Wednesday, January 27, 2010

CMF Ads: Network Ads - bad for most publishers, good for some advertisers

Yesterday CMF Ads launched Network Ads within their System. It's a new way to get your name out in the blogosphere. With a Network Ads you can advertise on over 640 blogs for a time period of 30 days and it costs only 10$ (similar to Adgitize, mostly rotating ads, just no need to click on your ads!).

Is this good or bad news for Publishers?

There are different opinions as it depends how many page views your blog gets in these 30 days, which ad price you have set and how many ad slots are available or empty! The more ad slots available, the better your "return" for each Network Ad. This said, perhaps you should choose the 4 or 5 ad slot widget from now on to earn additional from the network ads and the classic ads.
What about Ben's discussion about an Advertisement experiment
In short: Reduce your ad slots (to one for each ad network), so that the readers don't get swamped with ads (and you could maximize your earnings).
That's what i call double standard in CMF Ads because NOW you SHOULD maximize your ad slots like Turnip reminded some members in the forum otherwise you WON'T earn anything from the Network ads + classic ads (and your direct classic/campaign advertisers wouldn't get much exposure).
It looks now similar to Adgitize, the more ads you display, the higher is your share on the overall ad views of the specific Network Ad. Only that you could get paid more in Adgitize (even when you don't click and write just occasionally an article daily, you could earn 1-3 cents DAILY not within 30 days).

What influences do the Network Ads have on your earnings?

This depends how many ads you have currently running. In my case i run already 9 ads on 5 ad slots with 8.000 overall page views. The 9th ad can expect 4.500+ ad views (i guess more as soon as some of the other ads expire in the following two weeks).
  • ADDING ONE of the Network ads reduces the page views to 4.000/month
  • ADDING a SECOND Network ad the page views would be again 10% lower - just 3.600
  • For each additional ad the available page views would be reduced by around 200 - 250.
At the moment there are 8 Network ads in the system (including mine), this would mean my classic/campaign advertiser who paid up to 60 cents for their ad would get an immediately effective CUT of 60% in page views (from 6.000 ad views down to around 2.400 ad views) for the rest of their ad period and in the end their clicks are lowered probably by more than 60%.


In my case, i will weed out in 3 - 7 days the ads which i have previously placed as some of them are no more WORTH THEIR money because of the extremely reduced ad views!
You can look it up in your Ad history and see how many ad views you got in the last days (divide it by the days), how many ads are running now on the advertised widget and then use this formula to see the NEW daily ad views for your ad and COMPARE if it's worth!

Ad slots/running ads * page views / 30 days

How much can you earn as Publisher from the new Network ads?

Now to the earnings estimation
The advertiser paid 10$ - 1$ is for CMF Ads and 9$ will be divided by all publishers who approved the Network ads.

There are over 600 blogs in the system: 900 cents/600 blogs = 1,5 cents (average)

What does this average price mean for you?

From the old ranking system by page views (which was ironically discontinued in early January) i remember that around 1.800 - 2.200 page views have been necessary to reach a rank of 300 out of more than 600 blogs. But this rank was just a page view ranking, not the real ad view ranking (more ads running than ad slots available reduce the ad views)!
But overall page views of your blog is not everything like i mentioned before, it depends how many ads you have already running!! And with actually 8 NETWORK Ads these page views will get reduced by more than 50%, even with a 5 ad slot widget, not to mention when you have only a 1 ad slot widget (from 2.000 ad views down to 222 ad views/month with previously ONE AD running).

Someone with 5 ad slots and 2.000 page views earns more than someone with 1 ad slot and 5 running ads and the same page views because the Network Ad would get just 20% (400) of the 2.000 page views. In the end you get less than the average 1,5 cents.

My Network Ad gets at the moment around 12.900 ad views/day (it's the first day so there will be a lot of blogs who have not yet approved these new Network ads or who will reject them during the 30 day period after reading this article!). This would equal to 387.000 ad views/30 days.

Here are real numbers from my campaign in terms of ad views of my ad on other blogs!
If you run my ad and you might get at the end of the 30 days (i will update this section daily)
  • 2.000 ad views (daily: 67), you could get 2.000/387.000 * 900 cents = 4,65 cents,
  • the person with just 400 ad views (daily: 13) will get 0,93 cents and
  • the other member with 100 ad views (daily: 3) 0,233 cents.
  • To get the average price of 1,5 cents 645 ad views (daily: 32) would be necessary.
I'm curious, how much ad views did my ad get on your blog in these days?

Now lets look at Turnip's Electric Car Blog -
16 ads running (canceled mine as i'm in his opinion an attention seeking jacka$$ because i show off the negative things for publishers/classic advertisers - my tone is just more aggressive than from the other members who complain) -
480 page views - 4 ad slots = 120 ad views gives him a whopping 0,28 cent for each Network ad instead of the 2 cents which he usually charges.

