Jason Calacanis is bashing the ad networks in a recent post. He doesn’t like them, which figures since his content business in the past (Weblogs Inc.) handled a huge amount of traffic. It’s a bit of a duh post, you know, things that has been said a lot of times before, but I guess it needs repeating.
If you’re under $250,000 a year in advertising? Sure, go for it. Break $250,000 a year, you should go for it with an ad sales person.
Ad networks usually take 40-50% of your ad dollars. That’s a lot of money. They do, however, have connections that you, or a small sales person, doesn’t, which opens doors to wide campaigns that you would’ve missed out on otherwise. If you’ve got a niche, however, those wide campaigns isn’t as interesting, and you’re better of going with a dedicated sales person earlier on, since the peeps at the ad networks won’t do the necessary niche work, and just push out the ads in their pool.
When to switch from ad network to your own sales rep? It depends, and I guess Jason’s got some merit to his numbers in the quote above. I certainly can’t make a better estimate.
The ideal solution would of course to have a strong sales person in your team when launching your content business, but few of us have that luxury.