I am developing a travel directory website in a particular online niche. The directory will list various vendors and their offerings through geographic and numerous criteria search. When a site visitor clicks on one of the vendors on a results page, a details page will appear with basic info on the vendor's offering, along with the URL or, in the absence of a URL, other contact info.
To start, I envision that I will offer vendors a standard click-thru rate not to exceed a flate annual rate. I have looked into affiliate programs through which users can make reservations on my site, but that is something I will have to do down the road, if I do it at all. Setting up my own reservation system would be even further down the road, if at all. I already have several thousand appropriate vendors in my database, and potential for tens of thousands more.
Since hiring data entry clerks/teams and/or editors is an expensive proposition, I am contemplating contracting commission-only sales people to help with signing up vendors, providing them with a percentage of each click-through or flat-rate price for each of their accounts.
I have a back-end developer who can do all the programming to track traffic, sales, and click-throughs.
The questions I'm pondering are:
1) What are the going rates for PPC? (For several reasons, I am not contemplating instating a Google-style bid system.)
2) What are the going annual flat rates? (I already have some ideas from my research, and I also know that this is industry specific.)
3) What are the going rates for commissions?
4) How do I deal with the fact that I will have to advertise vendors on the site in order to draw traffic, while I will have to draw traffic in order to make sales remunerative to the sales rep, since their commissions will come to them immediately but will accumulate in time through residuals?
I'm all for starting small, but don't want to grow at such a snail's pace that the site doesn't grow into at least a semi-lucrative venture.
You seem to have two categories of issues:
- media pricing and
- operating / start-up costs
. The latter are outside the Guru' purview.
As to pricing, that is always in flux, especially these days. The answer is to research your competitor's prices.