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

Copy the above text into your blog to display the image.

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.