[tweetmeme]I’ve always believed in the saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” This is especially true in business. Relying on one main income stream is too much of a risk.
For PowerHomeBiz.com, that meant making sure that we are not relying on one advertising partner. Our challenge was to find other advertising partners that can provide excellent income without sacrificing user experience too much and compromising the site design.
Through the years, we’ve been approached by many advertising networks and affiliate marketers, but none provided us with what we were looking for. Some were downright questionable, and some turned us off with their claims of superiority. We ignored most of their pitches, except for Kontera http://www.kontera.com, the leading contextual in-text advertising network.
We believed that Kontera and their inline text advertising would be a good complement to our other advertising programs while allowing us to diversify our ad sources. Using no additional ad spaces, Kontera’s technology serves ads based on the words found in the content of your web pages. The keywords are hyperlinked and hovering on the link results in a small popup showing the ads. You get paid when users click on the ads.
Kontera surpassed all our expectations for a number of reasons:
- Great complement to our other advertising monetization strategies. We were pleasantly surprised with our first month revenue. While income was smaller than our direct advertising sales and main advertising network, Kontera outperformed all the secondary and remnant banner ad networks that we were using. It brought in 10x more revenue than all the banner ad networks combined in its first month.
- Willingness to work with publishers. What impressed me about Kontera is their willingness to work with publishers. They respect the fact that you know best what is good for your audiences. For example, if you think that the number of ads served on the page (underlined text) is a little too much, you can request them to reduce the number of inline text advertisements in a page.
- Excellent customer service. The best part, though, about Kontera is their customer service. For one, they provided us with a rep where we can send any questions or concerns that we have. The rep handling our account regularly sends us with reports on how our campaigns are doing, what big name companies are advertising on our sites, and general observations about how our sites are performing for the month. Even better, they provide tips on how to optimize our site to improve our revenues. That continuing dialogue with an ad rep is non-existent with other ad networks.
- Easy interface and solid reporting features. Their reporting panel is easy to use, and allows you to drill down the earnings of each of your sites. You can also see the top 20 keywords used to serve ads, and the top 20 URLs that generated the most clicks.
- Reliable payment. Since we’ve been with Kontera, payment has always been on time and accurate. No delays, no long waiting for the payment, and no discrepancies in the reporting panel and the payments received. They pay net 30 days (unlike some ad networks that pay net 90!), every first week of the month your balance meets or exceeds US$50. US publishers have the option to receive their payments via checks, electronic fund transfer or Paypal, while international publishers can choose wire transfers, check and Paypal.
However, there are also some downsides to using Kontera:
- It is inline text advertising. If you find in line text ads spammy and intrusive, then you will not like Kontera. This is also true if you think that the ads tend to be misleading. Some users may be “tricked” into clicking the hyperlinked keyword thinking it leads to another page, only to find that it is an advertisement. Remember also that some users think that any type of advertising is reason enough to stay away from a site, but hey, you’ve got to earn!
- You don’t have the control as to which keyword will be chosen. Kontera’s technology automatically chooses the keywords that will show the ads, and there is no way you can pre-select and allow/disallow the keywords.
- Configuration needed if you want to control where the ads will be shown. My pet peeve is that sometimes the ad is shown in the title of the article. I prefer the ad to be shown in the content, not the title. To do that, you will need to do filtering (either through the zone tags or filtering codes) and add special codes in your site’s pages. Otherwise, the ads could appear in places where they are most likely to be ignored or in areas of your content where you don’t want any ads at all such as the title of the page.
- No channels allowed. It would be very useful if you know what topics or sections of the site works best for Kontera. If you know that topic X does not get any clicks and hardly generate any revenue, then you could just remove the code from that page and find other ways to monetize the page. Right now, you only have limited information as to what pages or topics bring in the most money with Kontera.
- Customization options not readily available to the publisher. Many customization options — e.g. changing the number of ads per page, altering the density of the links — are not easily available to you. Instead, you will be asked to contact the support and send your request via email. It takes anywhere up to three days for them to respond to your request, and sometimes it will be a go and sometimes it’s not.
Despite the limitations of Kontera, I am pleased with the results we have with them and glad that we added them as part of our website monetization mix.