How To Make Money With Content Gateways

I have just recently started experimenting with “Content Gateways” to see if I can make any sizable income with this fairly new CPA model.

This caught my attention when I started to hear some affiliates making as much as $5,000+ a day by placing content gateways on their web sites.

A content gateway is basically a window that pops up to protect content on your web site until the user completes a survey or CPA offer. Once the user has completed the survey or CPA offer, the content gateway is unlocked for the user to access whether is a video or ebook.

You as the web site owner get credited for lead that can pay as much as $3.00 every time a user fills out a short survey.

Below is an example of what a content gateway looks like when it protects the content on a web site.

You will notice that the web site is greyed out and the user can’t see or access anything unless they choose one of the offers to complete.  Once an offer is completed, the content is unlocked for the user to access.

Incentivized CPA offers are nothing new as they used to be plentiful a few years ago when they were at their peak. But sometime after 2007, incentivized CPA offers started to disappear. I suspect because advertisers were getting leads from people who really didn’t care and they couldn’t make any money with these leads.

I am intrigued about the technology that these content gateways use and I think this could be a serious money maker for someone who was to do this full-time.  For example, content gateways will display offers based on the country the user is from and you also have the ability to control what CPA offers are displayed.

Now, I have been digging around and speaking with other underground affiliates and the vast majority of affiliates who are making a lot of money with content gateways are generally doing it will illegal or copyrighted content such as movies and TV shows.

Content gateway networks are now cracking down on these rogue affiliates, but I am sure they will still find away to beat the system.

The questions is – how can you make money with content gateways legitimately?

Do you have any valuable ebooks or reports lying around that you think some people will fill out a survey to get?

Maybe you could offer virtual currency, digital files or downloads?

There are a lot of possibilities, but they key thing to remember is that the content has got to be worthwhile for the user to want to fill out a survey to access it.

I have just set up an account with the biggest content gateway network called CPALead.  I will let you know how my experimenting goes with future blog posts. If this is something that you want to get into, you can also join:

Click To Join CPALead

What are your thoughts on this CPA model and do you think it will survive.  What different ways would you use content gateways? Please comment below.

Best wishes,

Gauher Chaudhry


  1. Its a great idea but I’ve seen them to be a bit spammy and not very valuable to the visitor. Sure it says a survey, but it really isnt. Its more like a name, adress and email submit at the end which user gets spammed in the end….

    If you value your traffic, I would use this.

  2. Hi Dino,

    I think you mean “I would NOT use this”… right?

  3. Erik

    These are annoying. I have a site with one and the traffic all but disappeared. Pretty desperate looking.

  4. Ben

    Hi Gauher,

    If I went to a site (looking for information, or whatever) and this box popped up blocking my view, I would get pi**ed off and close the page. Maybe I’m the exception, but I don’t think I’d like this form of marketing. And I would CERTAINLY NOT enter my real name, email address, etc.

    So, I think I give this a big THUMBS DOWN 🙁

  5. Interesting post,
    I think it’s worth experimenting with.
    Looking forward to hearing the results.

  6. John Land

    Hey Gauher
    I am using this method for over an year now and have earned quite well and I use all the legitimate methods and nothing illegal at all. The guys at CPAlead earn as much as 20,000$ a day or even more with legitimate methods only. If you are really interested you can mail me back and we can have a talk over with which methods you can begin with. If you are already a member at Cpalead we can talk over there aswell.

  7. Hey Gauher,
    I thought about testing it long time ago but didn’t have time to really implement. Hope to hear something from you. My concern has always been its really hard to guarantee the quality of the leads, which may makes this not a long-term thing. I think maybe you can check with AM at cpaleads and see how they make sure the quality are good?

  8. mario

    I’ve seen these pop ups multiple times and I hate them. But…You’ve made a point here. If there was a way of making them not be spammy and actually helpfull for the prospect this could actually be the next big thing in online marketing and lead generation.

    I don’t have any books on that topic.. (maybe it is time to bribe those spammers to make a paid webinar or somthing 🙂 )

    I’m thinking that I might know how to make this work, I’ve seen this being done by Ryan Deiss (who else right? 🙂
    He was taking people to a sort of weight loss survey that in the end would give people what they wanted like a see your perfect weight kind of thing, so I’m thinking :

    Market example:

    Save money:

    If we could put on one of those pop ups a survey or a software that would calculate something related to how to save money on groceries , like the software would ask you your zip code and name and email, and then would tell give a coupon for your nearest supermarket or whatever… then we would have their name, their zip code and email and we could send them a coupon and sell them an ebook on how to live like a millionaire with only $50 or something like that..

