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Komli ad network review

By on May 19, 2009 in Personal, Reviews | 25 comments

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Regular visitors to my blog might have noticed that I have been tinkering a lot with ad placements / formats on my blog lately. The reason for this is that over the past few weeks I’ve been getting a large number of visitors on the posts I made on VIT and SRM. Traffic stats have turned into a frikkin’ vertical line. Monetization of this traffic is important to me for the future survival of my blog. While my hosting is done and paid for for the next three years, I do need to build a war-chest to pay for hosting beyond that. If traffic continues to grow at this rate – thank you, dear readers! – I would prefer to move to virtual dedicated / dedicated servers to provide a faster, better browsing experience when on my site for everyone.

Simple page loads do not make a big dent on the amount of data transferred. On my blog though, a significant – rather, major – chunk of data transfer is taken up by a) question paper / quiz archives; b) images. I can understand that a lot of people are giving entrance exams and thus the rush for exam papers, but I’m extremely delighted to note the enthusiastic response that my quiz archives generate. I never thought they would be so popular! Also, a lot of the images put up on my blog drive traffic through image search queries; I believe that is because each image I put up is meticulously named, alt-tagged and captioned – I suggest fellow bloggers to do the same and see the difference.

I’m happy with this success that has been made possible by you, my readers. :) But the truth is that I need to think long term about the survival of this blog and to make this operation self-sustaining, ads are a necessity. Personally, I despise advertisements. It might sound ironic, but I don’t like ads. I suggest you guys to use AdBlock Plus to block out advertisments while browsing; use the EasyList filter when prompted to choose a filtering list after first install. But I’m also aware that my returning visitors – and possibly the tech-savvier ones – will be those who are using such plugins. I am 100% behind you guys when you take such a step, but if you don’t choose to use such plugins it’s OK. It’s the first-timer traffic mostly coming from search engines that I intend to monetize with ads. See, visitors referred to by search engines are searching for some information – which may or may not be available on my blog post. Many times they might be looking for commercial products / services, which an ad can direct them to. So it is this first-time traffic which is looking for something – or, let’s just admit it – dumb people using IE6 that I intend to monetize. (I’m not saying all IE users are dumb, but referring to the market segment which knows about nothing other than IE, and hi5 and scrap each other on Orkut in SMS lingo – and it’s a large market segment.)

I have been using Google AdSense for a long time and it has been highly successful, especially over the last few weeks. The drawback is that Google limits the number of ad units you can put on one page. This results in a lot of unutilized space, particularly in my sidebar. To fill up this real estate, I decide to hunt for a secondary ad network for my blog. AdSense does not allow any context-sensitive ad network to be used alongside it, so this has to be a non-targeted ad network, and preferably one which pays for impressions (CPM).

Since a majority of my traffic is from India, I started hunting for an Indian ad network. Most suck and / or don’t inspire the confidence in you that they have a good ad inventory (going by reviews other have put up). I narrowed down to three networks – Tyroo, AdChakra, and Komli. All three have manual approval process for new publishers, so you need to apply to them and then wait to be accepted in their ad network.

AdChakra sent me a PDF form to sign and send to them – with no indication of which address to send to. In one fell swoop, that was three strikes for them and I deleted their PDF form.

Tyroo rejected my application. Dunno why. Yahoo! India is has a significant stake in Tyroo.

Komli Ad Network review

My rating of Komli: 1.4 / 10

That left Komli. At first glance, Komli seem to be everything you ever wanted if you’re an Indian publisher. Komli is mainly targetted towards Indian users – but it also pays you for international traffic. You get paid for impressions, then extra if a user clicks on the ads you serve. My application was approved and I decided to put Komli ads in the unutilized space. They support standard ad formats which AdSense has which allows you to integrate them easily into spots previously filled by AdSense.

At first, it seemed that signing up for Komli was a good idea. Ads seemed to be somewhat interesting, considering that it was non-targetted – soft drink ads, IPL teams ads et al. Then I noticed that many times, Komli’s ads failed to load completely. Komli uses iframes to load it ads, which meant that when an ad did not load it left whitespace equivalent to ad format area wherever it did not load. That is obviously a less-than-ideal situation when you have ads which are not loading. I don’t know whether this is content delivery failure or whether did not have ads to fill in that space. If it was the latter, then they should have at least put in some placeholder so that it didn’t appear odd.

