Feb 122008
 

By definition, yes, PayPerPlay is a scam-

American Heritage Dictionary
scam
n. A fraudulent business scheme; a swindle.

On their website for publishers (GetAudioAds.com) they promise that “Publishers (website owners) will earn revenue on 100% of their traffic…“. This is simply not true. Many publishers are reporting tens of thousands of hits without a single penny earned. Personally, I’ve only earned on less than .001% of my traffic. Their “official” blog (I’ll get to why official is in quotes shortly) actually came out yesterday and admitted that they have no way to live up to that promise-

NetAudioAds can only serve approximately 220 million paid ads per month based on current advertisers. This means that at full throttle only 1 out of every 5 hits (shown in the stats system) will trigger a paid audio ad.

[…]

Now we can’t say that website owners will get paid on 100% of their web traffic because we don’t have enough paid ads to cover it all.

And yet, all of their recruiting pages still say that “website owners will get paid on 100% of their web traffic“. In fact, they hired hundreds of bloggers (myself includedtwice) to advertise that claim despite knowing that it was false. The first advertising commission I received from them in cluded the following line-

Our advertisers will buy ad plays on websites for 100% of visitors. You’ll have 100% conversion rate. 108 million sites have joined thus far.

and the second said –

Publishers (website owners) will earn revenue on 100% of their traffic… no clicks necessary!

I could accept this as a mistake except for two things: 1) they’re still spreading this false advertising, and 2) the second offer arrived on February 4th, three days after their official launch and at a time when they were already not living up to that promise.

They also continually state that they are “backed by one of the BIG 5 search engines” though they refuse to state which one, citing contractual obligations that were set to expire 11 days ago. Can you even name the “Big 5 search engines”? I canonly think of 4 I’d call “big”.

About that “official” blog. I assume it’s their official blog because its linked to directly from all of their webpages. But the blog’s author, Charles Heflin, keeps changing his story about whether or not he works for the company. Some days he swears he’s “just like everyone else” and at other times he talks about the inside info of the company as if he’s an employee (using “we”, etc). He also refuses to answer any questions on the “official” blog, instead referring people to the “official” forums (which also aren’t registered to the company. In other words, the company doesn’t communicate with anyone except its “insiders” and counts on them to spread the word. This gives them a perfect cloak of deniability should legal issues ever arrive.

Charles also seems to make up numbers at will. Yesterday he wrote that “at full throttle only 1 out of every 5 hits (shown in the stats system) will trigger a paid audio ad” but the day before he claimed “[t]he NetAudioAds servers are clocking 9,000 hits per second triggered from audio ad code in our distribution network” which works out to 32,400,000 ads being served every hour or 23,328,000,000 or more than 10 times their available ads if we’re to believe Charles.

You’re probably wondering what NetAudioAds and PayPerPlay are doing to even attempt to meet their promise. I certainly was. Well, it turns out they’re a re doing nothing, zero, zilch. Instead, they sent out their pet shill once again-

After discussions with NetAudioAds over the weekend, I have created a plan to fill the void. This plan includes you. You have the opportunity to create your own advertising agency through which to sell audio ads.

In other words, they now expect you to go sell the ads for them. So, let’s see. the publishers are getting the advertisers and serving the ads. What, exactly, is the service that NetAudioAds is providing again? Oh, they’re also going to stop accepting new publishers into the program… on Friday. Why not shut down right away?

All of the above smells like scam in addition to meeting the actual definition of the word. The most common retort to the accusation of NetAudioAds being a scam provided by Charles’ supporters (since he refuses to defend himself) is that it hasn’t cost anyone any money so it can’t be a scam. But these people are overlooking the fact that NetAudioAds (or maybe it’s Charles – the lines are so blurry it’s hard to tell) is charging people $70 to build a “SEO optimized” website to promote the program. This makes the scam smell even worse.

If you’re still reading this, you’re probably wondering why I’m still using NetAudioAds, given the points I raise above. Well, I do believe it’s an innovative concept. And I do believe that it has the potential to be bigger than Adsense… eventually. I have not paid any money into the system and I’ve only included the code on a few pages that get relatively few visitors (less than 1,000 per day combined). If it takes off, I’ll be all set to be part of the next big thing. If it doesn’t I’m out a few weeks of effort. I’ve invested much more and received nothing in return in the past, so it’s worth it to me.