    Ok marketers what you think about this…

    (Sometimes I ask myself why don’t I see people have this kind of conversations more often online? I only see offers on the latest auto something that it is a rebranded software that no one used or whatever)

  9. Dallin Hays

    Don’t use them on a site where you care about your traffic. If you want to drive cheap clicks or get traffic for ranking for keywords that are “incentivizable” niches, or hitting up PPC for trends, they can be pretty effective. Especially if you can sell it and make your incentive worth the users time.

  10. Gauher,

    There are actually several ways to use this strategy…and personally I think it’s tactics like this, that include multiple avenues for additional income, that will soon separate the big players from the small. We find many of these “additional avenues of income” by using a specific kind of research. Once you understand how the method works you start seeing these “avenue clusters” everywhere. I’m interested in learning more about what you have come up with yourself. You always seem to find some of the best ways to sift out the dirt and keep the gold…and I’m sure you will do it with this new strategy as well.


  11. Claude

    I hate those sites.
    I’ve seen some people have some success with it
    when they’re offering some thing that has been stolen
    you know software movies etc.

    In fact I found one once that was offering pay-per-view formula
    something you might be familiar with.

    something I was happy to pay for.

    I spend way too much time doing proper SEO and offering something
    that people are looking for and willing to pay for.

    This is definitely not for me.

  12. frank mos

    my self sometime i do sometime i don’t ,but than again only GOD himself can make any sense out of my Emails anymore.I think is a good idea.

  13. Well I think now a day you only see em on movies site or so…. I think there is another look alike thing is called sharealink or share a cash something…

    Did tried once ages ago, got a luck at first but eventually i got fed up. So for me hmmm its kinda no no

  14. Dave

    I’m curious as to how Claude came across such a site. Was it a torrent search? Not something people generally stumble upon by accident. Busted!

  15. I suspect the majority of web users would be annoyed to have to jump through hoops to get to the information they were looking for. To fill in a form to get some possibly unrelated incentive/ebook/whatever would raise the irritation level further.
    I’m all for making the browsing experience as quick and unintrusive as possible.
    Give this system a miss.

  16. John Land

    I see that everybody here have a same image of these Gateways in their minds like on movie, tv show sites and other illegal sites. Although CPAlead may allow its widget on these sites, however, you can never earn big by using these methods. You will never know the true legitimate ways of earning money with these gateways until you get into the network and try out for yourself.
    These movies, tv shows sites which used to have those annoying gateways are a very old fashioned way of earning money with gateways. Now there are better and more advanced ways of earning money.
    And the offers and surveys available at CPAlead are some of the highest converting offers around and they are not spammy at all and you can always talk to your AM about the offers you wanna promote.
    But seeing its huge success this method of content gateways is becoming highly competitive aswell.

  17. Jeff

    For any worthwhile download content such as e-books or reports, I think you’d be better off to capture leads yourself and follow up with offers related to the content.

    I mostly see gateways used for copyrighted content such as movies rather than for anything that seems legit.

    Perhaps a content gateway would work for access to cheat codes for popular games if you had something that wasn’t commonly available. I think the real issue is that if the content is worthwhile you could sell it for more than the network will pay.

    It seems that the best bet would be to ask the network what sort of demographics the advertisers are looking for and see if that gives you any ideas for relevant content.

    I’ve done some programming for a guy who uses gateways with adult content (photos) and it sounds like he does ok, although that’s not something I would want to do. If I was the advertiser, I wouldn’t consider the leads to be very high quality since I suspect some of the users aren’t going to enter totally valid information.

  18. Lucille

    I think this could work well as long as whatever it is would be something really enticing to the visitor. It should not look spammy. It should look like something of real value is being offered. I think the idea that someone would have to fill out their email or a quick survey to get the info or product would make it more appealing because it makes it seem as though this is something special of value being given away, rather than just something which you can easily grab for free without having to enter their information. Also, those who show enough interest by filling out the info form are likely to be your best customers.

