Category: Internet Marketing

Why I switched from OpenX to Google DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP)

Why would I do such a thing??!

Pretty straightforward really – I’m sorry to say this about OpenX because I really did like them for a number of years. Lately, they’re just shit. Yup, completely and utterly shit.

Ever since the name change to OpenX they’ve been going downhill, and I think nearly everyone in the community will agree with me – including some of their very own (former) developers.

Riddled with vulnerabilities, slow and non-required code and other problems we’ve probably all experienced with it. Not to mention no automatic optimization of your ad zones.

This past week, the final straw was picked. My OpenX installation was hacked, AFTER I had applied the latest security fix to it. Talking around to buddies, this happened to a number of people as well. I couldn’t believe it. Of course, I was venting my frustrations to one of my buddies and he told me he had recently switched from OpenX to Google DFP for the very same reasons.

I hadn’t even heard of Google DFP at the time. So, I went over to their site, logged in and got started creating my placements (websites), ad units (ad zones) and my orders (advertisers).

All I have to say is – WOW. It’s actually pretty cool. I remember the first times I was using OpenX it was quite complicated and difficult to understand how to setup the campaigns and the advertisers and ad units. Not so with DFP, just a few minutes of clicking and I figured it out.

Let’s take a look at the process for Google DFP versus OpenX shall we?

Google DFP Process:

  1. Login using your existing Google or Google Applications account.
  2. Click Inventory, Click Placements
  3. Create a placement (eg. Sitename.com-Sidebar)
  4. Click Ad Units
  5. Create Ad Unit (eg. Sitename.com-Sidebar-Left-125×125)
  6. Click Orders
  7. Click New Order and add your advertiser, save it, then upload your image or html for the ad.
  8. Click Inventory
  9. Click ‘Generate Tags’ and copy the code to your page.
  10. Wait 10-30 Minutes for Ads to Appear. You’re Done.

OpenX Process:

  1. Buy a Domain name for OpenX
  2. Buy Server Space for OpenX
  3. Create OpenX Database
  4. Install OpenX
  5. Setup and Configure OpenX  (gfl if on windows hosting by the by)
  6. Secure OpenX on your server.
  7. Ensure Maintanance Mode is setup for OpenX so your ads will eventually display.
  8. Now you can start setting up your ads.
  9. First Click Inventory, Then click Websites & Zones
  10. Add your website to OpenX
  11. Add zones to your website
  12. Now click back to Advertisers & Campaigns
  13. Add an Advertiser
  14. Add a Campaign to your new advertiser
  15. Add some banners to your advertisers campaign
  16. Set the zones in which your ads will appear  in banner configuration
  17. Go back to Websites and Zones
  18. Find your website and Zone
  19. Click on it, then go to the fourth tab ‘invocation code’
  20. Generate your invocation code
  21. Go and paste it into your site along with any other relevant code
  22. 10-60 minutes later your ads should start appearing.

As you can see OpenX requires a lot more clicks, typing and setup to get your ads and advertisers into the system. Nearly double in-fact. And it’s quite possible I’ve forgotten something here.

With Google DFP it’s actually much easier. Far fewer clicks are required and the added benefit that you can have it fall back to traditional Adsense ads if your network or in-house ads aren’t converting. As far as I understand their documentation the fallback will happen automatically if you select Adsense fallback when creating your ads.

There is one kind of major gotcha that I noticed thought. Due to Adsense terms and conditions, if you have more than 3 ad units on a page no ads will display, even if it’s just fallback to Adsense. Not too big of a deal but still something to note. I had to turn off Adsense fallback for all of my ads except one on the page and then all ads were displaying.

Bottom Line – Google DFP is quicker, easier, and probably far more secure than OpenX to use for your advertising delivery throughout your network. The only problems I’m having with it is the fact that it does sometimes crash Firefox or IE, but I haven’t had any problems with Chrome yet. I do wish they’d make a nice desktop application like they have for Adwords, but I’m sure that’s coming down the pipe.  One other thing I noticed is stats seem to take a long time to show up. As of this writing I’ve had DFP setup for two weeks and I still have no data available to create a report. I’m sure they’re still working out the last bugs in the system so this should be fixed soon.

Anyone else using DFP? What are your thoughts? Have you also migrated from OpenX? Let me know in the comments, I’m interested what others think of Google DFP vs OpenX.

The worst mistake any affiliate can (and will probably) make.

Get cocky.

