A Little Shopping Can Make You Money

What do you get when you combine the contextual advertising of Google AdSense with an interactive shopping widget that can offer some pretty good deals to the visitors of your site. In some respects, TinyMassive.com may just look like another shopping-based ad network, but over the course of doing this review, I came to discover that it has a few unique qualities as well.

Contextual Shopping Ads

When it comes to most shopping-based advertising networks, the ads that get served are based on you selecting a particular category or defining a set of keywords. For example, if you have a blog that talks mostly about home entertainment, it wouldn’t make any sense for you to have ads trying to sell patio furniture. You might provide keywords like television, speakers, and Blu-ray.

The shopping widgets offered by TinyMassive offer this kind of utility, but it is also possible to base the content of your advertising on the dynamic content of your site or blog. It’s contextual, spidering through your website just like how Google would. This way, if you happen to be talking more about video games these days rather than home theatre equipment, the ads can automatically reflect this.

Getting Started with TinyMassive

Before we go any further, it may be worthwhile to talk a little bit about the name of this particular ad network. When I first heard it, I immediately thought of a recent technology trade show that took place in Vancouver (Mini Massive). This probably won’t be a big deal in terms of branding, but it may have been better to have a more unique name for your network. Something a little more memorable and without a myriad of possible synonyms would be good.

Anyhow, there is no approval process to get started as a publisher with TinyMassive. You don’t even need to confirm your email address (not a good thing). All you have to do is fill out a simple three-page form and you are already set up with your first shopping widget. From there, you can proceed to the dashboard.

The user control panel is very simple, granting you “at a glance” access to your current conversion rate, recent stats, and a link to your defined widgets. The trouble is that the navigation is not immediately obvious. It would have been better if there was a clear navigation toolbar or list of links somewhere. Instead, they are scattered around the page.

Building Your Widgets, Checking Your Stats

Setting up your ad widgets is a three-step process, much like the original registration process.

In the first step, you can name your widget, choose its size (728 leaderboard, 250 square, 160 skyscraper, 125 button, or 160×280), and how you would like the widget to be filled with products. The content can be contextual, based on the most popular products from the network, or based on supplied tags. It is also here that you define the URL where the widget will be displayed.

When you are done, you can click on “get code” and the panel will shift to the left. A single line of Javascript is produced. For your third and final step, copy and paste this line of code to where you would like the widget to be displayed. Here is a shopping widget installed on my fighting games blog.

The widget comes with three areas of interactivity for your visitors. There is a rating for the displayed product (thumbs up or down), a product scroller (left and right), and a price/store slider. The least expensive price is with the slider all the way to the left. I’m not entirely sure what a star means.

Stats, Referrals, and Payment

Since I’ve been running the ads for such a short while, it wouldn’t be completely fair for me to judge the monetary performance of TinyMassive. Showing you my reports wouldn’t do you much good, but I did find a sample report in the TinyMassive blog.

You’d assume that they display the realistic-to-optimistic end of the money spectrum. It could be that the network is still very young, but this report doesn’t look all that appealing. The click-thru rate is pretty good, but the average CPC is only $0.01. The referral statistics are currently integrated into the main report, but they hope to separate them out at some point.

Regarding the referral program, you earn 10% of the commissions earned by the sites that you refer to TinyMassive. Yup, you get 1/10th of a penny for every penny that your buddy earns. At least payment (via PayPal) is reasonably easy, because the net-30 payment terms only require a minimum balance of $10.

I think the shopping widgets are pretty neat and come with some cool features, but until revenue levels improve, it’s hard to recommend TinyMassive. As it stands, the network offers tiny payouts… but hopefully a massive upside in the future.