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.