This is part of a series of reviewing on-site advertising I have used: Project Wonderful, Google Adsense, WordAds.

My experience with WordAds has been a little spotty. In terms of revenue, it’s far superior to ProjectWonderful. That said ProjectWonderful (and Google Adsense) have some aspects that make WordAds less than attractive.

I used WordAds for about 13 months, and while I loved the plugin they made, and I loved the support, the problems I have are with the system and the quality of ads. I want to stress that this is a ‘review’ of their beta product. I knew what I was getting into with a beta, but there were issues with the system that went beyond what I’d normally accept for a beta.

A beta is expected to be functional and usable if buggy. WordAds was functional, but I had no control and no information, which made it unusable.

I had no control over ad placement, which normally I would say is the ‘fault’ of the plugin, but in reality it’s clearly the decision of the service. It provides two ads: one below the first post on an archive page and one below the post content itself on a single post. The ads are exactly the same shape. Most of the time this is fine. On some of my sites, which use ‘non traditional’ layouts, it made them very, very janky.

Additionally I have no control over what ads show. The default ads tended to lean towards ClickBait. I don’t like that, but it’s pretty minor since default ads always kinda suck no matter what system you use. Still, I couldn’t pick and close ads I found offensive. The winner for this service is Project Wonderful. For WordAds I had to right click, get the information of what had loaded, and send that in to get it blocked. Given that most users just say “Did you know you had a Rand Paul ad on your site?” this was impossible to manage for me.

When I combine this with the lack of information … Here’s the ultimate reason I called it quits. There’s no dashboard. There is no way for a user to see analytics. I had no way see what ads are doing well and where which means I could never evaluate the impact of them on my layout. Like many professionals, I review SEO impact and ad displays. I couldn’t do that at all on WordAds to the point that they had to email me a report of my earnings.

I was told the manual emailing of revenue was a temporary stop-gap while the new system was put in place. Six months later, not only was I still getting emails, but I actually didn’t get one for a month and had to politely ask someone on staff. They were, as always, totally awesome about it, but I felt the underlying current was they too were feeling the strain of a lack of automation. It felt like there was no managerial and resource investment in what should be a killer product.

Having earnings be a black box is a crappy user experience. Having analytics be a ‘just trust us…’ world is useless if I want to improve my site quality and revenue. I’m all for set-it-and-forget-it (which is ironically why I love the plugin), but the user experience for the service itself was disheartening.

Review

  • Ease of Registration: 4/5
  • Ease of use (on WordPress): 5/5
  • Ease of use (non WordPress): 0/5
  • Customizable: 0/5
  • Control: 1/5
  • Analytics: 0/5
  • Revenue: 3/5

When they get out of beta, I may check them out again, but right now I don’t feel comfortable having my eggs in an invisible basket.

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