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Pay-Per-Play – If It Sounds Too Good…

9 January, 2008 (10:32) | Business | By: Nick Dalton

Pay-Per-Play is a service from NetAudioAds that will play a 5 second advertisement sound clip to every person who lands on your web page. Since it’s an ad you get paid each time it’s played. And since the web page visitor doesn’t have to click on anything you have essentially a 100% conversion rate. This sounds like a dream come true for Internet business entrepreneurs who have seen their AdSense checks shrink.

Many big name marketers have been promoting Pay-Per-Play for their pending launch on February 1st. Pay-Per-Play has a three tier affiliate program, which is the reason why marketers with big lists are encouraging you to sign up under their affiliate id. Since it’s free to sign up it’s an “easy sell”.

I’m sure that Pay-Per-Play has seen an explosive growth in the number of web sites who have signed up to their service. If the promoters would have done their due diligence they would have learned that this is not the first time this company has built an affiliate network, and last time they left many affiliates unhappy and without money.

Money for nothing

Money every time my page is loaded… I can hear the script kiddies’ minds working themselves into a frenzy. A small little script that loads my web pages every second would net me $xxx per day…

Pay-Per-Play would have to build in some serious fraud protection into their system. But that’s certainly possible. You don’t hear about a lot of fraud anymore related to banner advertising.

Banner ads anyone?

Pay-Per-Play is a novel idea, but it’s not all that different from banner advertising. Let’s continue this comparison with banner ads. I see some definite downsides for Pay-Per-Play:

  • The audio ad is played once and then it’s gone. A banner ad is visible on the page, attracting your attention until you go to another page.
  • You cannot click on an audio ad to get more information.
  • If you don’t have your speakers turned on you will not hear the audio ad. I’m guessing that a lot more people have their sound turned off while surfing the web at work, than there are people who have installed banner ad blockers.

If you were an advertiser would you pay the same amount of money for an Pay-Per-Play audio ad as you would for a banner ad? Especially since there is no established system to audit Pay-Per-Play ads. I would say they have to be sold at a substantial discount compared to banner ads. I believe that a reasonable rate for banner ads is $3 CPM. (That’s $3 per thousand impressions.)

If Pay-Per-Play can charge 1/10th of that and they pay you 25%, that means you get less than $1 per ten thousand page views. That’s a far cry from the $0.01-0.03 per play that the sales page predicts. Better rev up those scripts a couple of notches…

More missing details

PayPerPlay is less than a month away from their launch, but they haven’t released any details on:

  • Who their “major search engine” partner is.
  • Any advertisers who have signed up.
  • Any rate information.

How many red flags do you need?

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


Comment from Ryan Healy
Time: January 9, 2008, 12:52

Great analysis, Nick. I saw something about Pay-per-Post a couple weeks ago, yawned, and clicked away. Anytime there’s triple-tier payouts (as close to MLM as you can get without being one), people’s greed begins to color their opinions. Thanks for the objective post.

Comment from Guardian Angel
Time: January 17, 2008, 14:38

Hi! I saw this link from your comments to Problogger. Anyways, I was about to join this pay-per-play thing but I have so many doubts that is why I did not. Now my doubts increased with your clear analysis data. But just to add, isn’t it annoying that while you’re reading a great post, suddenly you will hear a 5-sec disturbance?
Thanks for sharing…

Comment from Mike
Time: February 6, 2008, 10:00

Well I can’t show that members are starting to get paid yet but I can tell you that as of today Pay Per Play affiliates are beginning to report earnings.

Angel a 5 second audio ad will be over by the time a person starts to read a good post, it will not play for another 3 minutes for that same person and they have to go to another page for a different audio ad to play. That is not near as irritating as a lot of other things online like pop ups, pop unders, the latest peel away ads, spam and all the rest. Actually I am looking forward to hearing the variety of ads that will play.

If we can generate additional revenue from our sites, blogs and forums with the Pay Per Play free opportunity then how can it be a bad thing?

Just my thoughts.


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