It used to be social network websites. Then there was the video uploading sites. And now, apparently, we are witnessing the rise of the advertising networks, of which BuySellAds, a project undertaken by Todd Garland, is one of. But is it any good?
Just Googling BuySellAds (BSA, to those already familiar) results in a couple a’ million different reviews, all of which with a different opinion on whether the latest incarnation of a tired formula is worth your time. Regrettably, in an age where one good idea leads to a thousand second-rate copies, it’s often difficult to weed out the godawful from the genuinely good. So where does BSA fit in?
BuySellAds, as the name indicates, is essentially a service for both advertisers (a.k.a. you’re advertising a product) and publishers (a.k.a. people are buying the advertising space on your website), allowing the sale and purchase of advertising space through a sophisticated, well-rounded system that takes the hassle out of advertising.
BuySellAds separates itself from other networks first and foremost through an incredibly intuitive and simplistic user interface. It’s clear that the aim of BSA is to simplify the process of buying and selling advertisements, and it certainly succeeds in this area.
Everything about BuySellAds is just easy, from listing your website’s advertising space (publishers) to buying advertising space (advertisers). The whole process is as easy as breathing, which is a huge plus for anyone who finds the process of selling and buying ads frustrating and time consuming.
A fully-fledged analytics program as well as support services are also a click away for both advertisers and publishers, again another huge advantage. At the moment banner ads seem to be the way to go, although BuySellAds is undergoing private beta testing of pay-per-click advertisements, which will allow both advertisers and publishers a bit more freedom in the future.
For publishers, your website is listed in the BSA directory, allowing advertisers target-specific searches to help find a compatible website. A gray place holder box that’s become a somewhat recognisable icon sits in your advertising space, potential advertisers just a click away to purchasing that space in monthly subscriptions.
We found that payouts were quick and seamless, the PayPal system very efficient. Wire transfers and cheques are also available as payout and payment options if PayPal is not your thing.
Too good to be true? You know the saying, and yup… it is. Well, sort of…
Let’s start with the publishers. By using BSA, you are paying for the simplicity, and you’re paying for it big time. The BSA system will take away 25% of your earnings – for those who failed second year maths, that means BSA will take 25 cents in every single dollar you earn. Compared to the major ad networks out there, or to selling advertising space privately, the cut is unusually high, and can be quite damaging for higher earning websites.
The circumstances change depending what your website focuses on, but another aspect to consider regarding BSA is the fact that it is a very niche-specific network, meaning only websites focusing on tech, web design / development or freelancing have a chance of succeeding in this system. While this will probably change in the future considering BSA is relatively new on the scene, at the moment it’s a fairly limited community of websites all focused on specific areas. In other words, if you blog about the nutritional value of capsicum, you haven’t got much of a chance.
And because no one cares about the nutritional value of capsicum, and therefore you have no visitors, you will again be rejected because BSA requires a base impressions level of at least 100K per month, although we’ve found this figure to be very flexible. BSA is not all that welcoming to websites with little traffic and no reputation – you need to have a solid foundation of steady traffic to stand a chance of being “accepted” into the BSA system.
For startups and smalltime blogs and websites, BuySellAds is unsurpassed as a well-rounded easy to use advertising network, so long as you can be accepted. BSA really does remove the stress of selling advertising space like no other service can, and for small time websites BSA is the ideal solution.
For websites commanding larger amounts of traffic (and consequently a bigger income) BSA may not be the solution you are looking for, only because of the steep 25% cut, which when you are earning thousands of dollars will severely eat into your profit. BSA provide a good service, but no one likes a company THAT much to give them a quarter of our earnings…
BuySellAds takes the pain out of selling advertising space and is certainly a service that should be considered for all web startups and small time websites focused in the design and web services area. If you don’t fit into any part of that previous sentence, Google Adsense, or privately selling your advertising space may be the smarter option.
For ease of use there is no service quite the same. We have yet to compare click through / impression rates compared to the other major services, but as long as you are advertising a product relevant to the design, tech or web services industry, BSA really is a no-brainer for driving targeted, specific traffic to your website. Stay tuned for the site-wide release of PPC advertising.