Adgator: Africa's First Advertising Network for Bloggers

Adgator is the first ad network for African bloggers created by Afrigator, a social media search engine and blog directory. The network is currently being tested in South Africa. Plans are underway to launch the network in Kenya and Nigeria next year.

Why an ad network for bloggers? Lester Hein explains on Afrigator's blog:

Why would we want to create an ad network I hear you ask? Well, it’s simple. We know that for many bloggers, writing is a passion and an outlet. But we also know that it takes up many long hours and that sometimes is gets difficult to keep going with no real reward (other than the satisfaction of your content being read and interacted with by others). So we’ve built a system that allows bloggers to earn some money from their blogs.
Since it’s still early days for the system, we’ve invited a small group of bloggers to try out the system and be the first to start making some money from their blogs. If you would like to join us, have a look at for more info.

Justin Hartman notes that Adgator links bloggers to advertisers “in a way that Google Adsense and other forms of online marketing simply can't do.”

He continues:

The more I’ve been watching the collective growth of our network the more I’ve come to realise just how powerful blogs are in relation to other traditional websites. As an example, the top 100 blogs in South Africa (as measured by Afrigator) account for more than 1.7 million unique users and serves over 5.6 million page views each month.
This makes the network as powerful in terms of audience reach to South Africa’s #1 local website, News24, which also serves around 1.7 million uniques each month ~ (Nielsen Netratings – Q2 June 2008).
The scary part for me is that more than 1,200 blogs registered on Afrigator haven’t implemented our tracking code so they can’t be added to these figures and if you had to add them to the mix I have little doubt the network would look a whole lot different.
So, with a total network cap of 3.2 million unique users and 7.9 million page views I’ve often wondered how we can use this network to all of our advantage and I believe Adgator is the answer to this pondering.

How does one join Adgator?:

The concept of Adgator is simple. Sign up as a blogger, insert a piece of code into your blog theme and we’ll go out and find advertisers who are willing to spend money. Each time a blogger sees one of our ads on their website they know that they’ve made money. Initially we’ll be sticking to a CPM model because that’s what advertisers understand and we will share 50% of the revenue with bloggers.
This model means that a blog serving as little as 2,500 page views a month can make R300 for doing nothing and if you’re lucky enough to be a high-traffic blog your earnings could be as high as six figures. Our aim with Adgator is to be as transparent as possible and all blog owners will have their own access to our system so they can track their earnings in real time. In our reporting we break down cost, revenue share and total income so the blogger knows exactly who’s getting what.

Bloggers Reaction

Bloggers have reacted positively to the creation of an advertising network focusing on African advertisers.

“Adgator takes on Adsense in Africa,” declares Appfrica:

The South African social media aggregator Afrigator is taking on Google’s Adsense by offering a platform for Advertisers and bloggers interesting serving their local audience. Afrigator has a reach of 1.7 million African bloggers. Platforms like Adsense often fail in foreign markets because of their size; a significant portion of the ads they place aren’t relevant to local audiences at all. By focusing on South Africa specifically, Adgator can make sure that the ROI for advertisers remains pretty high.

Afrigator has money and credibility to run an ad network:

Afrigator recently had a sizeable stake acquired by MIH Print Africa, a division of Naspers Limited. This gives them more money to work with, and more credibility. This also means that they have a sizable sales team at their disposal, which is one of the biggest issues when doing an ad network.

Before you run off to Adgator and sign up, here are a couple things you should know:

It’s a 50% revenue split with Adgator.
You get paid on a CPM basis, so you had better have a good deal of traffic to make money.

A piece of advice from South African blogger Rafiq:

Want to deliver targeted ads across South Africa’s top blogs? Reaching over 1,770,000+ unique people each month. Give AdGator a go.

Chris M has a list of things he would love to see on Adgator:

• Cookie setting to avoid logging in each time
• Firefox widget to see daily earnings
• A daily average statistic in the dashboard
• A blogger referral affiliate system
◦ Ability to see how many referred
◦ Ability to see how much revenue earned
• A way to see all advertisers currently serving Ads to my site
◦ Ability to block them
◦ Ability to maximize impressions from them
◦ Ability to minimize impressions from them
◦ An understanding of whether they’re paying for local only traffic
• A way to choose the pay-out threshold
• A leaderboard, showing top 20 earning bloggers per month
No doubt, I’ll come across more and as I go, I’ll keep adding them to this list.

Greenman is excited about “The chance for local advertisers to advertise locally, and for local bloggers to earn locally, without an American company taking a cut and subsidising BushObama…”

It is about creating a fairer world:

Circulating money as locally as possible is one the most important prerequiites for a fairer world, and one of great potentials of the internet.
The giant vacuum cleaner effect of large US/European companies earning effortless revenue from everywhere in the world is one of the most insidious effects of this otherwise highly beneficial burgeoning global community. Credit card companies, Paypal, Skype – the money goes in one direction only. Google actually send some back the other way, but slice a large chunk off on the way. It happens in so many spheres – telecoms, where two Nigerians communicating with each other one building apart have their call routed via Europe, earning money for European telecoms providers. Or in food, where raw cacao is picked, sent to Europe, processed into chocolate bars, and sent back to Africa. Or computers… or just about anything.
The internet breaks this vicious cycle in the easiest way. While producing something like computers may require large investment and equipment, the barrier to entry in the virtual world is much smaller. Primarily, it requires skills, while at the same time the internet is the best means to ensure access to the knowledge required for developing these skills.
Adgator potentially breaks the loop in the online advertising sphere, and does so in a way that on the surface seems to be a great deal for local bloggers – a 50-50 share between Adgator and the blogger.

However, Adgator design has irritated Shaun:

The single most irritating thing about South Africans, the interwebs, and web 2.0 is that nobody can dream up a single original idea and build it. (Except for, I’m hoping, this guy). We copy muti from digg, amatomu and afrigator from technorati, Synthasite from [choose-your-lame-site-builder], Blueworld “social network” (ahem!) from myspace, AmaGama/iBlog from, Zoopy/YouTube, the list goes on, and then we slap some really stupid justification like “we are localising it for a South African audience“.
Yeah, localising it for what South African audience? The one that uses the *other* internet that we have in SA, not the *real* Internet? Come on.
Yes, you all suck on originality, copycats, and that pisses me off.
But there’s a new one. And oh, how the mighty have fallen!
After bitching and whining and moaning and circle-jerking in a great hoohaa about how Regator kinda sorta maybe looks a bit like Afrigator, yes I’m looking at you Mike, and Stii, and Justin, and co, you have the nerve to launch Adgator on the site design of Text Link Ads. That’s pretty low. And Lame. You couldn’t even change all the text…
Did you honestly think nobody would notice? Or was I surfing on that *real* Internet that doesn’t have an audience in SA and this is a better more “localized” version?

Justin Hartman of Afrigator responds:

Hi Shaun
I’ll copy the same response I left on Chris’ blog when this came up.
Geez you guys are sharp and on the ball – there’s no getting away with anything!!!
Text Link Ads was my inspiration due to the simplicity of the layout and design and I’d be lying if I said we didn’t copy the code.
To be honest we didn’t really expect the site to be going live so quickly and we needed something up and running ASAP. With Mark Forrester on leave (planning his wedding) I was left at the web design helm and this is what you get when you let a business/operations guy to do the design!


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