Tag Archives: advertising

Does Project Wonderful Make Advertising Awesome?

Project Wonderful is an ad marketplace that is commonly used on webcomic sites and lit-blogs, partially because of the large community of independently-operated websites that use it. They use a nifty “infinite auction” scheme where advertisers bid how much they are willing to pay for a day of advertising, which can get pretty cut-throat on larger sites.

I recently noticed that Reddit had a Project Wonderful ad zone in their /r/comics section, and the current bid was only $4.40. So I decided to seize the opportunity to try out Project Wonderful on a heavily-trafficked web property and promote my younger brother’s comic site a little bit. So I upped the bid by a couple of dollars, became the high bidder, and waited.

After enjoying my victory for a few minutes, and racking up a few impressions, I was outbid by a seller of geeky plush animals. I retaliated by upping my bid a few dollars, and my ad immediately returned to it’s rightful place in front of thousands of Redditors’ monitors. About a half hour later, my squishy nemesis had once again outbid me. Not only had they outbid me, but they had raised it about $10. So I slowly raised my offer until it was just over theirs.

They must have given up for the time being, as my ad remained up for the next day and a half, when my fundage ran low and the ad was finally replaced once again by my foe’s plush Cthulu banner. I ended up spending about $10 for over 50,000 impressions. Not bad.

I’m now trying out Project Wonderful from the Publisher side. I have some ad space on my fantasy book and movie site, where I’m trying to see how quickly a smaller site can start getting bids. A couple of free banners (because bidding starts at $0) are up right now, so I could see others’ bidding them up a few cents in order to get wicked cheap advertising over a few weeks.

How “awesome” Project Wonderful is for a small site, we shall see, but the service certainly lives up to its claims for advertisers.

BuySellAds Now Offering iOS Ad Framework

BuySellAds, the ad marketplace popular among internet and computer blogs, recently released a Cocoa framework for displaying ad zones in OS X applications. In a not unexpected, but certainly intriguing, turn of events, they have now released a version of the framework for iOS.

Yes, that means BuySellAds is coming to the iPhone and iPad. Think about that for a minute.

There are now three major ad networks available for app developers to use in their products. Apple’s own iAd, with it’s fun and user-friendly interactive mini applications; Google’s AdMob banners; and now BuySellAds. The big difference between BuySellAds and the other two is that you get final approval before an ad is displayed in your application. Also, the advertisers pay a fixed amount to run their banner for a specific stretch of time, while Apple’s and Google’s offerings cycle different banners in using an automated targeting algorithm.

Choice is good, and some developers will definitely benefit from having BuySellAds as an option.

Less is More: BuySellAds Launches AdPacks

Instead of having a bunch of banner ads, wouldn’t it be better to have just one high quality one in a prominent place? That’s the premise of networks like Fusion Ads and The Deck. Now BuySellAds, the large ad marketplace that I use here on Webmaster-Source, is launching a side network that works in the same way.

AdPacks is an exclusive invitation-only ad network split into three topical categories. Publishers display a single ad zone that randomly cycles through the network’s banners. Advertisers pay $399-$599 to advertise network-wide and each site in the network gets a cut of the money.

The basic idea is “less is more.” Instead of bombarding users with advertisers, the advertisers pay more to be the center of attention. If their product is the only one being advertisers, there’s less to distract from the one ad.

I would love to get in on this, but I’m probably not cool enough. It seems like AdPacks would pay better as well as creating less on-screen clutter.

BuySellAds Coming to OS X Applications

This has been in the works for awhile, but Mac AppStorm is reporting that BuySellAds is finally putting ads in OS X applications. If you have a Cocoa application, you can use an API to inject ad zones into your application. The ad zones appear in the BuySellAds marketplace just like any website, but the ads will be pulled-into your program. Bodega and the Kiwi Twitter client are both using the ads.

This is something that I have been wanting to see for some time. We have already seen a few free internet-connected applications, such as Evernote and Tweetie for Mac, supported by Fusion Ads and The Deck. It’s cool to have BuySellAds, a less exclusive network, offer a similar option to developers.