Isn't that a lot of money for a 30 day? It's faster to get this 0,28 cent by clicking one more Spikes each month, isn't it :)

My advice:

Network ads might be worth the money for members who
  • have not many ads running and expand their widget to the maximum of 5 ad slots
  • have empty slots
  • will have empty slots in the next 12 days (this means, don't put your ads on auto-approval, let the ads pending until they get auto-approved after 12 days or cancel the ad on the 11th day or approve the ad within the 12 days as soon as you have an empty slot)
If you approve a Network ad you should cancel the Network ad when you get again a classic/campaign advertisers because they give you the REAL EARNINGS and for them each CLICK/Page view is counting (more ad views for them, higher possibility of a click, better return, might advertise again), a Network Advertiser doesn't care about your earnings (earnings from Network ads will be at least 70% less than what you usually charge).

Another tip for your CMF PROFILE!

Write it detailed in your CMF Profile description if you allow Network ads or not and if allowed how many you approve and if you cancel the Network ads when a classic/campaign advertiser buys an ad space (which just filled out the usually "empty" CMF Ad house slot)!

As soon as the first payout will take place in March (as there are several members who don't approve the ad, so it will take 42 days until payout), less members will approve the Network ads when they see that they earned less than the average 1,5 cents and lost traditional advertisers for which they charged 5, 10 or even 30 cents.


  1. Very interesting Martin... I wasn't aware they were paid ads at first, so I approved the first batch without knowing. I've cancelled all paid ads at all my blogs and declined the news ones...although some of them are familiar bloggers..sorry guys..

    I don't even like the paid ads on EC but no choice there since I'm not paying 5 bucks monthly. For me... for now... I would have to reject the paid ads and I only accepted one so far (@ MPG) since there's one empty slot there not taken up by my paid advertisers.... :):):)

  2. All ads at CMF Ads are paid ads as they are funded by publishers who advertise on the blogs and now the entire network of 600+ blogs.

    To avoid confusion, it's more correct to distinguish those put by advertisers on specific blogs as "campaign ads" and those purchase to run on the entire network as "network ads" as officially called in CMF Ads.

  3. Cornyman,

    I replied in the thread you linked to about what you view as a double standard. It is not that at all. The thread in question was written many weeks before Network Ads existed. Similarly, blog posts that comment on one aspect of a service will become outdated by future changes. I wouldn't expect you to go back and edit all of your blog posts about Entrecard, Adgitize or CMF Ads as further changes are made, but I would ask for some consideration towards the fact that we didn't publish the post you quoted since releasing Network Ads.

    The other point is that despite your criticisms, you are actually one of the people who suggested that we reassess the costs of advertising at CMF. You contacted us to say that Spikes would reduce the value of other ads in the network. That is one reason why we looked at implementing Network Ads. If we had left everything as it was, I am certain that regular ads would have seen a rapid decline. There is always a transition period and there will be some members who continue placing a small number of ads on certain sites. But we have to move and adapt to avoid stagnating and dying.

    As with any new feature there are always things to work out. Bear in mind that we don't just release a feature and say "that's done". We have a feedback thread in the forums that looks at some possible options for the future (which you've added your comments to). We are still making changes.

    Finally, while the payouts may be small, we are attempting to balance the funds that go into the Network Ad vs. the funds that we can actually pay out. $10 shared among 600+ blogs is not a lot. Even if we paid you the same regardless of pageviews you'd only get just over 1.5 cents. We either have to pay people more than that based on pageviews, or we have to raise the price of a network ad simply to increase payouts, which seems like a bad idea to me. We can't pay more than a total of $10 for people who run the ad or we will be at risk of going into a lot of debt. How would you consider changing the payments?

  4. @Mariuca:

    At the moment it would be important for you to write it in your CMF profile that ONE Network Ads is running and that you cancel it, if someone wants to advertise. Otherwise some advertisers who look for the ad price are not that amused to share it in rotation and get less ad views, you get my point ;)

  5. @Eli:

    I think i made it now more CMF Ads conform :) Thanks for the advice, Eli.

  6. @Ben:

    I focused more on the expression "swamping of ads" that you used when blogger are using not the smaller ad widget but the bigger one. I believe that you expressed this as your own opinion even when you wouldn't talk about an Advertising Experiment!
    But now members are more or less forced if they want to run more of the Network ads (like suggested from Turnip)!

    And like you wrote in the Network Poll thread over 25% use the single ad widget. While doing the Spikes i checked how many ads some of them run now... 9-31 ads some with low ad views of 500, some with high ad views of 10.000 (2 days ago they had 5 - 8 ads less).
    Classic advertiser get for sure a big hit by rapid falling ad views and clicks. Will they still advertise on these blogs the next month or use spikes or the Network ads (if it's in their budget)?

    From the clicks received i wouldn't raise the price as the income for the publisher would just raise from 1.5 to 2 or 3 cents.

