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ProjectWonderful ads for your blog?

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on
October 28th, 2007
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Business of Blogging

I decided to use Project Wonderful for a month before I would say anything about the service so that I could talk somewhat intelligently about it. Project Wonderful lets you sell ads on your blogs in a new way. They use something called an “infinite auction” model that allows you to continue to sell your ad even after it is sold one time. In other words, the ads are sold on a per day basis and the highest bidders’ ads are displayed on your blog. The system has its weaknesses but it does work. You sign up just like any other advertising service and wait for them to approve your blog. Then you decide what kind of ad blocks you would like to display, setup the code and then add the code to your blog. The process of setting up ads and displaying them is a learning experience, but more on that later.

Pros:

  • Account setup is relatively easy.
  • Once the ads are setup, there is little to be done, low maintenance
  • Could be better money than AdSense for some blogs
  • Google friendly
  • Multiple types of ads
  • Very, very versatile advertising system
  • Infinite auction has its advantages

Cons:

  • Setting up ads and generating the code is confusing and cumbersome. I am not sure why ad details such as size, colors and ad text are on the ad code that needs to be regenerated after the ad is tweaked. Ad code generation leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Infinite auction, though “innovative”, is confusing to advertisers. Selling more ads on your blog when an ad is already being displayed becomes difficult. There is a high learning curve for both advertisers and publishers. Casual ad buyers are wary of the infinite auction model.
  • The site is slow when logged in. It is a pain to allow a pending bid when it takes over 30 seconds for each page to load. The ads themselves are displayed without much of a lag, which is nice.
  • There are few advertisers on the service at this time. Most of them are t shirt sales or “blooming tea” sales and a few web comic sales ads slip in from time to time. Once this cadre of advertisers grows, the services’ potential will also increase.
  • You need to be patient with the ads and the advertisers. You do not sell your inventory on the first day you put up the ads.

I tried various different pricing models and various different prices (on various different blogs and pages). If you do sign up, start with a lowball number for the bidding. That helps to get the attention of the few advertisers on the service. My prices were a slippery slope. I sold very few ads on the higher end of the price range and most of my ads ran empty if I put the them for auction at a going price I thought was fair. The site has a lot of good help files to guide you on price and the number of ads that are worthwhile. One thing I can say for certain. If you have AdSense on your blog and are making very little money from them, Project Wonderful is worth a shot. Chances are that you will make more from them, however slight that increase might be. The service did not work well for me but you might have a different experience with them.

Have you used Project Wonderful in the past? Have you advertised with them?

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Comments

  1. Ilias (4 comments.) says:

    I am using Project Wonderful at the moment on my personal blog.At the moment I (like you did) have more disadvantages to write about than advantages.. Anyway.. I ‘ll give it some more time..

  2. DJ (1 comments.) says:

    I didn’t register…I just browsed the publishers to see if I wanted to advertise. I was a little put off by them not having a category search. Perhaps that’s available to registered users but I’d like to know if there are any blogs in the category I am looking for before I sign up. But on the other hand they do have a tag cloud search but still…I want categories.

  3. Mark Ghosh (386 comments.) says:

    DJ: Their backend interface leaves a lot to be desired for publishers. It sounds as if it is the same for advertisers. That is such a shame.

  4. Mubin (6 comments.) says:

    I signed up and specifically deposited money in my account to advertise on your blog, but my blog didnt get approved! :) Guess you didnt like my ad eh Mark? :)

    it is a weird system though, Im sure with the traffic that you are getting you could sell those ad spots on a monthly basis very easily.

  5. Phil Newton (1 comments.) says:

    I’ve used it a bit and am quite pleased with the results, but as previously mentioned it’s a little slow and difficult to use at first. I started by placing a few manual bids, and then a campaign once I got more settled.

    As for making money, that’s not so been great. I also got the “blooming teas” ad quite a lot, and a lot of the advertisers seem to be comics (probably because they generate a lot of impressions even with a few visitors). My average income on the site is about $0.10, which isn’t really worth it.

    All in all it’s a good site to get started with advertising as it’s relatively low cost and low maintenance. It has its problems, but hopefully they’ll start to disappear once it gets more popular.

  6. Andrew (32 comments.) says:

    I tried it about a year ago and found the same kind of advertisers you mentioned. I stopped using it because they weren’t relevent to the site I tried them on and actually seemed to diminish it because they weren’t very well produced.

  7. Ilias (4 comments.) says:

    I didn’t know that this service is so more than a year old.

  8. Chess Teaching (15 comments.) says:

    Reading this article I think that I’ll stick to adsense

  9. Christine From The Internet (4 comments.) says:

    I used PW for a while, but found that there weren’t really a lot of relevant advertisers.

    I suppose if enough bloggish types pushed using PW, then a critical mass of blog advertisers could end up forming.

    Maybe.

    It certainly is nice having a constant trickle of money as opposed to the seemingly random results googleads produce.

