29 Sep 2012

How my SMS and airtime websites make money


The promise of Free SMS and daily airtime draws are fairly decent traffic generators. Thousands of visitors hit my websites every day and while there are no dodgy subscription fees attached to my services and I do not sell user data, someone needs to foot the airtime and SMS bills at the end of the month (me).

I am surprised by how many people ask me how I pay the bills as the answer is a very simple one - Online advertising. Google AdSense provides me with an income stream that correlates to the number of visitors hitting my websites which enables me to buy more SMS and airtime as the sites get more traffic.

It's not simple to say how many people win airtime in a day or how many free SMS can be sent in a day as these numbers fluctuate each month (depending on advertising revenue) but are slowly increasing in the long term to sustain growth as traffic (and advertising revenue) increases. I do give as much advertising revenue back in the form of SMS and airtime as I can, though there are also other costs associated with running websites that need to be covered as well.

Right now the ratio of SMS to airtime spend is around 2:1 and my SMS site generally offers a better return on investment than my airtime site, but this may change in future if demand for free SMS dwindles (but hopefully it won't).

Thousands of SMS are sent from free082sms.co.za every month and visitors have way more chance of winning some airtime from ehtime.co.za than winning Vodacom millionaires or the Lotto :) You can see a list of some of the people on Twitter who have won airtime here.