An ad broker is a middleman between advertisers and page providers. They do the gruntwork of selling ads to the advertisers, letting the page providers concentrate on providing their content. Ideally, page providers just put the ad reference on their page, maintain and develop their site as usual, and cash a check once a month.
I have been evaluating a few different brokers.
[PennyWeb Network] [Narrowcast Media] [Aaddzz] [ValueClick] [Burst! Media] [engage Media] [Internet Banner Network] [Webnetad] [Ad-Up] [AdXchange] [DoubleClick] [eAds] [WebConnect]
These folks serve some obnoxious ad types such as pop-unders, but you can opt out of those. I can't say any more about them since they turned down my application.
Their terms look good, registration is automatic. However, no ads actually appear, email goes unanswered, their 800# is disconnected, and their regular phone number goes to a voicemailbox which also goes unanswered. So apparently they are not actually in business.
They run both impression and click campaigns, plus a banner exchange program, and their own ads for any leftover pageviews. However they don't actually sell very many ads to real advertisers, so most of the pageviews are unpaid. They've been in "open beta test" since 1997. If they ever get around to going fully live, they should be a good service.
Cost-per-click only. Pays from $0.05 to $0.20 per click. However I've applied three times over the years and they've rejected me each time. The first two times they didn't even explain why. The third time the explanation made no sense.
They do both CPM and CPC campaigns, and they try to keep your site busy with run-of-network campaigns between targetted ones. I ran Burst! ads from 1998 to 2000. They paid on time and used most of my pageviews, so I was very happy with them. However, they dumped me for supposedly have pornographic pages elsewhere on my site. I didn't think they were pornographic, and didn't have ads on those pages anyway, but whatever.
The former flycast network and ADSmart pages now redirect here. Requires a minimum of 250,000 impressions per month to do CPM ads, otherwise you get stuck with CPC.
Pays only 0.25 cents per hit, but they do count multiple hits within your site. Or so they claim, for now.
These folks appear to be based in India, which doesn't necessarily imply anything. However I sent in an application and then never heard anything back.
Handles any size web site, but their commission varies depending on your impressions/month. And they only pay for unique impressions.
AdXchange pays 1 cent per impression. Ads are automatically rotated based on each page's content categories. If they don't have paid ads scheduled they fall back to "banner exchange" mode, showing banners for themselves or other AdXchange sites - those ads are unpaid.
DoubleClick is very slick and professional. However, they wouldn't reveal how much they take as commission, and they want a $1000 registration fee. No thanks. They seem to be going for high-traffic web pages only, but that seems a little weird since high-traffic page providers can afford the effort to sell their own ads. Well, whatever. I'm sure they'll do fine without my participation.
Their "Frequently Asked Question" page, which actually includes four questions&answers, does not specify what the payment rate is. It does specify that payment is based on clicks of the ad, not on viewings. So, whatever the payment is, it had better be a lot higher than the other brokers. Unconfirmed rumor puts the payment at five cents per click, which is probably not high enough.
Also, their web technology is a little primitive in that ads are not automatically rotated - each content provider has to manually edit their HTML to switch ads.
Pays 70% of what they take in, but charges advertisers by the month instead of by impression. They're probably not interested in small sites.