My big question is: will this work for iPhone apps? Cocoa and CocoaTouch are similar frameworks, and it would be interesting to see BuySellAds as a potential competitor to iAd and AdMob. (iAd is simply perfect for the iPhone, though. Plain banners can’t quite compete in that regard…)

Apple’s iAd Platform the “Most Progressive Thing to Date” in Online Advertising

“We feel pretty strongly that this is the way to capitalize on where the mobile Web is heading,” said Chad Jacoby, a senior manager of Nissan’s media operations. “What iAd promises is the most progressive thing I’ve seen to date” in digital advertising.

Advertisers and developers alike are very happy with Apple’s iAd platform. Developers like that they get paid a lot more than they would through other networks and advertisers like that users are much more likely to interact with the advertisements. Applications running iAds are seeing CPM rates as high as $25.

Dictionary.com said on Wednesday that the amount it could charge for its ad space had increased 177% since it enabled iAds in its iPhone app, and CBS Mobile Senior Vice President Rob Gelick said the company’s six apps — including apps for CBS Sports, CNET, and GameSpot, were seeing up to $25 CPMs (the cost advertisers pay for an add to appear a thousand times.)

On the other end of the scale, advertisers are reporting a much greater user engagement. Users spend more time with the iAds than with ordinary banners, and they are much more likely to “click” them. It can be expected that people would spend more time with the ads, seeing as the whole point of the platform is to provide information and entertainment without leaving the confines of the app. Ordinary display ads whisk the user away as soon as they click.

Nissan, which created a multilayer interactive ad for its electric LEAF car, said customers spent an average of 90 seconds with the ad — 10 times longer than interaction times for comparable online ads. Moreover, people chose to “tap” on the Leaf iAd five times more frequently than they clicked on regular online display ads for the Leaf.

If you haven’t seen an iAd yet, be sure to see this YouTube video of the Nissan ad. It shows-off the benefits of the platform (from the perspective of end users) pretty well.

I have high hopes for the iAd network, both as a blogger interested in seeing the advertising industry shaken-up and as someone getting started with iPhone application development.

iAds: Apple Reinvents Mobile Advertising

One of the things Steve Jobs announced in the iPhone OS 4.0 keynote was Apple’s new advertising platform, “iAds.” It’s something I have high hopes for. I think it will promote the development of more free applications.

What’s so special about iAds? For starters, clicking on one of the small banners doesn’t take you out of your application. It just opens an overlay with an HTML5-powered “mini application” from the advertiser, which you can then exit at any time.

The page displayed when you tap an advertisement is very interactive. Video and sound can be streamed to you, freebies like iPhone wallpapers can be downloaded. You can even play little HTML5 games.

Another example Jobs showed-off a few times was using the location tools to help find nearby store or movie theater locations. Imagine clicking a Pizza Hut or Dunkin Donuts ad and having it show you where to find the nearest franchise location.

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Apple to Launch a Mobile Ad Platform on April 7th?

There have been some interesting rumors going around in Apple land again. MediaPost is convinced that Apple is going to announce a mobile ad platform called “iAd” on April 7th.

Precise details of the system and its features could not be discerned at presstime (and calls to Apple had not been returned), but it is believed to have been built on top of Quattro, the mobile advertising developer Apple acquired in January for nearly $300 million, and it is expected to be the first real battle of a Silicon Valley Holy War between Apple and arch frenemy Google that is shifting its front line to Madison Avenue.

I know, the idea seemed a little outlandish to me at first, too. After pondering the thought of an Apple ad network for awhile, it started to make sense.

Apple has two devices that are similar, but radically different in their intended usage, and they both are good candidates for an ad network.

The iPad is intended to be a media consumption device. It’s form factor is supposed to make it a device to read magazines, news and books on. With Apple pushing for publications to make their content available on the iPad and iPhone, doesn’t it make sense for them to provide a premium ad network to make the move more profitable for both parties. With a New York Times iPad application, a Wired app, and more on the way, doesn’t it seem like a comprehensive in-app advertising solution would be an attractive deal for publishers?

