Most people on this forum fit into three categories. First you are a signature/ad buyer and want to get the most you can out of advertising, second you are a signature seller and hope to offer a price that's fair for both parties involved, third you use ads/signatures for affiliate links. Here's the million dollar question. How can you buy, sell, or place ads without knowing how many impressions and/or clicks that a particular forum members signature is receiving? Some people ask for $100 in order to rent a signature and others want hardly nothing. What do they base this on? See just because a member post a lot doesn't mean their banners are in hot threads. Remember, BHW has inner pages ranked in Google, and a member who hasn't posted in a year still might be receiving decent traffic from a particular banner. You are going to learn how to track clicks and impressions of any link on BlackHatWorld. I am also going to teach you how to target the best signatures and gain real valuable traffic from forums. First Let's Start Tracking Your Signatures And Other Advertisements: Anyone who does business with me knows I like to track everything. I hate buying ad space in the dark and that's why I found a solution for BHW signature ads. When you don't track you don't know if paying a member for their signature is worth their asking price. On the flip side if you don't track your ads as a forum member you can't truly evaluate your worth. Then as an affiliate you must track to test certain offers. Bottom line is this, if you aren't tracking, you are losing out big time. Maybe your $100 a month signature is worthless, and your $10 signature is worth a hell of a lot more. The solution to this problem is a $9 a month service called LinkTrackr: I use this service all over my blog and cloak all of my affiliate links. With Linktrackr I can easily set up tracking links for my target URL and even cloak them in the process. It's going to allow you to track clicks on any links you set up. Below are the steps.... Step #1: Sign Up And Create A New Tracking Link Once you sign up for your account just hover over campaigns and select tracking links. Click tracking links. This will lead you to where you can create your very first tracking link in your default campaign. You can set up different campaigns for different forums. Step #2: Fill Out The Details For Your New Link After you clicked "add new" in links, fill out all of the necessary details for that tracking link. Make sure you name the slug of the tracking link something pretty if you are an affiliate. As you can see I have my own custom referral link domain... joelink.me. Step #3: Decide If You Want To Cloak The Link Google hates affiliate links so for your own sites I say cloak them. I never use the viral bar since it just looks spammy to me. Additionally I do not cloak links for my BlackHatWorld ads since it really is pointless on the forum, unless it was an affiliate offer. Step #4: Copy The Tracking Link And Past It In Your Ads The tracking link can be found at the top right corner. Right click and select copy. The rest should be self-explanatory. Insert the URL into the ad or banner placement you rented from a forum member. Now it's trackable. That's it! In reality it only takes a couple of minutes to fully track your banners. Now that you have them tracked, you are only a few clicks away from viewing the reports. Click reports and then select tracking links. Now just flip through the data at this point to understand how many clicks you are receiving per banner placement. Replicate this process for each member you rent from. Split test different offers by creating separate tracking links for each ad. Now Let's Find The Hottest Pages For Buying Advertisements: Take a good look at the common buyers or sellers of ads and they look for username color, respect, and posting frequency. Sorry, that doesn't cut it in business. You need to know the banners or links you are buying are targeted towards people searching for your product, offer, or service. Doing this is so simple Rand Fishkin could do it! (Well maybe) Follow the steps below... Step #1: Take Your Main Keywords And Do A Quick Manual Search On Google: High retention YouTube views are a hot sell so I used this keyword for an example. Type each keyword into Google and take a look at what forums pop up in the first page. Look at that! A BlackHatWorld thread exist on the first page for our keyword even though it's an old thread. Now when a potential buyer searches for YouTube views they will click and read this thread whether it's old or not. So this is a perfect example of a profitable thread. Step #2: Look For Potential Members You Can Buy Signatures From You know the keyword noobs and buyers are typing into Google are leading them to this BlackHatWorld thread. So now all you have to do is get exposure. Close to the top of the first page I noticed a Jr.VIP member that has a signature space. Surprise! Surprise! He is a seller of YouTube Views. Now if this was a regular member not selling, that would be a perfect banner to pick up if you were in the business of selling YouTube views. Let's Wrap This Up... All you need to do is search out perfect industry targeted threads on any forum, buy signature space, and track the links so you know you are getting your money's worth! To be frank, I am severely disappointed to see how many "marketing pros" here aren't tracking anything. Don't be like them. If you are a buyer then split test absolutely everything and track it, if you are a seller of banners then know your value. Don't pay out your hard earned money based on factors that matter very little like username color. Have questions or comments? Post below and let's get the conversation started! Update: Davers Added A Free Link Tracking Part To This Tutorial! I imagine one might just as easily utilize some open source software such as prosper202 or the newest iteration of openads, and serve and track ones own links. Then again ... one can also easily track most stuff using any given url shortener service. Of course there is yourls as a tracking solution as well.