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Old 02-28-2004, 12:45 PM   #1
Steve_S
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Question What criteria do you use when evaluating a NEW Network/Broker?

This post was inspired by Josh/Czar Given the fact that we continue to see NEW Networks/Brokers implode/fail at an alarming rate and have been watching this happen for many many years at GV, I have a question.

Assumption/Requirement: Your site can and will deliver compliant/legal traffic to a given network. Traffic which complies with the Networks Rules (the letter and spirit of same).

Question:

----> Do you join new networks? If no, then why not? If yes, you do join new networks, what criteria do you use to arrive at this decision? Does this involve "due dillegence" and if yes, what and how do you do this?

I would like to keep this thread "generic" in nature and am confident that those of you who find the time to post, will provide lots of details to help all of us.

Last edited by Steve_S; 02-28-2004 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 03-01-2004, 02:40 PM   #2
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Great thoughts gang Outstanding!

Question:

If the general consensis ? is to either not join a new network in a lot of cases or provide them with a "smallish" amount of your inventory as a test, who the heck joins new networks?

I have my own views, primarily for the CPC/CPM space but do you think this is true?

Early sign ups in the CPC/CPM space are mostly cheaters looking for a new target or folks with sub standard sites that have already been rejected by the major players in this space. Many more cheaters than sub standard sites.

Natch, I think this profile changes for the better with quality sites and fewer cheaters the longer the program is around.

Your thoughts?
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Old 02-29-2004, 10:23 PM   #3
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I broke the rule with Casale, too, but for one particular reason. In their case, it was the testimonials on the index page that sold the program. These featured real identities in the online advertising world making genuine statements, and a kudos from Jason of SI was enough to set this program apart from many of its contemporaries.

Word of mouth has become my leading guide in determining whether or not a program has merit and is likely to be sustainable. Of course, a little online forensics work and subtle discussions with the program's administrators to reveal the depth of their industry knowledge and their commitment to the program frequently assist also.

There are so many red lights that we've seen here throughout the years, and these vary from program to program. Some things that immediate cast doubt on a company's legitimacy are false testimonials, inaccurate publisher lists, founders who were involved in previous failures, spam, false or misleading whois data, a disregard for IP law, dodgy technology, under-developed business plans/revenue models, mlm tendencies, adverse payment terms, overly controlling non-compete clauses, etc, etc.

A few years ago, programs possessing one or more of these qualities would launch on an almost weekly basis. The influx has tempered since then, which arguably makes offenders easier to spot. Unfortunately, though, there are still a few cases in which the promoters of unsustainable programs are able to mystify publishers enough to walk away with a few fast bucks and many disgruntled creditors.
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Old 02-28-2004, 04:45 PM   #4
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Would I join a new network or affiliate program? Most likely no, but there is a possibility I would. Here's some factors that would influence my decision:

- Does the company appear to be a one-person operation? When it comes to a network, I would not work with a company that did not have experienced on-site employees. Many people new to the industry feel all that is required to start a successful network is the ability to code in PHP and possess a small amount of money making skill. Running a network or affiliate program is hard. There will be cheating. You must have a large amount of money available to pay your affiliates even if you have to wait longer for your payment. Many people launch an affiliate program right off the bat without considering jut how difficult it is to run one.

- Is the owner of the company or the person who runs the program/network knowledgable? If a small company is starting up a traffic network, then there must be people at the company exceptionally good at: Marketing, maintaining and obtaining advertisers, coding, spotting abusers, and customer service. Along with this point, I consider whether the owner has a good name in the community. For example, is this person a long time poster to affiliate message boards and has the person constantly given good advice?

- How well does the company maintain their public profile? Many times, either the owner or reps for a new traffic network post on message boards like these to both drive up buzz for their program and to answer any questions people may have about their program. So much can be determined by the type of posts made by these people. I have cringed and felt embarassed for people in the past who showed both their lack of professionalism and lack of knowledge about the industry in a public forum.

