Many of you are already familiar with Project Wonderful, but it isn’t the only way to get paid for ads running on your site. There are a number of companies that serve ads to participating Web sites. These companies generally pay on a CPM or CPC basis – meaning you get paid on a per-impression or per-click basis (respectively). Here’s a quick overview of some (and by no means all) of your options.
PulsePoint (formerly, ContextWeb) (http://www.contextweb.com/): Formerly called ADSDAQ, this is a tremendous ad company that generates well-paying ads, and it has an excellent user interface. Best of all, you set your own CPM price. If you set a high CPM, of course, it will only fill a small number of your site’s impressions with paid ads (this is referred to as “fill rate”). If you set a lower CPM price, you will see a higher fill rate. They’re a little tough to qualify for, however, so you’ll want to make sure to follow closely some of the advice on the site about making your site attractive to an advertiser. Since you set your own price, you get 100% of what your asking price. Payment is made on a net-30 basis, which means they cut a check 30 days after the last day of the month in which you earn enough revenue to qualify for payment ($50). I’ve written a complete guide to using PulsePoint.
Google AdSense (http://www.google.com/adsense): AdSense is a fairly intuitive plug-and-play ad sever, and it’s a good introduction to the standard ad-server interface. It pays on a CPC (cost per click) basis, so the revenue it generates won’t be extremely high until your traffic increases, but I recommend it highly to new webcartoonists if only for the learning experience. There is tons of information on the site about AdSense.
Tribal Fusion (http://www.tribalfusion.com/): This is another ad server that is very popular among webcartoonists. The interface is much more difficult to manage than many of the others I’ve personally dealt with, but it has been reported as an excellent earner by many of my colleagues. Tribal Fusion takes 45% of the revenue generated on the ads they serve (paying the publisher 55%). They pay on a net-45 basis, which means that they mail a check 45 days after the last day of the month in which your site generates more than the minimum revenue required ($50).
Burst Media (http://www.burstmedia.com/): This is also a very well-recommended ad server. Burst takes a 50-50 split of the revenue generated under a monthly contract. If you sign on for a year, they pay 55%. It requires a minimum of 25,000 monthly pageviews for acceptance. Burst pays on a net-45 basis after a revenue threshold of $50.
Value Click (http://www.valueclickmedia.com): Perspective publishers need to have at least 3,000 monthly pageviews. ValueClick Media works on an eCPM model. The eCPM for each campaign is clearly listed in the publisher interface, so for each impression you serve you will know exactly what you will earn. They also provide tools to help you determine exactly which campaigns to serve to maximize revenue for your inventory. You will see all campaigns available to you so you can make a decision based on the actual eCPM. Value Click pays on a net-25 basis after a revenue threshold of $25.
[Editor’s Note: AdBrite is now defunct] AdBrite (http://www.adbrite.com/): Adbrite takes an undisclosed percentage of revenue. It pays on a net-60 basis after a payment threshold of $100 (which can be changed to $5 after sign-up).
Advertising.com (http://www.advertising.com): Run by AOL.com, this is a CPM-based ad server that offers some publishers a 60/40 revenue split. They prefer US-only pageviews, so if you can geo-target ads, you have an edge.
Technorati Media (http://technoratimedia.com/publishers): Net 60 payment schedule with a $50 minimum.