Review of RevenuePilot
Updated - 11/03/2008
Go to www.revenuepilot.com
RevenuePilot proclaims that their advertising network provides the industry’s largest payouts, the industry’s highest bid prices, and the Internet’s leading advertisers. Unlike Google Adsense, the RevenuePilot model is not based on providing contextual ads. Instead, publishers choose their own keywords with full knowledge of how much each keyword is currently worth. This level of transparency is difficult to find in the ever growing industry of Internet marketing.
The RevenuePilot advertising network is largely based on the PPC/CPC model, meaning that publishers are paid each time a site visitor clicks on an advertisement. This is contrast to the CPM model, which pays based on number of ad impressions, and the CPA model, which is based on the site visitor completing a certain action (like making a purchase on the advertiser’s site).
From the Members Area, publishers are able to select from no fewer than 19 different ad types, though these are all largely related in how they work. Publishers are generally able to preview the appearance of these ads before implementing them on their own sites, but a trial run found that some previews were not functioning. The implementation of certain ad coding also did not work, and it did not help that supporting literature is sparse on the RevenuePilot site.
Some of the more popular ad types available through RevenuePilot include:
XML Feed – RevenuePilot offers at least two variations of the XML feed for more advanced users. It allows for fully customizable integration of RevenuePilot search results into publisher’s websites. Parameters include bid price, ad description, advertiser domain, and ad title.
Popouts – Visitors are hit with a pop-out ad at one of three times: upon clicking on a certain link, upon entry into a particular page, or upon exit from the publisher’s website. The ad can also be served as a pop-under. The popout ad is comprised of a simple image, a search bar, and five keyword text links. Various styles are available, including small business, music, travel, real estate, and women.
Interstitials – Interstitials are webpages that are displayed before the main content loads. This provides an extra advertising opportunity for publishers. With RevenuePilot interstitials, publishers can set the number of results to show, the time to auto-hide, and the frequency of the interstitial. For example, there is a setting where a visitor will only be served an interstitial once every 24 hours.
Banners – The main banner offered by RevenuePilot is the standard 468x60. Unlike other banners of this type, the entire image is not clickable. Instead, the banner is comprised of a search field, along with 5-10 keywords. Creative have been designed to approach specific niches, like gaming, sports, money, and fitness. Vertical creatives (120x600) are also available using a very similar style of monetization.
Error Pages – Publishers need not lose an opportunity to make money when visitors arrive at an error page. HTML code is provided by RevenuePilot that presents visitors with a landing page comprised of several keywords as well as a search field. Error codes supported range from 220 (Coming Soon) and 408 (Request Time-Out) to 404 (Not Found) and 403 (Forbidden).
The RevenuePilot Control Panel could be one of its weakest features, because navigation through the various elements is not nearly as intuitive as it could be. Getting back to the “home” page for the member’s area is not immediately obvious. Furthermore, the primary navigational links are not available after a user clicks deeper into the member’s area.
For example, if a publisher were to go into the “Get Codes” section of the member’s area, there is no link to the Statistics section or the section to change Personal Information. This is particularly frustrating when browsing the various ad creatives, because there is no obvious way to get back to the main ad selection screen.
The website’s main navigation links remain visible throughout the process – Sign Up, Login, How it Works, etc. – but these links are not as useful when a publisher is already within the member’s area. A permanent sidebar with member navigation would offer much greater utility.
The “Get Codes” section is also severely lacking in supporting documentation, so many beginning webmasters may have a very difficult time understanding what each ad creative will offer and how it works. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that many previews do not work properly. A tutorial may be in order if RevenuePilot hopes to attract more publishers.
Statistics offered through the Member’s Area will include information on the sub-ID, referral URL, IP address, country, time, keywords, bid price, and money earned. This information can be provided as a monthly report, a monthly summary report, or as a daily summary report, the last of which can further be broken down by the minute and hour.
The registration process for RevenuePilot is fairly standard. The registration form will ask for basic information like the name and address of the potential publisher, as well as a description of the website where the ads will be served. This includes the number of page impressions served in the previous month, although the level of traffic appears to have little bearing on filling a successful application.
Approval time was surprisingly fast with an email confirming the creation of a RevenuePilot account within eight hours of registration.
There is a referral program at RevenuePilot wherein publishers are paid 10% of all earnings from accounts that are referred by that publisher and are subsequently accepted into RevenuePilot. This is a lifetime referral program, meaning publishers will earn that 10% for the lifetime of the referred account. As a result, publishers can make a nearly limitless level of passive income.
Whereas most other CPC/PPC advertising networks take a 50% commission on all successful ad clicks, RevenuePilot pays its publishers 60% of the bid price. This means that if the current bid price on a certain keyword is $1.00 and a visitor clicks on an appropriate ad, the publisher earns 60 cents.
Unfortunately, the bid levels are nowhere near that high. Through the member’s control panel, publishers are able to check the prices on any given keyword(s). Regardless of the target keyword, no bid was found to be over ten cents, meaning that the most lucrative of ad clicks would yield no more than six cents per click. Most bid amounts are in the two to five cent range.
Payment is available through PayPal or US check for no additional fee. A bank wire transfer is available, but comes with a $50 processing fee. The minimum payout level is $25 with payment being sent out within 60 days of the end of the month where total earnings exceed the minimum payout level. RevenuePilot claims that payment is typically sent within 30 to 45 days.
When a service ticket was submitted via email to the RevenuePilot customer support department, a reply was received within 10 minutes. The response, however, wasn’t completely satisfactory, so a follow-up question was then sent immediately afterwards. The response to the follow-up question went unanswered for days, so publishers should expect a rather inconsistent reply schedule from RevenuePilot customer support.
With a number of different ad implementation techniques, RevenuePilot appears to be a viable option for publishers who want greater choice over the type of ads that they serve. In addition to standard banner ads, RevenuePilot can also provide advertising in the form of interstitials, XML feeds, error pages, and more. The relatively low payout threshold of $25 and payment via PayPal are also features that many publishers will enjoy.
The RevenuePilot control panel could use some serious work as it is not nearly as intuitive and user-friendly as it could be. A greater level of supporting documentation and a better implemented navigational structure would go a long way in helping novice webmasters. The low bid prices are also a turnoff for many publishers who want to earn more than five cents per click.
A revamped backend and more professional-looking ad creatives may be the biggest improvements that RevenuePilot can bring to their advertising program.