I Want ISK

I Want ISK Revenue, RMT, and why it’s a dumb idea


It’s no secret that I Want ISK makes money. And a recent slew of people tried to claim they do that through RMT.  Let’s look at the math.

Recently a Reddit thread exploded after allegations of an RMT operation where revealed.  At one point the owner of the site chimed in to set the record straight.  And still, some users insisted that there is a possibility of RMT.  Now aside from the flawed logic of such claims, lets look at the numbers.  Does RMT make sense for IWISK?  Thanks to a helpful stats screenshot from the owner, I’d say definitely not.  And here’s why.

Before I dive into this, I’m going to say that this will be largely a speculative post.  Based on my own observations and experiences with IWISK, and advertising/affiliate marketing in general.   I also do not mean this to be an attack on IWISK, in a weird sort of way, I’m playing devil’s advocate here.

That’s a screenshot of the Google Analytics data of IWISK.  And it shows a rather impressive 2.5 Million page views in the last month.  I’m going to use this data as the basis for further extrapolation on the revenue for the site.  It must be said that disclosure of actual revenue and payment data for many advertising networks is actually disallowed.  This is done to protect proprietary data and the identity of advertisers.  As such, don’t expect clarifications from IWISK.

Lets start with raw advertising.  Probably not a huge source of revenue, but not insignificant.  I say this because of a few things.  One is adblocking.  On my site, about 30% of all traffic blocks ads on a given day.  And on other sites I’ve run, I’ve seen as high as 80%.  The assumed average across much of the web is about 50%.  So lets use that.

The other major reason is that traditional advertising is seemingly on the way out.  Content creators on the web will all attest to this.  But for the sake of brevity, ad revenue is way down.  And new forms of advertising like brand deals are now much more common.  But that’s beyond the scope of this post.  Suffice to say, I’ll be very conservative with most of the data in this post, probably to the point of being inaccurate but oh well.

So out of the non-adblocked 1.25 Million pageviews, how much do they earn.  I’m going to simplify this slightly and use CPM as a metric over clicks.  For those that don’t know, there are two primary types of revenue from ads like the ones IWISK uses.  CPC, ads that pay per click.  And CPM, ads that pay per 1000 valid impressions.  To account for those impressions that can’t be monetized, lets round down to 1 million page views.  Being more conservative, and assuming a $0.15 CPM (A more realistic CPM could be as high as $0.50) what does that mean?

IWISK could easily pull in $150 monthly from the level of traffic they get.  And that’s with being wildly conservative in the estimates.

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Then there’s donations.  There is no way of knowing just how much donations from outside the website they get.  But some quick math shows the donation page on the site has generated at least $1110.  Assuming that’s over 3 months, and we subtract 10% from ad revenue overall in the same period to account for variance, this brings the current total to $1515 in the last few months at least.

Now on to what I’m going to assert as their largest source of revenue.  That being the PLEX affiliate link on their site through EVETimeCode.  ETC pays 5% on each PLEX sale to all affiliates, so assuming that IWISK doesn’t receive a higher percentage due to their potential volume, we’ll use that.  For those that suck at math, IWISK stand to make $1 on every $20 spent through ETC.

So what kind of money is that.  Well first we would have to guess the conversion rate; this is the percentage of people that click through and buy PLEX via ETC.  A “good” conversion rate is usually considered to be around 2% for most niches in affiliate marketing.  Although gaming is typically much lower for many reasons.  But just for the sake of argument, we will lower that to account for the more subtle manner in which IWISK uses their affiliate link.  I’d say an overly safe assumption is that 0.025% of their traffic converts to a sale.

That’s a gross in one month of $625.

Using that same 3 month period from earlier, IWISK could gross $3390 in three months from all known revenue streams.  Using another now infamous gambling site, SomerBlink, it’s estimated that site pulled in over $100,000 dollars during it’s run, mostly from PLEX commissions.

So why is this important to understanding why RMT is a dumb idea?  Simple.  What’s the better business decision?  To gain a steady source of income that has less chance of CCP shutting it down; or do the stupid thing and pull a SomerBlink.  Attempting to engage in some form of RMT.  Anyone with a modicum of common sense could answer that.   Sure, it could be argued that greed makes people do dumb things, but I’d like to give IWISK credit for not being stupid, hopefully.

Again it should be known that these are estimates and in no way do they reflect actual earnings.  According to the owner, they gross 200 Billion ISK in profit per day, so they will be able to sustain their ravenous audience’s gambling for quite some time.  So I don’t expect the well to dry up for them anytime soon.

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ISKMogul is a growing video game publication that got its start covering EVE Online, and has since expanded to cover a large number of topics and niches within the purview of gaming.