Well I actually had no plans of making an update on this at all, but something very interesting has happened. If you happened to read my End of February 2010 Recap, I mentioned that one of my goals for this month was to remove PHPBay from 20 of my sites and replace it with Ebay widgets/adsense/nothing. Well today I had to leave at 4:00, but before I did, I wanted to get started doing this, because it’s a really high priority for me for the month. I had time to remove PHPBay from 12 sites so far, and I’ve replaced it with ebay widgets on each site, just as I would use Adsense on a micro niche sniper.
Anyway, got the first 12 done and took off at 4 for an appointment with the eye doctor. I just got back and decided to check out my EPN stats for yesterday – I noticed clicks today coming from several of the sites I was working on, so I decided to investigate. I only checked the rankings on 4 of the 12 sites, but the FANTASTIC news is that 2 of the 4 sites I checked are now ranking on the first page for their main keyword, after not even being in the top 100 for the last 6+ months. Both sites show they were indexed today – the other two sites were both last indexed on Feb 28, so I’m guessing (hoping) as soon as they are indexed they will also come back to life.
I have to say, I’m absolutely floored by how quickly this worked. I’ll have to obviously scale up to get the true result, but based on what I’ve seen today, I now believe that I was not really being “sandboxed” so much, but actually penalized by G for putting PHPBay on brand new sites.
The good news is, depending on how fast I can work, I may be able to have all 100 of my EPN sites back ranking again before the week is out – something I never would have possibly imagined before about 15 minutes ago.
The bad news is, it does appear that there is some kind of penalty for using PHPbay right now, which means that it may not be a very good tool anymore. Sad, because it’s a really good quality script and well supported.
Moving on, it will be interesting to see how the EPN widgets actually convert. They are similar in size to AdSense and actually quite easy to set up. They also allow impressions to be tracked, something I’ve never had before with EPN. So far all my sites showing impressions today have double-digit CTR, so I’m definitely liking what I’m seeing.
I always imagined myself posting at some point that my sites were starting to come out of the sandbox and things were back on the up and up with this project, but I never imagined I would actually solve the problem in this way. Again, it just goes to show how important testing is. If I would have just done a couple sites using EPN widgets instead of PHPBay from the beginning, I wouldn’t have had these 100 sites sitting in limbo for the last 6 months. Either way, I couldn’t be more excited. I’m planning on removing PHPBay from a lot more of these sites, if not all of the by the end of the week and I will definitely be posting more on this as I gain more information.