Review of Burst Media
Updated - 08/03/2008
Go to www.burstmedia.com
Burst Media was once one of the most influential advertising networks, but it has lost ground in recent years to new competitors. Founded in 1995, this company still supports thousands of websites, but it does not have all of the convenience and innovations that other ad networks offer. Burst Media remains, however, a fairly respectable company, with a very aesthetically pleasing and informative website, the ability to fill many advertising spots, and a good support team.
Burst Media is made up of two separate advertising networks, Burst Network and Burst Direct. Burst Network offers some general and some targeted advertisements but requires publishers to sign longer, more exclusive contracts in order to receive better return rates. The ads are targeted by the advertisers in conjunction with the network; these advertisers will choose which kinds of sites they feel are relevant to their ad, and Burst Network will offer owners of these kinds of sites an opportunity to run these ads.
Burst Direct, on the other hand, specializes in mass advertising. The publishers on this system are paid a flat rate on a month-to-month, nonexclusive basis. Aside from these differences in the ads available to publishers and the contracts that they must sign, the networks are essentially the same. Both offer both CPC and CPM campaigns and are controlled through similar panels.
Publishers using either of these services must spend 90 days on a month-to-month nonexclusive contract. Burst Direct users will always remain on this plan. Burst Network users, however, have the option after 90 days of switching to one- or three-year exclusive contracts in order to receive better revenue percentages from the advertising network.
All publishers using Burst Media’s networks must display a link to a demographic survey on their site, or else rotate this survey in with their normal advertisements. The network says that this is so the sites can provide data about their traffic so that the ads they receive will be better targeted to fit their needs.
Publishers who do not advertise exclusively with Burst Media may have this network’s ads rotate in with ads from other advertising networks, provided that they do so on a per load basis rather than on a timer.
Burst Media does not currently offer any sort of referral program or incentive for getting other publishers to join their network.
Accounts with Burst Media are managed through the user control panel that can be accessed by logging in at BurstMedia.com. This is where publishers can view a variety of reports on their revenue, specify which campaigns they will run, and generate ad source codes to paste into their site’s code.
If a site is chosen to run a targeted campaign, the site owner will receive an email notifying them of this. If they do not reply within 24 hours, their site runs that ad campaign.
Burst Media offers a good variety of ad sizes, although they do have some restrictions as to where these ads can be placed. Their ad selection includes an above-the-scroll banner (468 x 60), an above-the-scroll leaderboard (728 x 90), a flexible above-the-scroll ad size (displays both 728 x 90 and 468 x 60 ads), a wide skyscraper (160 x 600), a skyscraper (120 x 600), a flexible skyscraper (displays both 120 x 600 and 160 x 600 ads), a below-the-scroll banner (468 x 60), a box (300 x 250), and a cube (125 x 125), as well as pop-ups, pop-unders, and layer ads.
Earnings displayed in the control panel are updated on an hourly basis, and you can view your stats broken down into hours and sorted both by campaign and ad size.
Daily and monthly stats are also viewable. They can be broken down by ad code or viewed in terms of the total revenue. The data displayed includes total views, paid views, clicks, CTR, and estimated gross revenue. It is impossible, however, to compare different ad campaigns side by side, as they can only be viewed one at a time, and so publishers must look at each campaign separately to compare them in this view.
Revenue charts are also available showing the money that a publisher has made and displaying which campaigns have been paid in full, which are to be paid, which are subject to audit, and which are currently running. Revenues are displayed as profits for the last month that the campaign is scheduled to run until the month in which their earnings are audited. These revenues are then moved to that month.
An easier way of comparing campaigns comes with the campaign view, in which each campaign's dates, views, clicks, units guaranteed, units expected as of the previous day, cost per unit, estimated gross revenue to date, and delivered revenue are displayed. The campaigns to be included in the comparison are specifiable either in terms of time periods or by how many of the most recent campaigns a publisher would like to see. Campaigns that ran temporally distantly from each other, therefore, can still be hard to compare with this view, although campaigns that ran at or near the same time are easy, particularly if they were recent.
In addition, Burst Media makes the demographic and geographic information it collects in its mandatory survey available for the site’s publisher to view once every month. Publishers are also capable of viewing how many times specific IP addresses look at their site to see how much repeat traffic they are receiving.
If all of these conditions are met, the site’s publisher may fill out an online application, which will be processed within three business days. After this, they will receive their source codes from their control panel and can begin posting ads, although it may take up to 24 hours for these ads to take effect.
In order to be paid, however, publishers must sign and return by mail a copy of Burst Media’s terms and conditions, agreeing to abide by their rules and to pay taxes on their site’s income if this is required in their country of residence. Another form must also be completed by email. Most major advertising networks do not require so much paperwork, especially forms that must be signed by hand, and this makes getting started with Burst Media somewhat more inconvenient than it is with many other ad networks.
Burst Media pays its publishers on the first day of each month for all campaigns that ended 45-days prior to that date. This was previously set at 90-days, however Burst Media recently reduced this due to heavy demand from publishers. Payment is available only in the form of a check in U.S. currency.
If an account’s revenue does not meet or exceed $50 in a given month, the money will be rolled over to the next month, until $50 is amassed. If after six months, however, a publisher’s site still has not earned $50 in advertisement revenue, that publisher’s contract may be terminated at Burst Media’s discretion. Additionally, issued checks that are not deposited after 180 days are subject to a heavy fee, so publishers need to be aware of this deadline.
Burst Media’s payment rate depends on the contract which the publisher has chosen. All Burst Direct users receive 65% of the revenue generated from their site’s ads, with Burst Media receiving the other 35%. Burst Network users who have a month-to-month nonexclusive contract, and those who are in the first 45 days of their account and therefore ineligible for longer contracts receive 50% of the revenues generated by their site. Publishers who have signed up for a one-year exclusive contract receive 55%, and those committed to a three-year exclusive contract get 60%. Targeted ads, therefore, are a more viable alternative for publishers who are not afraid of committing themselves exclusively to the site for long periods of time; otherwise they pay a fairly low rate. Publishers who terminate their contracts will have to pay the difference between the rate they have received and what they should have been receiving.
Support is quick and helpful, usually replying within 1-3 business days. They are reachable both by email and by phone. Additionally, Burst Publisher Forums offers a place for the network’s users to offer each other assistance.
Burst Media’s offers do not match up to those of its newer competitors, but it does offer the security of a long-running, well-established site. Its targeted ad campaigns through Burst Network are suitable mainly for publishers who would like to make long, exclusive agreements; the declining payment rates that serve as penalties for not doing so make this network unattractive to other users, who might instead consider using Burst Direct. Still a fairly major network, Burst Media is a steady option to publishers, but many other ad networks do offer bigger revenue percentages and more convenient signup processes.