This is old news but I have to stay with the tradition of reporting on something long after it’s useful. When project wonderful first came out almost a year ago I held off personally on posting about it until I knew what was going on. The most annoying part about it is everyone seems to love the service and yet for the life of me I can’t get space for the site. There were so few negative experiences that felt a backlash. The backlash sort of felt like going to a used car salesman and everyone there says the car you’re interested is the best on the lot. This means I sat around and continued to run the advertising on the site despite being annoyed by having to keep track of something that can be completely automated.
Six months after the release, in March, I broke down and looked into it. Everyone still loved the service and to date I had not found anyone who had a bad experience. On the home page I look around to figure out what makes everything so innovative. There are two systems to use. The first and most obvious was the reinvention of the pay by click system made famous by the big click fraud supposedly committed with google ads. There probably was fraud but it’s a pay by click system and there have been bots created for this. Cost Per Day on the other hand changed this by compacting the typical pay by week/month system into day chunks. It only sounded like using an old technique in a new way to answer a new problem.
The second system was the one that peaked my interest. In this one a silent auction is set up dubbed the infinite auction. (This only type of auction you can have without a real-time system) On your site you set up a space for an ad. Below that space is a small tiny banner with the current highest bid for the spot, which happens to be whatever is currently displayed in ad space. This idea is the one that truly sounded new and innovative. It takes most of the work out of signing people up and all you do is draw the line for the day with the winning bidder. NICE.
I signed up DS and waited. Shortly there after I received an email thanking me for signing up but that ad boxes were by invitation only. OK…. So I decided to wait for the invitation. A month goes by and nothing. I log back into the site and use their invitation request system where I notice you have to give your average page views per day. Aha! There was a snake in the grass. The reason for all the publicity and good news I had been hearing is a result of targeted exposure. Pretty smart move on Ryan’s part but it really did make me feel small. I dropped the whole thing until I received an email from BLC. These guys are big and they managed to come up with something big and wonderful.
Blank Label Comics and Project Wonderful put together something along the lines of Modern Tales where ads are displayed across the whole collective. During this month you can expose your ad, and therefore site, to 2 million unique visitors and 11 million page views per day. Wow. Those are some nice numbers, especially the average cost per day the BLC guys have been pulling in. The business side of me can’t help but wonder if the $100 per day they have been making for the space brings in more then their previous method. Many times collections can be devalued by pooling when popularity and being fractured will force advertisers to spend more.
What are some other positive and negative experiences out there?
I’ve found PW to be a mostly positive experience – it automates one of the most tedious and confusing aspects of trying to make money from a webcomic, and is bringing me more money than I would have ever managed on my own. It’s easy to use and requires virtually no maintenance.
Only two negatives so far: One user kept on bidding on my ad-boxes, even though I rejected the bids every time (I found his content objectionable), and I ended up blocking him so I wouldn’t get any more notifications.
Also, for a while, the PW service was intermittently unreliable, with ad-boxes taking minutes to load (or not loading at all), which would prevent my whole page from loading. I think this is why things were “invite-only” for a while, so they could try and manage the server load. It’s been a few months now since I last had trouble though, so it looks like they’ve ironed out the wrinkles.
Overall I’m very happy with my PW experience, and I’d recommend the service to anyone with maybe 1000 readers or more.
…and now PW is down, preventing my site from loading. I guess I spoke too soon.
Only one negative here, and David Simon already mentioned it: the occasional lapse in service that effectively kills my site. I’d be surprised if some better coding couldn’t eliminate any slow-downs (or whatever) a PW outage causes…
Otherwise, I’m making way more money than I ever did on my own. I mean, you know, I’m barely breaking even on the comic as a whole (if that), so I’m not making THAT much more. But I’m making more.