I introduced Komli ads on my blog around six days ago, so I decided to take stock today and see how well it performed. The statistics were dismal. According to Komli’s own analytics, it served approximately 13000 impressions on my blog over the past week. And for that, Komli is going to pay only 10 cents (around Rs 4.90)! They are paying 60% of revenue to publishers – that means what Komli gets to keep is even lower. This is what I get for those many impressions? Frankly, Komli isn’t worth it. Maybe advertisers aren’t paying them enough or whatever it is, signing up for Komli makes no sense for publishers. Now I see from other reviews on the Web that pretty much everyone else is saying the same thing.

I did get clicks on Komli ads, but merely clicks don’t seem to pay much. Remember that 10 cents is what they’re giving after factoring both CPM and CPC on my account. It seems that Komli – if it pays – pays for conversions. Basically, Komli ads might pay out only on a Cost-Per-Action (CPA) basis. The problem is that in India CPA ads don’t perform that well. If the required action is some kind of sale / purchase, then that’s not likely to happen in India since online shopping isn’t that big. For heaven’s sake, look up on how many people have credit cards, and even among those how many of them are comfortable to use it online. The other kind of action could be signing up at a website – now most these ads would happen to be from job sites or matrimonial sites. Problem with that latter is that these are so well-known because of their carpet-bombing of sites with ads, that it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have a visitor who’s never heard of these sites and would therefore click on your banner ad to go and sign up there. In a nutshell – Komli won’t work.

I have switched to AdBrite now as my secondary ad network. No ads showing up yet, although it does tell publishers to wait for 24 hours before it can start displaying ads. I hope AdBrite performs better. I’m a bit apprehensive about AdBrite because it has been known earlier to serve borderline porn ads. AdBrite took care of AVN Ads network, but there was a tiff between AVN and AdBrite, with AVN ending their contract with AdBrite and launching Black Label Ads. So theoretically, nothing offensive should show up now. Naman has tried out AdBrite for a few days and he suggests that if you’re using AdBrite, set it to show ‘family-friendlist ads’. Even though the default option of ‘all ads’ says they won’t show adult ads, Naman said that AdBrite did show slightly risque (although not porn) ads once. In case you come across an AdBrite ad which you think is offensive, leave a comment here (with a screenshot, if possible) and I’ll look into it. I’m also experimenting with full-page interstitial ads which will only be triggered on the fifth pageload in a 24 hour period by any visitor – tell me if this is too obtrusive.



25 Comments

  1. AnkurG

    May 19, 2009

    Post a Reply

    Great review Ankur! Well I definitely gonna keep it saved. Well can you give me few tips for my blog too? I think that it’s template need to be changed soon bcz it’s looking cheap there. Please suggest few things and topics that can be helpful for succession of my blog.
    PS: It may be better if you can mail me.

    • Ankur

      May 19, 2009

      Post a Reply

      On the contrary, your new theme is looking better than the last one. That’s one problem with Blogger.com – the number of themes available is low and not as good as those available for WordPress. The most important thing is that you must stick to blogging. You will definitely not find immediate fame. It usually takes a year or so to make a mark – even more these days since there are a greater number of blogs around – so it does take an incredible of amount of patience and will to keep going. I see many people start off with blogging and then give up frustrated because for the first few months they get very less number of visitors. Don’t be disheartened by that – keep blogging. Also, for the first year or so don’t put ads on your blog. Ad targeting isn’t good with lesser amount of content, moreover it looks odd if number of posts are low and still there are lots of ads.

      PS – I replied here because this information may be useful to others.

      • AnkurG

        May 19, 2009

        Yups, thanks for your answer.
        And as per Ad they will not even ‘pass’ for it right now.

  2. AnkurG

    May 19, 2009

    Post a Reply

    WordPress has two parts: wordpress.com and wordpress.org. And as far I read about them .org gives full liberty of any tweaking while .com doesn’t. So we can’t really have a choice in themes from 3rd party and nor we can tweak in the existing template (via HTML). Though the wordpress.com offers much in itself but still we can’t do some of the editing we wish to do. And I think you should have initiated this blog from wordpress.com only haven’t you? So can they transfer the blog from .com to .org too?

    • Ankur

      May 19, 2009

      Post a Reply

      Actually, I started off with Blogger.com. When I started off, WordPress was around but Blogger just so much more popular. WordPress (both .com and .org) offer import functionality from almost each and every major blogging platform – so switching is never an issue.

      WordPress.com is a hosted service, just like Blogger.com. You have a free account, they take care of the rest. You can’t install themes of your own, but you get 50+ high quality themes installed by default which you can choose from, unlike Blogger which gives just a handful. You can’t install plugins / widgets either, but popular ones are pre-installed.

