So they are building ad networks but only selling them through their self-serve interface.
“Adroll assembles blogs into co-ops and promises to pay more than the average $2 CPMs that many sites in the middle get.”
“Unlike Federated Media or Glam, Adroll doesn’t go out and try to sell ads for the blog co-ops that have signed up with it. Federated Media and Glam charge their publishers a pretty penny for doing that (about 40 percent of the revenue they bring in), but they do come back with high-paying ads, typically $10 CPM or higher. By automating its offering, Adroll will serve ads that typically pay publishers less than that, but much more than the $2 CPM typically paid by your average ad network.”
Now, I will say that if your point is just “we will sell what we can and sell it at high prices, ensuring that if we actually sold something, you would make a lot of money”, that’s fine. How do they drive traffic to the site? Why will people shop there? I can’t make heads or tails of that. If you don’t push inventory, you never make money.
Furthermore, I went and looked at one representative network: Alt Music Community. Why that one? It was the first on their list. Anyway, here are the problems I see:
- The majority of the traffic is international. That means it is basically worthless.
- Tons of below the fold impressions in small sizes – the one site I looked at was AudioPorn Central – I loved the name! – and the 160×600 was 6 page dn’s down.
Is that worth $2.53? (or $2.37 if you agree to take all those international impressions)
It’s a hard sell. Especially with no frequency cap.
I will say that I like how they show you where on the page the ad is and they show you impressions by slot by publisher. If they showed you ctr by slot – while there are data problems with just that raw number – it would go a long way toward helping advertisers value inventory appropriately.