Wednesday, December 19, 2007

WidgetBucks Adds New Creative for Publishers

WidgetBucks has rolled out a new ad widget style, giving publishers two display options for each of the eight sizes offered. The new ads are noted with a "B" (for "B Series") in the pull-down menu of the "Customize Your Widget" page, where publishers can also see a preview before selecting with option to choose.

Updated/Corrected Details: Two "B" widgets (300x250 and 660x330) offer search boxes within them, while one "C Series" widget -- the 300x250 medium rectangle ad -- provides a simple top 10 product list without product images and reviews. Two examples of the new styles are sprinkled throughout this blog, and one static example is placed to the right.

One modification not previously highlighted here is the ability to adjust the product rotation interval, allowing publishers to vary the pace by which products are displayed in their widgets. The default rotation is 3 seconds, but can be set anywhere from 1 to 10 seconds per item.

When it comes to popular categories of WidgetBucks widgets, the top five are MP3 Players, Laptops, Game Consoles, Flat Panel Televisions and Cell Phones, respectively. And when it comes to ad sizes, here are the top four (in order, total units used): 160x600 wide skyscraper, 728x90 leaderboard, 300x250 medium rectangle, and 468x60 full banner.

- Dean

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Vote Now! WidgetBucks Among Three Finalists in Open Web Awards on Mashable

We'd love your vote! After finishing among the top three (of 10 nominees) in first-round voting, WidgetBucks has moved into the second and final round of the Open Web Awards (applications and widgets category).

Deadline for this round of voting is Thursday, December 20 at 12 midnight EST and winners will be announced shortly after that. See a review of WidgetBucks and the other finalists on Mashable.

Thanks again! We appreciate the support.

Friday, December 14, 2007

International CPM Q&A

After rolling out International CPM ads and reporting earlier this week, we've consolidated some of the most common questions into a Q&A here on the blog. Often times, questions are asked on our blog's comment threads that are already answered in the related post -- so we ask that you read through this Q&A entirely before posting a question.

I'm seeing a really low CPM for my international traffic? Why?
As we indicated in Wednesday's post, initial CPM rates will initially be "low" because WidgetBucks is building credibility with these advertisers. As of today, we are implementing more targeted campaigns for traffic coming from countries that will quickly represent a better CPM. Specifically, those are UK, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Brazil, India, and Japan. This means that an advertiser is delivered more targeted traffic -- and is therefore more willing to pay a higher CPM rate. Until now, advertisers are only willing to pay a base rate (or no rate at all) due to "international," untargeted ads.

How long does it take for WidgetBucks to earn credibility with advertisers?
Not long. In fact, publishers should see an increase in CPM rate over the next couple days as we expand targeting methods.

What kind of rates are you seeing across the board, and what are certain countries and regions seeing?
Rates are definitely varying by country (and see the question below on non- or low-paying regions). Most countries are ranging between $0.25 and $0.80 CPM, depending on ad size. In general, the 468x60, 728x90, and 160x600 ad sizes yield higher than the 300x250, and much more than 120x600 or 250x250.

Why is the new CPM tab in MyWidgets not showing any earnings, just impressions or all zeros?
If you see impression data but zero revenue, it means that the international traffic you are receiving for the widgets is coming from regions where advertisers aren't willing to pay. If you see no impressions data, then no international impressions are being received.

What are the non-paying countries or regions?
We are finding that advertisers are not willing to buy traffic from Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, China, Egypt, and Romania. Rates for other countries, such as Taiwan, parts of the Middle East, parts of S. America, and other regions earn under $0.10 CPM. It's really important to mention this is an advertiser decision regarding the value of that traffic, NOT WidgetBucks' decision. We repeat: this is an advertiser decision regarding the value of that traffic, NOT WidgetBucks' decision. I emphasize this because publishers, for whatever reason, will undoubtedly and incorrectly draw the conclusion it is solely WidgetBucks' decision.

I can't see the CPM ads on my site? Why not?
If you are in the US/Canada, then you will see the widget. Only site visitors outside of the US/Canada will see a CPM ad instead of the widget. Early in the rollout, we noticed a number of people asking about not seeing CPM ads internationally, but using a proxy server on our side, we have not been able to replicate this. In fact, on our blog threads, other commenters have indicated they can actually see the ads a publisher is indicating they can't see on their own sites. We continue to look into it and will monitor comments on this to see if it is persisting.

When will November earnings be posted on MyBucks?
Those earnings are now posted and available for viewing on MyBucks.

Publishers who have additional questions can check our Knowledge Base at the WidgetBucks Support Center ( Tickets are being addressed there within 24-48 hours.

- Dean

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Update: International CPM Reporting

Here's a quick update on our first reporting of international CPM earnings: Our first processing is taking a longer than originally anticipated and we expect results to be displayed by noon Pacific Time tomorrow/Thursday. Look for the new and improved MyWidgets page as well.

