medianet-logo

Media.net is a contextual advertising platform like Google’s Adsense, but not really. As a blogger, I’m always interested in anything new that can compete with Google since Google is a monopoly. If you depend on Google too much for revenue or traffic, you will likely feel some pain sooner or later.

It’s good to experiment in blogging because you never know what works until you try. In fact, it’s the same thing with anything in life. So when Media.net contacted me about their product, I said why not!

In this post you’ll learn why Media.net has great potential, but still needs work to become a successful advertising platform. You’ll also learn what not to do if you are trying to build momentum and a good reputation.

THE PROS AND CONS FROM A PUBLISHER’S POINT OF VIEW

Pros Of Using Media.net

* Outstanding customer service. I want to send a shout-out to my representatives Vivek Shah, Nidhi Shankar, and Nandita Iyer.  They were all super response to all my inquiries and requests. If you ever try to get a response from Google’s customer service, you might be waiting until Tiger Woods becomes a priest. Vivek, Nidhi, and Nandita are all based in India. Customer service is tremendously helpful for new and veteran bloggers alike.

* Control over advertising. Because customer service is good, I was able to just send them a message telling them to take off ads I disliked such as “Multi-bagger penny stocks” and other random keywords that aren’t related to the post.  Furthermore, I asked the team to do the text coloring for me, which they did and matched quite well.

* Customization of ads. Media.net provides a bevy of different ad shapes and sizes to fit your specific blog. You are also able to match the contextual ad texts to the text of your blog’s links to make them blend better. The customization is very easy to use.

* Ads pop up within your site’s frame. If someone clicks the text ad, a new window will pop up with a list of ads within your site’s framework. This ads further dimension of customization that should increase click through rates over time. Your readers do not have to leave your site, which is a great bonus if you care about metrics such as average time spent per page, and number of page views per unique visitor. The stickiness of your readership is important.

* New partnership with Yahoo! Bing as of 9/27/2012! This is a huge development for the Media.net platform. To be able to partner with tech titans Yahoo and Microsoft should potentially provide for a premium advertisement pool for publishers to display, more customization, better contextual advertisements, and higher quality mobile advertisements. You can read the press release here.

Media.net Report Dashboard Sample Media.net Income Report

Cons Of Using Media.net

* Payout needs improving. Despite being promised a much higher payout than Google Adsense and other contextual advertising platforms the initial results didn’t pan out. My 45 day average RPM/CPM (Revenue/Cost per thousand impressions) was around $1.15. In other words, if I had 10,000 page views, my revenue comes out to 10,000/1,000 X $1.15 = $11.50 a month. Between Yakezie and Financial Samurai, there were over 180,000 pageviews according to Google Analytics, and over 300,000 impressions based on Media.net’s dashboard.

Update 9/30/12: Media.net has improved their algorithms and advertisement offerings over the past six months which has resulted in a more than doubling of RPMs over a monthly impression count of 300,000 a month. I’m extremely pleased by the improvement of their RPM/CPM because they took the time to listen to my concerns and did something to improve the conversions!

* Double click method (could be positive).  If you use Google Adsense, you get paid if someone clicks your ad. If you use Media.net, you don’t get paid until someone clicks your ad again in another window. It’s double confirmation, to ensure quality control. Hence, the chances of you having a reader click your add is perhaps 50% less than if you had Google Adsense. During the initial rollout, the RPM/CPM was too low to warrant me using their product after the trial run. However, since the RPM/CPM has more than doubled, I am more than happy to use Media.net as the contextual advertisement platform of choice.

* May slow down your site. The more you put on your site, the slower it gets. You can see on the bottom of your browser how your site reads various URLs to load data. The slowdown isn’t drastic, it’s just another thing that can bog your site down.  You have to upload a javascript, which may also increase security issues. These issues are not Media.net specific.

* Allows another pathway for hackers.  Every plug-in and script you put on your site is another way for a hacker or virus to infiltrate your domain. Just mentioning something you should be aware about for all add-ons to your site. I have not heard any breaches with Media.net’s product.

* Not contextual enough. I thought numerous times their algorithms were broken because whenever I put up a new post on various different topics, I saw the same ads. I later learned this is because Media.net’s algorithm puts the highest paying contextual ads first and then the most contextual ads. Ideally, you want the highest paying contextual ads that are also most relevant. The partnership with Yahoo! Bing should improve the pool of premium advertisers.

Media.net Ad Types Sample Media.net Ad Types

AN X FACTOR

Anybody who is blogging will agree that anything less than a $2 RPM/CPM is pretty bad. I do realize that if I wrote more about credit card deals and promoted more financial products I could increase my RPM a little bit, but I’m just not that interested.  There are regularly deals which pay $3-10 RPM/CPM.  You just have to make an effort to find them.

I decided to ask my representatives whether they could add an extra $100 or $200 a month on top of the revenue, or at least guarantee a minimum blended RPM of $2, which would equal more like $300 more. Responsive as always, my reps said they’d get back to me, and check with their Senior VP of Marketing, who I won’t name out of respect.

What’s an extra $100 or $200 a month to at least catch up to what competitors are offering, and help advertise their product?  I got numerous e-mails from other bloggers asking me about Media.net since Media.net was using Financial Samurai in their pitch to get others to sign up. This is after I told them I’m just trying out their product and cannot endorse it yet. Media.net is getting free advertising and needs a critical mass of publishers to sign-up, so they can then sign up advertising clients and earn more revenue for themselves.

The SVP of Marketing said, “At this time we won’t be able to offer more on your space. However, I’d like to explore opportunities to market to your network in the future.”  I was dumbfounded.  The SVP wasn’t willing to make whole on their initial promise that their RPM/CPM and revenue is “much higher than Google Adsense and competing platforms“.  I wasn’t even asking for rates higher than their competitors, just in-line. Not only did he reject my proposal, he then proceeded to write how he wants to work with our Network in the future? Sigh.

Important: The SVP undid a lot of the goodwill my customer reps built up over the initial two months. If you are an employee doing good work, be careful introducing your boss to your clients if your boss hasn’t spent as much time as you understanding the relationship.  It is also up to you to educate your boss as much as possible about who the clients are.  Your boss won’t have the sensitivities in place and will just want to focus on the bottom-line.  In other words, your boss will kill your relationship and all your hard-work if you aren’t careful. It’s all about relationships!

Update 9/29/12: The SVP I spoke to a year ago is either no longer with the firm or is doing something else. The Media.net representatives have since done a fantastic job improving their advertisement algos, bringing on new premium advertisers to their platform, and improving the overall look and feel of their ads. The goodwill that was undone by the SVP has been re-established by another VP and client representatives. They have continued to be very responsive to any requests I have.

GETTING BETTER WITH TIME

Now that Media.net has improved their product over the past 12 months since I first wrote this review, I am much more comfortable recommending Media.net as an excellent alternative to Google Adsense. It warms my heart to see a client listen to feedback on how to improve, and go out there and make the improvements happen! I’ve witnessed Media.net’s advertisement offerings improve dramatically as they’ve signed up more clients. Their mobile advertisement platform is also quite attractive as well. With the Yahoo! Bing partnership, I expect even better things from Media.net going forward!

Best,

Sam