Ask Questions before Signing an Ad Network Deal for Your Mom Blog

When you become a part of an ad network, you aren’t just agreeing to take its advertising revenue. You’re also agreeing to deliver very specific things to the ad network’s advertisers, and you need to make very sure you know what you’re getting into.

It’s really important to read through the agreement and any forms carefully, even if you hate legal mumbo jumbo. Some ad networks have control over what appears on your blog, and even what you write about. You need to be 100-percent clear on what you can and can’t do to run the ad network’s ads on your blog.

Here is a list of questions for you to ask. Some of these questions are obvious, some not so obvious.

  • Where do the ads need to be placed on your site? Most ad networks require that the ads need to be placed above the fold. And if so, your blog template needs to accommodate this requirement.

  • What ad sizes does the network use? Expect to run the most common sizes, which are 728 x 90, 300 x 250, and 160 x 600. Again, make sure that your blog template can run these sizes; not all templates can handle these sizes and still look good.

  • What other ads can you have on your site? Be very clear about what the network requires, because it could drop you if you don’t comply with the agreement on ad placement.

  • Can you still sell your own ads? Some networks require that you work only with them or specify that you can’t join any other ad networks, but will still allow you to sell your own ads to advertisers.

  • What else do you need to place on your site besides the ads to be a part of the network? Many networks also require that you include some kind of badge or a widget that promotes the rest of the network.

  • What is the range of rates you can expect to earn from running the network’s ads? Be sure to ask what to expect in a good month and in a not-so-good month.

  • What is the revenue split? Is there an administration fee? Ad networks keep a portion of the revenue your blog earns in exchange for selling the ads. 50-50 is the most common split. It’s important to know whether you’ll be splitting the full revenue or whether there’s an administration fee taken off the top before the split.

  • What are the ad network’s payment terms? You want to find out whether the network pays you monthly or quarterly. Also find out how long it typically takes to receive payment — whether it’s 15 days, 60 days, or 120 days.

  • What happens when the network doesn’t have any ads to run? This is especially important if the ad network requires some level of exclusivity. If it has no ads, and you can’t run anyone else’s ads, you have a problem on your hands.

  • What kind of advertisers does the network normally work with? While this may not be in the contract, you do want to ask this question, or look at the network’s existing ads to determine what kinds of ads you can expect to run on your site.

  • Can you control which ads are shown on your site? Some networks allow you to accept or reject every ad that comes through their networks. Others will simply give you what they have and you have to run them, no matter what.

  • What is the term of the contract? This may be a point to negotiate if you’re concerned about getting into something too long-term.

  • Who will take credit for your comScore ranking? comScore is a service that is the industry standard for measuring the amount of traffic on large websites. Media buyers rely on comScore to find the websites they want to advertise on.

    Many networks require that bloggers assign their traffic so that the network achieves a higher comScore rating. That means your traffic becomes part of the ad network’s overall rank, rather than being an individual site. While this isn’t a bad thing, you do need to make sure that you can get your comScore rank back when the contract ends.

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