Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Changes in Impressions Counts

We've rolled out a change in the way we count impressions. The change is reasonably simple, as illustrated below.

So basically we're counting the impression at the end of delivery rather than at the beginning. For most publishers, this won't make a big difference in terms of impressions, but you may see lower impression counts. This will mostly happen on pages where the user clicks through the page before the ad has time to load.

From a revenue standpoint there are two things to look at:

  1. CPC ads: Nobody clicks on ads they haven't seen, so you're not losing any click revenue.
  2. CPM ads: One of the drivers for this change is that our partners are reporting that our impressions counts are too high. This change is expected to bring the numbers in line. We're not anticipating any large change in payouts here, just happier advertising partners. Most CPM campaigns are capped per user and most users are reaching their caps.

On a related note, impression counts for today (2008-12-17) will be low. This is a side-effect of the changes we made, overall revenue should remain reasonably stable, expect these numbers to line up again tomorrow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Adknowledge Acquires Lookery Ads

Lookery and Adknowledge are pleased to announce that Lookery’s ad serving business has been acquired by Adknowledge / Lookery has been seeking a company to acquire its ad serving business that is able to both provide you with the same or higher payouts that you are currently receiving and provide the same level of service that you have come to expect from Lookery. We found both of those qualities in Adknowledge / Cubics.

The good news is that the transition does not involve changing ad codes, everything is still working as usual and there was no downtime. The only change required on your part is that your ad statistics are now being reported in a publisher account that has been created for you. Your login details have been e-mailed to your account.

If you are currently operating under a Lookery Guaranteed CPM program, that guarantee will continue under the Cubics system. If the system is not currently displaying your guaranteed value for all traffic, please drop us a line.

Rex is still available to answer your questions and introduce you to the publisher team at Cubics. You can also contact your Cubics publisher representative, Gates, at Adknowledge / Cubics with any questions and to learn more about the company and transition.

Adknowledge / Cubics is the largest social ad network, displaying over 10 billion impressions per month on social networks. They are a 150 person company including brand sales offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, London & Sydney. Their advertiser depth and industry experience will undoubtedly provide you with the revenue and service you deserve.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Adknowledge Acquires Adonomics

A press release was put out this morning for the acquisition of Adonomics by Adknowledge (Cubics parent company).

From our GM Dwayne Lafleur:

We will continue to provide this data to the community in the same spirit as Adonomics has done in the past. Additionally, Adonomics will be able to provide the publisher community with additional tools and information as we look to merge this data within the Cubics platform.
The site has already been moved to our servers and you'll see small changes over the next couple of days. We have no plans on shutting the service down, in fact, we have lots of plans to expand the features of Adonomics to better serve the publisher community. We've already assigned some resources to building out several essential features, so expect better things from Adonomics in the future.

I can't go on about the list of plans we have, but I'd love to hear any questions / comments / ideas you have. So please post them in the comments below or contact us directly.

User feedback definitely influences the features that get added first.

Friday, October 24, 2008

New Reports Page

If you've logged in to the Cubics UI over the last few weeks, you may have seen a few changes. In particular, I wanted to talk about the new Publisher Reports page in detail.

The screen has two significant new features: Filtering and Grouping. Our previous filtering was limited to one channel and one application. If you had three applications and you wanted to break them out, you had to run the report three times. That's changed.

Here's a screenshot of the new reports:

From a developer's perspective, the setup is pretty easy. Filters are like WHERE clauses and Grouping is like GROUP BY. If you want to select more than one item in a filters box hold the CTRL key and click on each of the items to include.

So what's it good for?
The primary benefit is obviously to be able to report across apps and placements. Common reports you can run: earnings/CPM last week for each app, earnings/CPMs for each channel or placement in your app, break out quality by Ad Size.

What about my old reports page?
The new stats begin at October 10, 2008. For older stats use the account summary report link.

A couple of key things here:


There's a blog post here on how to set up Applications for your account. You may need to update your ad code, but this extra information will help our system to optimize your inventory.