- Is the commission structure for the program good? Obviously, if the money isn't there, I'm not going to use the program. However, this step really takes a backseat to everything above. If the company is unreliable, then the commission amount is meaningless. Going back to the theme of this post, many times new companies launch with unrealistically high commissions either because they want new affiliates or because they overestimate the value of traffic. I've seen this happen again and again on these boards and what ultimately happens is the company cuts payouts, or goes under leaving webmasters without their money.
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Old 03-04-2004, 07:30 PM   #5
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When evaluating an ad network I look for better ad rates and new offers. What makes me STICK with a network is frequent new offers, and having a dedicated rep to work with you is always nice too.
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Old 03-01-2004, 10:04 AM   #6
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I find myself increasingly reluctant to join even established networks with a good reputation. I'm currently working with a lot of established networks and one or two newer networks. But a brand new network isn't likely to attract my attention unless they offer something distinctive. Like for Budsinc I decided to give them a try because they promise to fill all inventory. About the only thing that I think would attract me to a new network right now would be a good paying option for non-US traffic though even that is getting less important as Burst, FastClick and others increasingly fill that space.

Because of my reluctance to join new networks I generally let the GeekVillage community do the work for me. If I see a new network I search here. If there's anything negative or nothing at all I won't go any further.

If a network warrants investigation I look for red flags. Besides what others have mentioned I always look for inflated claims. A new network is unlikely to be serving billions of ads a month. And then there's the reality check. A network that offered $2 CPM on banners to all countries with no defaults isn't going to get me because I just don't believe it.

At this point I feel like I have basic RON ads pretty well filled. To be of interest a network would likely have to be in my niche with good contacts in the industry and some proven ability to sell targeted advertising.
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Old 03-17-2004, 01:33 AM   #7
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ok. First, the offers. If they have a current list of client/offers, that would be great. Else, join first, and check out for the list of offers.

So, having good and unique offers from the network is very encouraging. I will tend to implement links from network with unique new offers. Rather than changing the link of the same offer from one network to the other one.

Payout rate ? Doesn't matter much. It is quite rare that you find one network offering $1 yet another one offering $2.

If this network being used by big players, it give me better trust. However, I will give their offers a greater boost after I receive my first check
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Old 02-28-2004, 06:14 PM   #8
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I guess I've been fairly lucky, as I've only been burned by NailItAdvertising for $60.

As for joining new networks, I join the instant I see a new network that appears to have potential. You never know what is going to be the next fastclick, and it's always good to get in on the ground floor. It's a lot harder to get accepted once the program is somewhat popular or at capacity. I don't always use the networks I join, but having a few networks to fall back on is always a good idea.

As for using networks. I only use them sparingly after hearing other people's experience with them, and when I do use them their payment cycle and ad quality has to make me comfortable. The only time I broke this rule was with Casale Media and I truly lucked out as they are a great network.
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Old 02-29-2004, 11:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Czar
A few years ago, programs possessing one or more of these qualities would launch on an almost weekly basis. The influx has tempered since then, which arguably makes offenders easier to spot. Unfortunately, though, there are still a few cases in which the promoters of unsustainable programs are able to mystify publishers enough to walk away with a few fast bucks and many disgruntled creditors.
This must have been before my time, but I can certainly see it. It's just amazing to me how many people flock to new programs that even to the untrained eye appear destined to fail. No offense to LookFindGo, but he couldn't even get his unique visitor numbers straight.

It is a little disapointing that there is no real penalty for jilting your publishers. Sure you can get sued or a complaint filed with the BBB, but lawsuits for the publisher are rarely worth it and the BBB is extremely inept in regards to the web.

I don't want to sound like I'm casting stones in Dave's direction. I firmly believe it was not his intention to defraud, but instead found himself in a tough situation that he was not entirely prepared to handle. I do hope things turn around for him and wish him the best of luck.
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Old 03-23-2004, 04:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by kamsoon
ok. First, the offers. If they have a current list of client/offers, that would be great. Else, join first, and check out for the list of offers.

So, having good and unique offers from the network is very encouraging. I will tend to implement links from network with unique new offers. Rather than changing the link of the same offer from one network to the other one.

Payout rate ? Doesn't matter much. It is quite rare that you find one network offering $1 yet another one offering $2.

If this network being used by big players, it give me better trust. However, I will give their offers a greater boost after I receive my first check


I agree, but I would like to know from their advertising side as well. If they can really find advertisers, then this company can be trusted.
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Old 03-15-2004, 11:35 AM   #11
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I have been burned twice before. Once for under $500 with an ad network that doens't exist anymore and once for $1000+ with a popular popup company. And they both hurt like hell when it came time to pay my server bills.