As we go through our initial processing -- and getting our own first look at actual rates being paid by advertisers -- we feel it's important to set some expectations and provide some perspective for our publishers prior to Thursday's reporting. To be as transparency as possible here, initial CPM rates paid to publishers will likely be characterized as "low." And in some cases, we're finding advertisers are not willing to bid on ads being displayed to visitors from certain regions. As a result, we can't guarantee CPM revenue will be earned from traffic from those areas.

As an emerging ad network (WidgetBucks launched Oct. 2), advertisers are still getting comfortable with us, and as we build credibility with them, we expect CPM rates to improve and less rate fluctuation to occur.

Again, we appreciate your patience as we offer this solution. We continue to work toward evolving functionality for our network, whether that's working with global merchants, creating more targeted CPM campaigns by country and/or category, or other solutions.

- Dean

Partial Outage – DNS Hosting

This morning between 9:08am and 10:20am Pacific Time, our DNS hosting provider incurred a server outage, resulting in an inability for some regions to access the and site resources. This issue has been resolved by the hosting provider and apologize for the inconvenience.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

International CPM Ads Now Available Through WidgetBucks

CPM ads for non-U.S./Canada traffic have successfully launched on WidgetBucks! This solution gives publishers the opportunity to earn revenue, per impression, for traffic that comes from countries other than U.S. and Canada.

In order for publishers to begin earning this international CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) revenue, they will need to replace existing code with new WidgetBucks ad code on their sites. To update your widget(s), simply click "Copy HTML" within the "Customize Your Widget" page for that widget and re-paste/replace the code block into your site. The updated code -- which has been greatly simplified and reduced in length -- can also be replaced directly into the Blogger, TypePad or WordPress blogging platforms.

CPM impressions and revenue results will be displayed starting tomorrow, Wednesday (12/12). The CPM rate will vary depending on the geographic location of your site's visitors. CPM revenue -- along with PPC and referral revenue -- will be updated daily and available by noon Pacific Time the following day.

Once your widget code is updated, here's how it works: At the time a user visits a page containing the widget, we will sense the geographic location of the visitor. If they are in the U.S. and/or Canada, the user will see the normal WidgetBucks widget. If the user is outside those two countries, then our system will determine a country-specific CPM ad to display. We are currently working with advertisers covering hundreds of countries and offering thousands of creatives to ensure optimum monetization.

Also on Wednesday, publishers will see an updated MyWidgets page that will provide easier consumption of reporting data, including tabbed areas for all three revenue streams -- and PPC, CPM and referrals. This new interface provides a breakdown of PPC and CPM impressions, expanded referral data, and integrated blog headlines so publishers can stay more informed of network updates and changes. Click here or on the screenshot at right for a preview.

As written November 29, we continue to look into additional solutions, including pay-per-click links to global merchants. These solutions tend to require more time to deploy so we appreciate your patience as we work on those.

- Dean

P.S. Now's your chance to vote for WidgetBucks in the Open Web Awards on Mashable!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

WidgetBucks Nominated for Open Web Awards

We have just been notified by Mashable that WidgetBucks is among 10 nominees for the Open Web Awards Category: Applications and Widgets. Voting runs through Sunday, December 16. We hope you take a minute to vote for WidgetBucks. The Open Web Awards is a distributed contest to find the best sites -- in this case, the best widgets and applications -- on the Web.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

WidgetBucks Sending October Payments This Week

WidgetBucks is now distributing October earnings to publishers -- nearly 10 days ahead of schedule. The initial wave of PayPal payments was sent yesterday, while the remainder go out over the next couple of days. Checks are being processed and mailed early this week as well, including those sent to international publishers. Given large holiday snail-mail volumes, please allow for additional time for checks to arrive, especially those sent outside the U.S. Note that only those publishers who earned $50USD or more (including the $25 sign-up bonus) during October will receive payments. Considered the fastest growing ad network on the Internet today, WidgetBucks has served three-quarters of a billion ad impressions in just its first two months.

Armor Games CEO Dan McNeely and Head of Game Development John Cooney (both at left) were handed their first WidgetBucks earnings by Dean Jutilla, Marketing Director for Mpire, the company behind WidgetBucks.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

WidgetBucks Offering CPM Ads for International Traffic in Early December

WidgetBucks will be serving CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) ads within its widgets so publishers can monetize their international traffic. This solution helps publishers with blended traffic from both U.S./Canada and international geographies, and addresses the concern expressed over our recent policy change to not pay on international clicks. Earnings from this update -- which takes place in early December -- will be reflected on publishers' MyWidgets reporting page in a new column to be titled "CPM Revenue."

At the time a user visits a page containing the widget, we will sense the geographic location of the visitor. If they are in the U.S. and/or Canada, the user will see the normal WidgetBucks widget. If the user is outside those two countries, then our system will determine a country- specific CPM ad to display. We are currently working with advertisers covering 100
countries and offering thousands of creatives to ensure that site visitors will be monetized for your benefit. All ads are restricted against adult or other suggestive themes.

As has been indicated on this blog and elsewhere, we are looking into additional solutions, including pay-per-click links to global merchants. Most of these longer-term solutions will require additional time to implement so we appreciate your patience as we work toward those.

In addition, as we prepare to distribute October earnings, WidgetBucks will be contacting directly those publishers who may have incomplete information (including payment method selection) within their MySettings page. Having this information 100% accurate and complete will help make the payment process as smooth as possible for everyone. As a reminder, PayPal is available for faster payment.

- Dean

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

WidgetBucks to Streamline Reporting

An update coming next week is the removal of "pending" data (displayed in red) before it is audited and turned to black. Since implementing that in early October, we have been able to work with merchant click auditing systems to complete their processing in 24 hours or less. As a result, we have decided to eliminate the pending/estimated metrics from the system. Once this change is published starting next week, only audited metrics will be displayed, and will typically update before Noon Pacific Time the following day. For example, impressions, clicks and earnings for a given day will display no later than Noon PT the next day.

As some of you may recall, the pending/red figures were originally put in place to balance the 3-4 day auditing and reporting lag from our feed providers with the desire of publishers to get figures ASAP. While many liked the real-time reporting, it also caused confusion among publishers. With adjustments we've made, the pending figures are no longer needed.

- Dean

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hulett: WidgetBucks' RPC Jumps More Than 20 Percent

Matt Hulett, CEO of Mpire (the company who has created WidgetBucks), participated in the first of what we anticipate will be many podcasts to give publishers some key product and business insights. The call (also accessible through the icon to the left) focused on recent updates and changes within the WidgetBucks ecosystem, specifically an update on Revenue-Per-Click (RPC) -- which has seen at least a 20 percent jump -- earnings policies and a sneak peek at new things ahead. Below are highlights of the podcast with Matt:

WidgetBucks growth since launching October 2 has been phenomenal. Last month we served 200 million ad impressions and are on track to more than double that in November. As with any kind of hyper growth, it's important to maintain your network quality. Over the last week or so, the WidgetBucks team has implemented several policies to boost RPCs, including international click filtering and focusing on suspending publishers who are not following our terms of service, specifically click fraud, pornography, non-English language sites, ad-only sites, and non-valid or false domains.

The result has been a strong jump in RPC numbers, up by 20 percent, and even higher in some categories. Reporting figures have now been updated and should reflect levels of a few weeks ago. Long term, Matt discussed looking at supporting/crediting traffic from users outside the U.S. and Canada.

Matt also mentioned that over the next couple of weeks, publishers will be seeing 9 new widget styles that feature a new “look and feel” and search functionality from inside the widgets. WidgetBucks will also be introducing new brand sponsorship pre-roll advertising. The goal is to enable CPM-style brand advertising into the WidgetBucks network to continue to keep RPCs high.

The holidays are ahead of us and implementing WidgetBucks shopping-oriented advertising is a great way to see higher CTRs and overall monetization. Matt shared some highlights of a recent Maritz Research Group poll found that on "Cyber Monday" -- the first Monday after U.S. Thanksgiving when most people in the U.S. go back to work -- nearly 9 in 10 made purchases from the office on that day compared to the standard 6 in 10 who shop online while in the workplace. Last year, Cyber Monday sales totaled $687 million, up from $484 million in 2005. As you know, all online ads generate higher conversions this time of year and WidgetBucks can be a great source of revenue for you.

Matt concluded by wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving and reiterating our long-term commitment to helping publishers earn revenue from their sites and pages. We know that we have to earn your trust on every page load. And that we continue to look for your input and feedback.

Monday, November 19, 2007

WidgetBucks RPC News, Podcast Slated for Wednesday

On Wednesday, November 21, WidgetBucks' audited November earnings data will be updated. Due to extensive work behind-the-scenes, figures that have been in red ("pending") since late last week will turn to black ("audited") on that day. In addition to a post on the topic, we will be streaming a first-ever publisher podcast with CEO, Matt Hulett (pictured, right). We will be sharing news around our recent policy changes, as well as good news around increased Revenue-Per-Click (RPC) figures. Publishers will be able to see and hear the work being done to improve RPC, so subscribe to our RSS feed to catch the news.

Along with the anticipated RPC news, we'll also be giving updates on some of the following:

  • impressions growth as WidgetBucks nears the end of its second month
  • a sneak peek at new widget creatives
  • branded CPM ads coming to WidgetBucks

So as we work toward these goals, thanks for your patience on reporting. We'll be sure to get the information out as early in the day on Wednesday for U.S. publishers who may be heading off to the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. You will be armed with a bunch of information in order to get your ads ready for "Cyber Monday," the Monday after the U.S. observes Thanksgiving and considered one of the most active online shopping days of the holiday.

