10 Commandments of Running an Ad Network

If you run an ad network, see how many of these 10 Commandments you actually deliver upon versus just saying you do:

1.  Thou shalt deliver publishers better eCPMs: Not the highest payouts, but just better than the competition. That means some ads don’t get to run.  Though we are a marketplace, we want to deliver consistent earnings, which may require us to adjust margins and allocate high-performing offers unevenly to key publishers.

2.  All users are not created equal: Focus on the top 10 advertisers and top 10 publishers– not the 700+ other guys who have random thoughts and will waste our time.  Total self-service for them. Tier accounts are based on value to the network, which means better performance and personalized service.

3.  Don’t reinvent the wheel: There are common standards for most of what we do (sign-up screens, payment terms, click fraud detection, reporting, account management, rate card discounting, etc…).  Copy AdSense and AdWords.  Over-invest where we are different.

4.  Test, test, test: Got an assumption?  It’s probably wrong, so run a quick test and make decisions based on the data. Establish a testing framework so we can do zillions of tests with limited effort.

5.  Payment up-front: We don’t give out loans, ever.  You gotta pay to play.

6.  We have 31 flavors: Don’t argue with them– if they think buying clicks at 10 for a dollar is cheaper than 10 cents each, fine. If they think managing CPC or CPI or another metric is better, who are we to argue?  If they want to manage their account via facebook.com, socialmedia.com, or through their API, that’s great.  Provide all mechanisms– see Commandment #3.

7.  # Follow the money: Let the market tell us what is working and continue to do more of it.

8.  We are not religious:  Let publishers decide what they want to accept. We allow any offer to be on the network, provided it is legal and would be acceptable for a public company.

9.  Everything can be measured: If it doesn’t produce a measurable margin, then it shouldn’t be done.  All people, projects, features, advertisers,  publishers, and tasks can be boiled down to their margin contribution.

10.  Transparency: We will show advertisers and publishers their own performance in stunning detail, but not that of others.  All performance questions can be answered by a finite set of automated analytics.

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