Wednesday, January 28, 2009

WidgetBucks Ups Affiliate Referral Program to 15%

WidgetBucks is boosting its Referral Program payout to a generous 15 percent (up from 5). This means that when you refer a new WidgetBucks user, you will receive a 15 percent referral fee based on the commissions earned by the people you refer. You'll receive this 15 percent for the full 12 months after the new member joins.

Your referral fees will be credited to your account and paid monthly, along with your commission payout. So, if you refer someone, and they make $100 in commissions, we pay you $15; if they make $1,000, we pay you $150. This continues for a whole year on all the commissions they earn.

Be sure to access our Referral Tools page for pre-designed affiliate ads, tag lines and logos of various sizes. Here are some serving suggestions for your affiliate referral code:

- signatures (email, forums like Digital Point)
- sidebars on your site or blog
- Twitter feed
- Facebook, LinkedIn & MySpace profiles

- Dean

WidgetBucks Publishers Earning More with YieldSense Without Lifting a Finger

Dean Jutilla, Director of Marketing & Social Media

Chances are you're into online publishing and blogging to create content that interests you, and not necessarily because you're passionate about online advertising. But truth be told, you probably spend significant time on your advertising because, well, it's an income stream and there are bills to pay.

Well, we hear you. Today, WidgetBucks has launched a solution designed to help you out. It's called YieldSense, which is new ad technology that maximizes the rate of return on your WidgetBucks ad widgets. And what's even better news? You don't have to lift a finger.

Once you've signed up and created your widget with a self-selected product category (laptop computers, for example), YieldSense automatically tests (translation: you do nothing) your selection's performance against a whole variety of other product sets to determine the one that makes you the most money (highest eCPM). Essentially the top-earning earning products categories on your site get the highest rotation.

YieldSense has been beta tested for about three months with thousands of publishers across millions of impressions. The results have been nothing short of fantastic. On average, publishers have seen around 60 percent increase in their CPC eCPM and some have even seen 200-300 percent booms in their CPC eCPM. Across the board, four out of five publishers have seen improvement.

On particular publisher --, a social networking site that serves 75 million ad impressions a month -- saw the eCPM of one particular WidgetBucks ad grow 156 percent to an amount nearly two and a half times the industry average eCPM for social networking sites. owner Rigo Rojas: “WidgetBucks is my top earning network because their ad widgets don’t look like typical ads. They are different and catch the attention of the audience, making them more effective. Plus WidgetBucks is easy to deal with and treat me like a business partner."

So today, YieldSense analyzes shopping products. In the coming months, it will determine the highest yielding channels/content feeds (shopping, text, local, travel) and ad models (CPC, CPM, CPA) for your site or blog.

To find out more, view the YieldSense product overview or this demo.

- Dean

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Putting the 'e' in CPM

Having recently spent a week in Las Vegas enjoying Affiliate Summit West, I had an interesting conversation that I thought might benefit some of our own publishers. It’s about the importance of “e” in eCPM. Most people that do any advertising are pretty familiar with what CPM, CPA, and CPC stand for. And I’m sure there will be a host of people which will defend the benefits of each one for being the best way to make money online. Fortunately when you enter the world of “eCPM” it doesn’t matter because at the end of the day it IS all about eCPM.

eCPM is really “effective CPM.” It means if you took all the revenue you made from CPM, CPA, and CPC advertising and adding them together to determine how much you are truly getting paid per 1000 visitors to your site. When evaluating any mix of advertising it’s always best to calculate your eCPM. I see CPA offers that garner $100 on a lead, while others $0.50. And while one may look more impressive than the other, it depends on how well it’s converting to determine which has a higher eCPM.

At WidgetBucks the same math applies since we mix both CPM advertising and CPC advertising. Since you’re able to earn revenue both in the volume of impressions as well as how many click through on the Shopping, Local, or Travel widgets, we boil everything together as your eCPM value. It is because of this performance companent that placement of widgets becomes essential to optimize your site visitors to earn you the most money. A widget placed in the footer of your site might receive a lot of impressions, however due to the placement will probably not have great CTR to lift the eCPM.

Thus when trying to evaluate the performance of your widgets, spend a moment to look at the Widget Detail tab and compare how your widget is performing both in CPM and CPC revenue and determine if changes should be made on placement or styles. Put the “e” back into CPM by letting WidgetBucks be more effective for you.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

WidgetBucks Wins OnMedia ‘Newcomer of the Year’ Award

Each year, the folks over at AlwaysOn hand out various honors and distinctions, some en masse (AlwaysOn 250, OnMedia 100), others in a more singular fashion. That’s the case for WidgetBucks, which has been awarded the prestigious OnMedia 100 Newcomer of the Year award by AlwaysOn.

WidgetBucks was selected from among all OnMedia 100 winners, which are emerging companies recognized by AlwaysOn’s editorial team as game-changing players that are disrupting user behavior and creating new opportunities in the marketing, branding, advertising, and publishing industries.

