Rock The Click

Media, Advertising, Tech and Mumbo Jumbo

Alternative Ad Network Experiments

Posted in Ad
at 2015.10.12
With 0 Comments

Let me introduce myself before you take my word on any of these results. My name is Matt, and I started my tech career in my early twenties doing web development. I worked at a few different interactive companies and created a dick ton (totally a unit of measurement) of websites in my free time. Somewhere around the age of 29 the payout via ads on those sites trumped my existing salary.

I generally was making around 15k a month from these efforts. It consisted of about 90 or so sites, with the bulk of it coming from 10 sites.

I have been doing this long enough to make in-between 1 and 2 million dollars from Google for my efforts. It sounds crazy to say that amount, but really spread out over a good amount of time, it’s not.

And just so you know I’m not bullshitting you:

1-account

I wanted to try an experiment on my sites to decrease my reliance on Google, and in the process I signed up for every major 3rd party ad network that exists.

  • Media.net
  • Adrevenue
  • Adsonor
  • Revenuehits
  • Chitika
  • Infolinks
  • Bidvertiser
  • Amazon Affiliate
  • CJ & Clickbooth

I figured it was just a matter of dabbling with the right mixture of affiliate and ad network and I can decrease my dependence on the almighty G money mafia.

Here is how all that panned out.

After reading and scouring the internet for Adsense alternatives that paid as high of a cost per click. I settled in thinking my answers for an alternative Adsense link monetization eCPM success would lie somewhere between Chitika, Media.net, Amazon or a CJ affiliate deal.

And off I go…

AOL Adsonor:
First out of the gates I ran rotation on AOL’s Adsonor. This was my number one option because I already had an account in place and I knew I could just swap ad tags quickly.  After some good impressions samples over a week or two, I realized It just wasn’t paying me what I needed. Nothing annoys me more than when I put 1,000 users on a website and get paid 2 cents for serving a 728×80 banner.

2-adsonar

Amazon Affiliate:
Moving on, I read some great things about how the Amazon affiliate network worked. It wasn’t based on a cost per click or a cost per impression basis, but rather a cost per acquisition basis (they had to check out). I thought if I just held back and let it serve and provide Amazon free traffic eventually it would back out… 2,000 free clicks later not a single conversion.

I know what you’re going to say – “Oh Matt, your traffic is shit!” Honestly, I don’t think it is. It’s US based users from organic keywords results and app redirects. It’s real US people. Nothing more. Nothing less. This is not MySpace, circa de ’03 shoot the rapper banners or torrent search landing page users.

After thousands of free clicks to Amazon and not a single conversion, I couldn’t help it but say. Fuck it! And pull it from my sites.

2-amazon

Media.net
I always thought that Media.net was going to be my best bet. The problem with media.net is only 1 of my sites got approved for it. There is an issue with impressions and approval. I’m sure it’s some bullshit comscore/alexa/quancast metric that if your site is not there it doesn’t make the cut. I was even thinking of running an iframe from that domain and hosting those ad tags anywhere I wanted, but I figured I would save myself from being banned from 2 ad networks in a single week.

I also noticed media.net really wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. This is the sample from it running as a bottom banner on my one site that got approved for a week or so:

3-medianet

Bidvertiser:
Nothing really special – 10k impressions 2 bucks. Wahooo! I couldn’t in my right mind keep this rotating like this for much longer.

4-bidvertiser

Infolinks:
Everyone I knew was raving about how great Infolinks was. I ran Infolinks for 60k impressions and it backed out to about 16 bucks. Not bad, but a long cry from my $50/eCPM Google Adsense days. Not even close to matching it.

5-infolinks

CJ & Clickbooth:
I ran multiple offers for crappy diet pills, detox systems and a few stock investing systems since a few of my sites were financial and nothing really converted. I ended up getting 1 conversion, but the amount of traffic I had to send for it just wasn’t worth pennies on the dollar.

Chitika:
Everyone always thinks Chitika is #2 to Google Adsense, but I have no idea why. I ran Chitika for 26k impressions. It backed out to 120 clicks and I got paid a whopping 0.55 cents for it. The ads looked like link farm ads too. At times, it appears like just a category listing of a bunch of links to click on. Absolutely not worth my time.

6-chitika

Revenuehits:
Enter Revenuehits, I thought I found the holy grail. I set it up and was getting super low 2 dollars eCPM, but then when I dialed up the ad settings allowing interstitial, pop under placement I got it paying out over 10/dollars eCPM. This is actually awesome!

7-revenue-hits

But the problem was I realized I compromised almost all usability of my site for this. The sites were just not usable and felt super spammy. It would have solved my problem for the short term, but there is no way Google would have kept me high up in the organic results running pages like this. Every ad seemed to be those annoying “Your mac is infected” lightbox popup that you couldn’t close

ad-example

Conclusion:
They all sucked. Yes, every other ad network couldn’t even come close to Google Adsense. I wish I could tell you differently, but the options seem to be make your own affiliate product and sell it direct. Dick around with an Amazon FBA hussle, or suck it up and keep your Google tags on your sites.

I am in the process of setting up an ad server like Google DFP so I can switch ad tags quickly. Nobody wants to be constantly doing the ad network shuffle. The problem is, it’s worth it. I hate to say it, but nobody compares to Adsense. I think when you get to a point where you’re serving hundreds of thousands of impressions a day it might. The reason being is Adsense eCPM drastically drops off when you started serving serious traffic, but that would be right around the point you would qualify going directly to ad exchange.

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