Is Bidvertiser a good alternative to Google Adsense?

James Ryan Jonas

For the past 3 years, our online income came primarily from Google Adsense. But with so many not-so-good things going on with both Google and its Adsense program — PageRank penalties, new rules regarding ad units, and declining Adsense earnings, to name just a few — we thought now might be a good time to try other Adsense alternatives.

There are a lot of Adsense competitors around such as Yahoo! Publisher Network, AdBrite, and Bidvertiser. In our first attempt searching for a good Adsense alternative, we tried out Bidvertiser.

Here’s what we can say so far after using this contextual advertising program for 30 days.

Our 1-month Bidvertiser experiment

Our goal in using Bidvertiser is to complement, not replace, the Google Adsense ads in the site. So we made sure the addition of Bidvertiser ads will not adversely impact our Adsense earnings. Fortunately, during the one month we experimented on Bidvertiser, it did not cause a decrease in our Adsense income.

If you’re wondering whether Bidvertiser ads can be placed together with Adsense ads on the same page, the answer is yes. According to Google, ads from other contextual ad networks can be displayed on the same page as Google ads “if the formatting or color scheme is sufficiently different from the layout of the Google ads.” As long as your readers will not be confused with both Bidvertiser and Adsense ads, you’re fine having both on the same page.

Because we do not want to pepper the site with too many ads, we experimented with only three Bidvertiser ad units: a 250 x 160 ad unit in the right-sidebar of the blog, a 728 x 90 Leaderboard after the first post of discussion threads in the PMT Forum, and a 234 x 60 Half Banner at the end of every thread in the Forum.

What we’ve seen after 30 days is that just like in Adsense, the ad units in the blog generated more income compared to the ads units in the Forum. This again confirms the notion that advertisements in discussion forums don’t generate a lot of clicks probably because members are already “blind” to the ads.

At the end of April, our Bidvertiser income was $33.15. That’s nowhere near our Adsense income but still decent enough considering that the Bidvertiser ads are not located in prime locations in the site.

The good things

Unlike Adsense, Bidvertiser pays via Paypal. That’s a welcome alternative if you don’t want to be paid in cheques.

Minimum payment is only $10 (for checks, it’s $50). This means it takes just a short time before you can be paid. In Adsense, minimum withdrawal amount is $100 that’s why a lot of publishers wait and accumulate earnings for several months before receiving payment.

In Bidvertiser, you can control which ads will appear on your site. You can view a listing of advertisements and can decline an ad if you don’t want it on your site.

There are a variety of ad formats to choose from, but the best part is, you can freely design your own ad. That means you can customize it in terms of size, color, and even text font!

The bad things

Compared to Adsense, Bidvertiser attracts only a few and, in most cases, only minor advertisers. This means the ad inventory may be limited at times which also limits one’s income.

Publishers used to the user-friendliness of the Google Adsense control panel will find Bidvertiser difficult to use. Creating an ad unit involves a lot of steps and can be frustrating because it is not a sequential, step-by-step process.

In Adsense, changes to ad units can be done directly from one’s account. In Bidvertiser, you need to do this in your account then you will have to copy and paste the new codes into your site.

Good or bad?

For now, we can’t say with certainty if Bidvertiser is indeed a good alternative to Adsense. One thing’s for sure, though: it is a good complement to Google Adsense. As we’ve seen in our 30-day experiment, Bidvertiser went well with Adsense and did not cause a drop in earnings. However, the same may not be true for all sites so we suggest you try your own experiments.

The challenge now for us is to increase our Bidvertiser earnings without causing a detrimental impact to our Adsense income. We’ll keep you posted on these developments.

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.