- Dean

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

WidgetBucks Addressing Network Quality and RPC

Maintaining network quality is our main goal at WidgetBucks, and from this comes competitive RPC (revenue-per-click), profitable publishers and satisfied merchants. However, we are currently experiencing an imbalance in our network stemming from an inordinate and unanticipated amount of accounts that violate our Terms of Use, as well as international traffic that is not converting to sale.

We continue to suspend many violating accounts, and naturally, many of those suspended publishers feel wronged, angered and frustrated. Along with our automated click fraud alert system, our account review team is dedicating significant time and energy to hand-reviewing these sites where WidgetBucks widgets are placed -- and taking swift action in removing these accounts from the network. If you have been suspended, we encourage you to refer to the subject line of the email you received for the reason behind your suspension, and read our Terms of Use (or have it translated for clarity).

The other key factor is non-converting clicks (to sale) by users geographically outside the U.S. and Canada. In essence, it is these non-converting clicks that are bringing down publishers' RPCs across the board. Many publishers on blogs and comment boards have raised this issue -- and we've definitely heard you.

We are now taking two steps to help rectify the situation, which we anticipate will help recover RPC levels over the next 7 to 10 days:

  • Starting tomorrow (Nov. 15), clicks coming from outside the U.S. and Canada on WidgetBucks widgets will no longer be charged to merchants, and therefore, no publisher credit will be given for those clicks. This will positively impact publisher RPC levels, and the change does not affect earnings from October (just posted) or the first half of November.

    International site visitors will be redirected to -- the online meta-shopping service and company that is behind WidgetBucks. By taking these visitors to Mpire -- which was among TIME magazine's 50 Best Sites for 2007 -- they will be able to access all the major shopping marketplaces, such as eBay, Amazon,, Wal-Mart, Target and thousands more.

    And to clarify, Mpire/WidgetBucks does not get credit for this traffic either -- undoubtedly skeptics will incorrectly assume this. We will definitely evaluate re-adding certain countries over time and evaluate their conversions -- but for the next few weeks, it's critical that we are diligent about click traffic in order to recover RPC numbers.

    If you are a publisher with a lot of non-US traffic, we suggest using a geo-based ad placement service to determine when to display a WidgetBucks ad widget versus an internationally applicable ad. Some examples include MaxMind, IP2Location, etc, and there are solutions available for OpenAds that do this as well.
  • Second, early next week, WidgetBucks will become a "gated" ad network that will require approval to join. For current publishers, this does not change much for you. You are "grandfathered" into the network; however, we will continue to review sites for Terms violations. By raising the bar of entry, we anticipate this will help eliminate a number of issues we're facing.
As a young ad network -- and one that is growing daily -- we may have underestimated the impact these factors would have on and across the network. We are now taking short-term measures to ensure long-term success. We appreciate your patience as we address these issues, and look forward to your feedback as we continue to refine and improve the service.

- Dean

Sunday, November 11, 2007

WidgetBucks October Earnings Now Posted

Jerry MaGuire says Publishers, bloggers and affiliates can now view their total October WidgetBucks earnings. The total figure, which includes widget PPC earnings, referral fees and the one-time $25 sign-up bonus, can be accessed within the MyBucks page on As a reminder, the threshold for receiving payment is $50 (which includes the $25 sign-up bonus).

PayPalIncidentally, a number of publishers still need to specify their preferred payment method, found within their MySettings page. When payments are distributed in early December, one way to receive your money more quickly is to select PayPal rather than a printed/mailed check. PayPal does not charge a fee for domestic (U.S.) users with a U.S. bank account, but some charges do apply for merchant accounts and cross-border payments (click here for full list of PayPal fees, including those in Europe, Canada and other locations). Also, while we have a 45-day payment term, we plan to make best efforts to shorten this turnaround. Some of you have asked about additional methods of receiving payment -- at this time, PayPal and check are the two we are offering; however, we may consider expanding this list in the future.

The delay in posting earnings is due to the continued suspensions of accounts that fail to comply with our terms of use, for everything from click fraud to hosting ads on non-English language sites, ad-only pages, and pornographic sites. The vetting process for the click fraudsters took time (and still continues), so, thanks for your patience.

Also, early this week, two report-related features are coming to your MyWidgets page:

  • "Referral Earnings" displays a breakdown of money made from each referral credited to a publisher's account
  • "Show Deleted Widgets" lets publishers view earnings from widgets they may have deleted or that aren't currently active. Several have asked if deleting a widget removes those earnings from their account. The answer is no -- any widget you've placed on your site or blog that has earned PPC credit remains credited to your account, even if deleted.
Thanks again for your continued support of WidgetBucks.

