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I am very new to web development and in some weeks I start my own small gaming network.

Now I am doing everything alone and I struggle to find good resources about advertising networks. And I don't want to have ugly ads on my website. I searched for gaming advertisements and I found ad4games and gaming online advertising.

At the moment I don't even know if I can pay the server costs. This is really bugging me. I contacted several ad networks, but all of them don't want to do a contract with me before my site launches.

-> I have to wait and gather information about my visitors.

Now I was curious which ad network other sites are using, and I saw that stackoverflow is using adzerk as an adserver.

If I am correct I can get ads from different adnetworks and put them on my adserver.

But overall the whole topic is like a huge blackbox for me.

Could you recommend me some resources or give me some insights?

Edit: I am currently listening to http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/08/podcast-64/ and its really interesting.

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just a hint to keep the server cost low for the start: if you are able to read german try uberspace.de . Its a very popular "take what u need, pay what u want/can" hoster from germany. –  Denny Mueller Aug 21 '12 at 14:09
    
Well I already have my hosters. Heroku + mongohq + amazon s3 are the main ones. I already have a good amount of free resources. –  Maik Klein Aug 21 '12 at 15:53

3 Answers 3

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+100

I usually deal with advertisers as an agency (i.e. managing Google AdWords for clients). As far as Google goes the exact names of the services you probably want to start looking into are AdSense and Double Click. I'm not sure of the exact diference, from what I know AdSense is a better starting point but as I said, I am not sure of that. You can see a cursory overview of Google Advertising Products for Publishers here

That said, Google makes beaucoup bucks from ads and they will be more than happy to have a sales representative call you.

Microsoft has an advertising network too, their brand is Pubcenter, and while I also facilitate advertising on them I have never used them as a publisher. They are partnered with Yahoo! and (obviously) Bing, but that probably doesn't have much bearing upon publishers.

Beyond that--and this gets really spammy really quick, so buyer beware--there are lots of 'affiliate' programs that, if well-matched to your audience can bring in pretty decent money, many paying 25-50% of referred transactions.

That said, I'd err on the side of caution, auto-play (especially with sound) ads, pop-under ads, and too many ads (in addition to aesthetics) are a quick way to alienate visitors.

Visiting sites you like, and think your customers would like, and looking around to see if they have "affiliate" or "partner" programs would probably be a good start and a good way to make some connections in your industry, too. However, if they don't appear to have an affiliate program I'd be careful about asking, in these days of negative SEO it is wise to play your cards close to your vest when it comes to potential competitors.

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If I could get a company like for example http://ad4game.com/ would you recommend me to go with them or should I stick with adsense? I think I should test all of my alternatives and see who gives me the best revenue. –  Maik Klein Aug 21 '12 at 10:53
    
Without a doubt, test your alternatives. Be it via A/B split testing (i.e. the Google website optimizer) or by designating certain pages/positions each. I don't play video games so I don't have much point of reference. I do know as an AdWords advertiser it gives me great control, text only ads, image only ads, animated, family-friendly, topic, interest, site, time-based (video, games) or not, and in mobile apps too. Even URLs, frequency, and more (which can be overwhelming). Speaking as a marketer: I know of sites that spent the 1st year ad free to build a loyal following--don't alienate users –  adam-asdf Aug 21 '12 at 12:44

It is quite simple, the first thing you need are visitors. Build that website, and start off on a cheap host. After you gained some solid visitors you can try contacting the ad-networks again, and maybe upgrade to your own server. As a starter you can try chitika or adbrite, but don't expect much income.

So, first thing you should think about is a quality website, you can always add advertisements later.

Edit: Adbrite has ugly ads (but you can select them by hand), chitika ads are not that pretty either. Google ads is another option, with pretty ads and quite good income, but very unreliable for starting websites (you can get banned very easy if you don't read, understand and live to their policies 100%).

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You should visit other websites which publish game reviews. Chances are you will see many types of ad's on these domains. If you view the source of the ad's you will find out who the publishing / distribution network is.

Google's the largest AdSense is a nice start and once you have visitors and quite a few you can apply for DoubleClick. You can also apply on CJ.com and other affiliate networks to publish ad's for advertisers related to the gaming industry.

Only after you have a significant amount of visitors will you be able to sell ad space directly to any company. So you should really focus on building up good quality content. Apply to AdSense and go from there

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