If it’s worth it to you as well, be sure to sign-up before this Friday because that’s when the doors close (assuming Charles and PayPerPlay are telling the truth on that).

Feb 042008
 

Last week I introduced y’all to Pay Per Play advertising from Net Audio Ads and told y’all that they would start playing ads on Friday, February 1st.  Well, it’s now February 4th and my sites have yet to serve a single ad.  Apparently they’re doing a “slow rollout” of the ads only serving them to some websites immediately and then slowly adding more sites over the next 30-60 days.  There’s no word on what system is being used to determine who gets ads and who doesn’t though.

The good news is that despite serious problems with their stats reporting everything in that department seems to be worked out at this point.  My stats  even seem to be accurately reflecting my page views which is more than I can say for some recent program openings.  So now it’s just a matter of them getting enough ads ready to serve to my pages.

I’m still up in the air on Pay Per Play ads as far as wether or not they’re going to be a long term solution to my revenue needs.   I like the fact that the ads are contextual just like Adsense, but I’m concerned about forcing audio on my visitors.  Overall, they’re still earning a neutral rating, so check them out for yourself.

Jan 302008
 

I first heard about Net Audio Ads a few weeks back when they began seeking bloggers to advertise their Pay Per Play ads via the other PPP: PayPerPost. This created quite a bit of controversy due to the nature of the ads. Don’t get me wrong, the ads themselves aren’t objectionable in any way. In fact, they’re fairly innovative. Instead of displaying an advertising banner or a list of text links to be clicked upon by site visitors a short 5 second audio clip is played. This is where the controversy comes in…

Many, many web surfers get exceedingly irritated when a web page plays audio automatically. Add to that the fact that this audio is advertising and you can see where this is heading. Personally, I’m with the no audio crowd. If I want to hear your audio I’m perfectly capable of clicking on a start button. But making me find a stop button is presuming quite a bit on the webmaster’s part. For that very reason I will never use these ads here at Philaahzophy.

However, that doesn’t mean I won’t use them anywhere. I run more than a dozen different websites, all of which target different audiences and completely different purposes. I’m still a bit hesitant about these ads, but I’ve just signed up to try them on a couple of different sites. What changed my mind? Well, my mind isn’t actually changed, yet, but I’m always encouraging people to experiment with different things and it seems I should do this experiment before writing off the possible revenue.

Audio ads have one major advantage over other website monetization techniques – you are paid for 100% of your traffic. No interaction is required on the part of your web visitors whatsoever. Besides there’s always that chance that Net Audio Ads will turn into the next Adsense and their three tier affiliate program is only available to those webmasters who sign up before February 1st. So if I’m ever going to try it out, this is definitely the time.

Sep 132007
 

Tuesday marked six weeks that I’ve been providing sponsored content for PayPerPost. Seems like a good time for a status report. In those 42 days I’ve accepted 37 opportunities with PayPerPost and earned $270.91. This is more than double what I’ve earned in the same time period, not just from other paid to blog companies, but from any other efforts to monetize this blog. It also doesn’t come close to the thousands that sites like Problogger and John Chow earn each month. But Philaahzophy still has no Google PageRank, a mid-to-poor Alexa rating, and few backlinks. In other words, I’m “the little guy”.

Life may be a bowl of cherries at PPP, but that still means I’ve got to deal with the pits. While there’s a strong community of “posties” elitism runs rampant amongst its members. Not too surprising given the fact that the one thing they all have in common is that they’re bloggers. Bloggers (myself included) are people who, by definition, believe they have something worthwhile to say – that their thoughts and opinions are of interest to others. What’s much more disturbing is the sense of entitlement so many of these bloggers have. This became all the more evident last week when PPP changed their terms of service. A hue and cry arose amongst the postie community, whose feathers were ruffled because they felt PPP was trying to control their blogs. Apparently, it never occurred to these posties that they were completely free to stop taking PPP’s money if they didn’t like the strings attached to it. They felt they were owed paid blogging opportunities simply due to their superior writing skills. Makes me wish I had the cash to post a $50 opp requiring they write a detailed review of how a free market actually works. Maybe they’d actually learn something worthwhile.

In addition to the revenue and the drama there’s a fair amount of good advice coming from the postie community, as well as link love, the Postie Carnival, contests and more. I still haven’t decided if I should attend PostieCon after the drunken orgy ads I wrote about a couple weeks back. It’s really a mixed bag at the moment, but still a net-positive for Philaahzophy.