An Honest Review

In the pursuit of honesty I’d like to let you, the wide-eyed beginner internet marketer, know that this post is mostly a highly sophisticated attempt to get you to click on a link (like this one) to sign up for Media.net’s publisher services.

BUT!!!!! I did say mostly.

The other part of that is the sincere part where I’m a fanboy of the company. The part where I would have written this post regardless of whether I was going to get a cut of your potential success. The part where I’ve been using this service for years. Where I’ve found my own success. Where I’ve given up on competitors like Adsense and now sing the praises of MEDIA.NET.

So who is Media.net?

Great question. To my knowledge I think they’re a company originally based (and still somewhat based) out of India who was acquired by Bing/Yahoo a couple years ago. They are, to my knowledge, the most direct competitor to Google Adsense that exists in the market. Hence why it was a realllllllly good move of Bing/Yahoo to buy them out a few years back.

They are what you would call a cost-per-click (or CPC) ad company. Which is another way of saying that they host a platform where advertisers bid on any given keyword and that they provide a framework to display those ads in search listings or on publishers websites (like me).

So why are they better than Adsense?

Another great question. Man, you really are good at asking questions.

So here’s my extremely biased opinion.

I was doing really great with Adsense once upon a time. Then it all fell apart. And I don’t know why. <—–that’s the part where they lost me as a customer forever. Back to that in a minute.

So Media.net is better than Adsense because they at least pretend to care about the success of your business. Assuming you sign up and get assigned to a representative you’re likely to get much more royal treatment than you’d ever get with Adsense. Here’s what you can expect…

  1. Custom ad styling
  2. Custom results page styling
  3. Involved CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) of your ads
  4. TRANSPARENCY!

Ok so I said I’d get back to where Adsense lost me. This is also where I work backwards from number 4 in my praise of Media.net and what they’re doing right.

4. Transparency

Ok so this is the BIGGEST thing for me.

I’m going to be a little bit candid with you here. Back in my really early days of creating websites of value I was using Adsense exclusively. They were all I knew. And they were gold.

But one random morning I received an email from them that changed my life forever (for the better).

It essentially said (and I’m very loosely paraphrasing) “Hey Tim, thanks for being such a great publisher, but some random quality control algorithm we have in place has determined that you’re in violation of our terms of service. As such the $2,800 that you’ve made this month won’t be paid out to you because of ‘invalid click activity’. What’s more we’d like to inform you that the $4,200 you made last month won’t be paid out to you in the coming days as you expected either. Have a nice life.”

And then my account was terminated.

Trying to figure out why I had just lost $7,000 in pure profit was my focus for the next few weeks. And. It. Was. Fruitless.

There was no clear definition for “invalid click activity” nor was there anywhere or anyone I could contact to get an explanation for what they deemed were my violations of the contract I signed (also known as the page of legalese that EVERY SINGLE PERSON agrees to so that they can begin making money).

Adsense had some random form set up where you could appeal an account termination, but there was no response when you submitted it the first time. Or the second time. Or the…you get the picture. They were happy to keep my money and make me into some bad guy. The money that they said they were going to return to the advertisers that I had defrauded I’m sure never made it. Haha. In fact there was a class action lawsuit brought against them. As well as employee leaks that detailed their intentioned deceit of publishers.

Ok, did you sense a little bit of resentment there. Me too.

MOVING ON.

So the cool thing about Media.net is that they are completely transparent. They tell you when they’re seeing low quality traffic. They tell you when they think they could optimize your campaign to do better. And they definitely tell you WHY. I mean, the fact that they actually have a real person talking to you in the first place is a sure sign that you’re with the right company. Not to mention that their payouts have likely eclipsed Adsense by now. (more on that soon, but you’re going to have to work for it)

If you don’t want to work just click this link.

Ok. Numero 3. Conversion rate optimization.

If you’re a normal person your eyes might glaze over at that phrase. If you’re me though you just see dollars signs.

Conversion rate optimization is essentially just another way of saying “Hey, let’s do a tiny bit of work and see if we can’t make a lot  more money off of the exact same amount of people that are currently visiting your site”.