  19. Gauher,

    I seen this and really didn’t care much for it when I was going to a web site. Of course the content had nothing to do with what I was looking up on the site.

    If you could control it. So it had something to do with the content which was on your site. It my not be so bad.

    Maybe the survey could raise new questions on your topic or something like that., Making it more helpful to the visitor. You know, make it a learn experience of some kind.

  20. Anders

    A very bad idea! Do the opposite: Give your visitors valuable content on your blog. If they like it -they will opt-in to get even more value from you via email. That´s the way it should be done..

  21. Hi! Thanks for interesting post. Personally I don’t like when someone is playing with my attention and manipulate it. To many tricks already in IM and desperately pushing for solution looks bad to me. In my opinion is not fairplay.

  22. Works great with stolen stuff-movies, software, naked pictures of celebs. I did some research when I found out people were killing it on Facebook. Obviously FB probably isn’t allowing this anymore.

    But if you’ve got a site or traffic that you KNOW isn’t returning it’s a way to monetize “dead” traffic.

    For example; I’ve got articles I’ve poured deep thought and research into, but I might add an interesting picture-then I get 90% traffic on the image. I’ve made “homemade” popups with CPA offers for those sites/posts and it’s monetized.

  23. if you need traffic you play with attention of visitors, if you want money you play with attention of visitors. And which methods black and which white only visitors decide. Maybe method of content gateway is not for all sites, there are sites it will be useful.

  24. Another great post, Gauher! I’ll be looking forward to hearing the results! All the best 😉

  25. rob

    Answer: Porn
    Use the Search feature in BHW
    All your answers will be solved.
    Age old but still works.

  26. If the CPA pop-ups are genuinely related to the audience, and this is key, then the visitor will fill in the survey form/offer. Contact me privately via my email because I used to work for a content source that provides premium content. It is critical that the content is highly desirable and the visitor will take action and fill in the offer. That way the visitor is happy, CPA company is happy, and we get paid !!! Yeah. Best regards Nick

  27. Hey Gauher,

    You should also checkout BLAM Ads for incentive offers and gateways.

    One thing many people miss out on with these is customizing the gateway, and split testing various offers within the gateway. Ideally the offer is somewhat relevant, and the customization/skin should help close the deal even more so.

  28. For me, the offers seemed really bad and didn’t make it easy. I get many clicks but some how they don’t convert well. Maybe I’m not to lucky.

  29. Thomas

    Gauher, as a former cpalead marketer, I’m suprised and disapointed to see you bringing this up (really, an extra way to get tons of affiliates signing up under you). The vast majority of the big moneymakers you are referring to make their money with very, very shady tactics. Facebook taking over as the new TV/movie model. Obviously, the more people doing this, the faster the loopholes will be closed. But the thing that most people will not know the next big thing until it’s on it’s way out. The big moneymakers are never going to share their secrets. They aren’t idiots. people are going to work their butts off to find that they are making very little in comparison..this is a numbers game. you can’t pretend that you can make real money by getting a few people to fill out a survey. you need thousands.
    and the reality is…these surveys are bogus. the highest paying ones are often 9 pages long…how many have you filled out yourself? once you do, you realize this is a not something that makes you proud to discuss at a dinner party. this is bottom of the barrel marketing. but sure, if you have enough affiliates doing it for you – then you get to walk away!

  30. Doug

    It seems to me to be all about being creative enough to be sure the visitor knows the value of the content they are going to get on the other side of the gateway. Putting the Gateway up before there is any access to the page and thus the viewer perceiving the value would not work as well. The value must be established either before visiting the locked page or perhaps during a viewing time of, say 20 seconds, then the gateway pops up.. Also the CPA offers, surveys etc. should be the same subject matter as the content but that may be asking a lot. Also for God’s sake can we not make it fun or something?

  31. Hi Gauher

    Thanks for the invite to your blog.

    Well I must say I haven’t even looked into the thing yet.

    Seems like a very interesting idea though worth exploring.

    As long as I can put out valuable information to my visitors I’m all game!

    After all nothing beats a failure but a try 😉

  32. Hello,

    I see definate possibilities if done right. If you could find a survey or offer that was relevent to the desired user content then it’s a win win. If I am looking for something and you have it and all you want me to do is provide some “relevent info” then why not?


