Pay Per Download, or the PPD model, is a form of content monetization wherein you create content – or aggregate it – and provide it through a service that monetizes the download stream. Often, this means a wait page with advertising, offers the user has to click through to get, or some other form of broad monetization. The site earns some money from the traffic you send over, and they pay you a percentage of that money as the commission for it.
There are a lot of different ways PPD content hosts monetize their content. Some of them throw up interstitial advertising before the download. Some of them put offers and surveys in front of the download, forcing the user to go through them in order to reach it, and those surveys are monetized through yet another service. Some sites throttle download speeds and delay them for free users, and charge a monthly fee for a premium download service with faster speeds, concurrent downloads, and no delay.
Interestingly, PPD as a business model does not include standard online sales, as the idea is that the download itself is free. So, selling an ebook on Amazon for $1 is not a PPD model, because the product costs money. The idea is to generate the money from downloaders without having to take money from them, at least not unless they want to pay for a premium account of some sort. In theory, it should be entirely possible to obtain the content for free.
PPD sites have a varied reputation online. Some of them are considered relatively benign, while others are thought of as much shadier. It tends to have to do with how hard they try to railroad the user into a paid or malicious situation prior to allowing the download. Some sites fill themselves with ads that look like download buttons and serve malware. Some of them viciously combat adblockers and don’t allow downloads if they can’t get their pennies.
Obviously, you should strive to use only the best PPD sites. You don’t want to associate your content with malicious links, you don’t want to infect your users with malicious software, and you don’t want to be labeled a black hat spammer in any way.
I’ve tried to compile a list of viable PPD sites that don’t serve malware and don’t go too deep into railroading your users into offers they don’t want. However, I’m going to put up a big warning here: everything written below is subject to change. A good site can easily go bad if the owners open themselves up to different advertisers. Payouts are variable enough that I’m avoiding even listing them. In any case, I recommend you add a test file and check out the download page, possibly through a proxy, so you can see what your users will see when they go to download. If you don’t like the process, don’t use the site.
ShareCash – This site has three modes of operation. One is the traditional file locker; you upload a file and link to it, and your users have to go and perform some action to retrieve the file and download it for themselves. That action is monetized. They also have website lockers, that lock away portions of your content and require a monetized action to unlock – like social lockers – and link lockers, which prevent a user from clicking an outbound link until they have performed a specific monetized action.
CPAGrip – This one offers the same three kinds of content lockers – file, content, and URL – as ShareCash, but also includes a video locker overlay for embedded videos on your site, as well as a couple of monetization options that don’t rely on your content to make you money. It’s useful if you want to try out a hybrid system, but be careful with going overboard.
Dollar Upload – This site has file lockers, URL lockers, a content gateway that acts like a pseudo-membership portal, and a notes locker that works like a monetized Pastebin. They also have pay per install software options and offer walls, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Adscend Media – This site has file lockers, link lockers, and a widget that lets you lock just about anything on your site. On top of that, they have a whole offer wall engine that provides rewards to your users as well as to you, to turn it all into a game. This includes incentivized videos and other content.
Link Bucks Media – This site has a typical link and file locker, but their one unique offering is a special format that works specifically with web forums. If you have a web forum you would like to monetize with an offer-based locker, this is your option.
FileIce – This is one of the most persistent lockers and have specific scripts to prevent users from downloading if they have ad blockers running. They’re so tenacious, in fact, that the top Google results are actually about bypassing them rather than using them. Of course, this could also indicate that they have been removed from the index, so exercise caution.
AdFly – This one is one of the most common PPD variations, in that it’s a URL shortener that monetizes the traffic passing through it. Unlike the other options, it only redirects through ads or puts them in an iframe, it doesn’t host content. However, it’s also very low paying, and you’re looking at mere pennies per thousand views.
There are, of course, dozens of other options. I just took a sample of the sort of sites you’re looking at. I haven’t tested all of them personally, and I highly recommend you do an isolated test before you go all-in attempting to use one for monetization. Again, things can change quickly, and you never know when one of these will go down or be converted into a malicious site.
The first thing you want to do, as I mentioned above, is pick a site and test it out. My testing process looks like this:
If at the end of all of that you’re satisfied about the quality of the site, you should start using it on a limited basis. You don’t want to flood your site with links in case the site is labeled spam and it hurts your SEO. You certainly don’t want to use an SEO-detrimental content locker across your site.
Now, that sets you up with a PPD site you’re willing to use, but you still need to use it. Now you have to determine how to use it.
So, what do you need to be successful with a file locker? Primarily, the answer is a good, attractive file. Something your users will really want to download, and will be willing to suffer through a delay, through ads, or through surveys in order to download. There are a bunch of possible ideas.
Regardless of the content you provide, chances are you’re going to have to provide a lot of it. One ebook isn’t going to make you much. In fact, putting that same ebook on Amazon for 99 cents is liable to make you more money, even with Amazon’s stiff cut. You’ll pretty much need an entire library.
The fact is, PPD is generally not what you would call a lucrative business model. It’s usually a way to make a little bit of supplementary income on the side of other, more traditional monetization methods. Software is often better sold than given away behind ads. Resource packs are the only one I would venture is about on par, and that’s because there are so many of them out there that it’s difficult to make them compelling enough for the average user to want to pay for them.
However, if you’re dedicated to providing as much content as possible – and we’re talking libraries of hundreds or thousands of free products monetized behind lockers – you can make a good chunk of change. You need to be aware of what is and isn’t working, though.
In order to do that, you need analytics. You need to see how many people are clicking and processing offers, and how much money those clicks are worth. You need to see which kinds of content are getting the most traffic, and you need to go all-in on producing more of that content. The more you rack up, the more you can earn, even with pitiful rates. As always with free monetization, it’s a game of volume and numbers.
Growtraffic.com is the leading pop-under traffic network.
Get thousands of targeted visitors for wholesale prices.