Todd Garland Explains How He Started And Grew BuySellAds.com Into A $10+ Million Dollar Company

By Yaro Starak
26 Comments

Todd Garland is the founder of BuySellAds.com, an advertising management platform and ad selling service that I have to say I am quite jealous of.

Why am I jealous?

[ Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ]

Because Todd has built a company – a company doing over $10 million a year in revenue – with the same idea I had.

Amazingly enough, after talking to Todd for this interview it appears we had almost exactly the same idea around the same time (2007), except Todd went on to implement it straight away, where I waited another four years…sigh.

In this interview you will hear how Todd was a college dropout and after both his mother and father died around the same time, found himself at a pretty big crossroads. He managed to get work at a development firm, and eventually started a couple of design sites on the side – CSS Elite and 13 Styles.

His websites became popular and he started selling advertising. As a result of this experience, he had an idea for an advertising management service that would help you manage and sell ads. The key differences to any other platform at the time was that Todd wanted to sell ads for a monthly fee on subscription and he wanted his software to make the ad buying process completely automated.

He coded up BuySellAds version 1.0 by himself and after waiting six months to get over the fear of releasing it, he finally did. Within two months he was making $5,000 a month and it grew from there.

Today BuySellAds is a leader in the direct advertising business. Todd is continuing to innovate, now offering more forms of advertising such as Twitter, RSS, App and Email Newsletter ads. Listen to this interview and you will hear how it all began.

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26 Comments

  • Another great success story-I guess haste does make waste! Have a great day Yaro and thanks FOR THE POST!

  • Sam

    Great article and inspiring interview. I like the point you brought out Yaro about Todd implementing his idea while you waited (may you were procrastinating). It’s a problem I have and fighting to get rid of it. One of the main factor affecting me to implement what am learning online and some of my ideas is “Information Overload”. I have read so much that I just don’t know where to start and when I decide to start on some thing. I will come across another information again, want to implement that and naturally lost focus on what I already started. So lacking that consistency is making me not seeing any result. I hope I’ll overcome this problem, because I badly need to. I have more than 40 domains I have been renewing out of my own pocket and not making any revenue from them. I started to develop some and just didn’t have that consistency needed to see result. Because I will start and jump to something else or procrastinating a lot.

    Thanks for this article and all your article I have been reading and keep up the good job. I hope I’ll be able to imitate you and am trying to. Thx!

    • Hey Sam,

      When Todd was busy starting BuySellAds I was busy launching my first membership site. You could say he went with his strengths in that he could actually code the first version of his software himself, where I would have had to hire developers. In the case of my course, I could write it all myself and I had people willing to pay, so I went in that direction. It makes sense, and I would do it again given the same situation.

      As for your challenges with info overload, that is a common problem. You are going to have to stick with one idea and ignore the rest, and then get busy. You should be implementing 90% of the time and studying/resting the other 10%. If procrastination is a problem, then I’d look first at your mindset and why you are procrastinating. Figure that out and getting things done becomes a lot more natural because you choose to work rather than procrastinate because it is more satisfying.

      • Sam

        Thanks Yaro for your comment.

        I agreed with you on what you said and I will try to figure out a specific online idea to stick with. Currently I have decided to using one of my domain, which will work well for an advertising platform because of the name. I want to develop it for a start using one of these classified ads or directory scripts out there and can develop it to something more robust if it becomes the first trigger I pule right. To be frank Yaro, I have read a lot from your blog and your email marketing articles, your free reports and a lot of article/reports/books from well renowned internet markets. I just need to get started and get into the feel of having a strong presence online. So, I thought to myself last night (around 10:00pm Easter Time, NYC) let me start with this advertising/classified ads site. That what got me to your article about Todd’s buy and sell ads website.

        With regards to my procrastination issue, I strongly believe the antidote to that is the fact that I was not able to decide on which idea to start with first. That has been the main problem. I get things done once I set my mind on a particular target. I believe there is success online for those who stick to their guns and it’s time I get my hands into the gloves and get to work. I don’t believe in over night money from the internet, I believe it comes with consistency.

        Thanks for the suggestion Yaro, and the motivation too. I always enjoy your articles. I have not being able to participate in the discussions, but now I have to because I need to get to work. I hope that within the next few weeks whenever I comment on your posts I’ll be able to make reference to my site and will count you as one of my inspirational figures.

      • Sam

        Hi Yaro,

        I finally made it! Thanks for the motivation! I got a few upfront reply from you, that ignited a bigger turning point for me towards my internet business desires. I have conquered the “information overload” syndrome and found a cure to the contagious “Procrastination” disease. THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!!!

        What’s the Turning Point?

