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Are there Advertising Network Alternatives to AdSense?

 5:59 pm on Aug 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've been running a site for about 9 months now, which allows users to receive a share of advertising revenue their content generates. It is a similar model to many huge sites such as Helium, Hubpages, Associated Content etc all of which use Adsense.

The response to our site has been overwhelmingly positive, with strong growth each month to the point we are now a pretty decent size in terms of number of authors, pages and traffic. We've actually created a great new community, where most users enjoy the interaction more than the money they earn.

We've tried various different advertisers but none generate anywhere near the income that Adsense delivers. Why? A few reasons:

  1. The biggest advertiser base, hence highest bids
  2. The widest advertiser base, hence there is nearly always a relevant advert - remember, my site has content on every legitimate topic
  3. They have the best geotargeting around, and as our audience is global this is critical
  4. Their adverts are served quicker than many competitors, hence the users see the adverts without an annoying pause

So we stuck with mainly Adsense for revenue as I simply do not think there is an alternative:

  1. There is no similar scheme run by Yahoo/Microsoft/ANOther (why?!)
  2. Smaller text ad operators deliver tiny returns in comparison
  3. We cannot work directly with advertisers as our content is way too broad - there would be too many relationships
  4. Affiliate networks (tried CJ, Tradedoubler etc.) seem to lack the ability to geotarget, manage adverts so that they are up to date, provide any kind of dynamic ad matching tool that works etc.

This feels like putting eggs into one basket... but I don't blame Google as they are brilliant at what they do. I blame the other huge web corporations for not pulling the finger out and offering a competing product in a market that is worth a fortune.

What do others think? Are there alternatives? Is this monopoly bad for the web?



 6:32 pm on Aug 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

And you have a great chance of sooner or later being banned by Adsense. Users that get a share of the revenue their content generates quickly start violating copyrights, copy other people's work ... A couple of complaints to Google and your business is dead.


 6:40 pm on Aug 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

How do the big competitors cope with copied content?


 6:54 pm on Aug 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well it's not a monopoly for one thing. There are other alternatives, but your business model apparently doesn't fit them. AdSense has had both positive and negative effects on the web in general in my opinion, but that's not really the question here.

There *is* a similar program for MSN, and I hope it will get a lot more advertisers when Bing starts providing ads to Yahoo. It's in closed beta now, and I'm in it but I bet I haven't made $10. There just aren't the good ads, at least not in any of my niches. And I don't know when they're going to open it up again to the world.

So you have to ask yourself, is this the best business model you can come up with? If you are relying on AdSense, then you are most definitely at risk. I assume you are using your own pubID and sharing the revenue - which means if you get banned for some reason, you AND your writers are all out of business at once.

I sure wouldn't want to rely on that.


 7:24 pm on Aug 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Wasn't the msn beta only ever open to US citizens? I'm based in the UK. Plus as you say, it makes little money so isn't comparable.

We feel the model is proven by the number of established competitors.

My point is not purely around our site, as I'm sure there are many sites that would be affected by google pulling the plug; just the threat of it happening may prevent some creative ideas never seeing the light of day.


 7:36 pm on Aug 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

How do the big competitors cope with copied content?

DMCA, just like anyone else.


 7:56 pm on Aug 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

You see a need. Investigate how you can fill it. If there is money in your model then why share it with another company? Create your own International network.

OpenX offers solutions for those who want to sell advertising.


 8:11 pm on Aug 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

So I take it that there are no alternatives if I have to create my own competitors to adsense!

Aren't there at least any decent affiliate networks that allows you to semi-recreate adsense?

ie. Sign up for all their programs, then use geo-targeting and some kind of page parser to deliver the closet matching ad?

Tradedoubler offers a page parser options but no geotarget.

Anybody know of another network that offers these features?


 3:05 pm on Sep 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

It doesn't sound like you really want an alternative, you want an alternative that is as easy and pays as well as AdSense (place the code, and they do all the work) In a nutshell - no, there are no competitors to *that* particular model. Everything else takes considerably more work. Only you can decide if it's worth it to you.

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