The iPhone is primarily used on-the-go. Its users pull it out to find nearby restaurants, check movie show times, buy train tickets, or make other informational or monetary transactions one does while out and about. Geolocation could really be a game-changer for some forms of advertising. Suppose you’re looking for a restaurant in the Yelp application. If you’ve enabled the app to have permission to geolocate you, it could forward your location to the Apple ad network and display ads for restaurants nearby.

Apple has a chance to build an ad network that does things differently. If they impose strict guidelines on the advertisers allowed in, so as to be useful to the user while not becoming too intrusive, they could have a hit. How often do you find ads to be useful? If Apple can break that paradigm, they’ll have done something truly revolutionary.

BuySellAds Introduces Asynchronous Ad Serving

BuySellAds, the ad network that I use on Webmaster-Source, has introduced a cutting-edge ad-serving feature. Their new asynchronous ad serving script dramatically speeds up page loading times, as the browser doesn’t have to wait around for the ads to load.

Todd Garland, the founder of BuySellAds, hopes that other networks will follow suit with their own asynchronous solutions, resulting in a faster internet.

If the major ad networks like Google AdSense, Yahoo! Network, AOL Advertising, as well as the popular ad serving products such as Google AdManager and OpenX converted their ad code to be non-blocking, the internet as a whole would become an order of magnitude faster. I genuinely hope that the larger ad networks will step up to the plate and follow our lead on this. A faster internet is a happier internet. This is a big deal.

I’m already using the new ad code here, as are many of the sites in the BuySellAds marketplace.

BuySellAds Announces “Premium” and Pay Per Click Ads

BuySellAds has announced two new ad programs that are currently in beta stage: “premium” banners and Pay-Per-Click text ads.

As you know, we have traditionally sold display ads at fixed 30-day rates. It is important to note that we are not abandoning the sponsorship model at all, it is still our core business. However, there has been a growing need for both advertisers and publishers to have more options. Premium and Pay Per Click are the first additional options we are releasing in a series of innovative developments that we have to come.

The Pay-Per-Click ads are a type of ad zone that resembles an AdSense block vaguely, with the most noticeable difference being that the ads have icons next to them.

BuySellAds Pay-Per-Click ads“Premium” banners are network ads. An advertiser can pay a minimum of $2,500 to have their banner syndicated across any sites in the BSA network that run the banners.

Payouts were not discussed in the post, as the new ad zone types are still in beta. Both of the new ad types have one major advantage though: you don’t have to worry about advertisers booking ad spots on your site, as they’re network-wide.

As a user of BuySellAds, I will be watching this with great interest.

The New York Times Accidentally Serves Malicious Ads

The New York Times was unwittingly serving-up a rogue advertisement last week that would install malware disguised as antivirus software when it appeared in the rotation.

The malware seems to be one of the many variants of the infamous Antivirus2009, which goes by many names, but does the same thing overall: It locks-down your computer and pretends to be an antivirus application that you need to pay $30-$760 for it to remove the mess of nonexistant malware that it claims is on your computer. (When, in fact, the only malware is the faux antivirus software itself, which does all sorts of terrible things.) Paying the fee to the authors of the ransomware does not earn you any relief from the software either, it simply opens you up to more extortion.

The last I heard, The New York Times staff were looking into finding the rogue ad, which contained some Flash scripting to redirect to the malware site. (This sort of problem is in no way unique to The New York Times. Every once in awhile a rogue ad slips through the approval process and ends up in a major banner network.) This brings up an interesting topic of discussion…

Online publishers need to move away from running Flash-based banner ads. There, I said it. By dropping ads built with Flash, you make it a lot harder, in not impossible, for malware to be spread through said advertisements. As valuable as Flash is for online video and games, it’s the root of all evil when it comes to ads. You can’t spread malware through a JPG, GIF or PNG image, and you can’t make ads that talk, play video, or fly across the screen either. Whenever someone complains about an obnoxious ad, chances are it’s Flash.

Update: It turns out that the ad was sold not through a third-party network, but through The New York Times’ internal sales department. The malware distributor posed as a legitimate company (Vonage) and then delivered the malicious ad code after paying. You can read the full details on NYTimes.com.

Further Reading

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