We'd also like to congratulate the team at The Rubicon Project for winning the OnMedia "Company of the Year" Award.

The AlwaysOn editorial team took note of WidgetBucks’ progress during 2008, but we couldn’t have done it without you, our publishers.

Over the course of 2008, WidgetBucks:

  • grew 150 percent to 1.5 billion impressions per month, making it the fastest growing online ad network
  • signed over 20,000 publishers and bloggers across its network
  • broke into comScore’s Ad Net report, the first ad widget network to join the list
  • secured $10 million in Series B financing, led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson
  • deployed YieldSense, proprietary yield-optimization technology that maximizes publishers’ rate of return on their ad space
  • launched a “hybrid” CPC/CPM ad that creates two types of revenue from the same widget instance
  • expanded beyond its flagship shopping channel through new feeds and partners and its CPC network into Western Europe
  • added two chief officers – Chief Revenue Office Kirby Winfield and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Bergstrom – who have generated over $3B in shareholder value through past acquisitions and mergers
  • won two other awards -- AlwaysOn Global 250, Mashable Open Web Award
Our CEO Matt Hulett heads to New York the first week of February for the OnMedia conference, where WidgetBucks and the other OnMedia 100 winners will be recognized.

Thanks again, publishers and bloggers! Here's to a great 2009!

- Dean

Friday, January 16, 2009

WidgetBucks November Payments Distributed

PayPalWidgetBucks payments for November have been distributed via PayPal and check. As always, we encourage you, if at all possible, to switch to PayPal. It's faster than mail, more secure and there's no fee when receiving the money.

Publishers should note that their MyBucks account ledgers will be updated early next week.

- Dean

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Top 5 WidgetBucks Support Questions

While WidgetBucks transitions to a new and improved customer support ticketing system, we thought we'd provide a summary of top issues coming into our customer support team:

1. Why are my eCPMs fluctuating?
We're seeing a combination of things happening, not just across the WidgetBucks network but the industry as a whole: First, simply put, Q1 is not Q4. Each year, during the holiday season, price premiums are built into Q4 ad spends, and as the shopping season passes and enters the new year, those premiums tend to go away. This year is no exception and is a trend we also saw last year on the WidgetBucks network. History has shown that this tends to rebound as the quarter continues.

Second, as the economy has impacted brand budgets, we're seeing more movement, both coming and going, of advertisers across our network. We're working with existing ad partners, as well as pursuing new relationships, to maintain eCPM (effective cost-per-thousand impressions) as things stabilize after the holiday. Nonetheless, see this report on TechCrunch around the trending of eCPMs industry wide.

Our No. 1 goal is to make you, the publisher, more money than on any other network -- and that's what we're committed to. If you are experiencing issues with eCPM, we encourage you to contact Tue Pham (pronounced 'Tray'), Senior Publisher Network Manager, at tue.pham [at] widgetbucks [dot] com (pictured).

2. Why is my application being denied?
WidgetBucks is focused on securing advertiser relationships to create the most revenue for our publishers. As a result, our advertisers need assurances from our team that content on sites containing WidgetBucks ads is conducive to their brand values, and meets our Terms of Use. Applications from sites that contain adult and gambling content, or those with offensive language, get denied. Also, sites that are not completed, still in development or have just a single blog post on them will also get denied. This is consistent across the industry when it comes to approvals (BlogCatalog is another example).

3. Why has my account been suspended?
We are finding that a majority of sites that get suspended are a result of miscategorized or misrepresented content. When this is determined by our content review team, standard protocol is that we email the publisher to alert them of the issue. Frankly, when the content is grossly misrepresented, suspension typically happens immediately. When the misrepresentation is borderline, we contact the publisher and provide them 24 hours to make any adjustments, and if those aren't made or there is not response from the publisher, the account is suspended. Note those that do respond and/or we connect with regarding issue -- and it's resolved -- we can get reactivated quickly and back on the road to top-notch earnings.

We also have sophisticated and proprietary click fraud and impression fraud filter systems in place, and track these systems continually. Refer to WidgetBucks Terms of Use for more details on what content is allowed and restricted.

4. Why is my widget not appearing?
In July, WidgetBucks provided CPC and CPM Country lists, meaning that site traffic from those countries earns revenue based on its designation. For example, visitors from the U.S. and U.K. represent CPC earnings, whereas visitors from India and Ireland represent CPM earnings. If you have installed WidgetBucks ads on your site but they are not appearing, you may be viewing the ads from a non-CPC or CPM country, and therefore no ad would appear for you but WILL appear for people viewing your site from a CPC or CPM country. If you are from a CPC or CPM country, and your WidgetBucks ads aren't appearing for you, please contact tue.pham [at] widgetbucks [dot] com

5. How are payments calculated and paid?
WidgetBucks distributes payments, earnings and commissions to publishers up to 45 days following the month your account balance reaches $50 or more. These are sent primarily via PayPal, with some also receiving checks. WidgetBucks generally does not send checks to countries outside of the U.S.; however, if you are approaching the $50 theshold (and you can't receive PayPal in your country), contact WBHelp [at] widgetbucks [dot] com to make special arrangements.