Since I use ads to support my server bills and not my pocketbook, I honestly don't do a whole lot of homework. I find this forum to be an unmatched asset in my ability to support my website creating habit. Before I use ANYBODY, I come here and do a search on the company. If I see some positive remarks by posters I trust like Steve and Czar and Sashman and Rhea, I'll give them a try on a few sites. When I receive my first check, then I'll add them to more sites.

I would rather receive $1 CPM from a company with a positive reputation than $5 CPM from a company that drags their feet when support is needed, has ripped off someone I trust and/or doesn't pay on time.
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Old 02-28-2004, 01:42 PM   #12
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I will test them maybe, but getting more and more hesitant with anyone new.

I look at their pedigree. Have the principals been involved in successful ad companies? Have they been involved in ****s/spams?

How are they promoting themselves? Are they paying for ads or just spamming away?

Checking their page, does it all work? Do they mention some clients?

If either of those are no, I steer clear. If they can't be bothered to get a working website up before promoting their program, they probably don't have the attention to detail required from a network. As for the not mentioning clients, I can see only one reason for doing this, because you have the same junk everyone else does - which is okay if we are talking cpm - but not if we are talking cpa/cpc.

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Old 03-01-2004, 03:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Steve_S
... Early sign ups in the CPC/CPM space are mostly cheaters looking for a new target or folks with sub standard sites that have already been rejected by the major players in this space. Many more cheaters than sub standard sites.

Natch, I think this profile changes for the better with quality sites and fewer cheaters the longer the program is around.
To a large degree I think this is true. The newer networks are looking to build a large enough publisher base to warrant advertisers spending their dollars there. They may accept sub-standard sites in order to drive up their traffic "numbers".

Where I tend to disagree is that a company that's been around a long time automatically has higher quality publishers.

Some companies that have been around forever (in Internet time) have a very poor publisher base. I am talking here about sites which have automatic approval methods in place as far as accepting publishers goes. In cases like this, the amount of time the company has existed doesn't matter because it becomes all about traffic. No effort is made at quality control on the publishers' side at all. I tend to this this automatic approval practice should NEVER be used because it lends itself to abuse.

As far as who tests new networks I think there is a range of publishers who would do this. Some publishers, for whatever reason, like testing what's new. As Sashman pointed out previously, you never know who will be the new Fastclick. I don't think he's the only reputable publisher to take this approach.

Then there are sites who have tons of traffic that simply want another method of revenue. Why not sign up for a new net to test them when your site is already lucrative? These publishers represent a quality testing base with a "nothing to lose" (at least not that matters) attitude towards new net testing.

Entertainment sites. Some are quality, others are not. In any case, most of the established nets have a glut of such sites and aren't accepting anymore. These publishers would likely try out a new net because they've been rejected by the established networks based on their topic. Income has to come from somewhere, why not give a new net a shot?

Yes, sub-standard sites and cheaters will apply and likely some/most will be approved by a new and struggling net, but they may not necessarily be the largest percentage of publisher applicants.

Just my $.02

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Old 02-28-2004, 04:33 PM   #14
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Besides checking for the same things as cheznoir (****s, promotion etc.) it's also interesting how much of my inventory they could actually fill. If I'm only able to earn a couple of bucks per day I don't consider them worth my time, and move on. It's also very important that the company has great support and responds quickly to my questions.

A professional site design also make it easier to decide to try out a new program. A great example of a good site is gorillanation.com - although I'm not a publisher with this company, I think it's great i can actually see a list of their sites and how many uniques and pageviews each site have. I consider this information very valuble to advertiser.
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Old 04-25-2004, 09:40 PM   #15
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I think this is a question I'll have to ask myself soon; Standard Internet's served ads have been nothing but viruses and spyware as of yet. Not to mention their own search portal at http://www.clickheretofind.com installing spyware. (Without the prompt, the only way you know it's been installed is a black border around your IE for a short moment)

I go for the people that don't overly restrict my content, allow for a variety of ad sizes, and have a large userbase (Fastclick, Google, Overture, etc. big respectable companies) and have very little bad things said about them. Also I now prefer text ads--especially when customizable.
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