Using Project Wonderful Ads

by tirial

Using Project Wonderful to advertise and provide ads. This smaller provider is a viable alternative to Adsense, with low costs and high views and clicks.

About Project Wonderful

The Project Wonderful advertising network

Project Wonderful makes Advertising Awesome!

That is the tag line for a smaller ad provider that is making waves. Project Wonderful works by selling ads across a network of sites who have signed up to host them. Using Paypal to handle transactions, and allowing publishers to choose the type and position of ad they display, this is a surprisingly flexible system for advertising.

Unusually there is no point in view or click fraud - the ads are displayed and paid for by time. If no one else bids on the adbox at the same time, advertisers can even get their advertising for free. With a bit of time and research this can make advertising budgets stretch much further than they would otherwise.

In this article, as well as a summary of what they offer, I do use Project Wonderful and will be adding a few examples from my own experience.


Visit Project Wonderful

For Advertisers

Project Wonderful has a simple system. Once you have signed up you need to create your ad. This simply involves uploading an image (including jpgs, PNG or animated Gifs) and putting in the link you want it to go to. Then you are ready for it to go live.

You can search their entire advertisers by cost, target, traffic and more, to find the right sites for you, then you place a bid on the ad boxes you want. This bid is in terms of the maximum cents per day you want to spend, and you can limit it by time (days) or total amount ($).

As long as you are the highest bidder, your ad will be displayed. You only pay for time it was actually displayed, so if it only shows for half a day and is outbid, you get charged $0.05. Likewise, you only spend enough to outbid the next highest bidder, and if there are no other bidders you get the space for free. This lets you stretch your advertising budget a lot further.

(A concrete example: I had success bidding on an expensive high-traffic site for $1 per day, and limiting my spend to $3. Every time the higher bidders run out, my ad is shown. This has so far received over 1 million views and 150 clicks. I still have over half the allocated $3 to go.)

As well as manually adding sites, you can set up campaigns that place bids for you automatically.


An etsy user speaks

Justine at talks about placing a bid with Project Wonderful:

Who do you use to provide ads?

Who is your current ad provider?

For Ad Hosters (Publishers)

Hosting and getting paid for Project Wonderful Ads

Publishers can sign their sites up once they have created an account. Once this is done, you create your adbox through their interface and then simply place it on your site where you want it. There are a few nice touches here: You can configure the adbox so when no one else bids on it, your own ad will show. The display text below it is also completely configurable. You can also allow more than one ad in an adbox, if you want two banners side by side, a column of buttons, or similar. (For example, on this blog, you can see the buttons in the sidebar halfway down, and the footer banner.)

One side benefit I found was the the stat tracking for the ad box also gives you a very good idea of visitor stats for your website and how they break down across regions.

You get paid by advertisers bidding on your ad box, so larger sites will have more interest, and higher bids. If you want to you can set a minimum bid, but this can be counter-productive.  (e.g. if someone bids 1 cent a day on your adbox and no one else bids, they get it free. If you allow free bids, and someone else bids 0 cents on the adbox, the first advertiser pays you 1 cent.)

You can't bid on your own adboxs, but then you can configure them to show your ads when not active, so you don't need to.

All funds go into your Project Wonderful account, where you can spend them on advertising your own products or withdraw them through Paypal.

More resources from Project Wonderful

Tutorials and Publisher Searches

How it works
Project Wonderful's own tutorial of how placing an ad works, and how their system gets the best for advertisers and publishers.

Search Project Wonderful's Publishers
You don't need an account to search publishers and see what the going rate for traffic is. This search is open to anyone.

A Personal View

My experiences with Project Wonderful

These are my personal experiences with it. I started as an advertiser, as keyword advertising was out of my budget. It was simple enough to use, and I quickly found that it boosted my traffic considerably and was a lot cheaper. 

As a publisher, I switched my first blog across because of problems with Adsense (low earnings and inappropriate ads) and was surprised at the take-up. Although income was lower, it was also more regular and easier to plan. I was happy enough with it to transfer a couple of others.

So far, as a publisher, I have only two problems. Embedding the adbox was easy as they work with blogger sidebars and gadgets well. However blogger made trying to embed the ads below each blog entry tricky as you need to tweak the template to do it. It's not worth it if you aren't a coder.

Second, if your site doesn't get enough traffic or bids, they may delist it. This is a very low level of traffic indeed: "Delisting is automatic for any ad box that has received an average of less than 10 unique users per day AND an average bid less than $0.01 per day over the past 7 days." Once you get this notice you have seven days to get the traffic up or get a bid. e.g. the blog I used in my earlier example was down for a few days due to a hosting problem, and the traffic dropped to an average one hit a day, which is when I got the notice.

I do like the use of Paypal: as someone outside the US it is good for holding foreign currency (dollars), and far more useful than dollar cheques or bank transfers.

Overall, the positives for it outweight the negatives, at least in my experience. The opinions from a  few other users are below:

In Conclusion

The Key Features for Project Wonderful


  • Easy to Use
  • Uses Paypal
  • Cost-effective (very cost-effective)


  • Easy to start, but takes a while to master
  • May be addictive

If you want to know more about it, please see Project Wonderful. If they don't make advertising awesome, in my opinion they come pretty close.

Project Wonderful

Updated: 01/21/2013, tirial
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AJ on 11/03/2011

I had not heard of Project Wonderful and it is good to be reminded that not all on-page advertising need start and end with Adsense.

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