We used to monetize using Carbon ads. Last month, we set out to explore sponsorships and try to get a steady stream of revenue from ads.
Following advice from many of the IH posts, I drafted a template message introducing Requestly (what we do), our target audience, some visitor stats, and a proposal to show their company's ad (replacing the Carbon ad). I then made a list of companies that are mid-sized and who are targeted at web developers as well. On one day, I used to contact around 2-3 companies via Twitter / website chat / email. Since this is a cold process, we didn't get replies from most of them. But having seen a lot of sponsorships on IH, we knew that this takes time and this is typical of a normal sales funnel. After contacting 20+ companies, we got a reply from 2 of them and we closed a deal after 15 days of back-and-forth emails.
Today, we received the payment of our first sponsorship and I'm very excited to share this milestone with all of you! Happy to answer more questions. :)
P.S. I found that finding companies who have a marketing budget to spend right now is not trivial. Would someone else be interested in getting this kind of data? The maintenance of such a list would have to be crowdsourced and there has to be some sort of a quality-control as well.