Project Wonderful Review – Is It Worth Your Time?

I discovered Project Wonderful in 2011. At the time I had only tried Google Adsense, and I wasn’t happy with the small amount I was making. I thought I could do better if I found a service with ads more targeted at my demographic.

That’s how I discovered Project Wonderful. A coworker of mine mentioned hearing about it when I said I was debating putting Adsense back on my blog. I checked it out, quickly signed up, and began playing around with it.

The thing I really liked the most with Project Wonderful was their approach to advertising. I could turn this into a huge article about all the differences with them and Adsense, but I’ll keep it brief, and leave it up to you to check it out if I piqué your interest.

*Note: I wrote this review years ago, however all of the information is still accurate. Also, if you’d like more information on other services then see my ad networks review.

For Publishers

The largest difference is how advertisers work with publishers (those who put ads on their sites). As a publisher you create ad boxes, which is you telling advertisers what spots you have available on your site to advertise on. Unlike Adsense where ads just start showing up once you’ve done that, instead advertisers bid on your ad boxes, and the winner gets their ad shown on your site.

The way advertisers bid is to say they are willing to pay $X a day to advertise in a particular ad box. So, unlike Adsense where you get paid based on a click/view ratio, advertisers pay you straight up for advertising on your site each day, not a rate based on clicks and views.

If someone runs an ad with me, and nobody clicks it, I still get the rate they said they’d pay me for advertising for the day. Google doesn’t do that. In addition, because of this difference, there’s no concern about clicking on the ads shown on your site. I’m not getting paid per-click, so if I find an ad interesting that’s being shown on my site then I’ll click it. Google frowns on that with Adsense. Actually, they forbid it and will ban you.

Publishers have control over ads placed on their site. If you want you can require all ads wanting to be placed with you be approved. There’s also some options for the type of ads. If you don’t want any NSFW ads on your site then you don’t have to accept them, and that’s a hands-off option, you don’t have to manually decline them.

For Advertisers

As an advertiser you can find cheap ad placement, like $0 cheap. Publishers can set a minimum required to advertise with them, but a vast majority do not set a minimum. So, you can run ads on their site for free. It requires some manual labor to place free ads, but not a lot.

There’s an ability to create a campaign for advertising. In short, you define your criteria for sites you’d like to advertise on. It can be the type of site, sites matching a particular description, by traffic, etc.

You then set up bidding parameters, say you’re willing to spend $X a day on advertising, and set a maximum budget of $Y. The campaign will automatically make bids for you based on the criteria you’ve set up, and you just sit back and watch the clicks come through.

An example. I created a campaign targeting gamers. I set a daily expense limit of 20 cents, and a maximum budget of $1. Once the $1 ran out the campaign stopped. My ads were shown 23,651 times, and received 13 clicks. I won’t get into all the other metrics, but it didn’t do too poorly – though it could have been better. Improving how many clicks my campaign gets will come down to my targeting of sites I advertise on, my criteria, as well as my ads themselves.

Regardless, I thought it was a good experiment and I only spent $1, no complaints.

You Have Full Ad Control

That’s something I really like about Project Wonderful, you’re in full control of everything from the ads that run on your site to the ads you place. As well as how much, or how little, you’re willing to spend. There really isn’t an aspect that you don’t have a say over. The result of all this is that the type of people placing ads tend to be the sort of demographic that works with a wargaming blog.

Project Wonderful gained huge ground from web comics. Web comics are easily the largest category of people running ads through them. Gamers of various types are another large market. Basically, it’s people like you and I who are placing ads and showing those ads.

Project Wonderful Profits & An Update

Now, the final bit that some of you bloggers are likely curious about, the profits. With Project Wonderful, in that first month I made $1.64. That was in 2011, and it actually wasn’t bad considering. It’s still a pitiful amount, but it was more than Adsense was paying me. Still…

In 2017 I have tried Project Wonderful, as well as various times throughout the years, but I never had any real success with it. My traffic here is significantly higher than in 2011, yet I was only making around 3 cents a day with Project Wonderful recently. It just seems like nobody is willing to pay much to advertise on the sites there any longer. I was just on there seeing how things were going, if it had improved, and I saw sites with 10,000 daily visitors and nobody paying to advertise on those sites. So, if a site with 10K visitors can’t get paid with Project Wonderful, there isn’t much hope.

I now rely on Adsense and Amazon Associates as my primary means of advertising income, and Project Wonderful doesn’t even come close to it any longer. I make more in a day with either Adsense or Amazon than I did in a month with Project Wonderful.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting.  The taboo click was one of the main reasons I didn’t like adsense. 

    • Same here. Hell, most of the money I had made with Adsense was me doing just that despite it being frowned upon. So even the comparison I made isn’t accurate when you take that into account.

  • chronicler_Isiah

    I use Project Wonderful on my site to host ads to gain a (little bit) of income – so I am a publisher.

    My experience is that you aren’t going to make an awful lot of money as a publisher because most of the advertisers who use PW are small and don’t have the money top spend. Or, are just after advertising for free! But why should they? Set a minimum ad price even if it’s very low.

    Additionally I’ve found that despite PW vetting potential publisher sites (like mine) for quality of design etc – they don’t seem to vet advertisers’ ads or sites in the same way (?).

    So as far as ads that get placed on your site – expect either kitsch, or just poorly-designed ads, that in a lot of cases link to similarly poorly-designed websites. This to the detriment of both the look and reputation of your own site.

    That said – unlike other advertising models, the bidding is fun and at least you will get some kind of income if only a small one.

    • I’ve since given up on PW. I liked the atmosphere of “We’re here for the little guy,” but that only goes so far. I did like how things worked but in the end the money just wasn’t there. If I’m going to run ads then I may as well make something from it. I’ve made more in a single day with Adsense than an entire month with PW; hard to argue with results.

      • I have been screwing around with every ad scheme there is. AdSense, Project Wonderful, and now supportingads. I think that the niche nature of the content makes it really hard to end up with ads that are targeted to your readers. AdSense seems to be the “best” earner; content is king, but it doesn’t help with the ads.

  • I am just thinking about joining Project Wonderful after leaving an ad network which served malware ads on my website. Had somebody a problem with malware when using Project Wonderful?

    • In all my years of using Project Wonderful, I have never had any issues with Malware.

      • Thanks! I have joined them about one month ago and so far everything is ok. Seems to be a good alternative to the traditional advertising networks.

        • The money was never great for me, but it is nice to show ads from other small blogs; people just like me.

          • Well, I do not expect too much but it is great to be able to monetize a new website. I have launched a web where I offer my photos for free and I am thinking about opening the website for other photographers in the future and offer revenue sharing. So it is great to have some numbers to know how CPM is realistic.

            • That’s a great idea. Best of luck with it.

%d bloggers like this: