Gives Adtech Ecosystem a ‘C’ Grade

Independent Publishers, representing 150 million monthly unique visitors, collaborate at to build industry knowledge around monetizing online content

SAN FRANCISCO & BOULDER, Colo.--(), a collective intelligence platform for online content publishers created by adtech companies sovrn Holdings, VigLink and powered by research firm Netpop, is today releasing the results of its Fall 2014 interview focusing on monetization.

427 online publishers interviewed between July 3rd and September 2nd, 2014 share their experience and opinions about challenges around making money from online content. Results show there to be a wide gap between publishers’ initial expectations and what it takes to build a successful online publishing business. Publishers and adtech companies need to work harder to bridge that gap.

Key findings from the Fall 2014 interview include:

  • Publishers consider content-targeted ads the quickest and easiest monetization option; mobile ads, link tools (affiliates) and behavioral targeted ads are next in ease/speed.
  • Publishers use an average of 3.3 ad networks; larger sites use more (4.0)
  • Publishers have very different experiences around monetizing: Larger pubs have a much easier time and can predict their income more accurately.
  • Many publishers go in “blind”: Nearly 1 in 4 do not know what to expect when they start monetizing the content on their site.
  • Publishers grade themselves a “C” in monetization and grade the industry a “C” in how much it does to help them. Larger pubs are only slightly more positive – grading themselves and the industry a “C+”
  • Biggest barriers to monetizing:
    • Not knowing what to do
    • Not having enough traffic
    • Many are discouraged: Nearly 1 in 3 say they tried and failed in the past
    • Time and money are also factors preventing publishers from starting to monetize

"We believe that the majority of publishers are finding that monetization is slower, harder and lower than expected because they don't have true insight on the value of their readers. Each reader that comes to their site is valued differently from a marketer's perspective,” said Walter Knapp, CEO at sovrn. “At sovrn, we are building tools to allow publishers to better understand the value of their readers but right now the ecosystem is tilted toward advertisers making the economics, and expectations, of making money online out of balance due to information asymmetry."

"It's not that monetization has slowed down, in fact the industry is booming,” said Lucy Bartlett, senior marketing manager at VigLink. ”Publishers need to be adding to their existing strategies by adding in new innovative native advertising approaches for increasing their revenue. All native advertising approaches have one characteristic in common- they are organic to the publisher's site. They do not detract from the experience, but rather they add to the high quality content already there." is free to participating publishers. It is designed to deliver constantly updated, highly actionable market intelligence that would be prohibitively expensive for any one publisher to generate on a regular basis. Participation requires only the completion of 5 to 10 minute online interviews. The community now numbers more than 700 publishers, representing over 150 million monthly uniques.

About is a collective intelligence platform designed to help online content publishers of all types grow their business. Through insights and observations shared anonymously with peers, benchmarks can be set and best practices uncovered. is a collaboration between Netpop, VigLink and sovrn Holdings. Netpop is a San-Francisco-based market research and strategy firm that has supported global technology companies and Internet brands for over a decade. VigLink is a content monetization company that helps online publishers earn revenue from the commerce they drive. Sovrn is an adtech company that advocates for independent publishers. To sign up or learn more, please visit

About VigLink

VigLink technology captures the value of content-driven commerce by making hyperlinks intelligent, allowing publishers to monetize and analyze out-clicks. The largest network of its kind, VigLink maximizes earnings for over 300,000 sites and works with more than 35,000 merchants, processing billions of page views and over five hundred million clicks every month. Founded in 2009 and based in San Francisco, VigLink is backed by top investors including Google Ventures, First Round Capital, and Emergence Capital. More information can be found at or @VigLink.

About sovrn

sovrn is an advocate of and partner to almost 20,000 publishers across the independent web, representing more than a million sites, who use our tools, services and analytics to grow their audience, engage their readers, and monetize their site. We own and operate one of the largest global exchanges that connects publishers with a complete range of third-party monetization solutions, including display, video, and mobile, as well as private marketplaces and data-driven yield optimization. sovrn is based in Boulder, Colo. with offices in New York. For more information, please visit or follow on Twitter @sovrnHoldings.

About Netpop

Netpop is a market research and strategy consulting firm based in San Francisco, specializing in understanding the use and perceptions of web-based products and services, including eCommerce, social media, online video, mobile applications, and B2B online advertising platforms. is built on Netpop’s proprietary collective insights platform - the first member-driven platform to generate market data that is community-based, easy to use, and mutually beneficial for its members.


Courtney Walsh, 303-875-9007


Courtney Walsh, 303-875-9007