      WordPress.org gives out the WordPress software for download for free. It’s the focal point of contact for the WordPress open source project. WordPress.org won’t host your files, you don’t get a blog for creating an account there. What you can do is download the WordPress software and install it on your web host (so you’ll need your own web hosting account, domain etc). You don’t even need to do that manually as most web hosts these days have automated installers for popular software like WordPress.

      I suggest you create a free WordPress.com account and give it a try. Since your blog is new, you can even consider shifting from Blogger to WordPress using the import feature that WordPress has. I’m assuming not many people are familiar with your new blog, so it isn’t going to be a major pain shifting away – plus, Blogger offers a redirect option these days, if I’m not wrong. Then when you get your own hosting you can shift from WordPress.com to self-hosted WordPress, again using a built-in importer that WordPress has.

      If you don’t feel the need for installing plugins / themes, then you can simply stay on WordPress.com and add your own domain name instead for $15. This is costlier than a normal domain price, but you don’t have to pay for hosting as your blog is still hosted on WordPress.com.

      • AnkurG

        May 19, 2009

        As a fact, I initiated blogging with WordPress only but didn’t continue because of these reasons only and hence skipped to Blogger.com. Well yeah I have transferred to wordpress in the morning but I didn’t know about the import facility of wordpress, so I just copied it out. I will keep it in mind and will import the other posts. Thank you very much. So now I will stick to my WordPress’s blog and work upon it and see for it if it can progress a bit.

      • Ankur

        May 19, 2009

        Import is available in WordPress under Tools > Import. WordPress documentation is available at the WordPress Codex.

  3. Vivek

    May 19, 2009

    Post a Reply

    Dude, I’m not too sure about the last line – full page ads between pageloads. Agreed it’s only every 5 page loads, but I somehow don’t think that it’s good to keep it that way.

    • Ankur

      May 19, 2009

      Post a Reply

      Ads are geo-targeted. You’ll get those ads only if you fall under that geographic region, which is mostly US as far as I see from their inventory. Indian visitors shouldn’t be affected much.

      Most returning visitors – like you – read my content through feed readers, so that does not count under the pageload. You need to do five pageloads within a 24 hour period, which I think will not be the case for returning visitors. However, a lot of first time visitors who don’t subscribe to RSS feeds because they either aren’t aware of RSS or want to keep a watch on just one post (mostly the former) keep visiting the site multiple times. It is these readers that I’m targeting. If the response is bad then of course I’ll remove the interstitial ads.

  4. Well Wisher

    May 19, 2009

    Post a Reply

    Hey Ankur,

    How much do you know about internet? I can Adbrite ads on your site, i am amazed a guy like you who has written such a big post on online advertiser fell in to the dirt of Adbrite. What an irony.

    • Ankur

      May 19, 2009

      Post a Reply

      I am aware that AdBrite has a bad reputation for distributing malware, but I’m also aware that this occurs mainly if you choose to serve third-party ads served by AdBrite. The source of this whole trouble is Google, because their policy does not permit other context-sensitive ads on the same page. AdSense is so omnipresent that other ad networks are forced to be non context-sensitive so that they can co-exist on sites with AdSense ads. Not being context-sensitive means they get a beating when it comes to CTR. There are precious few viable choices for alternative ad networks, and for better or worse AdBrite is one of the most popular ones among them. I’ll see how this pans out, if not, then I’ll remove AdBrite.

    • Ankur

      May 19, 2009

      Post a Reply

      I haven’t played much with Chrome yet. Chromium builds for Linux are notorious for being unstable…and I like Firefox.

      • Ankur

        March 24, 2010

        This, of course, is in comparison to other ad networks that I was using at that time.

    • Ankur

      June 10, 2010

      Post a Reply

      I’m using Komli as a backup ad network along with AdBrite, but I plan to remove both of them by July.

  5. Deepanshu

    April 16, 2011

    Post a Reply

    quite a gud post :) i m kinda new to monetizing and marketing so dunno much..i wna know which one do u advice outta these for indian traffic ? which cpm is best ?

  6. alex

    February 5, 2012

    Post a Reply

    Thanks for the info.. i was searching one like this.. But can u suggest a better adsense alternative. for indian publishers??

  7. Saskan

    February 13, 2012

    Post a Reply

    How can you server Adbrite Ads when you are already serving Adsense ?

    There is no good CPM based ad network in India :(

    Try Vcommission if u are looking for affiliate stuff, pays well..

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