- Dean

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Single-Day Reporting Patch Deployed

On Sunday, we (along with a number of publishers) discovered a reporting bug. Within My Widgets, when selecting a single-day date range (i.e. Nov. 3 - Nov. 3) or the "Today" option, the page is displaying zero impressions and zero clicks. We have confirmed that this is a just a reporting bug and no data has been lost. We have been working on the issue and have since deployed a patch, which should have the reporting problem fixed by early Monday (in fact, some impression numbers and clicks have already started appearing this evening). In the meantime, if you want to see a particular day's earnings -- either audited or pending -- select a multiple-data range (i.e. Nov. 1 - Nov. 4) and those will appear. We apologize for the inconvenience.

- Dean

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Widgetbucks' One-Month Report Card: 30k Publishers, 200 Million Impressions

WidgetBucks, the fastest growing ad network on the Internet, has just completed its first month -- and the numbers continue to exceed our expectations. Since launching Oct. 2 (a 30-day period), WidgetBucks has signed up a total of 30,000 publishers, bloggers and affiliates and registered over 200 million ad impressions. The total publisher and impression figures are nearly twice our SIX-month projections. (Click here to see the post from our first week)

While we've had a solid first month, be looking for continued updates and improvements to the service, such as more ad creative options, as well as additional categories for blogs focused on sports, fashion, teens and top brands. In fact, we just added some new categories: web publishing software, celebrity chef kitchen wares, cool gadgets & toys, women's shoes, and several pet categories. Two examples of these categories are running on this page.

In the coming weeks, a Knowledge Base system will help with your product questions.

When it comes to talking up advertising and technology, WidgetBucks will be one of the new kids at Ad:Tech in New York next week. A couple of folks from our team will be among the 10,000 people at that 4-day conference, which focuses on an interactive advertising and technology that connects all sides of today's brand marketing landscape.

Publishers, thanks again for your all feedback and support of WidgetBucks. Keep the comments coming.

- Dean

Friday, October 26, 2007

WidgetBucks Is Not Area 51

Seems like there's a lot of chatter going on around WidgetBucks right now, and some of it is not accurate. If you look under the hood a bit, most of the inaccuracies have largely been precipitated by those who have a vested interest in competing products. Hey, I'm all for talking up your product -- but let's at least try do it with a little integrity. I personally feel that execution and performance speak for themselves.

Now to dispel the rumors:

First of all, no, WidgetBucks was not banned by Google SERPs. I recognize this bursts a great Google-smack down storyline here, guys. Sorry. We had a simple server configuration oversight as it pertained to page redirects which caused the Google Crawler (GoogleBot) to fail when attempting to index our site. (see screen shot). We've fixed the issue at this point, but naturally it takes a little time before we begin showing up in the SERPs.

The second misperception relates to back-links and why we removed them. Our original intent behind including back-links was pretty plain and simple: if a user did not have the Flash Player installed, we wanted to show a link to WidgetBucks, and disabling javascript does nothing more than reproduce the No-Flash-Player case, since javascript is used to load the flash player. We removed the back-link based on publisher feedback about not being allowed to modify the HTML to place a “no-follow” for SEO purposes. So rather than grant permission to modify the HTML we provide, we simply removed the back-link. Sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists out there -- Area 51 does not reside within WidgetBucks. :-)

Have a great weekend, all.

Matt Hulett
Mpire (creators of WidgetBucks)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

WidgetBucks Updates Policy on Non-English Language Sites

As we've continued to evaluate impression, click and conversion data during WidgetBucks' first 3+ weeks, we've observed that a majority of non-English language sites are delivering a consistently low conversion rate. With our merchants and advertisers predominantly based in the U.S., this is not a surprising phenomenon. And as an advertising network, we have a responsibility to our merchants to deliver quality traffic that has the highest likelihood of conversion to sale.

As a result, we've updated our program policies to no longer approve or accept non-English language sites into the WidgetBucks ad network. See our Program Policies here.

This policy change enables us to consistently provide high-quality clicks and traffic to our merchants, and in turn, continue offering our competitive revenue-per-click (RPC) to our publishers.

Thank you for your continued efforts and input.

- Dean

Code Update Yields Faster Widgets

One of the concerns we've heard from many of you has been the slow loading times of our widgets. We really appreciate your feedback and comments in helping us improve in this area. So, today we addressed this issue by rolling out new code that ultimately delivers faster loading widgets.

It is very important to note that this update will require action on your part. You will need to update code of your existing widgets for the speedier load times to take affect on your site, blog or network. Know that changing the code will not impact earnings for any of your widgets.