If you have other questions that weren't addressed here, contact WBHelp [at] widgetbucks [dot] com

Thanks again for using WidgetBucks on your site or blog!

- Dean

New WidgetBucks Support Ticketing System Coming Soon

WidgetBucks is in the process transitioning to an enhanced, more robust customer support system, and as a result, the existing online support ticketing system is currently offline and unavailable to publishers.

While the system is offline, any publishers with a WidgetBucks account issue can email WBHelp [at] widgetbucks [dot] com for support.

We'll alert publishers via this blog when the new system is up and running, along with details on its benefits and features.

Our apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused or be causing with publishers' WidgetBucks support needs.

- Dean

Affiliate Summit Report: Top 4 Observations

As recession and economic concerns continue to grip Wall Street (and my 401k), there are a group of business folks that couldn't be happier: affiliate marketers. And it's very evident here at Affiliate Summit in Vegas (and supposedly this doesn't have anything to do with the fact that plenty took in the "sights" of the Adult Entertainment Expo that's also happening at the same time here).

But bottom line, here's the naked truth: Affiliates of all kinds continue to see growth in their markets. Here are a few signs that online is still the place to be:

1. Huge turn-out. Affiliate Summit has had its largest show to date with over 3,000 people in attendance. Other conferences I've been to have been plagued recently with companies scaling back and speakers/panelists choosing to drop out at last minute. No sign of that here with crowds and booths filled all day long.

2. Bright future. There's continual talk and encouragement for bigger and better things to come. And I'm not talking about a cheerleader squad trying to lift the spirits of a 'Bama squad getting pummeled by the likes of Utah. It's people that are succeeding online and building huge businesses that continue to view vast opportunities. As Affiliate Summit keynote speaker Gary Vayrenchuk, host of Wine Library TV, a daily internet webcast on the subject of wine, said this morning: too many affiliate marketers are focusing on hitting singles rather than swinging for the fences. And he's a perfect example to show that there is not a textbook way to succeed in this space. Just find a passion and do it.

3. CPA net-o'-plenty. There are more CPA networks than ever before. And the truth is that they are all doing hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in payments each month. The only way this is possible is because every day another brand/company realizes they need to start an affiliate program.

4. Recession Does Not Equal Prohibition. Parties are just as numerous and liquor flowing as freely as in years past. While you have to work a little to find all the great parties, every night there has been plenty from which to choose. And even with the distractions of Vegas, affiliates are taking advantage not only to have fun, but to network and find ways to grow their businesses.

Overall Affiliate Summit is well on its way to another great conference. It continues to grow and mature, and of course, be an invaluable opportunity to the marketplace.

Check out Shawn Collins' Affiliate Tip blog for ongoing commentary and photos of the Summit.

Cheers and happy money making!

Gary Kamikawa
VP, Interactive Advertising

Friday, January 9, 2009

Meet with WidgetBucks at Sold Out Affiliate Summit

From Jan. 11-13, thousands of affiliate marketers, vendors, and networks are converging on Las Vegas for the sold-out 12th annual Affiliate Summit -- and WidgetBucks will be there.

For any WidgetBucks publishers attending the event (or those interested in learning more), I'd love to connect with you. Feel free to shoot over an email to me at gary [at] widgetbucks [dot] com. I arrive Sunday and head back to Seattle on Tuesday evening, so hopefully we can find some time in the middle.

If you aren't able to make it to Affiliate Summit this year, I'd encourage you to check out the Affiliate Summit site, as well as the event's blog.

Hope to see you there!

Gary Kamikawa
VP, Interactive Advertising

Top 5 Online Ad Predictions of 2009: Not All Doom & Gloom

No matter which way you look at it, 2008 ended on a down note for the online ad market. However, 2009 is not being viewed by all as doom and gloom. Even in a down market, online advertising will continue to evolve. We here at WidgetBucks think that 2009 will bring about some change, much of it positive, in the online advertising world, including:

  • Exchanges will start to weed out arbitrage: Much like Google, exchanges will weed out those who thrive on inefficiencies. Much like Google, exchanges want to make more money and squeezing arbitrageurs is a logical next step once you’ve carved out share.

  • Ad nets won't die. In fact, strong ones will gain influence: Vertical focus and inventory on sites that have high engagement will define success
  • Social Media advertising and widget use will come of age: Audience targeting emerges to create viable CPC and CPM inventory where remnant ruled before and widgets will come into their own as long as they make money for publishers, create engagement for brands, and provide value for users
  • Remnant display networks won’t die: Despite popular belief, networks representing remnant inventory will not go away but they will evolve. We think they will focus on performance based sales. Again it will all be about ROI.
  • Targeting won't just be a media sales person’s byword any longer: Real integrated behavioral targeting/affinity/demo/channel targeting will bolster movement of offline ad dollars online.
What changes in online advertising do you think will happen in 2009?

- Kirby Winfield
Chief Revenue Officer