  33. Steve

    I think these tactics have got a bad wrap because the places they are mostly seen in (or at least where I see them most) are unfortunately in places they shouldn’t be!

    ie: Want to watch the brand new James Bond movie not out until 2012 click here… oh HELLO!!! Just complete this survey first… ALL DONE!!! ~ HAHAHAHAAAA!!! GOT YA SUCKERS!!!! no movie to watch here!

    Now that pretty much sucks… but as someone has mentioned, there are legit ways to make good and I’m sure your AM will be happy to help 🙂

    Good luck G and keep us posted!

  34. Christopher Rose

    This could work if if was handles carefully and thoughtfully but it is more likely to be done in a way that annoys people.

  35. Orestes

    Hi! Gauher,

    My opinion is that I really don´t know if that will works well as I myself hate pop-ups and also if somebody fill the application will be just to get what they want in the first place but not really a qualify lead. But if that works I´d like to know about it.

  36. This works well for people that are desparate to watch an online film or eager to download something. But for a quality website that have established and repeat visitor loyalty it would be disastrous.

  37. JJ

    I’m not sure if you can place you own offer on this list… relevancy is very important… and also how the interruption is worded. I have no issues getting opt-ins that pop-up and blank out the screen (java pops). The following words have worked…

    “I’m sorry to have interrupted you! You obviously interested in naked dog mud-wrestling and I can’t wait for you to checkout…

    * Hot Bullet #1
    * Hot Bullet #2

    Simply fill out this quick and easy form below and you’ll get full access in a heart-beat.”

    Throw in an image that is relevant to the what the prospect wants…

    The biggest issue I have is that most advertisers are absolute scum-bags and pimp the crap out these leads with all sorts of email offers which this lead has never signed up to.

    I don’t promote until I’ve filled out one of those forms and all I get is love. Pimping is sooo last-decade.

  38. So obviously people think about it as SPAM

    but SPAM wouldn t exist if it wouldn t work

    so maybe we can use this concept
    in a non spammy way

    Gateways as a concept are a great idea
    but preventing users from seeing the pagecontent
    without filling in a gateway offer
    is regarded as spam

    so why not have a lead capture popup
    that can be closed by the user
    and then do your gateway stuff


  39. Hi Gauher,

    This kind of method popped up quite some time ago, and I first saw it about a year ago. It was even offered in BlackHat Forum and Warrior Forum (in some form or another), as a “sneaky CPA method”.

    Is it sneaky? Well, yes… the visitor is certainly not expecting it. It’s often used when visitors are looking mostly for trend information or material. And often, not the most reputable of stuff; think “Angelina Jolie Nude Pictures”, and similar.

    That’s not to say it’s always used like this. Just yesterday, I chanced upon a site that offered a fantastic theme for Windows 7, so that you can make it look just like a Mac OS X Snow Leopard. A quick search on themes shows how often this is searched for: a LOT.

    The folks behind this are offering something that is truly very good, in return for a CPA offer fill out. I am certain that, given the volume behind this kind of search, they will be doing quite well… even if I can imagine the bounce rate to be fairly high. In light of this, their income will surely be offset by sheer volume, to some extent.

    But here’s the kicker: they’ve incorporated another pay model where, if you don’t want to fill out a CPA offer (and many wont), one can pay $3.99 via PayPal. Either way, the webmaster on that site makes money… and the theme they offered is really, really good.

    My concern, as shared by many others in the comments, is that the traffic won’t be qualified. It’s one thing to have targeted PPC / PPV traffic; another is interruption marketing on an entirely unrelated topic. I suppose this is why they have the PayPal option as well, in order to circumvent this.

    If it is possible to target the offers, which I am sure there must be, then it could be viable from a CPA lead standpoint. Otherwise, it’s kinda sketchy, and will rely mostly on the PayPal to generate income.

    The other beauty of this “lock” is that it gives visitors multiple CPA options right there and then, so a visitor will surely find a suitable CPA offer from the selection (within the limits of what such interruption marketing can achieve).

    Lastly, it must be said that the theme they “gave away” truly was top stuff, and was of excellent quality. Under the premise of “Help Us Keep This Free, Please Fill Out A Short Survey”, they leverage the “scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours”, to give you the theme.