Here are the two steps you'll need to follow:

1. Sign-in to and go to My Widgets
2. For each active widget, simply edit and re-copy the code block into your site or blog (the same steps you went through when you created the widgets originally)

One option for updating your code is to utilize new categories and/or new ad sizes we've incorporated recently. Modifying a widget with either of these -- or creating an entirely new widget -- will generate the new code that can then be re-copied to your site or blog.

Keep in mind that action is only required if you are experiencing slow loading times on your widgets. If you are satisfied with the load time, then no action is necessary on your part.

Also, if you have questions specific to your WidgetBucks account, email us at help [at] widgetbucks [dot] com. We will do our best to back to you within 24 hours. If you have a general comment or need something clarified that can help you and perhaps other publishers, feel free to post a comment on this blog.

Thanks again for your feedback.

- Dean

Friday, October 19, 2007

Warnings, Suspensions Update - 10/21

As WidgetBucks has launched, we’ve seen tremendous growth on our network and one of our big concerns as a PPC widget is click-fraud. Naturally, we have systems in place to detect click-fraud to ensure that it does not impact our advertisers and, in turn, the entire network of our thousands of publishers.

When our systems flag accounts with 10%, 20%, or even 90% (one customer even had 99%) of their clicks to be potentially fraudulent, we feel it's important to move swiftly because we take it seriously.

Going forward, as potential-click fraud is flagged within an account, we will issue an email with a three-day warning. This will allow time to dialogue with a publisher over the suspicious activity. For accounts with activity that is so egregiously fraudulent, we will suspend those publishers immediately and without warning.

Update -- as of Sunday, October 21 (9 am PDT)

As an addition to the original post above, over the past 2 days, WidgetBucks has suspended an undisclosed number of accounts that do not meet the network's Terms of Use, primarily related to click-fraud, but also for publishers not requesting permission to put widgets on primarily non-English language sites. Ad-only sites and sites with any pornography content are also not allowed, and have also resulted in suspensions. If an account is suspended for violating any of these terms, all earnings (commissions, bonuses, fees) are forfeited. A number of 3-day warnings were issued during the last 2 days as well.

When it comes to detecting fraud, we are currently using a number of key measurements to evaluate sites. We can detect sites where click fraud is occurring by evaluating conversion to sale and traffic trends, as well as CTR and audit/filter percentage. And in instances where a site has good CTR and conversion to sale ratios, that publisher would not be suspended in the event of occasional spikes in abnormal click traffic.

We're taking this course of action to protect our ecosystem of advertisers and thousands of publishers.

WidgetBucks publishers inquiring about login and account access should submit an email to help [at] widgetbucks [dot] com so specific concerns can be addressed on an individual account basis, rather than through this blog's comment board. Thank you.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

New Sizes, Categories Now Available on WidgetBucks

We have added two new ad sizes on WidgetBucks, giving publishers and bloggers more options for their sidebars. Rolled into the fold is a 160x300 sidebar size, essentially a shorter, more "vertically-challenged" version of the original 160x600 wide skyscraper size. The other new size is a more narrow 120x600 skyscraper. Later this week, we'll be adding a few new creative options in 728x90 and 300x250 sizes.

We've also incorporated 11 new categories, including Green Living, Oprah's Book Club, U.S.-Made Lead-Free Toys, and just in time for the campaign trail, popular Left and Right Wing books (in separate categories, of course). The Green Living category includes a few so-called "cradle-to-cradle" items which are getting media attention lately, kind of Green 2.0, while recent toy recalls should make the lead-free toy list popular to visitors.

A few live examples are currently running on this blog, and a 160x300, US-made lead-free toys screen shot is at right. Here's the complete list of new categories:

  • Green living
  • Oprah Winfrey's Book Club list
  • Liberal left books
  • Conservative right books
  • US-made lead-free toys
  • Cartoon collections
  • Top comic books
  • Pet dogs
  • Pet cats
  • Women's ageless skin care
  • Men's ageless skin care
Also remember that updating your widget titles, colors, topics and subcategories is an easy, one-click process. Once you've made the desired changes to an existing widget within the Customize Your Widget page, simply click "Update" and code will automatically adjust on your site. However, if you change the widget's size, you'll need to reapply the code to your site as you did when originally setting it up.

- Dean

Friday, October 12, 2007

WidgetBucks Adds 'My Bucks' to Reporting

Summary: WidgetBucks continued to refine its reporting system today by adding "My Bucks," a new feature/tab that gives access to monthly account balance, earnings, $25 sign-up bonus and payment history, and by updating the "My Widgets" page to reflect a total of real-time earnings for all active widgets.


