Our never-ending quest for a good ad network continues. Will BuySellAds.com be our savior?

Summary of this really long post

  • Project Wonderful was interesting but only netted us $96 over 2 months
  • Unless you enjoy not getting paid, we still highly un-recommend Rubicon Project
  • We are now using BuySellAds.com to manage our ads
  • Click here to purchase an ad on getclicky.com
  • Click here to purchase an ad on freewebs.getclicky.com
  • ???
  • Profit!

As of yesterday we dropped Project Wonderful and are now using a new ad service called BuySellAds.com. I want to share our experience with PW, but first I want to talk about BSA. Todd (the owner) was a Clicky sponsor way back when we were selling our own ads directly. He recently got back in contact with me after reading some of our other posts here describing our dissatisfaction with other ad networks. I told him that I was just about to switch back to selling our own ads because that's the only thing that ever brought in decent income, but he convinced me to try his just-launched product first. I'm glad I did because everything so far has been great and we've already sold 5 spots in 24 hours, which translates to $250/month already - not bad.

Using BSA is similar to selling ads yourself - you choose the ad sizes, how many you want, and the price you want to sell for. But they automate the monthly billing, and can take credit cards directly - neither of which we were able to do before. Once you have signed up and put the typical few lines of javascript on your site, you don't have to do anything, and you will start making money (supposing people want to advertise on your site of course). I already have enough crap to deal with on a daily basis, this saves me a lot of time and is completely worth the reasonable 25% commission that BSA charges. 25% is about as low as you'll find anywhere.

There's also another great feature that makes BSA rather unique: You can cash out at any time you want. Very few networks offer this functionality, and after our experience with Rubicon (they still owe us over $200, and we stopped using them over 2 months ago), we're relieved to see it. The customer service has also been great, granted they are very small scale right now, but every feature/change I have requested has been implemented, and quickly.

I hadn't really expected to sell any ads until I wrote this blog post and put a link to it on our dashboard. But when I woke up this morning we had already sold 4 spots, which we're offering for $49/month each. We have 10 slots available for getclicky.com (click here), and 10 slots available for freewebs.getclicky.com (click here). So if you're interested in advertising with us, click those links and off you go.

Overall I'm very pleased with the service and expect to stick with it, as long as it remains reliable. It is running on Amazon's web services so I expect it to do just fine.

So what about Project Wonderful?

After we dropped Rubicon, we decided to try out Project Wonderful based on recommendations from some of you. PW is an interesting and unique service, but it wasn't making us much. After nearly 2 months, we only earned $96 total (after their 25% commission). Some sites on there are earning thousands per month, but they get 500K+ page views per day, and they're in the "web comic" niche, which for some reason is extremely popular on this service. Perhaps if we had started a comic about web analytics, we would have fit in better - but somehow I have trouble seeing anyone reading it.

The biggest problem with PW is that all ads are forced to have an expiration date. This causes the money you're making to fluctuate wildly, typically in a bad way. We were running a 3x1 set of half-banner ads (234x60) during the entire 2 month period. Sometimes I'd check our account and each ad would be as high as $1.50 per day (everything on PW is "per day"). I'd come back an hour later and they'd all have dropped to $0.05. This happened when the highest bidding ad had just expired. If none of the remaining ads had bid very high, or if there were only 3 ads left to compete for 3 slots (in other words, zero competition amongst themselves), they all drop to the minimum bid. That sucks. Being able to set an expiration date is definitely a good thing for an advertiser, but I think that all ads should, by default, never expire. This would keep the prices up and the publishers happy. Instead, this type of price fluctuation is a daily and frustrating experience.

Project Wonderful had some of the same features that I really like about BSA - low commission (25%) and being able to cash out at any time. But the unreliable pricing of ours ads forced us to move on. Overall it's a decent service and obviously works really well for some sites. Just not ours.
4 comments |   Apr 01 2008 2:24pm

Some bugs are so stupid

Note to self: The hour from 2am to 3am is a BAD time for a critical cron job, because this hour doesn't exist on the day Daylight Savings kicks in. Doh :(
10 comments |   Mar 10 2008 9:11am

White label updates - API, better transparency, lower pricing, and more

The past 7 days of my work has been dedicated to nothing but vastly improving our white label service. We've got a ton of great new stuff here:

  • The new White Label API allows you to fully automate user and site management from within your own web site or application. This has been in huge demand and I'm so glad to have this out the door.

  • Official support for masking our tracking domains with your white label domain (we used to still use static.getclicky.com etc). This is now done automatically when you grab the tracking code for any site. Existing white label customers that want to update their sites with the new tracking code, simply go to the same page and your domain will be in place of the old one automatically.

  • iframe support that automatically hides the header/footer of your white label so you can easily integrate the stats into your own web site in a much cleaner fashion.

  • Option to change our javascript tracking code variable name to whatever (defaults to "clicky" otherwise). This change is reflected in all help documentation as well. This, along with the tracking domains, is really the last step towards 100% transparency with your customers. There will be NO mention of "clicky" ANYWHERE on your service.

  • Lower prices. We now sell several different packages with prices as low as $0.75 per site per month. Used to be a flat $2 per site month beyond the initial 20 sites.

  • The admin interface has been refined quite a bit and now shows you up front how many users, sites, and traffic you are consuming and how much of each you have left for your level of service. Before, this was a mystery to you.

  • Existing white label customers will be happy to know that they will no longer be automatically redirected to their white label when they login to getclicky.com. This was an issue because some things are only possible on the real getclicky.com, and not the white labels (such as checking your affiliate account). This also allows us to support more than one white label service per user account, which has been an issue for two of our customers. Now all of your white labels are displayed on your user homepage, and clicking on any of them will take you directly to them.

Well that's it really! Enjoy.
0 comments |   Mar 09 2008 1:14pm

DB1 experiencing slowdowns

About an hour ago, DB1 (our first database server) started acting up and going REAL slow, and we ended up rebooting it. It ran a self-check on the database which delayed it another 45 minutes, but now it is done and processing traffic normally. However, it will take a while to catch back up with real time.

All site IDs below 15,000 or so are on this server. For future reference, to find out what server any of your sites are on (each one could theoretically be on a unique server), hit your site preferences page. It's one of the items listed on that page.
11 comments |   Feb 12 2008 10:23am

Advertise on Clicky with Project Wonderful

We are testing a new advertising company called Project Wonderful. They have a very unique ad system and I hope it works well for us. We create spots on our site where we want ads and tell PW how many ads we want in those spots, and how big. Then people bid on those spots to have their ad there. Whoever is the highest bidder for any of the 3 spots will have their ad shown until they are outbid.

You bid in terms of how much you want to spend per day, e.g. you want to spend $5/day for an ad on our site. You can also limit how much you spend daily. So you could bid say $240/day but limit your daily spending to $10 - in this case, your ad would be shown for 1 hour per day, unless somoene was bidding more than $240/day. I also really like how the ads can be text or graphical. We want to go the text link only route but will see how this works for now with a mix.

The ads will shown on all stats pages to all free users, on both getclicky.com and freewebs.getclicky.com (which is a dedicated version of Clicky for the 17 million Freewebs users). Combined, these two sites get almost 20,000 visitors and 150,000 page views per day. To see a screenshot of where the ads are located, click here.

Click here to bid for a spot on our site!
Bidding starts at $0 (aka, free).
12 comments |   Feb 04 2008 3:04pm

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