“If AdSense and eBay got into a bad car wreck, the result would be Project
Wonderful.” –The Net Fool

I meant to write this up on last Friday as a Project Wonderful: One Week Later sort of thing but I was really busy so this is coming to you a little late. For those of you just joining me, Project Wonderful is a very usual form of internet advertising where you let buyers bid on your ad space. My original post on this service can be found here.

Let me start this post with a little background. My blogs are not that big yet. I am talking hundreds of hits a day, not thousands like some people. I know that many of you are on a different level than I, especially since this blog is brand new. That said, I wanted to look into how much I was making with my ad space.

I used to monetize all my blogs with Google Adsense. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some great days with Google Ads. But I decided to do some math and I discovered that, even with those good days, I had enough bad days that my average intake with Google Ads per day was nothing to write home about. When I averaged my income from them over the last year, I was surprised at how little I had made per day. So I started my quest to find something better, particularly since my heavier traffic sites (this one and Cult of Cummings) were making hardly anything from Google (my theory is ad blindness). I wanted to experiment and shake things up ad wise.

Having nowhere to go but up, I tried Project Wonderful and QuickAds. After some time with both, QuickAds seem to be on par with Google Ads so I am thinking of scrapping QuickAds altogether and just sticking with Google Ads for places where PW ads cannot go. But after a week plus with Project Wonderful, I find myself loving it more each day and I have greatly increased my “per day” blog income. I am certainly still in the cents range and not getting dollars a day but with many ad blocks and a few big bids, I have been happy with the results. Considering that PW has less than a week of traffic stats for my blogs, I am suprised I have made as much as I did so far.

Here are a few observations and tips to add since my last post on this subject:

  • PW is pretty new and, as with most new services, certain niches have embraced it more than others. For instance, if you run a webcomic, video game, anime or fantasy related website, you will find yourself in very good company on PW as these types of sites are currently making the most money per day (some are $60 a day or more for each ad block and they have several). Does this mean that any other site cannot take advantage of this site? No, not at all. But it does mean that it’s not the first place most people with an e-commerce (for instance) related site think of to advertise so it’s a disadvantage. However, if you have a successful site with a lot of traffic where people want to advertise with you, it’s a great way to make some extra money with your site as your loyal readers bid your ad space up in price. All it means is that some sites have to work a little harder than others to get a higher bid price. While webcomics have a built in market, you need to do a little more promoting. You may also want to look at their tag cloud when setting up your ads to make sure that you are hitting some of the more popular keywords when describing your site. But there may be some sites for which this isn’t a good option right now and, in that case, you may want to come back in a few years/months when they are bigger.
  • Be selective in how much you want to sell your adspace for by advertising for yourself in the meantime. This feature I didn’t realize existed when I wrote my first post which is a shame because its a great way to use this service to your advantage. Let’s say I am currently making $1 a day from Google. Therefore, it’s not worth it to me to have a PW ad on my site unless it makes at least $2 a day. PW enables you to set a minimum bid (in this case, $2 a day) and then select your own banner and link to direct that ad to in the meantime. For example, you could put a banner advertising your own products, store, etc in that place until someone meets your minimum bid. This is also a great way to start getting traffic stats collected for your ad before you start accepting bids on the space.
  • Bid prices fluctuate wildly so try not to look at them. Project Wonderful is sort of addictive. It is really tempting to look at your ad space constantly to see how bidding is doing as it change in real time. It’s an emotional roller coaster. I don’t recommend it. In the end, it averages out to be profitable so just try to look at the averages per site for the week when deciding how the campaign is going. My sites haven’t been around long enough to show anything interesting but here is an example from a random fantasy site (scroll down to the green graph for bid price tracking). Their bids range from $2.22 a day at the lowest and $20.87 a day at the highest but, as you can see, they move all over the place in between. In the end, however, their average is still several dollars a day from that one ad alone (they have several on their sites) which is what matters. Just remember to not live and die with each bid. The average is your friend. 
  • Start bidding at $0. This one may seem to conflict with my second point above but if you have a newer site, like me, and don’t have enough built in interest to sell ads on your brand alone, starting bidding out at free is a great way to get some people to try advertising on your site risk free and gets the bidding started.
  • Play with ad sizes and quantity. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to do this. Certain ad sizes seem to do much better with certain keywords than others but it’s hard to research this other than to pretend that you are an ad buyer and see what sizes/keywords are going for the most. Too many ads and you will divide up your bidders. Too few and you lose out on income. I would definately suggest playing with it and experimenting. The only downside is that you can only edit an ad bock if you cancel all bids on it which must really irk bidders so don’t do it too often. Also, keep in mind that each new ad block starts out with no traffic stats so you’ll need to build your reputation back up again.
  • If you have several similar sites, share the love! Putting the same ad block across several similar sites is a great way to bring up the traffic stats for that block which increases the value of your ad space. I wish I could do this but my sites are too spread out in terms of content. But if you have several websites or blogs of similar content, you may want to consider this.

Anyone tried this service out since I posted last and want to share their findings?

Also, if you have set up PW ads on your site and have an eBay, Bonanzle, Cafepress, Lulu, selling online type of site and are looking for advertisers, post your link below. I cannot speak for everyone but I am looking for some sites to experiment with advertising on and I would be happy to give you a test run!

Stay tuned later in the week when I will write about what advertising with PW is like after I have a chance to set up some ads and play with it from that perspective.