How to differentiate between a trustworthy ad network and a scam ad network

PopUnderSTAR Published on December 3rd, 2021
  • 7 minutes read

There are countless website monetization options out there, given the wide range of options available online. It can be a confusing process to understand which option is going to suit your website the best and which will be safe for you and your site's visitors.

Your goal as a publisher is to get compensated for your traffic, attract additional visitors and increase your website's revenue. That's why there are so many monetization channels. But not all of them are equally useful, or safe. Some of them can even cause harm, especially when you consider the rise in malware driven by online fraudsters or advertisers with abusive behavior, tracking users to collect data for personal use or sell it for their own financial gain, collecting non-obvious data from users which can be used to display targeted ads and further influence users' purchasing decisions.

First and foremost, before engaging with an ad network, be aware that there are no guarantees of safety. All networks have a different level of scruples when it comes to vetting advertisers and publishers alike.

Practices that 99% of the ad networks out there are currently scamming you with
  • Impression shaving
    Ad networks will purposely display a lower volume of impressions in order to trick you that your eCPM rates are high.
  • Faking / obstructing the ad spawn interval
    Ad networks will shorten the ad spawn intervals in order to generate more impressions or even use auto-refreshers for this purpose. This will slow down your website and ruin your visitors' UX.
  • Withdraw / Deposit commissions
    Ad networks will impose a random commission on your withdraws and deposits for the sole purpose of inflating their own commission.
  • Outrageous payment terms and minimum withdraw amounts
    Especially designed against small publishers, these very lengthy payment terms allow the ad network to hold on to your money and use it somewhere else.

As previously mentioned, there is no guaranteed way to make sure that the ad network you choose is completely legitimate, however there are things you can keep in mind when signin up to one. We put together a short list of criteria you could base your choices upon.

How to easily recognize a trustworthy ad network?
  • Website design professionalism and support
    Any respectable company will have a proper looking, professional website, with little to no grammar mistakes, company details written within the contact or about pages and a responsive customer support department.
  • Compare advertising against what you get as a publisher
    Try to create an advertiser account with the same network and find out the minimum rates they impose to advertisers and compare them to your own rates to discover the actual revenue share you are getting.
  • Check the ad network's uptime and response times
    An ad network is supposed to offer continuous service. If the ad network in discussion has often downtimes it could mean that it's not using a dedicated / sufficient infrastructure thus you will lose revenue with them.
  • Check the ad network's payment terms
    A strong indicator that the ad network is lacking direct advertisers is when it offers long payment terms such as NET 45 to 90 to it's publishers. Most of the times the people behind these ad networks are just resellers trying to earn a quick buck.
  • Find out whether the network is self-served or using a 3rd party platform
    In the advertising industry there are services such as AdKernel, RTBbidder, Epom, etc. that allow literally anyone to create an ad network. A reputable ad network will develop it's own platform adjusted to it's own needs.

To conclude, we'd like to advise you to always look at the grater picture. Ignore pretty numbers such as eCPM rates and estimates and always base your decisions on actual facts such as the revenue you generate in a month for example.

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