        I have finally created and put online my website! All by myself! It’s an advertising, business and products listing platform. The site is call McVertiser. I’ll appreciate a little of your time if you can, to check it out at: http://www.McVertiser.com

        Big Thank You***** :)

    • I am also a victim of “information overload” like Sam put it. I have tried to work on many ideas and eventually putting them off simply because they delayed in payment.

  • Hi, Yaro
    Todd Garland is an awesome person who give us a platform to monetize our blogs and add buy sells is the best alternative of google adsense,Thanks for sharing such a inspiring article… :-)

  • I’m going to download it to listen to while on my way to football training tonight. I hope he explains in it why his site accepts spammy sites with duplicate content but regularly turns down decent sites with unique content. :P

  • Sounds like an interesting podcast, although i trust the source, Yalo has always been an honest man.

    Thanks for sharing dear.

  • Hi Yaro great podcast, I haven’t been on buysellads for a while and didn’t know they were doing email newsletter ads. I shall be popping over and taking a look. I believe email is still far superior than banner ads. What is your opinion?
    Regrads
    SI

    • Definitely worth a test and I agree, if you want direct traffic, email is hard to beat assuming the offer is good and the list owner has relationships in place with his or her subscribers.

  • Hello, Yaro

    How do yu deal with that the idea you develop is already realized by somebody else and there are a big players in the niche? Shoemoney has a marketplace too.

    • I’m not sure why you mention Shoemoney’s marketplace…but to answer your question, I like it when there are big players already in a market because that means there is a lot of money to be made.

      In the advertising industry Todd’s company is tiny – Don’t forget we are essentially competing with Google AdSense, and Google is kinda big!

      The key is to find your point of differentiation and build a tribe around that. Find a way to service a sub-segment or do something slightly better or different and you can still build a large company.

      The hard part, as I am experiencing with CrankyAds is not coming up with ways to be different, but to execute on ideas. Software is not an easy thing to build.

      • Hello Yaro,

        Have you written anything on how CrankyAds is similar to and different than BuySellAds? They agreed to allow me to use theirs on GrowMap a long time ago, but I guess I was waiting for yours. :-)

        Someone is bound to ask me why CrankyAds instead of BSA? Could you provide some comparisons between the two?

  • Hey Yaro,
    How do you check CTR in bysellsadds for related keyword terms. Do you have any keyword research tool in your mind to check how much it gonna pay for specific types of adds. Thanks in advance!

    • I don’t think BSA releases CTR publicly. I know you get that data if you are buying ads on sites. You can check to see what other advertisers are spending money on certain sites. If your offer is similar, that is a site you might want to test.

      • I was just thinking about CTRs in CrankyAds this morning. I suspect that many are changing creatives in existing ads and muddying the water regarding CTR accuracy. Ideally we need have CTR calculations for different creatives separate from each other. I believe when you edit an existing ad now the CTRs will be an average of more than one?

        Eventually you could provide even more value by allowing advertisers to see a range of CTRs per ad zone. That way they have a baseline to tell them that if their ad is not at least outperforming the lower range they need to test different creatives.

  • One of the best networks for both publishers and advertisers.

  • Inspiring how they pursued their plans. I wish I could generate an idea that could earn me million dollar in the near future – like what buysellads today.

  • What an inspiring story. I bet we all miss the boat every now and then. I am sure some of my ideas would be possible.

    I remember a friend telling me we could design something that keeps the interior of your car cool, I laughed at first (not in his face). Now there is a product doing this.

  • Yaro

    Todd story is phenomenal it just goes to show we have everything we need to succeed,, Im nnot saying school is bad but its definitely wont help most of us get the lifestyle we want.

    but I love buysellads alot

  • This guy is just a pure piece of inspiration. He has made BuySellAds the best direct banner advertising solution available out there for both advertisers and publishers. Hats off to Todd, great job man :).

  • Hey Yaro,

    I have used Cranky Ads on both my sites and it is extremely easy to use, very happy with it. I would like to use both Cranky and Buy Sell Ads, but don’t have enough traffic to qualify for the latter, only about 10k impressions per month right now.

    The thing I like about Buy Sell Ads is their homepage, where you can see the featured publishers with their impressions listed, as well as featured tweets and RSS feeds.

    Have you thought about developing a homepage like this where advertisers and publishers can see this information, and also sell tweets and ads in our RSS feeds?

    The other question I have is can I manually place ad zones with cranky ads in my site? For instance I would like to featured a header on every page.

    Thanks!

  • Another great interview, but what I can’t understand is why it’s always like pulling teeth to get these people to respond to questions? Yaro is a very talented interviewer, but the people he interviews makes it extremely awkward and difficult to run smoothly. It’s like these people don’t really want to answer, or don’t know how to answer, or try thinking too hard about the “right” way to answer.

  • […] a side note, I interviewed Todd Garland back in September 2012, who is the founder of BuySellAds.com, the biggest and most similar competitor to CrankyAds. As I […]

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