It’s optimizing the look, feel, and targeting of the ads on your site to match with the visitors INTENT. I wasn’t screaming INTENT  I was just emphasizing the importance of that word (ok maybe I was screaming a little). Your visitors are on your site looking for something. That is their intent. If you can place ads near where they find what they’re looking for then you’re developing an environment for optimal click through (AKA pure profit) on your ads.

Media.net understands that and they work tirelessly to develop ad styling that caters to the current (and ever-changing) best ways to get mostly unsuspecting visitors to click on your ads.

In my own experience I’ve had at least 5 account representatives now who have all progressed upwardly in the company, but have all also been completely dedicated to creating success for me. Even when I wasn’t actively seeking it out.

Don’t underestimate the importance of someone else working FOR YOU. FOR FREE. TO MAKE YOU MORE MONEY. I think that was a really good sentence structure that would hold up with any editor…including my wife (sorry wife).

I digress, in short, Media.net tries to make you more money. Don’t be fooled though. They’re also making themselves more money in the process. But that’s not a bad thing.

2. Custom Results Page Styling

This might be a little redundant. Now that I think of it I’m kind of repeating myself, but let’s just keep going.

Media.net representatives (if you sign up and don’t have one reach out to you just let me know and I’ll find out why) will actively create an optimal results page (aka second click page) where your logo is displayed alongside ad results and the colors all look nice and look matchy matchy.

For my best guess their CPC model relies on a 2 click strategy which is to say if you click on the ad on a publishers website (like mine) you’ll get a small amount of money, but if you then proceed to click on a second link on the results page you’ll get paid the full amount. Anyone who knows the real way this works feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. If you’re repping Media.net then I’d love to speak with you in depth.

Anyway. Better looking results that more closely resemble the look of your website equals more money.

1. Custom ad styling

Ok I’m not trying to kick a dead horse here, but if I’m going to keep going the route of comparing Adsense and Media.net then this is where you really see a difference.

Each company gives you an admin panel where you can customize the look of your ads…but only to a certain extent. Yes each one leaves you feeling a little better about your ability to make money at the end of the day, BUTTTTTT Media.net goes above and beyond and will disengage from their default styling to provide your website a truly custom feel that visitors don’t see as intrusive and blends quite nicely.

These ads often look completely different from site to site and your visitors don’t automatically view them as ads like they do with the ad units you’d get from Adsense.

Ok so that was kind of exhausting to type. If you’ve made it this far then you’re probably a really committed reader or actually interested in signing up.

Butttttt you’re also probably like “Oh Tim, I’m so obsessed with you, but I just don’t believe that I can make money with Media.net”. So here’s the deal on that…

How To Make Money with Media.net?

This section could also be titled one of the following:
1. How to make money with CPC advertising?
2. How to make money with Google Adsense?
3. What are the important things to consider when developing content for cost per-click-advertising?

Whoaaaa! Who saw number 3 coming?

Well if you were asking yourself the first three questions and not asking yourself the fourth then you need to change your mindset. The most important thing you should be considering when developing content for your website is what people are searching for to get there.

I think of it in terms of two types of searches. Purchase Intent vs Informational searches.

(this is me taking a deep breath)

Purchase Intent Searches

If you’re looking to make money online, regardless of your monetization efforts then you need to understand that to make money you need to go where the money is.

By targeting purchase intent with your content you’re going to make more money. Plain and simple.

So what is purchase intent?

Wow I’m really glad you asked. Thanks for asking.

Purchase intent is essentially a search where the person querying Google or Bing is looking for something that they’re interested in buying. They might be looking for the “best dresses in 2016” or a “coupon for milk” or an infinite array of other searches, but the one thing purchase intent searches have in common is that the searcher is highly motivated to make a purchase.

As a publisher targeting these types of searches it is important because purchase intent is directly equivalent to advertising intent.

Another way of saying that is that if a searcher is looking to buy a dress then there are lots of companies out there who want to sell that potential customer a dress. And sometimes in order to tell said customer that they have dresses for sale they have to advertise to them. And to do that they magically appear near your “best dresses in 2016” content on your website. Which is how Media.net makes money. Which in turn is how you, as the publisher, make money.

What is an informational search?

Anything you type into a search engine that is seeking general knowledge is likely an informational search. “What is a dress?” would be a really poor example of that. Copy and paste that question into Google and you’ll likely find a crude definition and a wikipedia result. There’s no money to be made there. Advertisers will never see an ROI (return on investment) for you clicking on an ad displayed around that keyword phrase. Who could make money off that?