    My final thought is that if you can target the topic with a pertinent CPA roster of offers, incorporate the PayPal as an alternative, leverage the high search volume, and “give away” something exceptionally good that they won’t find elsewhere (at least, not easily… and not as good), then you’ll do just fine with it as an income generator, both as CPA lead generator (provided offers are pertinent and targeted).

    -Josh Harris

  40. Hi Gauher,

    I have been putting this off for a long time. But since you reminded me I’ll finish my first site probably in the weekend. I already have a plan for it, whatever the results are I promise to come back and share them with you.

    You’re the best, neighbor!

  41. Robert

    Personally I think this is a ‘bad’ idea.
    If I go to a store to buy a pair of shoes and the
    salesperson started showing me shirts, pants, ties
    etc. I would be really annoyed ! I am there to buy
    shoes, nothing else.
    When you go to a Cadilac dealer and he shows
    you Fords, Chevrolets etc. I just wouldn’t be there
    for very long.

    When I want to buy something online, I would like
    to see what I am attempting to buy not a bunch of
    other ‘junk’.

    This type of ‘marketing’ really ticks me off and I
    just leave the site and continue looking for what I am
    interested in buying.

    Why go through all of this ‘gobbledegook’ to try to make
    a sale to someone?
    Just present me with what I am looking for !
    I would be more apt to buy.

    Most people are becoming ‘immune’ to this and it is just
    a waste of your time and the potential customer.

    Just my thoughts !


  42. ron

    I’d be interested in John Land and how guys at CPA Lead make $20,000 a day with this. Or is that the owners of the network?

  43. Yeah thats what I mean! ha, sorry didnt see I left the “don’t” out…

    But yeah, seems spammy so if the site is just a landing page or something than its a good idea, but if its an authority site or if your trying to get your brand across, it may not be such a good idea…

  44. Its a great idea. It worked for me here. If the content is compelling and the action the user needs to take to access the content is quick and easy , its a money maker. Count me in.

  45. Dave

    I have heard of these. Viralgate uses this method to get free traffic from Facebook, Twitter etc. I don’t actually know how well this works but it does seem to have potential.

  46. Thomas: Not sure why you are surprised that I am bringing this up? Incentivized marketing has been around long before the Internet. Yes I agree that the majority of guys making money with content gateways are using shady tactics, but the offers are not limited to surveys. There are many people who wouldn’t mind downloading and installing a game on their computer or a Facebook layout in exchange for something of value. The questions is – how can content gateways be applied ethically and yet bring in a decent amount of money? Thanks to everyone for their feedback so far.

  47. Jeffrey

    I’m not sure because I have downloaded your CPA Marketing e-book in this way.

    Maybe some people don’t mind but others get pi**ed.

    It’s good but as a Graphic Designer the CPA lead layout should stand out, I mean really close your main page, no gray colors at the back, your main page should not be seen and most importantly that CPA lead or whatever you name it should state the same topic as your main page. I suggest you should give two options if you are doing this 1. the CPA lead and 2. a link to your main page – all in front of the viewer. So the visitor is not disturbed by viewing but diverted by very few instructions.

    It’s just like an opt-in page, there’s no difference to it. It just looks different, that’s all.

    The solution is that we must not disturb the visitors eye, we must give them plain pages with few instructions. Not pages we are seeing and suddenly it fades and there’s a pop-up – that makes people frustrated.


  48. Hi JD,

    There is no forced opt-in to view my blog. Sounds like you are set at 640 x480 browser resolution which cuts of the “close” button on the pop-up window. You need to increase your resolution to avoid this.


  49. michael

    It sounds like a tool market research companies use to close quotas on studies they are doing for a specific client
    so it may have some commercial application

  50. Itu

    The only thing I don’t like about it is that every time someone comes to your site they will be bombarded with offers and will lose interest because of that.

    If there was a way that you could track IP addresses so that the same person will not get hit twice with the same offer than it might be feasible.

  51. I don’t like them due to bad experience’s. After completing the survey or sign up it took me back to the pop up and said I had to pick another offer since this one did’t qualify me. Or something to that affect, with no support to get the offer approved. I did correctly full fill the offer qualifications. This was aggravating. I’ll live, but I don’t want to promote thimgs that give people a hard time to finish correctly.

Leave a Reply

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.