Update on payment from Kontera: 2009-01-20
In this article, I will specifically address why you should avoid using Kontera ContentLink ads and discuss generally why it is a bad idea to use in-text advertising on a website.
If you are not familiar with Kontera ContentLink advertising, it is the double underline links you see on some blogs and forums. When you mouse-over the link, an ad pops up. ContentLink is Kontera's specific brand; there are other advertisers who offer this type of advertising. Generally, it is referred to as "in-text contextual advertising".
Look more closely at the picture above. This is a cropped screen shot taken from a website with Kontera ads. The screen shot was taken shortly before I started writing this article and it was the first link I moused-over to view a Kontera ad. You will notice that the mouse is hovering over "HTML tag". The ad that is displayed is for free Married With Children episodes.
First of all, I can't think of a more pointless way to waste my time than watching old re-runs of the TV show, Married with Children. But what is really glaring in this example is that free Married with Children episodes have nothing to do with an "HTML tag". Is this supposed to be contextual advertising? Obviously, Kontera's algorithm for determining relevancy sucks. That was my impression while running Kontera ads on Themebot for several months, and seeing that ad today only confirms my opinion. Obviously, if you have a website and use Kontera, your visitors aren't going to appreciate seeing the irrelevant ads.
Kontera does not provide earnings data beyond the most recent 6 months. Furthermore, there is no way to view your total earnings from the account manager. After six months, the amount of money you have earned disappears and you just have to trust that Kontera is going to compensate you fairly. I logged into my account recently and this is still an issue. All of the other affiliates and advertisers I have worked with provide a much better interface with historical data that includes all of my earnings.
Unless you have extremely high traffic to your website, blog or forums you aren't going to make money online using Kontera. Themebot is a popular website and gets a lot of traffic, not extremely high traffic, but a lot. Click-thru on the Kontera ads when they were live was pretty good. But the daily earnings were hardly enough to buy a cup of coffee. Besides, even if you did have a website with extremely high traffic, you could find much better ways to monetize it rather than annoying your visitors with a popup ad every time they accidentally mouse-over one of the double underline links.
What the hell!? I'm not renting an apartment. And, I don't care if Kontera has promised their partners a certain number of page views from their publishers. If your crap ads are breaking my site, I'm going to move them to a section where they don't cause issues. Which is exactly what I did. No where in the Kontera Terms of Service does it say anything about having to maintain a certain number of page views. I did not remove the Kontera tag from the website, I just moved it out of the area where it was causing problems.
The crooks at Kontera have refused to pay me and I have wasted more time on this than I have earned with their program. Today I filed a report with the BBB (Better Business Bureau). Considering how bad their service is and how expensive it is to run an operation out of San Francisco, it doesn't surprise me that they are stealing money from their publishers. It also won't surprise me when they go bankrupt.
If you are considering running in-text advertisements from another affiliate, you should reconsider...
There is a serious usability issue when it comes to in-text advertising. First of all, visitors expect links in your articles to represent external sources of information that you want to bring to their attention. There is no way to filter the ads presented by Kontera (I can't comment on other advertisers) and as you saw in the beginning of this article, Kontera ads are not relevant. Furthermore, in-text ads that pop-up break the flow of the article. They remain hovering there for a while after you move your mouse away. This is a great way to annoy your readers and drive them away. If you want to make almost enough money to buy a Frappuccino at the expense of driving your readers away, you must be an idiot and you should use in-text advertising.
In fact, anyone who writes a blog article on how to make money online with Kontera is probably an idiot who has sold out the integrity of their site, just to make money online. I have not used other in-text advertising services so I can't comment on how bad they are. What should be clear is that in-text advertisements are annoying and do not provide a good user experience for visitors. There are plenty of other ways to make money online and you are better off without in-text ads.