A Real Alternative To AdSense

As many of you know, at the end of last month, I suddenly found my best performing site banned from AdSense. Any attempts by people in my company to reason with the AdSense representative “Scott” proved completely futile. We came out far more confused then we had gone in.

Finally, we just gave up trying to appease Google. We started on an adventure to find a real alternative to AdSense, and finally, a month later, we’ve actually found it. I can’t promise that this will work for every site out there, and I plan to test this solution on other sites in the future, but for now, I’ll share this bit of good news that I have discovered.

Basically, we’re now matching previous AdSense revenue with a combination of alternative ad partners. Next month, we think that we will significantly surpass AdSense revenues.

So what combination of ad partners are we using? Here they are:

New Partners

1. AdBrite
2. Kontera ContextLinks
3. AuctionAds

Old Partners

4. BlogAds
5. TextLinkAds

Of the three new partners, AdBrite and Kontera make the largest, most consistent amount. Together, they are just about at the daily level that AdSense had been at when I got the boot. The cool thing is that, unlike with AdSense, I have the distinct feeling that both Kontera and AdBrite are taking intentional, manual (human!!!) steps to help optimize my performance, serve better ads, and improve my eCPM. It feels good, for once, to have the sense that your ad publisher is on your side!

I haven’t really been able to completely figure out AuctionAds, and it surely isn’t consistent, but it is bringing in some money, with occasional surges. We’ll let it run for about 2 more months and see if we can figure the system out, tweak it, and hopefully make it competitive with Kontera and AdBrite. It would be fantastic to have a tripartite revenue backbone, so that if any one member went down, I’d be losing less than 1/3 of my revenue.

The great thing about the Kontera, AdBrite, AuctionAds system is that each ad network compliments the other. Kontera is a link based advertisement. AdBrite is your typical boxed text ad. AuctionAds rotates ads from eBay. The only substantial tip I have at this point is to make sure to turn off interstitial links on AdBrite because they compete with Kontera, and Kontera has a much better payout for that type of ad.

So there you have it. I’ve found a real alternative to Google AdSense. I can’t make any guarantees, but I’m willing to bet that this model scales well enough across niches that you too could try it out and realize AdSense-competitive revenue as well. I’ll be doing some testing across some of my low-traffic sites over the next month to see how it compares to AdSense at that level. Report forthcoming.

And the great thing about this alternative is that 1) it is liberating to not depend on a single company and 2) you have much more room for expanding your ad partnerships (these three ad networks do not have the anti-competitive rule set that Google imposes).

7 thoughts on “A Real Alternative To AdSense

  1. Google and adwords are an amazingly “robotic” company to deal with for one that is thought of as so modern. Anything even slightly out of the norm with them and you will find yourself just reading the same generic responses over and over unless you can get to talk to someone higher up which is rare. They seem to follow the paypal business model when it comes to customer service.

    They are also amazingly good at passing the buck in their terms and conditions of service making them almost totally transparent.

  2. See PopCrunch.com for more details. 2 column blog.

    Kontera is a contextual link ad system. On PopCrunch they display as Pink links. Look through some of those posts to see them.

    AuctionAds, is just like AdSense. You can place the code anywhere on the site, and it is displayed in standard square and rectangle sizes.

  3. Ryan, I’m guessing these ads are being displayed on a three column blog? I’m wondering how you have them looking on the site. Kontera and Auction ads are sidebar widgets?

  4. Except you’re screwed on sites that can’t run AdSense. Certain niches are like that, and paid links pay very well. But I assume that if sponsors just want the targeted traffic and don’t care as much about PR, then you can probably not worry about your revenue dropping.

    Of course, it’s nice to find alternatives that actually work. Nothing has worked for me except Text Link Ads, so it’s very disheartening if that stream goes.

  5. Good write up. I highly recommend dropping AdSense like the horrible disease that it is and moving on to anything else available. Google’s anti-competitive BS, along with their willingness to drop any of their users without having to defend their reasoning (as happened to you), makes me very upset. I had an AdSense account a long time ago that got canceled because of claimed fraudulent activity, of which there was none (that I knew of).

    I don’t know what’s up with the big G! I love their products and use many of them day to day (Search, Gmail, Calendar), but recently they are really testing my loyalty! I am referring to their recent punishment of paid links, which is complete non-sense. I understand trying to lessen the PageRank bleed to paid links, but to punish the site itself for having paid links is ludicrous. Oh, of course it’s ok to have Google ads on your site, or Google’s new “paid link” feature, but hey, go outside the Google ecosystem? No, Google is not ok with that!

  6. Didn’t drop TLA. Just didn’t want to count that as part of the “new” alternative to adsense.

    TLA remains stable.

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