Hi, it’s Dan again,

Once we had our WordPress site up and running, and had actually started publishing normal (non-slideshow) content on it, we needed to get hooked up with the ad networks: no ad networks = no ads = no money!

As an arbitrage site, you will function (in the eyes of these ad networks) as both a publisher and an advertiser. In this blog post I’m going to talk you through the difference between these two things. Why? Because to have a good grasp of this will help you in the long-run to figure out what you need to do to make money off your site.


Advertiser or publisher?

When you sign up for ad networks you need to say whether you’re going to be an advertiser or a publisher.

In a nutshell: monetising your arbitrage site requires you to pay money to have your content advertised on other people’s sites (advertiser) and for you to make money by advertising other people’s stuff on your site (publisher).

But this can be confusing to start with so I’ll try to break it down with an analogy.

Think of it like this.

You own a billboard by the side of a road in your town.

This is your arbitrage site!

People (other businesses) pay you to advertise their products on your billboard in the hope that the traffic passing by the billboard throughout the day sees the adverts. You make money from this. How? Every time someone buys one of these products because of your advert –– or even just expresses an interest in buying them or learning more about them –– you get paid.

You get paid when someone calls this number.

It would be nice if you had the only billboard in your town – then you could charge what you like. However, life isn’t like that, is it? Instead, there’s lots of billboards on lots of roads in your town, and people that own the other billboards are all trying to do what you’re trying to do: get a slice of the pie ($).


So how do you get traffic coming your way?

To stand out, you need to get as much traffic to see your billboard as possible. How do you that? You use one of these!


The flow of traffic in your town is controlled by a bunch of traffic directors. If you pay them, they will make sure to direct more traffic down your road, so more drivers see your billboard and you have a greater chance of them responding to the ads on your billboard and thus, finally, of you getting paid.

The simple sum in this analogy is that if the money you pay to the traffic directors is less than the money you receive for advertising stuff on your billboard…. You make a profit. The other way around and you’re making a loss.

That’s the analogy. Hopefully you should be able to see how it relates to your arbitrage site:


Analogy In Real Life
Your town and the road network The internet!
Your billboard Your site
The ads on your billboard The ads you display on your site
The businesses who pay you to display their ads Ad Networks who display ads on behalf of businesses (the Ad Networks act as a middle man).
Traffic Traffic!
The traffic controllers you pay Ad Networks who you pay to advertise your site/stories/content on other people’s websites.

So who are these mysterious ad networks and how does this relate to this whole advertiser or publisher business? Some of the names of these ad networks that you will see flying around include Google AdSense, Content.Ad, Outbrain, RevContent, Taboola, Ad Blade, MGID, Instacator, My Likes. Some of them are a bit of a mouthful, right?!
To help you understand the difference between being a publisher and an advertiser, I’m going to describe which ones we’ve been using to start with.

  1. The businesses who pay us to display their ads = Google AdSense and Content.Ad
  2. The traffic controllers we pay to direct traffic to our site = Outbrain

In 1) we acted as a PUBLISHER (because we were publishing other people’s adverts) 

In 2) we acted as an ADVERTISER (because we were paying them to advertise our site)

Company name What they do What we act as
Google AdSense, Content.Ad Pay us $ when we show their ads PUBLISHER
Outbrain Take our $ and advertise our stories ADVERTISER

Simple, huh?

If you’re still struggling to get your head around these terms, then don’t worry too much! When you start running test campaigns (and see which ones you give money to and which you get money from!) the difference between them will become much clearer. (It’s possible for your be both a publisher and advertiser on the same ad network, such as on Content.Ad, but we haven’t got to that point yet, so you shouldn’t worry about it either.)

Final tip for this week

A note on good practises.You’re going to end up with a heap of logins and passwords. Keep records of them in one central place (which is backed up to the cloud!).

It will make your life much easier in the long-run.

We’ve created a spreadsheet with records of every login/account we create, the password, the website address it relates to and any additional important comments and we also use lastpass password manager. 


This is especially important when you’re working in a team and different people can be signing up for different things and/or working on different parts of the business.

Well, that’s it from me this week. I hope you now understand the key difference between being a publisher and an advertiser? Next time, I’ll run you through setting up your accounts with the ad networks so you can finally start running traffic.