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Impression-based Ads
(for Small Sites <100,000 pageviews/month)

InfoLinks has rapidly risen through the ranks as a viable competitor to the popular Google AdSense program. The service offers a range of advertising creative types that are suitable for websites viewed on both mobile and desktop devices. Their integrations options include smart text link rollovers (InText), ads that float above content at the bottom of a browser window, and more traditional display creatives. They pay based on a combination of CPC (cost per click) and CPM (cost per impression) pricing models, much like Google. As an alternative to AdSense, or if you'd like to trial something new to see how it compares, and to explore innovative offerings such as the InText concept, give InfoLinks a try.

Google AdSense is the most widely adopted advertising network for small-medium websites. This service is highly flexible, supporting a huge variety of ad creative sizes, including both in-page advertising formats (including banners and skyscrapes, as well as multiplex/grid ads and related search units), plus some innovative overlay formats that don't disrupt the site's content structure (including anchor ads, side rails, and vignette ads). As the name indicates, the service is operated by Google, so it command huge reach and is backed by a reliable company. Given that many ads come from the "Google Ads" search and display advertising platform, there is no shortage of advertisers on the network, providing competitive rates as a result. Payments are issued monthly and performance stats are updated almost in real-time, providing great earnings visibility throughout the day. Highly recommended.

About.com (formerly The Mining Company) has initiated an interesting program in which writers/webmasters are asked to create topical content for the company in exchange for a percentage of their impression-based profits. The About.com staff decide on the topics for each web page, at which time webmasters should apply for the opportunity to create content for the company (including weekly features, link lists and more). The selected guides will be given their own sub-domain, and will earn 30% of all profits generated by About.com through the appearance of ads on their pages. 'SuperGuides' (guides who have completed a 12-week primer course) will also be eligible for a percentage of a half-yearly bonus pool. Guides are promised a guaranteed $100-$500 per month in exchange for completing certain minimum requirements.

AdOrigin took only a few months to develop a wildly negative reputation within the web publishing community. Their program offers a mixed CPM/CPC payment combination on banners and skyscrapers (with forced Superstitial® popups also spawned from the code on occasion) to sites that serve at least 5000 monthly impressions and manage to maintain a CTR above 0.25%. A few points to note off-the-bat are that their system of measuring impressions counts unique visitor sessions as a single impression. Also, their terms allow for popups, CPA banners and makegood impressions to be served without prior approval, for the terms to be changed at any time without notice, for affiliate accounts inactive for 60-days to be deleted and all unpaid revenues forfeited (which is liberal when one considers that their payment terms are NET90). Not to mention that the company seems to have ben unsuccessful at securing many direct campaigns - instead reselling ads from DoubleClick, 24/7 Real Media, Be Free, ClickThruTraffic and LeadCrunch amongst others - and has been plagued with reports of shoddy reporting, poor service, under-counting of resold clicks and, worst of all, wide reports of non-payment, AdOrigin is most certainly a company of which to be wary.

Ad-Up now pays web sites at a rate of between 30% and 70% of the advertising purchase price revenues when you host their banners. Your commission rate is set on a slidescale in relation to the number of pageviews generated monthly by your site. Therefore, as your traffic increases, so does your commission. Ad-Up strives to deliver pay-per-click ads whenever CPM ads are not available. They claim to pay anywhere between $0.5-$22 CPM or 24-74 cents per click-thru, before commissions are taken out. Reported CPM values do not reflect such optimistic rates, but do exceed those seen through many competing networks. Online reporting is available. Payment go out once $50 has amassed. This well-established program is worth exploring.

Amazing Media (formerly ADSDAQ) was one of the first CPM ad reps to offer flat-rate payments for publishers based on the number of ads served. Recently (following two halvings of the base rate), these rates were reduced to very low levels make them a less attractive option than one of the better click through networks. In any case, Amazing Media now offers $0.25 CPM, minus promotional and makegood impressions, which generally drag this rate down to about $0.18-$0.22. Also, since simple-media serving is no longer supported, these banners cannot be used within the default rotation of Burst!Media or Engage Media. What's more, I've heard reports of poor support, late payments and questionable reporting procedures experienced from this agency, so be wary.

Banner Mania apparently resells excess inventory from DoubleClick, which allows the firm to provide small-medium sites with the ability to fill their inventory with low-cost CPM runs. These 468x60 banners, with the odd popup thrown into the mix, generally net sites anywhere between $0.20-$0.40 Net CPM. Defaults are supported, and sites of all sizes are accepted. I have recently received several reports of ad-server outtages, suspected undercounting of ad views, problems with default deliveries and delayed payments, giving Banner Mania the unfortunate not recommended rating.

click2advertising is a promising network to launch from the Middle East. Using DoubleClick's DART to serve, track and report ads, the company offers quality support for sites that meet their content standards and serve in excess of 5,000 unique users per month. In order to qualify, sites must display the company's branding button on their site, and also fork out a $100 annual membership fee. Payment is issued quarterly, and rates vary according to the sellout rate and perceived value of your site's audience. Since I have yet to hear from any publishers about their experience with this new firm, I cannot effectively pass judgement on whether or not the $100 fee makes for a worthwhile investment, so if anyone has any further information, please email me.

Compact Banner has a somewhat checkered history, but seems to have reformed into a mature ad network that offers both banner and popup sales representation for small-medium websites. The company's product range includes 468x60 banners without pops, banners with a single pop, multi-pop banners and their proprietary CompactBanner display (essentially a banner, button and small text menu in a frame seperate from a site's contents) that may be placed in either an above-the-fold or below-the-fold position. Sites are offered flat CPM rates that presently range between $0.20 and $0.41, but it's important to note that CompactBanner does filter traffic aggressively so as to pay only for US-based traffic, and only for unique impressions (ie their rates are effectively $0.20/1000 visitors, not 1000 pageviews). Payment is made via check or PayPal for amounts exceeding $50, on a NET45 basis. Worth exploring

Conversant Exchange (formerly ValueClick Media and FastClick) remains one of the strongest digital ad networks in terms of reach and breadth of advertisers. The service allows publishers to enter an exchange-style network to have advertisers competitively bid for placement on their sites. They offer a range of integration options to suit a variety of dynamic website structures.

Senac.com operates both a low-ball CPM banner program and a $3CPM interstitial program. Both have been criticised heavily, with complaints ranging from spamming on behalf of the network's founder to possibly illegal reselling of inventory from competing ad networks, through to non-responsiveness and non-payment. Not recommended.

Suite101 has set up a program similar to that offered by About.com (see above). While not essentially an impression-based program, Suite101 does agree to pay editors a set amoount for creating content for the Suite101 site. The amount ranges between $15 and $25 per month, depending on the frequency by which the page is updated with fresh content. For an example Suite101 site, see our Australian Cinema page.


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