An Open Letter to Tribal Fusion

May 2nd, 2007 by Chris

There is a saying in business, the pigs get fat, the hogs get slaughtered. Meaning if you’re too greedy you get bloated and you die.

With the introduction of Tribal Fusion Direct you have become a hog and your core business is suffering because of it. No longer are you the high paying niche CPM network every publisher wants to join, instead you are seen as a clumsy network that has fallen in many cases to a second tier remnant provider.

Almost all your problems hinge around Tribal Fusion Direct. You do not allow publishers to opt out of it, or serve it from a separate ad code, as you should. Instead, to serve your good ads, we have to serve these crappy low paying ads as well. You allow us to set a pricing floor, but we cannot set it any higher than $0.60, and it is global for all media units, so we have the same pricing floor for popunders as well as banners.

Perhaps your focus on these high volume, low rate, low quality ads has drawn attention away from your core business of niche targeted advertisements and thus are the cause of the decline in those ads as well, perhaps the decline is unrelated, but the fact that your core ads have declined isn’t helping your position much either.

Last month my take-home revenue (after your commission) from you was just over $1 CPM for popunders. So far this month its only around $0.60 CPM. That is ridiculous. In looking at my ad selection I see lots of popunders available at rates of $10 CPM or more, but I also see many Tribal Fusion Direct popunders whose rates are NOT published (why not more transparency here?) and I know in any case that you’re undoubtedly serving some of those that are paying less than a $1, but I cannot raise my pricing floor on popunders to a level that I would find acceptable.

Both Value Click Media and Casale Media blow your average popunder rate out of the water. True, your market popunders are far superior, neither of those two places can compete with rates like $10 CPM, but your TFD rates are like an anchor weighing down your average to a horrible degree and until you let publishers turn TFD off, the average is what really counts.

Of course your overall interface needs work too. How old is it now exactly? Key of this is your default management. Why should defaults need to expire every year and be updated? I have never seen another ad network do that. Also, nearly every other ad network now has easy support for floating defaults, you need to add this as well.

One solution to all of this for publishers is just to ban, by domain, all of your TFD advertisements. If you allowed us to serve TFD advertisements through a different ad code, or allowed us to set pricing floors in our ad codes, most of us would be more than happy to run the TFD ads, but when you force us to accept them all wholesale if we want to run the market ads, we’ll either have to drop you lower in our chain, or ban all of the TFD ads and not run them, at all. Either way, you’re losing revenue.

After years of being my primary provider, you’ve now been relegated to second tier for banners and third tier for popunders. Things are not looking good for you.

You need to give publishers more control over the ads. You need to update your backend. You need to allow us to create separate ad codes for Market & Direct type ads, or to set pricing floors with each adcode, not with each site as a whole. You need to allow floating defaults, remove the default expiration, and make the whole system easier to setup.

8 Responses to “An Open Letter to Tribal Fusion”

  1. ToddW  Says:

    Last month I got approx. $2 CPM for popunders from valueclick they’ve gone down a lot over the last couple years too.

  2. Josh P  Says:

    Amen! I’ve been with TF for years and over the past months I’m less and less satisfied. I really absolutely loved TF when I started yeas ago but, like you, I’ve sent them down the ranks in my lineup of ad networks.

    They’ve just got trouble on so many level.

  3. Anonymous  Says:

    I’ve actually been able to get them to raise my pricing floor above .60 by badgering my account rep enough, but it doesn’t seem to be something they like to do or want to advertise. The problem still remains that it’s an account-wide floor and can’t be set per ad size.

  4. Dan  Says:

    Nice post. Of course blocking by domain is a part solution, as if you block by domain to remove TFD you also lose that advertiser from publishing to market, however it seems that most TFD advertisers are the usual suspects so it is a very effective way around bar one or two. Of course, you should not have to work around it either.

    But I do agree about the decline in general even though I do not really suffer as compoundly as everyone else here.

    A new GUI has been mentioned in a past newsletter but not forthcoming, and I don’t see why some of the other functional tweaks haven’t been made (defaults etc) by now.

    When the much fabled new things (tech/UI/products) are rolled out, they are going to have to be big to impress and restore confidence.

  5. Michael  Says:

    I have not been able to get Tribal to even talk to me, sounds like i am no worse off. thanks for the update chris. Your the one person in this industry who’s opinion i trust 100%.

  6. MaxS  Says:

    I can’t say I’m surprised. Sounds like a sister of Burst Direct, which is a disgrace to the Burst network.

  7. Bill  Says:

    None of you get the point. Give me the option to opt-out of ALL advertising, as I don’t want ANY of you to get paid. Better yet, lets get back to basics… You shouldn’t be allowed to push advertising at me unless I authorize it first. This whole “Opt-Out” mind set is just a way for you to bypass legal channels anyway. I pay for my equipment, connection, and connections, and I should be the only one that can push/pull data through them. You guys are costing me a fortune with my service provider by consuming most of my bandwidth and data allowances. STOP IT NOW!!! The users out here that have a clue are getting very close to taking action to shut you all down. In the near term we will fix it where you will have to pay us to show your ads. So… get ready to pay through the nose.

  8. Chris  Says:

    Well no, Mr. Dollar tree. You don’t want to see our ads? Don’t visit our site, we pay for bandwidth too. You’re trying to be a shoplifter, DollarTree should know all about that.

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