Any entrepreneur knows the challenge of getting exposure for their business. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard handmade entrepreneurs lamenting that they are not getting any traffic to their blog or shop.
Even with social media and web site optimization, you may still fall short of the traffic you need. Paid ads can generate exposure but advertising isn’t cheap. Gone are the days when Google Adwords were just ten cents a click. If you are not well indoctrinated into the world of paid advertising, it can be daunting.
When I heard about a relatively new ad company called Project Wonderful from several sources, I decided maybe it was the solution to getting more traffic at a reasonable rate.
The way this site works is that you pay for ads to show on blogs/websites and you bid against other potential advertisers for ad space on a site of your choice. The reason advertising is so reasonable is that many of the sites which air these ads are not pulling in the amount of traffic the really well known sites are. You can search for potential advertisers by category. It’s also a potential revenue option for up and coming blogs to get paid advertising.
Since I sell handmade in several different categories I looked to see which site seemed most promising. I really wanted to promote my jewelry line and a fashion site seemed like the best targeted audience. There wasn’t a huge selection that seemed like a fit for my jewelry style. I chose Million Models blog which seemed to have decent traffic. Though it is UK based it has reach into the U.S., Canada and several other countries and you can choose which countries your ad shows in.
You can choose the type of ad as well and I chose to have a leaderboard ad, which is a banner ad of 728 x 90 pixels. I created my own ad which you see pictured here and I made sure to make it as eye catching as possible. No where in the ad description on Project Wonderful, did I see a location of where this ad was going to show on the blog. I assumed that it would be below the site’s masthead which is pretty standard.
You must pay into your account, like Google Ads, so I loaded $15 from Paypal into my account. The ad ran for 10 days and I was outbid a couple times by another competitor. When you are outbid, your ad stops running until you outbid the person who out bid you. It’s a little like Ebay in that regard. So, after a couple of times of being outbid, I upped my bid and remained on top with the ad running.
Then I got busy. On 6/12 I received an email notification from Project Wonderful that my funds were half spent. So far I had spend $6.83 on the ad. Stats showed the following: 61,045 views, 18,381 unique views and 0 clicks. That’s when I went to Million Dollar Models blog to see if my ad was showing. Guess where I found that ad? At the very bottom of the home page. Now, really? Who is going to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page to click on said ad? Nobody, that’s who.
I went back to the Project Wonderful website to see if I could find anywhere in the description of the ad I had chosen where it said it would appear at the bottom of the page.
I had a difficult time navigating the site to find that info. When I did find the ad description there was nothing I could see on that page where is said it would appear at the bottom of the page. Here’s a print screen of what I saw. (Sorry it’s not larger.)
Maybe I misunderstood what a leaderboard ad was. I looked it up in several places which indicated they appear between the masthead and content.
I promptly paused my ad and, after more research, saw that if I wanted a refund of what remained in my account, I would have to eat $1.00 of it because I would be penalized that amount. At that point I took screen shots of how my ad was appearing on Million Models blog and a screen shot of the ad description of the leader board ad and I contacted customer service at Project Wonderful via email. I figured I would be taken more seriously if I explained I planned to blog about Project Wonderful and currently the experience hadn’t been good. After I explained my frustration with the leaderboard ad appearing at the bottom of the page and that I wanted a full refund, I sat back and waited for the battle to begin.
I was surprised to get a relatively fast response within and hour or so. Here’s what Linden, the rep said.
“I’m sorry for the confusion and disappointment this caused.
All of the ad box names refer to size only, and not location. The locations vary from site to site, depending on the publisher’s needs.
“Leaderboard” is an industry standard name for the 728×90 ad size, and while it does most often appear near the site’s masthead, it’s not uncommon for publishers on many different ad platforms to use it in the footer, or in some cases between sections of the site (this last more commonly done with forums).
Previews are available if you click the site name, and if you’re viewing the site in preview mode it should outline the ad box with a red border to make it easier to find on the page. A few site designs don’t support the border outline, but most do. In any case, the preview still allows you to take a look at the site’s content and how the ad boxes are displayed alongside it.”
The good news is they refunded the full $15 I loaded into the account with no penalties. Bravo for that. I suggested they might clarify their ad description.
His comments about it not being uncommon for the leaderboard to appear in other locations besides below the masthead seemed like a feeble excuse. Sure, he has a degree in advertising. The average Joe doesn’t. Are they going to know that? Shouldn’t there be a better explanation of what a leaderboard is on Project Wonderful’s site.
Would they have refunded my money so easily if I hadn’t played a little hard ball? It is hard to say. Will I try Project Wonderful again? Maybe. I think if my ad had been at the top of the page, I might have had some click throughs. Would that resulted in any sales? I don’t know. I will definitely research more. A huge down side to this is their lack of disclosure. Like any contract, always look for the fine print, but you have to know where the fine print is.