Google Adsense Alternative: Trying Out Media.net

Note: This post is an on-going project. I am adding more information as I learn it. Check back regularly for updates!

Google Adsense is in a meltdown (early summer 2019). I have a few sites that have been earning pretty well with Adsense. Or they did, until Google rolled out some updates quietly in May of 2019. After the update, website owners around the world found that they were no longer earning any revenue. Nothing. Period. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

Everything in the Adsense account looks great. No warnings, bells, or whistles. Further, the account is in good standing. In fact, one of the sites that is no longer showing ads is one that was approved to show Adsense ads barely a week before the dive.

What publishers are seeing is the ad block, sitting right on the site where it is supposed to be, but blank. No ads showing, and no impressions or clicks accruing.

What’s worse?

Google hasn’t been able to provide any sort of explanation for the changes. If you hunt around, you get directed to the usual troubleshooting pages that ask you to check whether your code has been inserted correctly or if you have done something to warrant a ban.

Hunting for an Adsense Alternative

Given that there is no timeline for when this update and the resulting trouble can be worked out, I have started looking at other ad networks. Adsense was my go-to because it’s, well, Google. Good-old-reliable.

As I hunted around, I realized that there were a lot of options for ad networks. Unfortunately, due to traffic requirements, most of my sites don’t meet the threshold to apply. Mediavine, for example, requires 25,000 users per month, and 30,000 page views.

AdThrive, another highly rated ad network, requires 100,000 page views per month.

In both cases, these networks want primarily US traffic.

It was in hunting around that I learned about Media.net. When I saw Media.net, it didn’t automatically trigger that this was an ad network separate and apart from Mediavine. I guess I had always assumed that Media.net and Mediavine were the same, because they both use the word “media” in their business name.

What is Media.net?

Media.net is Yahoo/Bing’s version of Adsense. It is sort of like using Bing ads to sell products instead of using Google Adwords.

It functions very similarly to Adsense. The network connects website owners with advertisers, and pays website owners based upon the performance of ads. Website owners don’t have to manage the advertisers or do anything else really, other than make sure that the code is correctly placed on the website and to follow the program rules.

Signing Up with Media.net

Signing up with Google Adsense was confusing, I thought, when I did it for the first time. Adsense had changed it requirements several times, and there was a ton of old information floating around the internet in the form of old blog articles and youtube videos. I was expecting the initial sign up and approval to be obnoxious and for approval to take a long time.

Google Adsense Alternative

Instead, it was absurdly easy. It took me about 15 minutes from submitting my website to approval, and then within another 5-10 minutes I was able to place the code on my website to start showing ads.

Contrast that with Google Adsense, where it took almost three weeks to get the initial approval for my first site and my Adsense account, and then each site I added after that took anywhere from two days to a month to get through the approval process.

Seriously, I was floored at how quickly it happened.

What Did I Need to Submit To Apply?

All I submitted was the URL of my website, my phone number, and my email address. I didn’t even have to register my email address or verify it. The application process took about 45 second. I’m not kidding.

After Approval Arrived, I Could Immediately Get Access To the Dashboard

Right away, I could update my personal information in settings, add a payment method, and then start showing ads. I created some in-content display ads quickly, and then added them to start experimenting with how ads would perform.

Google Adsense Alternative

Do the ads slow the site down more than Adsense?

So far, the ads don’t seem to be hurting my sites any more than adsense did. I’ll let you know if that changes.

However, I can say that I am not sure I like the look of the ads as much. The ads look spammier than they did through Adsense. I think users have gotten used to ads, and tend to just scroll by sections that look like ads to get to the good content, so I don’t think it will keep people from using the site.

How Does Getting Paid Compare with Adsense?

With Adsense, I have generally made the most money getting paid per click. There wasn’t much revenue (if any) to be earned through impressions.

In Media.net, the primary was advertisers pay for advertising in by thousand impressions (RPM). For some websites that receive tons of traffic but don’t get many clicks, or the clicks are low earning, RPM could actually mean that a website owner makes more through Media.net than through Adsense.

This is exciting for me, if I can earn via RPM rather than per click. I have several websites that don’t all receive a ton of traffic individually, but lumped together, could make a decent amount via RPM.

I don’t know what the average monthly RPM would be just yet, though my research and reading reports by other bloggers says I should expect to earn a few dollars for 1,000 views. $3-4 dollars per thousand views doesn’t sound like much when you only have one website and that website only gets a thousand views a month, if that. But if you have a handful of sites (like I do), and the page views is closer to 100k or 200k, then a few dollars per 1,000 starts to sound like reasonable money for doing not too much on a daily basis to run the sites.

With Adsense, payments go out near the end of every month. Media.net seems to do the same. With Adsense, I just put in my bank info and that was all I need to do. Media.net uses Payoneer to process payments, which I have never used. Since I just started the program, I don’t know yet whether this will be easy to set up or not, but once I’ve done all of the setup, I’ll report back.

Media.net has an affiliate program

I just learned that Media.net has an affiliate program. Huh what? So in addition to making money off of my own sites, I can make money if I refer other people? That actually makes this program much more attractive in some ways, and makes me want to throw all-in on the new network.

Here’s what I know so far about the affiliate program:

  • For every publisher you refer (website owner, etc), you get paid 10% of whatever the publisher earns for the first year

This means that if you refer a publisher, and they never earn anything through Media.net, you earn $0. If they earn $10 for the year, you earn $1. But then again, if you refer a lot of people and they earn a lot of $$$, you can earn 10% of that.

But remember, this is only for the first year. After that you don’t earn anything for referring them.

I also heard something about how the affiliate can earn a bonus if they sign up through your link for the first three months of utilizing Media.net. I just decided to apply to the affiliate program. However, the approval process for the ambassador program seems to take longer than the publisher side! I mean, I got an account right away in the affiliate side, but I have to wait to be approved to promote the various Media.net products. Other sites say that this approval process can take 14-24 hours. As I know more, I’ll report back.

Google Adsense Alternative

Good Idea to Switch to Media.net as a viable Google Adsense Alternative?

Hard to say just yet. As I said above, I just signed up for Media.net today. I am still working through getting my ads set up. While ads popped up right away on desktop, they aren’t showing yet on mobile. I checked the box when creating the ad to cause the ad to be mobile responsive, but so far, the ads aren’t showing on mobile. I have sent an email message to support to see what they say.

I never had an issues using plugins like Quick Adsense to place ads on the site, but I’m wondering if maybe the plugin is somehow disabling the mobile option. I’ll report back later when I get the mobile situation figured out, and let you know whether support was actually responsive or not.

Update: About an hour after I sent my message in to Media.net about the issue with mobile ads, I checked my phone again and saw that the ads are now showing. I’m not sure if my message did anything, or if I just needed to wait a bit for the system to catch up. But that’s how long it took to resolve itself.

Update: Another thing that I changed was the ads.txt file. I have never messed with the ads.txt stuff because with Adsense, it was never an issue. I got a nice little email from Media.net about how to ad ads.txt files (using a pretty free and easy plugin called ads.txt Manager). I suppose that it could have been adding the ads.txt information per the email that enabled the mobile ads to start showing. But either way, I have now added ads.txt records for the first time, and my ads are now live on desktop and mobile. From beginning to end, this whole project took about 90 minutes (including the wait time on mobile).

So far, I am pretty excited about Media.net as an alternative to Google Adsense. I am SUPER curious to see if I can make more money with this platform that Adsense. I feel a little nervous about starting out with a new ad network, because I don’t know what impact the new ads will have on my website traffic. But whatever happens, I’ll report back!

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