Ok. So back to reviewing Media.net…

Let’s get into the specifics of how their program works. You’ve probably been waiting for that.

If you’ve ever monetized a site with Google Adsense before you’ll be super familiar with the process.

  1. Sign up an account
  2. Create an ad unit
  3. Copy the code
  4. Paste the code into your site

Lets get a little more in depth shall we?

Sign up an account

There’s really not a lot to this one. To get an account you’ll need a website. There is a manual approval process to get it in their system so it’d be wise to wait to sign up until your site is out of the initial development stage and is bringing in a little bit of traffic. You’re much more likely to get approved that way.

Create an ad unit

This is the fun part. You can customize sizes, color and other styling options all on your own. If you’ve got an account rep who has reached out to you then like I said before they’ll work with you to make the ads cohesive with your website.

medianet_ad-unit-creation

I believe you can have up to 3 ad units on the same page, but if you try for more you can expect to hear from an account rep. They’re very good at policing terms of service violations and politely requesting changes be made.

Copy the code

This is as simple clicking that handy dandy “Save & Get Code” button at the bottom of the ad unit creation screen. It’ll pop up a box with the script you’ll need to install on your site to display ads.

copycode

Paste the code

Once you’ve got the ad code copied to your clipboard then just head over to your WordPress install (assuming you use WordPress) and either drop it straight into the “text” editor tab of your post or page. You can also install a plugin like Ad Injector that will automatically put the code on every page of your site in whatever position on the page you’d like.

After You’ve Installed Your Media.net Ad Unit

You may have to show a little bit of patience as it can take a day or so for the keywords displaying in the ad units to jive with the content on your site. If after a few days it’s still displaying unrelated phrases then you’ll probably need to nudge your account rep to take a look into it.

Media.net Reporting and Payout

Reporting

Earnings for each day are posted the following day unlike Adsense who you can see in near real time. It would be nice to be able to monitor things by the hour, but if you’re anything like me you just sit and watch your profits all day and then don’t get any other work done. So I think Media.net is doing us a service there.

From there you can access your reporting dashboard which will show you real time ad impressions on your site. It’s not necessarily the most useful tool, but it’s fun to look at as a gauge of activity.

You can also dive into the reports tab and break down your earnings by site or ad unit or day or time period or any combination of those.

Payout

Typical payments from Media.net come net 30 or in layman’s terms within 30 days from the close of the previous month.

As an example I would get paid out for June earnings near the end of July. Typically I see payments somewhere around the 27th or 28th.

If you don’t meet the threshhold of earnings which I think is making at least $100/mo then your earnings will get held over to the next month and you’ll get paid out once it’s accumulated past that minimum payout amount.

I’ve always received my money from Media.net for anyone weary that you won’t get paid.

And that’s it.

If you sign up through my link you’ll receive an extra 10% on your earnings for the first 3 months of your account. So if you would typically make $100/day with their program they’ll give you $110/day for the first 3 months. Which comes out to about an extra $900 just for trying them out.

I’ll also receive a commission off your earnings and I like free money so help me out there haha.

Thanks for reading. If you have any additional questions leave them in the comments and I’ll work them into the article!

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Tim Seidler

See how Tim wrote some stuff up there? You should do that too. Tim's mission is to take average people, force them to write about stuff they know, and then help make them successful beyond their wildest dreams. Easy peasy.

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4 comments

  • You mentioned WordPress. Which of their plans are suitable for the purpose of monetizing and using media. Net

    • Hey Anthony,

      Specifically I use WordPress.org to install a stand-alone version of the CMS on my hosting account and attach to my domain.

      If you’re using WordPress.com you should be able to install ad code as long as you have access to the source code versions of your pages.

      I also use a plugin called Ad Injection to make my life easier. It automatically inserts the code into predefined areas of the page based on custom settings that you can mess with.

    • What’s up Navin.

      The RPM might have been higher the first few days because you were getting clicks.

      I’ve also heard quite a few people say they made more money at the very beginning, but then RPM dropped off. If you have a small amount of traffic you’ll probably see some pretty big fluctuations so that could be it too.

      Regardless, I’d recommend reaching out to your account rep. You’d be surprised how willing they are to work with you.

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