BitcoinAds.com started as an idea four years ago. I had worked on several ad networks in the past and with the help of a business partner, we crunched some numbers and decided to build out a new Bitcoin based ad network. We saw that Bitcoin would allow the network to do some really cool things, like pay publishers very frequently on small amounts because of the low transaction fee costs. It is also an easy way for people to earn Bitcoin without setting up an account on an exchange that requires a long verification process.
In the Bitcoin space an ad network is nice relative to an exchange or online wallet because there are no money transmission licensing and auditing requirements and customers don’t mind margins of thirty percent as opposed to one or less.
Along the way plans changed a few times. Originally we built the service as a user account and Bitcoin payment system on top of a third party ad network which we used to serve ads and broker external ad inventory. The third party network we built on shut down their offerings so we then decided to built out our own ad network. The system we have now is a great entry point for us and hits some critical features with flexibility for building out new ones. A lot of thought was put into security, the file upload service and Bitcoin wallet are on separate servers that require a user session token. Withdrawals can cross check duplicate records to confirm user balances in the hypothetical case where one of the machines is compromised.
The site runs on PHP and MariaDB and uses replication to push configuration to a network of ad serving nodes. A load balancer directs traffic to the serving network. The current system has two ad server nodes and was designed to scale up by simply adding more servers.
The business plan is to display CPM banners as efficiently as possible and ramp up traffic volume. In order to be competitive with alternate networks we allow advertisers to target country, device and set budget caps. We use a bidding system to prioritize higher paying campaigns when there is competition for ad space. Another key piece of the system is an optimizer that will throttle poor quality publisher ad spaces and prioritize particular banners on particular ad spaces based on click through historical data. This means that if certain banners have poor performance on particular sites we display other ads instead and learn which combinations of ads and sites work best automatically over time.
The site members area has a standard ad campaign management, banner upload, publisher site integration, reporting and funding and withdrawal features. An admin tool also has reporting analytics and user/ad/site management features.
CPM rate minimums are set by region and each publisher has a payout rate with a default of 70%. Rates are set in USD and the value for CPM in BTC floats on a leading Bitcoin exchange rate.
These are estimates and depend on the cpm rates and ad inventory availability.
My plan now is to grow the network as well as offer the sale for some period of time. The challenge is growing ad inventory at the same pace as publisher interest. We do allow publishers to display banners from an alternate network if there is no inventory on BCA and in the future we are planning on linking into an existing ad network or offering some form of CPA campaigns.
I’m looking out five years to achieve a sustainable business run by two people. The opportunity for sale makes sense for those who have a budget or team for faster growth. My sense is that BitcoinAds.com could achieve a lot more in the short term with a larger team than I am able to provide at the moment. Once the network starts growing some of the challenges will diminish. The optimization algorithm will become more efficient with more users, each banner impression will be showing links to BitcoinAds.com and imbalances in ad inventory and publisher demand will have less of an effect. At that point I will remove the sale offer and focus on ramping up the business.
This business if sold would likely require the services of a PHP developer for maintenance and new feature development, marketing to drive adoption and form new network partnerships as well as an admin to answer customer questions and approve banners and sites for serving.
The domain generates organic signups almost daily. The domain describes nicely the nature of the business so a lot of searches for Bitcoin and advertising should see us. Once we add a site link to each banner impression and traffic ramps up I anticipate growth will accelerate.