For the last few months, I’ve been testing an ad network called PopCash. I wanted to take a few minutes and tell you about my experience with this network…both good and bad. For the record, I’ve disabled the ad on this site…you shouldn’t see it any more. But before you start thinking that I killed it because the network sucks (it’s not all bad, really), you should keep reading. I want to keep this post as objective as possible.
If you’re wondering why I took the ad down, it’s simple: I feel that it takes away from the user experience of the site. With that being said, let’s get on with the review of Popcash.
What is PopCash?
PopCash is a CPM advertising network that delivers pop-under style ads on your website. This means that the ads are loaded in the background of your screen, behind the window you are focused on. Pop-under ads tend to be effective because they are less obtrusive to your readers. Since the ads load in the background, the reader doesn’t always notice them when they load. Sneaky? A little, but consider the alternative: pop-up ads. We all hate them. Even people who make money with pop-up and pop-under ads tend to dislike “pop-anything” ads when they encounter them in the wild.
While I was testing PopCash, I have to say that overall I was quite happy with how they run the network. Their user interfaces for publishers are clean and very easy to navigate.
The crew at PopCash definitely made it easy to get everything set up on your site. It’s easy to find your ad code (hint: it’s under the “get code” menu). The code is very small, and it just calls a script on their server that causes the pop-under to show up. I didn’t notice any dramatic speed changes with the site while using this bit of code, so that’s a really nice thing. Too much code can really cause WordPress to run slowly.
As far as the ad itself is concerned, it’s a pop-under ad. It fires up behind the window you’re looking at, so it’s not quite as annoying as an old-school pop-up ad. One of the things that I personally liked about it was that there was a delay before it loaded, which gives your reader a chance to start actually reading your content rather than being slapped in the face immediately with an advertisement. In this case, slower is better.
Cashing out is really easy to do with PopCash. Their payout threshold is only $10.00, which isn’t really hard to hit if you have decent traffic. You do have to manually request a cash-out, but it’s really easy to do. In your dashboard, just go to “billing” and hit “cash out”. They can send money through PayPal, Payza, and Paxum. And yes…they do actually pay out.
Oh, come on. It’s an ad network. There’s probably going to be some kind of down side, right? Of course. No network is perfect, and PopCash is definitely no exception.
The first thing to remember is that PopCash ads are still “pop something” ads, and whether it loads in front of the page or behind it, some of your users probably won’t appreciate it showing up at all…which was my main reasoning for ending my test and pulling the ad off of this site (although I will most likely be implementing it on other sites in the future, just not this one).
Another down side to PopCash is that while it will help your blog earn extra income, it’s going to be slow unless you have a ton of traffic. And let’s face it…if you’re getting good traffic, running a pop-up ad of any kind is probably not a great idea…but then, that also depends on the type of traffic you’re driving. If you’re running a niche shopping site, you’re not going to want to touch this. But if you are running a small army of sketchy adult sites, then you’re probably not going to mind a pop-up ad…and your readers will have their hands too full to care right away about it.
The third annoying thing that I’ve noticed very recently (today, actually), is that when I tried to cash out, it appears that they have deducted a fee…this didn’t happen the first two times, but it did on the third (which is still pending, but they usually are quick about getting your money to you). Again, I just requested this payment less than an hour ago, so the “pending” status doesn’t really mean that much…but taking a fee out of my income is an issue. I’m hoping that it’s temporary and it doesn’t process their deduction, since it hasn’t happened before, and I never got a notice that this was a new thing. I’ll have to do further research to find out if they’ve changed the policy or not.
Finally, there’s the ad itself…ah yes…I’m not happy about what I saw when it did load. I’m not sure if this just loaded for me or for everybody, but I was given one of those super sketchy looking “your computer may be infected” ads that spawned a Windows notification that just kept on going. Oh, sure, I was able to get out of it by either killing the pop-up before it finished loading or forcing the notification to stop notifying me and then closing the window…but if you just hit ‘cancel’, it’s going to piss you off really, really quickly. I mean…really quickly. I hope that I’m the only one that got this particular ad. If you got stuck in this, I’m terribly sorry. PopCash does have an option to report ads with malware attached (fortunately, this wasn’t the case with this ad), so if you ever come across one of these ads you should probably at least drop them a line and tell them how annoying it is. No malware is good, but holy crap…it mimicked malware quite well.
Okay, so for those of you who didn’t want to read all of the gory details above and just got down here by scrolling (hi, everyone), here’s a quick recap.
- Good – PopCash is really easy to implement on your site
- Good – The ad loads behind your active window, so it’s less annoying
- Good – The ad doesn’t fire as soon as your page loads, so you’re not just killing your bounce rate right from the start
- Good – The cash out threshold is only $10, so it’s an easy target to hit
- Good – They WILL pay you
- Good – You have three options to get your money: PayPal, Payza, and Paxum
- Bad – You’re still serving pop up ads to your readers
- Bad – You’re going to need a lot of traffic if you want to make a lot of money quickly
- Bad – You may be hit with fees from PopCash (not 100% confirmed, but it appears that’s what’s going on)
- Really Bad – The ads that are served may look, feel, and act like malware, however I’ve never had any infection from them (use at your own risk)
The Verdict: PopCash is legit, but use your judgment when choosing this network.
Overall, I was quite pleased with the performance of PopCash (except for the sketchy-ass ad…). You definitely do not want to run this on anything you’re trying to build a close bond with your audience on, but if you’re just getting a ton of traffic to a random site, then it could work out pretty well for you.