Interview with Todd Garland of BuySellAds

BuySellAdsI’ve recently switched from selling my ads directly to having BuySellAds take care of it, and it’s been an absolutely awesome experience. As a result of that experience, I do not agree with Chris Brogan yet that advertising is completely broken, but it does need a good level of reinvention.

So, to introduce you to the company and to Todd Garland, who runs the company, has been kind enough to answer a series of questions for me. If you’ve got advertising on your blog and it’s either taking up too much time or you’re not selling enough, you might want to give them a try! But don’t do that before you read on and see how incredibly passionate and smart Todd is about all of this.

Hi Todd, could you introduce yourself and buysellads.com to the readers of yoast.com?

Sure thing, my name is Todd Garland, I live in Boston, MA with my lovely wife and smelly dog and I run BuySellAds.com. BuySellAds.com is a self-funded startup (so far) advertising network targeting the design and development community. We’ve been around now for almost a year and we are doing very well. Selling a ton of ads, helping publishers make money, and helping advertisers create killer campaigns to target the web design and development niche. I’m young, 27, and have been building websites for what seems like forever now (10 years) and was most recently employed at another hot startup, HubSpot where I was their designer/front-end engineer/SEO guru (one of many SEO guru’s in the company I might add).

Why did you start BuySellAds.com?

I started BuySellAds.com because I was frustrated. I was operating two
hobby websites (csselite.com and 13styles.com) and selling ads directly to advertisers. I also bought ads to help promote and grow those sites too -so I was solving a frustration that I experience both as an advertiser and a publisher. None of the well known ad networks could solve my problem… they are a pain to deal with, they don’t give publishers enough control, and they take too high of a commission.

You’ve won me over as a publisher for BuySellAds by providing me with excellent service, and allowing me to do the transition with old advertisers on my own pace. Is that something you try to do for everyone?

Well, yes, everyone gets great service – regardless of how big/small the
publishers/advertiser is. Great service is something none of the other ad networks had (in my experience). It is important to me and I want people to feel like they’re getting that great service every time they have a question or need a hand. In terms of helping with transitions, of course… we have transitioned many blogs over to our system who are already selling ads direct and I can proudly say that it’s happened seamlessly every time.

What is, in your opinion, your added value to advertisers?

  1. Our system is very simple. Fixed 30-day rates on a subscription basis. No other ad network does this, and I can’t figure out why – it just makes sense.
  2. They can trust us. We always do what is right and we’re very reliable. When you buy direct from publishers who are not in a network you never know what you will get.
  3. You can manage all of your ads in one central location. Many of our
    advertisers previously had to manage these ad buys individually, site by
    site, publisher by publisher. This was very time consuming. It’s now very efficient. You don’t have to contact anyone, you don’t have to go back and forth on pricing, size, payment, etc. – it’s all here in one place and when you are ready to pull the trigger it’s done, the
    ads go live, that’s it.
  4. You no longer need to “discover” new placements. New sites that are
    worth advertising on are always coming into the marketplace and we’re always recruiting new publishers. We keep our eyes out for advertisers and make good recommendations to them all the time.
  5. We know our inventory. Too often advertisers are stuck dealing with
    people who have no clue where they should be advertising. We know our
    inventory very well and make honest recommendations vs. just trying to spend their money.

And to publishers?

  1. Automated. They don’t need to waste their time dealing with advertisers, remembering when to put up and take down ads, figure out how to get paid, etc. You install the ad code and you’re up and running – it takes only a few minutes to get setup.
  2. We don’t get in the way. Our ad code is unobtrusive, flexible, and we don’t plaster our brand all over your site like the other networks. We just blend in nicely – I bet visitors to your site didn’t even notice a change when you switched over to BuySellAds.com.
  3. We help you find advertisers. Like I said above, we know our inventory, and when an advertiser comes to us or when we seek out great advertisers we know exactly where their ads should be in our network. We are always sending out proposals, making recommendations, etc. Publishers in this niche NOT in our inventory are missing out these days. You, Joost, went from 4-8 advertisers in how many weeks? A couple I believe… ;) 3 weeks indeed, quite an achievement
  4. You can trust us. We do what is right and we’re always willing to help and give advice on pricing, placement, etc.
  5. Highest payouts of any ad network on the planet. We pay out at 75%,
    which is unheard of and includes credit card processing fees (usually up to 5%), publisher payment fees, ad serving fees, support for the publisher and their advertisers, etc.

How is the online ad market doing at the moment, is it suffering from the recession?

Well, I think we’re different. All of the ad networks you see that are
struggling right now are struggling for two main reasons:

  1. They rely on targeting to produce results and their targeting is awful.
  2. Their prices are inflated and they have been robbing clueless advertisersfor a long time and now it is catching up with them.

