Interview with Dhruv C.: Monetization, Websites, and Content Lockers

PropellerAds_Interview with Dhruv on monetization and content lockers

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this interview are those of Dhruv C. and do not necessarily reflect those of PropellerAds Ltd.

Today, we have an unusual guest. Most beginner publishers have a vague understanding of how monetization business really is. “Big and fast money without lifting a finger,” – this belief has ruined more potentially successful websites that you and I can imagine.

We’ve invited over the owner of one of the most popular streaming websites to tell about the realities of blog and website monetization world.

Meet Dhruv C., 23 – a publisher, who has been spending the last years launching various blogs, streaming, and social websites.

Due to multiple legal issues many streaming website owners are complaining about, Dhruv agreed to speak on condition of anonymity. We thank Dhruv for his courage and help with this article.

We had a great skype call with Dhruv discussed everything: from money and his daily schedule to digital policies and Google penalties.

The first steps

Dhruv, first of all, big thanks for joining us. Could you, perhaps, tell a bit about yourself? How did you start with monetization?

Okay, so I’m from New Delhi and studied Business management, and you know how it is, I wanted to make some money without spending too much time. No one needs problems with university. Also, I was trying to save something for my bike. I love bikes!

And so, I was browsing, finding ads about monetization. My initial idea was to test YouTube, make a channel about bikes. But come on, I’m not that good at speaking, and I felt like a beauty blogger. I never published that video, haha.

Read also: Is It Time to Start Monetizing Your Websites?

Then, I realized that writing suited me better and started a blog while trying to monetize it with AdSense. I had a couple of readers I think (laughing).

I was writing every day; I thought that if I’m disciplined and produce content on a schedule, I would become successful by all means. Soon I discovered that it doesn’t work this way.

Did you manage to earn anything with your blog?

I had 6 different blogs! My sister and a friend were helping me with content. I was reposting and rewriting a lot. In short, it didn’t work. I was making absolutely ridiculous money, like about $2-3. I was waiting for 4 months for my first payment. Imagine!

I felt so desperate. I was thinking that I’m being tricked and that people claiming to live with monetization profits, were just liars and they were doing something illegal.

Streaming websites

How did you start with streaming business?

A friend of mine started making money with a WordPress theme he bought. I was more than skeptical about his “business” because I already had a negative experience.

He told me to get a $100 WP theme. I just laughed, why would I invest more money in something that just doesn’t work? In response, he opened his laptop and showed me the profits. I was like: “maaaaaan, is it for real?”

So, long story short, I also bought one of those streaming themes (already optimized for monetization) with a ready integration. All the movies, series and so on were already there.

Ready integration? Is it legal?

Yes, nothing is stored on the website – only external servers. Actually, there’s a sort of a community of streaming websites; we share the links to videos and so on.

This way, we are protected from copyright authorities. Also, you have to place a DMCA button to report abuse. If someone reports, we remove the video.

PropellerAds Dhruv C website - monetization

Monetization: AdSense and Propeller

So how did it go? How did you manage to turn your website into monetization powerhouse?

“Powerhouse”- haha, no. I do believe I still have a way to go before my website becomes a legit “Powerhouse.”

Anyway, I launched my website in Summer 2018, and by Spring 2019, I had 30-40k daily visitors. I worked really hard to SEO optimize it, followed movie releases, launched some promos, and was extremely active on Social media. For example, left comments under YouTube trailers like: “Watch this movie here for free.”

Read also: 3 Ways to Monetize Your Content + Case Study

With AdSense, I was making around $130-150 daily. It was good money, to be honest.

But then, all these issues with copyright started and I received an email from Google, saying that I’m banned. I lost my AdSense account. I tried everything to recover it, but they just didn’t want to talk.

I tried Propeller, and initially was making $60 a day with Popunders. After that, Alex (account manager) convinced me to test Push ads – I started making around $100 a day.

Native Ads and Content Lockers

How much money are you making with your website now?

I’d say now around $150 per day (PropellerAds + Content Locker).

PropellerAds stats

Personally, I didn’t want to add more popunders, because I’m all about user experience. So, I tested Native ads – they are good, but not the primary source of income. And now, for about 2 months I’m using a content locker. Again, Alex recommended me to start locking some movies.

It’s a good option because users subscribe knowingly – the quality of leads is higher, so more income for me 🙂

With a content locker, I added an extra $50 (on average) to my daily income. It’s a serious sum. Also, I’m making now more than I used to earn with AdSense.

Propellerads Propush me content locker content locker stats

Now, I’m playing around with content locker on my other websites. I try to make it work on my social project as well – there are some positive results already.

How did users react to some content being locked?

Initially, I was a bit scared of people’s reaction. You know, everything was for free, and then, suddenly, you have to subscribe to watch.

So, at first, I’d say the first couple of weeks, I was very careful and was locking only the newest releases. And to my surprise, people took it well – traffic didn’t drop, there were no angry comments or emails. Nothing happened, except I started to get more money.

So now, about 40% of my content is gated. I don’t want to add content locker everywhere because it’s important to maintain the balance. Too many ads are not a long-term strategy.

Talking about users, can you tell us a bit about your audience?

I have all the best GEOs: the U.S., UK, some Canada and a bit of Europe. Obviously, first I thought to go more into Bollywood films, but after certain consideration, I chose Hollywood.

It was the right decision as Americans and Europeans are not watching Bollywood stuff, and Indians alone are not bringing much money in terms of monetization.


What would you recommend to all those who try to build monetization business?

Test more! Even where you place a native widget can impact how much you are making. I was always relying on my own opinion, thinking that users should think just the same way I think. Wrong!

Very often ads with delay or in the areas I thought didn’t convert worked the best. So, don’t think you are the smartest – test more.

And yes, try new things before other publishers adopt them. I mean, people were not used to Push Notifications, it was new for them – they converted better. It immediately affected publishers – we made money.

In other words, don’t be afraid all the time about Google, penalties and so on.

We thank Dhruv for his time. Please leave your comments and questions so that we can pass it to Dhruv.


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