Ad Auction Platform Germinates in World of Online Comics

  |  December 13, 2006   |  Comments

A start-up called Project Wonderful stresses transparency in pricing, targets smaller businesses.

Less than two months ago, a small two-man operation opened its virtual doors to host auctions selling Web site advertising on online comics sites. Their platform, called Project Wonderful, eschews impressions and clicks in favor of a cost-per-day model.

Ryan North, CEO and co-founder of Project Wonderful, launched the system to serve the niche comics area since several online comics sites are run by his friends and contacts. It's seen considerable growth, bringing in just over a thousand advertising clients in the two months since its launch.

The Project Wonderful auction system allows advertisers to bid for ad placements on sites including Comicspace.com, Graphicsmash.com, and the Web destination for Jessica McLeod's comic art. The placements range from small buttons to large banners, and advertisers' placements stay in rotation for as long as their bid remains highest. If they are outbid, they are only charged for the amount of time their ad is up on a site. Pricing fluctuates dynamically as interest grows around a Web site and more advertisers seek to buy there.

The system was designed with transparency in mind, said North. Prospective advertisers can view current ads on a site, the number of ad impressions delivered, and the current cost-per-day a given site commands.

"You look at all that and decide where to place the bid," North said. "A lot of advertising networks will keep their information to themselves. Google won't tell you what is being paid, but Project Wonderful has this transparency. So when you do bid, you can make an informed decision, based on what you see right now and what's going on in the past."

He added, ''We launched in the comics arena, but there's nothing to keep us from going elsewhere."

Comicspace.com, a new online social networking site for comics creators and readers which launched last week with the help of Project Wonderful, has seen auctions for each of the 16 small ads at the top of its page vary from .70 cents to $3.20 a day.

"I'm looking at $1000 a month after Project Wonderful takes its cut, if current levels hold," said Josh Roberts, creator of Comicspace.com. "I expect to make a lot more money than with the standard ad network like ValueClick or Tribal Fusion. I'll make easily three times as much money with Project Wonderful."

Project Wonderful is ramping up to support increasing demand, but North acknowledges that his system is more targeted towards small businesses and individuals, and so isn't a threat to large advertising networks yet.

"If you’re a company, you're more likely going to go to AdSense and say here's $10,000, make it happen," North said. "We're not set up for that yet, but we're moving in that direction. Right now it's more focused on the people who are going to do their advertising themselves."

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Sept 5 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matthew G. Nelson

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

Resources

Jobs

    • Senior Director US Agency Ad Sales
      Senior Director US Agency Ad Sales (Expedia, Inc.) - ChicagoJob Title:  Senior Director US Agency Ad Sales   Position Overview: The Senior...
    • Senior Director US Agency Ad Sales
      Senior Director US Agency Ad Sales (Expedia, Inc.) - New YorkPosition Overview: The Senior Director US Agency Ad Sales is responsible for managing...
    • Digital Marketing Analyst
      Digital Marketing Analyst (GovLoop) - Washington D.C.Are you passionate about audience acquisition? Love effective copy and amazingly effective...