We have just rolled a couple updates to our reporting system, including the creation of "My Bucks," a new tab within a publisher's account that displays a monthly view of:

  • Total account balance
  • PPC earnings for previous and current months
  • Referral fees for previous and current months
  • $25 sign-up bonus
  • Payment history
My Bucks also indicates when earnings and referral fees post to your account (first week of subsequent month) along with payment timing (roughly 45 days following the month your account balance reaches $50). Note that while My Bucks reflects referral fees, My Widgets will continue to show your total number of referrals. {Clicking here or on the image provided reveals a handsome screen shot.}

Your My Widgets page now also reflects total real-time earnings (both final and pending) of all your active widgets. And starting next week on that page, we're adding the ability to view deleted widgets (and their related earnings) through an aptly-named “Show/Hide Deleted Widgets” toggle button.

As we've said before, keep the comments and input coming.

-Dean Jutilla

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

WidgetBucks: 5,000 Sign-Ups in First Week

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It’s been a wild first week for WidgetBucks, the new ad network of shopping widgets. Launched Tuesday, Oct. 2, WidgetBucks has registered 5,000 publishers, bloggers and affiliates, as well as 25 million impressions during its first seven days.

MerchSense (our contextual algorithm) has also been receiving high marks. Many have responded positively to the Flash-based widgets, and use of our referral tools (125 x 125 ads) are being used widely. According to Technorati, since Oct. 2, hundreds of posts that include “widgetbucks” have been published, including both reviews and referral ads.

The 160 x 600 skyscraper and 300 x 250 rectangle are the two most widely deployed sizes, while laptops, movies, cell phones, game consoles, digital cameras, software and MP3 players are the most popular categories.

Of course, no launch is flawless, and WidgetBucks was no exception. We got a lot of feedback on reporting, our referral program and the widgets themselves. And we’ve taken that feedback to heart. Here are some of the items we’ve completed or are working on:

  • Starting today, we’ll be reporting real-time revenue and revenue-per-click data (along with impressions and click-throughs). Read our full post on the topic.
  • Impression and click tracking is now caught up and operating smoothly.
  • Next week, look for your better indication of your $25 sign-up bonus and earnings by your referrals so you can maximize our referral program earnings.
  • Also next week, we’ll be displaying earnings made from widgets you've since deleted from your site
  • Expanding available categories and sub-categories
  • Testing new widget designs

Thanks again for your interest and registration in Your feedback is what helps us improve and provide more revenue to you, so keep it coming.

-Matt Hulett
CEO, Mpire

Monday, October 8, 2007

WidgetBucks Real-Time Reporting Starts Wednesday

Summary: Starting Wednesday, Oct. 10, WidgetBucks begins reporting real-time revenue-per-click (RPC) and revenue, along with existing impression and click-through data. This improves original reporting which left daily RPC and revenue fields blank until vendor auditing requirements were completed (48-72 hours).


We've been listening to your feedback during our first week, and appreciate input on how to make WidgetBucks even easier. Reporting issues have consistently been your biggest point. Over the weekend we determined the solution and resources necessary to improve the service.

Starting Wednesday (10/10) you will begin seeing real-time reporting of RPC and revenue. Within the daily breakdown view (click the "+" sign left of the widget name), this RPC and revenue data will be visible along with the impression and click numbers. Essentially, in advance of receiving the final audited figures, we are applying our current rate card to the click counts, and will display "pending" (unaudited numbers) in red. Once audited, they will then turn to black.

For new accounts that have not yet processed their first audited revenue figures, the roll-up view of revenue and RPC will also be in red. For existing accounts (with one or more audited revenue days), the roll-up view is not red. (See examples below).

We ask that you continue to give us your feedback. We love the enthusiasm you've provided in emails and on our blog, as well as on forums and other blogs. At the risk of sounding too schlocky, we are committed to continuing to improve to meet your needs.

- Dean

Example 1. New Account (without audited figures)

Example 2. Existing Account (with audited figures)

WidgetBucks Reporting Update 10/8

Update: WidgetBucks' real-time impression and click data is nearly caught up after the technical issue that started Sunday. Data catch-up from yesterday (10/8) is nearly complete (by early evening PT) and 10/9 (today's data thus far) will finalize shortly after that. We will remove the "Impressions/Clicks reporting currently delayed" in red when all is completed.

- Dean


Our log reports indicate early Sunday both impressions and clicks stopped appearing within user's My Widgets reporting screen. The cause has been identified and resolved, as of 9 am PDT this morning (10/8). Stats are updating now and should be completely caught up later today. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Thanks for using WidgetBucks!

- Dean

Friday, October 5, 2007

WidgetBucks Reporting Update

We’re listening and responding to the feedback from our thousands of WidgetBucks users. We’ve heard that people are more interested in seeing RPC metrics (Revenue Per Click) than eCPM metrics (equivalent Cost Per Thousand impressions). To accommodate our users, today we've replaced the eCPM column with an RPC column.

And, to make things clear, the summary number in the RPC column will be based ONLY on days which already have revenue reported. This is to eliminate confusion when click data arrives faster than revenue data, causing ratios to look skewed.

