I have found Project Wonderful to be aptly named. I blogged my initial impressions here. I’ve been using it for about a month now. Let’s start with the downside. I applied to be an ad seller the first day I joined up and never got my invitation code. Two weeks after that, I sent an email asking about it. I never got a response to that. Ten days later, I emailed another followup. I never received a response to that either. So, they might be getting swamped or having manpower scaling issues, but my experience as an excited person who wants to put their ad boxes on my sites has really sucked. I have a whole lot of enthusiasm for using them as an ad provider, but if they continue to blow me off that enthusiasm will evaporate. Get it together, guys! How hard are you going to make me work to help earn you money?
On the seller side, it has worked fabulously. I started slowly, picking a few small buttons to advertise AmigoFish. I picked and chose somewhat randomly across sites that seemed to be a good value for the money, tending to stay in the pennies per day region. I advertised on most of the podcast related sites in the stable (exceprt for the Warcraft Radio guys who inexplicably rejected me and also never replied to my message asking why.) That was all well and good, and I was happy with that.
Then, a week ago they brought their campaign system online. This allows you to bid not on single boxes but on the results to a search. So, insteand of searching on everything tagged “podcast” in the system and finding them on bidding on each of them one by one, I instead set up a campaign to do that. That worked well, but was about on parity with what I was doing before, just a more efficient way to achieve it. Here’s the biggie.
I setup a campaign to do an experiment in long tail breadth on Project Wonderful ads. In it, I bid $0.01 per day across the widest possible search. In essence, I’m bidding one cent a day on every ad they have. I capped it at 50 cents per day. Because I win some of these with zero cent bids, that puts it on over 50 sites per day. For the week I’ve been doing that, I’ve averaged over 70 click throughs each day from this campaign alone. Not views, but clicks! It seems to be working fabulously, and the new subscriber rate at AmigoFish is about twice the baseline over the last few weeks.
I can’t say there is no clickfraud with this system, because I don’t know that. It does seem like the motivation for it would be more dispersed than with Adsense. You might conceivably want to click your own ads a lot to increase your value, but in my case all that would do would be to lift the bid up to where I no longer high bidder. Spurious clicks might exist in order to increase one’s value to bidders, but it is not the sole metric of how much you get paid. In general, this system seems like a better way of extracting intrinsic value for smaller sites. I like the service, I hope they stick around for a while and I hope they get it together well enough to take on new advertisers soon. I want to sell their ads, and I want more podcasts to sign up as advertisers so I get more cool venues to put my ads on.