11 Contextual Ad Alternatives to Google AdSense

Sean P Aune

There is no doubt that Google AdSense is the 800-pound gorilla in the room when it comes to contextual ad solutions. The question is, however, what you do when you don’t meet the requirements to use it, get thrown out for some reason or just simply want to try something different? Luckily, there are some other options out there and we’ve gathered up eleven of them to give you some options when it comes to filling up your site’s ad inventory.

AdBrite: AdBrite offers numerous ad styles from the standard contextual ad units, but also offers rich media, inline, full pages and more.  The system has one of the lowest thresholds for payment. It defaults to $100 payment, but you can set as low as $5.  Payments are issued on a net-60 system, i.e. earnings made in March are paid in May.

AdToll: AdToll is a hybrid ad network that allows you to sell ad space on your site for a price you determine with you keeping 75% of the revenue.  If you do not sell a space, the unsold inventory will be filled with “Run of Network” ads which are a cost-per-click solution.  Payout minimums are $20 for PayPal and $40 for checks.

BidVertiser: BidVertiser works a bit differently than others in the list in that advertisers bid directly against one another for your ad inventory.  The ads look like the general context ads, so they will work with Flash-based sites and sites with very little content.  Minimum payout is $10 and can be done by check or PayPal.  One other definite plus for them is that they provide actual phone numbers for publishers to call and get assistance when needed.

Chitika: An interesting alternative to most ad solutions as it only shows to your search traffic.  Chitika displays ads related to the terms that brought a user to your site and presents them with ads based on that term as well as the option to search more on the term without leaving your page.  The ads do not show up to your regular visitors so you don’t have to worry about bombarding your regulars with too much advertising.  Payout minimums are $20.

Clicksor: Clicksor provides all of the usual contextual ad sizes you are used to (leaderboards, skyscrapers and so on) as well as providing inline ads, rich media, graphical banners and more.  Payment methods vary by style of advertisement, and there is a minimum payout of $50 by standard check or PayPal.  There is a minimum of 150,000 page views per month for this program. eTor

eClickZ: eClickZ focuses on search engine sites and some content sites, and they guarantee their advertisers a higher quality of traffic.  If your site qualifies, you will be able to talk with an account manager, use a toll free number to call them and take advantage of payout minimums of $50 that can be paid by PayPal.

Infolinks: Infolinks focuses on in-text advertising, but is welcoming to web sites of all sizes and traffic so that there is next to no threshold to joining.  Payment threshold is $100 and can be made by PayPal or check.

Kontera: Kontera focuses mainly on inline contextual advertising and offers plugins and one-click support for Blogger, Drupal, Joomla and WordPress.  The service has the standard $100 payment threshold, but does offer negotiable CPM rates based on the amount of traffic your site generates.  There is a requirement for 500,000 page views to participate in the system.

Microsoft pubCenter: Microsoft’s advertising solution is still considered a beta product, but it is fully functioning and you can control what ads appear on your site by sorting out keywords or URLs.  There is a minimum payout of $50.

WidgetBucks: WidgetBucks CPC, CPM are referral options for making money, all of them are displayed in a widget you can place anywhere on your site.  Minimum payout is $50 by either PayPal or check.

Yahoo Publisher Network: The Yahoo Publisher Network will give you all of the standard contextual ad sizes and will allow you to filter out competitor’s ads.  The payment system provides you with some extra payment options in that you can request payment via PayPal when you hit $50 in revenue and receive it the same day.  Same day payment on a $100 minimum for direct deposit or revenue transferred directly to your Yahoo! Search Marketing account.  Printed checks take 7 – 10 days to arrive after you request them.