We’re also getting questions about delays in reporting. The delay in revenue reporting is due to an auditing process done by the companies who provide our product feeds. The current delay is 48 to 72 hours. We are in active contact with them to reduce this, so you can have faster data to manage your campaigns.

We’ve noticed that some users have placed widgets in out-of-the-way places. This causes your impression count to go up, but the widgets are often never even viewed. Naturally, you need them viewed to get clicks and earn commissions. As a best practice suggestion, we see our top performers have placed the widget in a prominent place on their site, above the fold, where it will be viewed often. They are the ones earning the most.

Thanks again for using WidgetBucks. Please keep the feedback coming, and feel free to comment here on our blog.

- Sean

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Impressions and Clicks are up-to-date

Happy to report that impression and click data in WidgetBucks reports are now up-to-date. You can now go to your "My Widgets" tab and see current information on the performance of your widgets.

Revenue data is still running a 48 - 72 hour delay, and we continue to work with our merchant providers on that. We'll keep you posted.

Adoption of WidgetBucks continues to grow rapidly. Thanks everyone.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Update on Reporting

We’re getting some questions about reporting.

The adoption of WidgetBucks has been fantastic! We are collecting all of the view, click, and revenue data continuously. Each type of data has it’s own delay, based on the data source and the processing required to display it.

The views and clicks reporting is currently running a 12-hour delay. We’ve brought additional machines online, per plan, to handle processing, and expect to reduce that delay significantly.

Currently the revenue reports get published on a 48-72 hour delay. This is the result of an auditing process and some delays in reporting we receive from our feed providers. Once the data has been processed, then it will populate to the corresponding day.

Unfortunately this means that users are going the first couple of days of use without having a perfect picture of how well the ads are doing. We’re working with our feed providers to reduce that delay, because we understand our partners need this information as close to real-time as possible to manage their business.

Thanks for your patience and for using WidgetBucks to monetize your site.


=== === ===

Sean Crotty
Vice President, Product Marketing
Mpire Corporation

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

WidgetBucks Nip/Tuck - Update 1

Thanks to everyone for the feedback on WidgetBucks.

Here are a few updates our tech team is working on and deploying:

  • Later today an update will make the sign-up page secure with SSL.
  • An update to the My Settings page makes the Social Security or Tax ID number optional. We were hearing from bloggers and publishers outside the U.S. that this was causing issues for them.
  • We've also been hearing scattered posts about slow load times. Greg, our CTO, looked at the pages mentioned, and some comparables, and he doesn’t think the page load should be affected. The widgets would only effect load time the same way an image would, in that the rest of the page HTML loads while the image (or in this case swf) is loading. Once the flash widget loads, it goes and retrieve a trivial amount of XML. We'll keep an eye on it, but at this point, nothing seems amiss on our servers.
For WidgetBucks' updates, check back at this blog or refer to our Frequently Asked Questions page.

- Dean

WidgetBucks Podcast with Matt Hulett

Matt Hulett, CEO or Mpire, posted this Podcast about WidgetBucks.

WidgetBucks Referral program update

This post is to let everyone know we have an update to our Referral program. Retroactive to launch (12:01 am Tuesday, Oct. 2), affiliates can earn a 10 percent referral fee based on the commissions earned by the people they refer. Affiliates receive this 10 percent for the full 12 months after the new member joins. Payouts to affiliates are monthly, along with their commission checks.

Within the WidgetBucks account pages there are a number of helpful referral tools, including multiple types of of pre-designed ads, text-links and logos. Check out our Terms & Conditions for all the details.

Here are some examples of the pre-made ads for affiliates' sites:

Earn $$ with WidgetBucks!

Earn $$ with WidgetBucks!


Monday, October 1, 2007

WidgetBucks Among Us!

Matt Hulett, president/CEO, Mpire CorporationAloha everyone!

A big mahalo to all of you who attended our WidgetBucks launch party on Thursday night here in Seattle. We had a great time and hope you did as well.

For you locals you who couldn’t make and those out of town, we wanted to fill you in on WidgetBucks and give you a chance to see what happened at the party. WidgetBucks is a new advertising network of shopping trend widgets. We provide publishers, affiliates and bloggers with the ability to earn more than 3-4 times more money than they are making through traditional ad networks.

You can see some a sample sidebar widg
et to the right of this blog and a full suite of our widgets here.

We’d love for you to give WidgetBucks a try. If you sign-up now, we’ll even bonus your account $25 to get the ball rolling. Affiliates, you
can also earn a 10 percent referral fee based on the commissions earned by the people they refer. This 10 percent lasts for the full 12 months after the new member joins. Cha-ching!

Any questions, just let us know at info@



Matt Hulett
President & CEO
Mpire Corporation

Sign up
Sign-up now! Exercise those early adopter genes by signing up before our public launch Oct. 2.

Learn more
You'll also be able to check out the full WidgetBucks site.