking of the screenshot referenced in your PAD file as just a screenshot, think of it as a blank advertising canvass that thousand of the download sites are happy to display for you free of charge. You can put whatever you like on this space.
Here's a quick example of the concept:
There are a couple of constraints to this type of advertising. The goal of the ad that replaces a screenshot is to get a download site visitor to leave the download site by typing your URL into their browser. This isn’t going to work reliably unless you have a relatively short domain name that is easy to type.
It’s not enough to just put your URL on your screen shot and hope for the best. Screenshots are pretty dull at the best of times, so you need to actively give the visitor a call to action. Invite them to visit your site directly and try to offer some tangible reason why they should do this. Since most download sites are a deliberately tangled mess of adsense ads, in many cases this will seem like a highly attractive proposition to the visitor. Many of them will be predisposed to leave the junk website as fast as they can (in fact, this is part of the twisted logic that helps these sites make money on adsense in the first place). Visitors are willing to click on anything to get away!
Assuming your site does a reasonable job of marketing your product, a visitor that downloads your product from your site is far more likely to purchase than a visitor who somehow manages to download your application in amongst a swamp of adsense ads on a download site that looks like it's been hit by a bag of spanners.
We switched from using regular PAD screenshots to using our new improved adshots a couple of month ago. So far it has resulted in a steady increase in direct visits roughly equivalent to between 10% and 30% of the total number of recorded hits on our previous screenshot images. This figure varies based on the content of the ad, the product and the market, but it does provide a reliable way of increasing traffic.
It’s worth noting these figures are only based on download sites that access PAD screenshots directly (because they hotlink to them they show up immediately in your webstats). However, many download sites actually host screenshots themselves. Since it takes several months for these sites to complete an update cycle, it’s still too early to gauge how effective this method is going to be in the long term. But, even at this stage it’s clear that it does have a positive impact.
What it boils down to is having a compelling advert that attracts the download sites visitors’ attention. If you’d like to try this approach but are not’t sure how to design your own “Adshot” then we can do it for you for just $100 USD. We’ll also design you a box shot and an “Adshot” for a discounted total price of just $150 USD.
There’s another consideration to bear in mind. Since the download site visitor may be clicking on a button labeled “Screenshot” they will probably have the expectation of seeing a screenshot and some of them may react negatively seeing an advert. One solution to this problem is to provide a screenshot of your application as part of the advert. Here’s an example of this in action:
Here are some other examples of the adshots we've be using successfully with some of our products. Click the images to view them full screen in another window. Once again, our design team can create an adshot for your product (without a box shot) for just $100 USD. Which isn't bad for an ad advert that's certain to drive a large amount of qualified traffic to your site on a regular basis. This price includes licensing fees for any stock images we use in your design.
If you'd like us to design an "adshot" you please contact us!
Of course, if you fancy designing an "adshot" for yourself then there's no better product to use than 3D Box Shot Pro. With its stunting quality 3D imagery and background image capability, 3D Box Shot Pro is perfect for creating "adshots".