    I think the biggest problem was to write that the members who approve the Network ad EARN additional funds. Nobody thought it would be less than 1 cent.
    Many expect up to 10 cents when they look at Turnip's example in the forum but only around 80-100 blogs reach 5.000 page views which would get near the 10 cents from Network ads. In exchange they would have to give up a more lucrative ad spot of 0.25 - 1.25$ or loosing advertiser because of less ad views/clicks than in the previous months.

    Perhaps you have to change the system to display the Network ads ONLY on empty slots (in this case the owner shouldn't be allowed to change the widget to a smaller size)

    I never recommended Network Ads! It was about buying ads on my blog for the set price and not giving away my ad space for a few cents to Network Ads.
    It's just obvious that some members with higher ad prices didn't get new advertisers (i had to reduce to 33 cents for a few advertisers) but now it's already better and i get advertiser with 60 cents (perhaps it was just Christmas/New Year with less activity).

    I said if you offer Spikes to Advertisers-only, you have to raise the price for these members (otherwise they would only use Spikes and less the traditional CMF ADS). Otherwise raise the Spikes price and give some of this money to the Network ads.

    Network ads won't survive like they are now. Either the publisher will reject them (after they see the small payout in March) or let them a long time as pending which will affect advertisers who place less Network ads in the future. Think about what would happen if you have soon 15 or 25 network ads. Who can display so many ads without hurting the classic advertisers?
    Like i said, i rejected already a few ads which i had bought previously - on one ad spot i got 2.000 ad views and after the Network ads it dropped to just 625 ad views/daily.

    Changing to only Network Ads gives only the blogs with a lot of traffic $$$. Someone with just 500 page views/month would get from 5 or from 20 Network ads combined always only 1 cent.

    The Reward system has to be changed, let me think about this over the weekend, perhaps i get some ideas... or other members!

  7. I will check out my profile and see where I can insert that bit of info then Martin...appreciate my advertisers very much! :)

  8. I was late to notice about network ads. They already ran automatically for two days on my blog because of the auto approve setting. I just changed the setting and cancelled all network ads.

    I think for now I will keep my slot free from network ads so my campaign/classic advertisers will not loose ad views. I don't have empty slot anyway. Even if I have empty slot I will try to reduce the size/price first before filling it with network ad. So far that strategy works fine to bring advertisers. Hopefully it still works even though now they have spikes and network ads as alternatives.

  9. Nice writeup! You have answered all the questions that I had, pertaining to the conflict between campaign ads and network ads.

    Initially, I was of the view that when you have network ads running, the moment you approve a campaign ad, it is treated with priority in the sense that it will not be competing against network ads for slots. But I was proved wrong when I saw that that was not the case. I have three CMF Ad slots on my blog. I have now cancelled 5 network ads. I am only remaining with 2 of them. These two will occupy the two slots while the campaign ad will occupy the remaining slot. I will not approve any network ads for the time being.

  10. Cornyman - Interesting post. I think it's too early to know exactly how the network ads will affect puclishers and advertisers - it's only beeen going for a week. I've been on CMF since they started and I am excited about all the changes that they are making - they're really working to make the site better for the advertisers and the puclishers. I don't look at any of the changes they make as negative - they are just trying new things and none of them are jsut for CMF monetary gain (like other sites like to do). I don't think the numbers you give can possibly be relevant until these programs have been running for a while. I like the research you do and the reports you give it just seems like you jump way too soon.

  11. @Clement:

    It's good to read that my article helped you in the understanding and your decision with the Network Ads.
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  12. @Sheila:

    I think you can compare my numbers and your numbers from your own Network ads. They may differ as you are more popular but this would make the payout less valuable for low-traffic blogs.

    Our payment is based on 30 days and not on page views (like Entrecard) but the payout for the publisher is based on page views and this makes it worse for the majority of blogs. The payout has to be based on the same component like the payment - in this case it would be how long are the ads running!
    Then you would have the problem that HIGH TRAFFIC Blogs would opt out as they had to share the money based on time which would give them at least 1,5 cents (if 600 blogs take part), this would benefit for low traffic blogs who charge less than 4 cents as they could get now easily the same amount just for letting it run the full 30 days!

    Otherwise you have to combine a formula for page views + minutes of the running ad to make it more fair for the low traffic blogs (who would otherwise just get 0.2 cents)
    (your own page views + minutes of running ad) / (overall page views + minutes of running ad).

    This would even out high page views and most of the blogs would get the actual average price.

    See my new blog post for CMF Ads - My Network Ads suggestion - A better way for publisher and advertiser

  13. Its a complex algebra,I just start to read your post but ends with lots of confusion,that whether I should continue with CMF ads or not.Oh my god lot of calculations are to be done to get maximum benefit from it,I cant,even I don,t have enough time to invest with.Anyway thanks for this info.....keep posting such calculative post.Bye....


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