Here’s an interesting project that I found completely by accident. A kind correspondent/listener who sensed I was down and wanted to cheer me up sent me a link to the Crimson Dark web comic. It looked interesting but I wasn’t in the moode to start at the beginning on such a thing right now. What I did think was interesting was the ad box, which had a little money value on it that said “You’re ad right here, $0.80” or whatever the value was. I followed the link, which took me to Project Wonderful.
It’s got an interesting bidding mechanism for placing banner ads. It’s kind of like combining Adsense with eBay. You place a bid for a banner ad on a site, and for the duration that you are the highest bidder your ad shows. I’ve been thinking I need to start doing advertising for AmigoFish and rather than doing Adsense, I figured I might as well start with this. Thus far, it seems like an interesting experiment. I put some money in an account, fixed me up some 117X30 pixels banner ads (learning how to create animated GIFs with Graphic Converter for the first time) and let it rip. I put in bids on most of the ads with the tag “podcast” in the system. Some are working better than others, but thus far I’m getting a way better cost per click than anything I’d have been able to have got via AdSense. I’ll do that too, but I’m having fun fiddling with it at this point. I like the mechanism, and it seems like a really good way to extract value for content creators.
There are downsides, though. One is that the day I created the account, I signed up to be able to sell advertising. I figure I’ll put something in that dead space in my header and see how it works. At this stage of the game though, you have to be approved before you can sell ads. They say that it will take around two weeks for that approval to happen. It’s been 10 days, and I’ve seen incoming traffic on this site from Project Wonderful admin pages, but still no hookup. I continue to wait impatiently.
The other downside is in the approval side. As an advertiser you can configure it to auto-approve all bids, approve advertisers the first time or every time. It’s much like the options you have as moderator of comments on a blog. I’ve put in a dozen bids to mostly podcast related stuff. Most have been approved, a few are still pending, and one has rejected me. I have no idea why and emailed them to ask why, that’s still pending. I have to say, though, the rejection actually felt kind of personal to me. Although I’m more sanguine now and I’m reaching out to find out what I can do differently to be acceptable, my initial reaction was “What the hell? How dare they reject my ad!” Because of the way it is set up, it just felt like a repudiation. I’d think that usually you reject ads because you find the ad or product objectionable. I’m interested in finding out how my benign little project could offend anyone.
I’ll be following this experiment and will periodically update how it is going. So far, it looks interesting. When I finally get approved, if you want to join in the experiment and put your own banner on here for a while, let’s fire it up. It’s an easy process to join, PayPal them some money and place some bids. This process is banner ads steered by the invisible hand of the marketplace, which is neat by itself. One of the side effects (which could be pleasant or not) is that it does give you a direct and real world metric of the valuation of your web page as an advertising property. Project Wonderful seems to mostly have a lot of webcomics using it currently, and a few are making some reasonable money. I’ll be keeping my eye on this.