Part of the reason why you may have gotten into blogging or running websites in the first place is that you wanted to enjoy greater time freedom. That really is the biggest perk of the dot com lifestyle, whether you choose to pursue it as a freelance writer like me, as an affiliate marketer, or as a professional blogger.
As you start to move away from ad networks and more toward private advertising, you may find that the latter can be very time consuming. You just don’t want to deal with individual advertisers, managing payments, creatives, and all that other administrative headache. Publisher Media, which serves as the topic of today’s review, eases that process for you. All it takes is one simple widget and three quick clicks.
Selling Your Display Ads Made Easy?
According to the biggest headline on the Publisher Media homepage, they “make selling your display ads easy.” This service is said to be great for website owners, bloggers, and forum administrators.
In a nutshell, you are able to define a specific ad area on your website and Publisher Media will facilitate the sale of that ad space. They won’t do any promotion for you, per se, but they’ll take care of the payment, host the ad creative as uploaded by the advertiser, and take down the ad when it expires.
While services like Text Link Ads only handle simple text links, for example, Publisher Media is being quite varied in its product portfolio. For banner sizes, they’ll do everything from 88×31 buttons and 125×125 block ads to 468×60 banners and 160×600 skyscraper ads. They’ll also handle a variety of sizes for text ads too, including several that will handle multiple advertisers at any one time.
Creating a New Ad Zone
After signing up for a new account with Publisher Media (and verifying your e-mail address), you’ll be able to create as many ad zones on as many websites as you’d like. The user interface is remarkably simple and straightforward.
On the “Create New Zone” page, you choose the site, name the zone, determine the zone type, define the zone size, and set your own price. The price is on a daily basis, but advertisers are able to purchase for varying periods of time.
There is no built-in discount for buying a longer period of time, though, and that’s a feature that I would like to see as an option at some point in the future. That would help with generating bigger sales for bloggers and website owners.
How It Looks on Your Website
To test out this functionality, I created an ad zone on Hadouken Online, which you can see above. Publisher Media creates a placeholder saying that the ad space is available for purchase, clearing showing the size of the banner.
For some site visitors, this placeholder can look like an advertisement on its own and it can be easily overlooked by people looking for somewhere to advertise their site, product, or service. I’m not really sure what Publisher Media can do to minimize that effect, but it would be nice if they had a marketplace on their site, for example, in addition to the on-site placeholders.
The other point of concern comes when you actually get an advertiser to buy that ad spot. If another advertiser comes across your site, he or she won’t know that the “ad zone” may be available tomorrow, even though it is occupied today. That’s where the marketplace idea might come in handy too.
From the Customer’s Point of View
One interesting feature offered by Publisher Media is that it almost looks like a white label service. When an advertiser goes to buy an ad spot, there is no explicit mention that Publisher Media is handling the transaction.
The main interface for the advertiser is as a lightbox right on your own website. From this pop-up lightbox, the advertiser can define the destination URL, choose the duration, and upload the banner ad. Clicking on continue brings the buyer over to PayPal to finish the transaction.
Completely Free to Use for Now
For the time being, this ad management service is completely free to use and I think that will be one of its biggest selling points. There are other software packages and online services out there that offer similar functionality, but they either cost money to buy or they take a cut out of every transaction.
At least it is for now. Moving forward, they plan on implementing some “premium features that you may want.” They can then start charging you for these more advanced features. For now, Publisher Media is free and while it isn’t the most powerful engine, it is likely powerful enough for most bloggers and small site owners.