Yup. I said it. And on top of that I also admit that it happened to me.

Rewind about to about 2 years ago when I first got into this industry and I kept saying ‘oh, $500 a month while I sleep would be good enough for me’ and I truly meant it – at that time. People kept telling me once I reached that point I would want more, and of course I didn’t believe them.

So much I’ve learned since then.

Once I was up to $500 a month I wanted that to be $1000, then I wanted it to be $3000 and etc. Well eventually I did reach that point and boy was I on flying. I was so happy with myself, spending money left and right, not really working, and just generally having fun with life. It was honestly the best 6+ months of my life. Did way more things than I had in the past, met a lot of new people, travelled to a bunch places and events and so much more.

This all sounds well and good so what’s the problem?

Cockiness.

Once I started surpassing the amount of money I wanted to earn per month ‘while I slept’ I basically stopped working, and just partied with friends. Sure, I did a bit of work here and there but nowhere near what was required to keep things a-float.

This ended up with me spending all my profits and not re-investing them in any new or, already successful ventures. Huge fucking mistake.

Classic mistake that probably everyone makes but nobody really wants to admit. We’ve all seen the warnings in forums and on IRC but I think a lot of us refuse to believe it will ‘happen to me’. Well, I’m here to tell you that it does, and probably will.

Let’s face it, when you aren’t making any significant money and then suddenly you’re making quite a bit of money while you sleep it’s pretty fucking fantastic. This makes it very easy to lose sight of the original goal, which for me anyway, is to make enough income passively to live and have fun without having to sit at a computer all the time.

This past month it’s really hit hard, with paying bills becoming troublesome etc. And, I’m basically right back to where I didn’t want to be – grinding 60-70 hours a week at the computer just to get back to where I was originally. Had I stuck with it, I’d probably still be down around 5-7 hours of work a week to attain the same financial benefit.

All in all, great lesson learned. I wish I wouldn’t have had to learn it this way, but overall it’s probably best I did because nothing teaches like experience. Take it from me guys (and, gals) don’t get cocky when you start profiting, and keep at it, cause surer than shit something will fail and you’ll go from making thousands, to nothing, literally overnight.

Why It’s Important to Meet Other Affiliates Face To Face

A couple summers ago, I met this cat at Affiliate Summit East. Since then we’ve talked more on the Internet, and even partnered on a few ventures and had some moderate success. We also met up occasionally at conferences too. Last week, he happened to have some time available so he came up to chill in Canada for about 9 days. My friends and I took him out to some local clubs, and showed him a bit of the scenery by going to my cottage up in Quebec. Had some camp fires, he did some fishing with a friend of mine, and generally shot the shit.

Basically he got the full Canadian experience. Including but not limited to real beer, seeing bears and deer in the wild north, eating poutine, French pornography on TV at all hours of the day and of course Canadian Cigarettes.

Now, you may be wondering, why is this important?

It’s Simple, Really…

Face to face conversations generally mean much more than any electronic mediums – especially when building business relationships. Why do you think that people still fly from New York to Tokyo to meet business associates, sometimes even for seemingly unimportant meetings? That’s right, it’s because more can get discussed, drawn on napkins, explained with hand gestures or even reading micro expressions in person than online. All of this obviously leads to stronger relationships, and ultimately more money down the road.

While it’s easy to converse using instant messaging, telephone and other electronic methods they aren’t always the best. Talking face to face, often leads to more in-depth discussions, and aides in the level of trust that each person or business entity gives to each other.  Not to mention the fact that it seems every cat in this industry has ADD or ADHD, so jumping back and forth from topic to topic in real life can be easier to follow than online with the constant scroll. It sounds silly, but if you think about it I think you’ll probably realize it’s true for you too – why else would you pay all that money to attend the various conferences?

I do think that electronic communications are great for quick ‘hey, what was that offer again’ type things, but when getting right down to discussing business more can be accomplished in 2 hours of talking over beer than often can be done with 10 hours of IRC or Instant Messaging.

I think we got more conducted in 9 days, than we had for the past 2 to 3 months online. For real.

Why did I write this post? Because I think that many in the industry, especially the younger folk take face to face meetings for granted, and would prefer everything to be electronic. When I was younger, I remember my dad telling me to ‘make friends with your banker, don’t do everything electronically’ and that advice has saved me thousands of dollars. The same principle applies to affiliates or any business really. Getting to know someone in real life is better than just being a client number or contact on MSN.