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