Unruly: The Video Ad Network

Many a person dreams of building a website, watching it grow, and retiring off of their newfound wealth. This dream has become a reality for a select few entrepreneurs, and a path of learning some hard lessons for others. On the way to making exorbitant amounts of money one must determine a few things. First, they must determine how to make exorbitant amounts of money. Although it may seem obvious, it’s not. In the world of normal products, someone builds something, they set a price, and then they sell it. In the world of software and websites, many services are free. The vast majority of us use free email accounts. And we use free online storage. Free photo editing tools, or news, or just about anything you can think of. It’s all free for the taking, online.

So how does one make money online? As one astute technology entrepreneur pointed out, charge your customers! This novel age old idea has made its way throughout the internet. Some news sites have attempted to charge for premium content. And many online services offer a free basic package with upgraded full featured content for a fee. And so once again, the cycle of the internet economy has returned to financial equilibrium. But not all sites are so lucky. Perhaps they don’t offer a service that they might charge for. When was the last time you paid Google to search for something? Or Facebook to connect with all your friends? The answer is you paid them by viewing their ads.

Sample Unruly Video.

Yes, there’s an obscenely large amount of money transferring hands online over advertising. With this stunning discovery in mind, many entrepreneurs embark with the hopes of making money from ads. As it turns out, this isn’t that easy either. The cold hard truth of the matter is most viewers don’t like ads. They don’t want to click them. They don’t like pop-ups, pop-unders- they don’t like any of it. They just want the content that they came for. To the end user ads are most typically perceived as spam, which can leave an underwhelming ROI for site owners.

But not all ads are flash enabled widgets that loudly offer you a free iPod Nano. Some ads are those that people might actually like to see. Among the most popular of these, are videos. Yes, video ads can at times be entertaining. Sometimes marketing teams are able to design something that really generates a chuckle and causes people to share it with all their friends. The ever elusive viral marketing is what every company hopes for.

For the past six years a video advertiser/publisher network has been growing in our midst. It’s called Unruly, and it’s changing the way companies advertise and the way site owners can monetize their websites. At its core Unruly is a network that connects publishers of videos with a network of sites that will display them. For publishers it’s a high end market thing, where they customize each campaign to the needs of the client. That is to say, it’s not for your every day website to throw together a home made video and cut it loose on their network for 50 cents per view. The videos are well developed professionally produced comedic shorts.

For publishers though it’s a different story. Unruly has arrangements to display videos on high end sites, but anyone can join. And, they boast a higher pay rate than other ad networks, including Adsense. More importantly, for those of us who are a bit ideological about what goes on their sites, you’re able to select and control what videos are displayed. So site owners can include video content that their users will appreciate and find interesting.

Unruly’s latest news is that they acquired the ever elusive seed money to the tune of $25m. That’s about $25m more dollars than most sites make, to provide some perspective. With billions of video views, which receive throngs of Facebook shares, they have a strong foothold in the social video market.