Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tribal Fusion Direct - Domain Exclusion List

I tried for years to get my sites accepted to the Tribal Fusion network. Literally, years. I was rejected time and time again, and the more rejections I got, the more I wanted in. I'd heard so many great things about the Tribal Fusion network that it became something of an obsession. Finally after my umpteenth rejection, I raised a fuss about it, called Publisher support, sent some emails, and after a long and drawn-out conversation - wouldn't you know it - they accepted me!

Never underestimate the power of persistence.

Anyway, the victory was bittersweet, because after only a few weeks on the network I began to realize that the Tribal Fusion hype was, well, just that. My numbers were ok, and it was nice to have this additional revenue stream coming in each day, but it was far from the quality and quantity of ads I'd anticipated. For a while I just let Tribal Fusion sit there at the end of my ad-chains, until lo-and-behold, I discovered a primary reason behind the poor performance: Tribal Fusion Direct.

What is Tribal Fusion Direct? It is basically a completely separate subset of ads that Tribal Fusion can run on your site, without ever actually letting you know their individual CPM rates. Worse still, Tribal Fusion Direct campaigns will actually ignore the "Minimum CPM" floor amount that you set in your publisher preferences (which currently bottoms out at $0.60CPM). Worse even still, you can't opt-out of Tribal Fusion Direct! So thousands of your hard-earned ad impressions can be (and often are) eaten up by these bottom-of-the-barrel campaigns, dragging down your overall CPM rate and throwing your daily earnings into the dumper.

While you can't actually see CPM rates for individual Tribal Fusion Direct campaigns, you are shown a summary in your Reports >> Campaign area which will show you the overall performance for all Tribal Fusion Direct campaigns currently running on your site. Don't see it? Scroll allllllllll the way down to the bottom - its dropped in as a line-item at the very end under "Tribal Fusion Direct". Oftentimes you'll see the overall TF Direct CPM rate at 40, 30, 20 cents... sometimes even as low as 10 or 12 cents. Maybe that's good enough for some folks, but not for me.

So, how can you avoid the black hole that is Tribal Fusion Direct?

Its a bit of a pain, but the only real way to avoid serving these garbage ads is to block every Tribal Fusion Direct campaign by domain name. (Yes, I know, this is ridiculous - it would be incredibly easy for Tribal Fusion to create a "TF Direct" category and then let you just opt out of that category, but alas that's not to be). So generally what I do every few days is:

1. Log in to Tribal Fusion
2. Go to Reports >> Campaigns and then click on the "Buy Type" header to order the table data between "Market" campaigns and "Tribal Fusion Direct" campaigns.
3. Open every campaign listed as "Tribal Fusion Direct" under Buy Type, and note down the ad-blocking domain for that campaign. Put them all in a list, one domain per line.
4. Once you have a complete list of domains, click your domain name in the left-hand nav bar area to get to your "Market, Manage, Reports" area.
5. Click the "Manage" tab
6. Click the "Ad Blocking" tab
7. Select "Block By Domain" in the pull down and paste your list of domains into the textarea box, then click Submit.

After a few hours, any ads from these domains will no longer display on your Tribal Fusion account. You will definitely notice an increase (often quite large) in your overall CPM rates the very next day.

Ok, so that's a pain, right? Well here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to give you a full list of all domains I am currently blocking in order to avoid the Tribal Fusion Direct black hole. Feel free to copy and paste it directly into your own Ad Blocking area. I'll keep my Tribal Fusion Direct Exclusion List updated and you can stop by any time to pick up the latest blacklisted domains.

Tribal Fusion Direct - Domain Exclusion List
Updated: June 26, 2008

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