BuySellAds.com is very different. We don’t do any targeting, the advertisers do this themselves by self-selecting the placements they wish to buy. Our prices are good – they’re not inflated or anything, they make sense and are cost effective.

My best take away from all of this? Even in a market that might be shrinking, those who provide excellent service and a good added value will always prevail.

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20 Responses

  1. Frederick TownesBy Frederick Townes on 30 January, 2009

    There are a lot of good points there made by Todd, not the least of which is the ease, simplicity and pricing to match. Looking forward to ’09 with BSA.

  2. 2lipBy 2lip on 30 January, 2009

    I am using BSA for a few months now and I am more than happy with the simplicity of their ad network. and just this morning, I received an email where Todd announces the launch of even more incredible features for the first quarter of 2009. I am really looking forward to those changes! have a look at the BSA blog for more info:
    blog article about new features to come

    • JohnBy John on 23 July, 2009

      Blog is a powerful tool to comment on such website that is in a advertising…

  3. Chris WallaceBy Chris Wallace on 30 January, 2009

    While it IS a great system and works well due to the very narrow focus on one group of people, it would be nice to have an estimate of what your site’s ad rates should be. Even just a ballpark figure for what you should be selling ads for would be nice. I looked at the new features and I’m not sure if this will be built into the analytics or not.

    • todd g @ BuySellAds.comBy todd g @ BuySellAds.com on 30 January, 2009

      Hey Chris, indeed, it’s a great idea. It is also one of those things that is very hard to do programatically… but that’s what makes it interesting and valuable. We’ll definitely be working on stuff like this once we get the new version live. Cheers, Todd

  4. ColorburnedBy Colorburned on 30 January, 2009

    Really nice interview! I use and enjoy BuySellAds. I’ve been using them now for a few months, just recently, I sold my last slot and BuySellAds have made it very easy.

  5. todd g @ BuySellAds.comBy todd g @ BuySellAds.com on 30 January, 2009

    Hey everyone, thanks for the nice compliments here in the comments!

  6. Apple MacBy Apple Mac on 30 January, 2009

    I love BSA, they take so much load off me. I just wish I could get more advertisers.

  7. Doug LampiBy Doug Lampi on 31 January, 2009

    Stationary contextual advertising is great. Animated banners without a mouse-over is like sound without invitation.

    I instantly close a site that makes noise.

    In six seconds, I close a site with continued animation.

  8. JamesBy James on 31 January, 2009

    Great interview and an obviously great service. I cannot wait until my website is finally in a state where I will be able to use them myself.

  9. Bob ReidBy Bob Reid on 31 January, 2009

    Todd, great interview. Nice comments from some of your clients. Wish I had something to advertise. Hope you, Susan and Rusty are all well. Bob

  10. Scott-TheBrewClubBy Scott-TheBrewClub on 31 January, 2009

    Nice interview and it sounds like a good service. Have to look into it now!

  11. Zach DunnBy Zach Dunn on 2 February, 2009

    BSA has been an absolute blessing. I’m still impressed with how every customer service email is handled directly by Todd himself. That’s really cool.

    Great interview! Didn’t realize he was also behind CSSElite too.

  12. todd g @ BuySellAds.comBy todd g @ BuySellAds.com on 3 February, 2009

    wow, thanks for all of the praise everyone. There’s more good stuff on the way, and I hope we can continue to make everyone so happy ;)

    @zach, yeah, csselite was a hobby site I was running, however, I did sell it right around when I launched BSA, so I’ not responsible for that nice new design ;)

  13. Shuki HaiminisBy Shuki Haiminis on 9 February, 2009

    Todd,

    Congrats on the success of the site so far. It is great to see other local Boston guys doing well online.

  14. ThomBy Thom on 9 February, 2009

    I recently sent buysellads an e-mail asking if they had anything in their inventory that would fit my demographics, business, corporate greed. Todd was extremely quick to reply, they currently do not have anything for me. But because of his timely response, and professional approach, I had to bookmark his site. Todd if you ever expand, and get sites that I can advertise on I will be back.
    Thom

  15. RikiBy Riki on 14 April, 2009

    BSA is great service. Simple (why is it so hard for big companies to make things simple) and straight-forward. That’s all a busy webmaster would ever need from an advertising network. Highly recommended!

  16. Make Money Online - Get Paid to BlogBy Make Money Online - Get Paid to Blog on 10 October, 2009

    Great interview Joast. You definitely succeed in persuading me to try on BuySellAds. I follow the link to Todd other’s site. I have to say, he is talented guy. No wonder he got BuySellAds up and running.

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