  10. Dodgypress (2 comments.) says:

    Hey Mate,
    Thoroughly enjoyed, this post. Tiny blog network publishers/developers like me find this subject matter very pertinent, due to the fact at some point in time, we have to start monetising, the blogs. Thus info about the right ad systems to utilise will be crucial.

    Will there be a chance, that, you will at one point cover and recommend, a range of ad systems, for various blog sizes?

  11. Derek Coward (1 comments.) says:

    If I recall correctly, Project Wonderful was started by something very connected with the webcomics community and that’s why you see a lot of ads for webcomics.

    The part that turned me off from displaying their ads is the fact that a lot of people would bid, get the ad for a nice price, then cancel before they actually had to pay anything. After seeing that I had more cancelled ads than anything, I gave up and removed them from my site.

  12. hso (8 comments.) says:

    Hey Mark,

    What exactly do you mean when you say “Google Friendly”? Does that mean Google will allow this model of advertisements and not penalize the site unlike the recent speculation with Text Link Ads?

  13. Mark Ghosh (386 comments.) says:

    hso: Not PR affecting in any way.

  14. Viper007Bond (91 comments.) says:

    Seems that an advertising setup such as this one would only really work out for very large sites with lots of reputation. I mean, who would want to target and pay any money for a tiny little blog like mine?

  15. Alistair Hutton says:

    UI too found PW to be painfully slow but it seems that they’ve done a big server upgrade and searches that took up to 30 seconds to respond are now completing in less than a second. Makes the whole process a lot more bearable

  16. Xial (3 comments.) says:

    I’ve been using Project Wonderful for 10 months, 22 days as of this comment.
    While the ads that I’ve received with the two Project Wonderful boxes are perhaps what we call ‘painfully obvious’ in the fact that there aren’t major advertisers pouring money in there, I’ve had a few days where bidding got up to 70 cents per day. I’m also not a major site — I’m just a small personal blog that doesn’t have high PageRank, and not a very large visitation from others. I also admit that most of the time, I tend to hover around 2 cents a day per box as of late, but at the same time, I do recycle some of my earnings into advertising for myself for a week or two.

    For a shrimp like me, it works.

    I’ve also brought up things to the guys at PW about their ad code, and they’ve actually spent time working on it. Perhaps if someone said that the way it’s set up is difficult to understand or makes no sense… :)

  17. Adam_Y (1 comments.) says:

    I use PW on my webcomic, The Flowfield Unity. Most of what has already been said is fairly sound.

    The site is awfuly slow at times…

    The system is possibly best used to generate a small advertising budget of your own, ploughing the money you make back into more advertising on other sites, but as mentioned the range of sites is a little limited right now.

    My advice is that if you have a (relatively) small number of visitors to your site, it’s a good bet.

    Start selling your ads for free rather than putting a reserve price as that will stop people having a punt to get you started. Once you have an advertisiser, you’re more likely to get some bids.

    Use the money to fund a small advertising budget of your own and you can generate some traffic in a banner exchange like manner.

    There are some bigger names on there though, The Book of Biff, A Softer World, and Quantz… all very good webcomics with a solid daily audience.

  18. David Davis (1 comments.) says:

    Project Wonderful was built for webcomics, so that’s why you’ve seen a lot of comic advertisements. I run a webcomic and it’s a much better earner for me that adsense ever was. I’m not making much, but I can generally manage about 10 dollars every one and a half to two months.

  19. Roman | ANAWIKI GAMES (1 comments.) says:

    I used PW as an advertiser and plan to use it again. It is hard to find publishers that will convert your advertising into sales, though sometimes for $10 you can get $200 return in sales (and sometimes you get $0 for bigger investment).

    PW should work harder on getting more publishers and then finding more advertisers.

    BTW. You can’t cancel ad without paying… you need to deposit money before you advertise and once you deposited money you can’t get it back if your ads have been displayed.

  20. Caveman Joe (1 comments.) says:

    Project Wonderful money for publishers seems to come in waves, seemingly at random. However, for advertisers, it delivers the best ROI I’ve ever seen. I wrote an article about my experiences as an advertiser here on Project Wonderful Talk. I figure when more advertisers start seeing the ridiculously low CPC rates, more advertisers will be attracted to the system, and rates will go up for publishers.

  21. Network Geek (21 comments.) says:

    So, it’s been two months since you started with this. How’s it working for you? Have you tried any others? How are they working for you in comparison?

  22. Pras says:

    I have been using PW from past few months & so far i am happy with it. As mine is a startup blog i prefer displaying PW ads rather than the adsense ads.

  23. Isles Tech (1 comments.) says:

    Thanks for all these description and comments about Project Wonderful. I think I’m going to sign up. :)

  24. Matt says:

    The ads are actually bid by the second not by the day. The person can bid say $1.00 for the day, leave it up for an hour when your site visits are high (they can see that) and then take it down. They are only charged pennies then. I think that sucks.



Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] first time, one as a publisher, and one as an advertiser. Mixed feelings for Project Wonderful in this review from Weblog Tools Collection. The author seems to have the same problems that the rest of us are having – poor server […]

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