30+ Self-Serve Ad Networks & AdSense Alternatives for 2010

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Entrepreneur or SMB marketer drawing up an advertising budget for 2010? Try this massive list of over 30 ad networks I’ve compiled while browsing around the web. I’ve tried to focus on those that are SMB friendly with self-serve platforms. I’ve ignored CPA networks and tried to eliminate advertising aggregators, and the search engines.

Particular demographics / audiences

1. FARK.com – 18-28 year old men – Flat rate text links sold on a weekly basis (through a redirect; they’re not for SEO points)

2. Facebook – The biggest social network has hyper precise targeting. Don’t overdo it though, or you’ll end up like I did once, targeting merely 20 people.

3. PlentyOfFish – The web’s second largest free dating site has an self-service ad platform

4. MyAds on MySpace.com – Self serve banners like Facebook, with similar demographic targeting

5. AdEngage – A variety of formats focused on humor and games

6. Canoe Klix – French Canadian contextual CPC on premium French Canadian sites

7. Adknowledge.com – Social network ads published on social games

8. Click-Share – A variety of demographic targeting options are available, including some not seen elsewhere such as household income, children in household etc.

9. Chitika.com – A focus on monetizing SEO traffic has made them attractive to retail advertisers.

General – Most of these are available on a CPC basis, even if the ad format is banners

10. AdRoll.com – Offers help creating display ads, retargeting and other capabilities

11. BuySellAds.com – Blog banners, mostly 125×125

12. AdToll – Banners, peel-away and mixed banner/text ads.

13. Advertising opportunities at Amazon.com – Available for both products and services

14. FetchBack – The Retargeting Company

15. AOL’s AdSonar – Different targeting options, and selling text links  afaik. I’d link to AdSonar.com’s homepage but it just redirects to an AOL Advertising page, even though the site itself is up…

16. ContextWeb / ADSDAQ – Allows you to bid on traffic by category

17. Bidvertiser – Text and banner ads

18. Adbrite.com – Generalist network

19. AdReady – A competitor to AdRoll with similar banner making capabilities, but without the retargeting

20. Marchex – Boasting a portfolio of 100,000s of generic domain names, Marchex sells ads by click (self-serve) or by call (not)

News Media

21. AOL’s BidPlace SB – Banners on premium sites

22. MediaBids.com Print advertising auction

23. NYTimes – Starts at the exorbitant rate of $8 CPM. [Also requires you to drop the soap on entering…]

24. CBS Interactive – Similar rates as the NYT.

What surprises me about the NYT and CBS is that they don’t get that advertising is driven by efficiency, and publishers accepting some of the risk.

Twitter.com – Buy your message and link in someone’s tweet. Pretty self-explanatory. Some also offer “analytics,” though those offerings are all pretty light for now.

25. Twittad

26. BeTweeted

27. Be a Magpie (UK oriented)

28. Ad.ly

29. Sponsored Tweets

30. AdCause – Support charity with your ad dollars

31. TweetROI

Note: I combed through eConsultant and several other ad network lists, but they’re largely out of date with links to dozens of ad networks that have gone under. Also, most other lists include CPA companies and non-self-serve ad networks (eg relying on a traditional sales force). For the convenience of SEJ’s SMB readers, I’ve eliminated those.

Gab Goldenberg wrote this for Red Fly Marketing, an online advertising company. You can see some of the search friendly web design work here.

Gab Goldenberg

Gab Goldenberg

What would 20% more sales be worth to you in dollars? What would that extra revenue mean for you and the company? Get a proposal for increasing your conversion rate at ConversionRateOptimization.co
My conversion rate optimization wins include a 7500% increase in landing page conversions for an email newsletter; a 300% increase in free trial signup conversion... Read Full Bio
Gab Goldenberg
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  • That’s a great run down, Gab! With the state of economy and budgets for advertising and promotion going close to zero for some small businesses, they are definitely looking to save, but to still get quality leads from search engine marketing. That would be a great help. Thanks again for getting this together, and happy holidays!

    • My pleasure Dane. My feelings were the same re: saving money, so I think it’s a good thing to have a list like this so you can test out your ads with small budgets, and not depend on the search engines.

  • Though not everyone’s vertical/industry will be suitable to try out every ad network on the list, I still believe this is a great list to try if you have additional marketing budgets, after allocating your major budget to the big 3 search engines’ paid search programs.

  • Hi Gab, Thanks for the listing. I’m currently looking out for more self service advertising options for my business and this would help me. But ZEDO Ad Network Self Service is missing from your list. I’ve been using them for a month now and I’ve got some really good performance from them. I guess the behavioral targeting seems to work well.

  • It’s great you’ve compiled this list, as it important to evaluate all options when looking at monetization methods and alternatives to AdSense.

    If I may, I’d like to suggest our contextual advertising and product placement platform at AffinityClick.com. The new kid on the block 😉 We’ve got a network of 10,000 Merchants with 40 Million products showcased through dynamically optimized & generated interactive advertisements. Beta launching, and looking to change the game!

  • The title is misleading. Probably you meant Adwords alternatives..

  • Wes

    Just a heads up but AOL is closing down BidPlaceSB on April 1, 2010. They wouldn’t accept my new campaign the other day and sent me a email letting me know about the closure.

  • cheekugames

    Adsense is the way to go and pays the best. You have to pull in a lot of traffic to make any money on CPM ads. I average $.08-20 cents a click on adsense for my 2 sites. Use a combination of adsense in your best high CTR spots and CPM ads in low ctr spots. Forget about mochi, there's no money there unless you pull in 10k a day or you're a game developer.

    Trading traffic is a great way to pull in users. But you have to manage it and keep your eye on stats. Trades will die off fast if who you trade with doesnt work with you and add credits when you do to keep trades going. People who want more than they give when trading will fail. Search engine traffic is what you want though. Trade your SE traffic and turn 1 visitor into 3 or 4.

    For most sites, it will take 3+ months to break the $100 dollar mark with adsense. But once you do, its all good. The more work you put into it the more money you will make.

    But then again, you have to experiment and see what works for your site. Because what works for me of him, may not work for you.

    I am using adsense on my online games site and gaming blog for shooting successfully.


    • addynamo

      Ad Dynamo offers a competitive offering to AdSense + earnings per click are higher – around $1 per click. Ad Dynamo also pays out faster (next business day after each month) with a minimum threshhold of $20 compared to AdSense's $100.

      I like it because Ad Dynamo can also pay my PayPal account instead of a normal bank account.

  • addynamo

    Ad Dynamo offers a competitive offering to AdSense + earnings per click are higher – around $1 per click. Ad Dynamo also pays out faster (next business day after each month) with a minimum threshhold of $20 compared to AdSense's $100.

    I like it because Ad Dynamo can also pay my PayPal account instead of a normal bank account.

  • Great list. Loving it totally. Some of these are so good that I may eventually end up advertising with them too. Thanks! 🙂

  • There is this network called http://www.clicktodonate.org that is a asearch engine for charities and has a custom advertising network for charities.