Many publishers are not taking advantage of the Channels feature, but it's worth knowing about. A Channel is effectively a "virtual group" that you set up. Channels are there to let you up granularity on your reporting.

The simplest case for channels is simply to name each spot on your app. So you could have channels like "MyApp_Main_Top" and "MyApp_Profile_Right". Doing this makes it easy to report on which ad placements are performing or even seeing much traffic.

To add channels to your existing ad code, just set the Channel variable or parameter as highlighted in these two examples:

<fb:iframe src="'"20311&plid="18542&adSize="728x90&bgColor="%23ffffff&textColor="%23000000&linkColor="%230033ff&channel=MyChannelName&appid=506' width='728' height='90' frameborder='0' border='0' scrolling='no'></fb:iframe>

<!--- Ad Code START -->
<script type="text/javascript">
var pid = 20311;
var appId = 506;
var plid = 18542;
var adSize = "728x90";
var linkColor = "%230033ff";
var textColor = "%23000000";
var bgColor = "%23ffffff";
var channel = "My Channel Name";
var frameSize = "728x90";
<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript" src=""> </script>
<!--- Ad Code END -->

We think the reporting setup is reasonably intuitive, but please drop us a line if you have any questions or issues making any of this work.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Some current issues

Hello Developers;

There was some server down-time yesterday during the afternoon and night (North America time). The ad servers were serving up mostly "default ads" and blanks. No impressions were registered because we were not showing actual ads.

The issue has been resolved on our end and the servers are operating normally. Thank you to those who reported the issue. It happened on a Sunday night (local time), so we're just now getting back to everyone who brought it up.

On a related issue, the Quality and Engagement scores all "went to zero" over the weekend. This has the same source as the problems on the ad server, so you'll see the numbers come back when the issue has been resolved.

Lastly, we've had a pair of reports that the "Default Ad Substitution" has stopped working as of late. We fixed some code last night that resolves some cases where the substitution was not happening. If this has happened to you, please let us know by e-mail or by a comment below.

For those who don't know about Default Ad Substitution, please check it out. It only takes a few minutes and it at least provides a hedge for regions where we don't have a deep rotation.

Friday, August 1, 2008

New Quality and Engagement Scores

Sometime this afternoon, all of our Publishers will be greeted with new numbers on their reports screen. These two new numbers are: Quality and Engagement. Yes, you've seen Quality before, but it has changed. Here's how we define the two terms.


Your Quality Score is based on the conversion rate of your traffic for our advertisers compared to the Cubics network average. Conversion rate is defined as the percentage of users that take a specific action either post-click or post-impression.

A score of 5 indicates average traffic quality, 10 is highest, 1 is lowest.

For example, if 1% of your users purchase an item after clicking on, or seeing (for post-impression), an advertiser’s ad and the Cubics network average for that advertiser is also 1%, you will have a quality rating of 5.


Engagement is a measure of how prominent your ad placements are to your users and, subsequently, how engaged they are with the advertiser’s message.

An engagement rating of 5 indicates that your placements are average compared to the entire Cubics network. An engagement rating of 10 is highest, a rating of 1 is lowest.

There are four main factors that make up the engagement metric.

  1. The prominence of the placement on the page – such as above the fold, within the users natural eye and mouse path.
  2. The percentage of people that interact with an ad in some fashion including clicking, interacting with a dynamic or flash ad, and/or scrolling the mouse over an ad.
  3. The number of ads on a page. Generally speaking, the more ads that are placed on a page, the less engaged a user is with each ad individually – particularly with ads of the same size.
  4. The amount of time that a user spends on a page with the ad in the viewable area of their screen.

Changing your engagement metric upwards by improving on the 4 items above is the easiest way to increase your CPM payout rate since many major brand advertisements only show on high engagement placements.

Where did my previous Quality scores go?

We're using new metrics based on recent data to calculate the quality score so we've simply eliminated the old quality (you'll see N/A posted on records prior to last week). The old quality was too closely tied to the eCPMs, so we had to do away with them.

If you're seeing N/A on days in the last week, this simply means that we don't yet have enough relevant data to define the given score.

Why are we doing this?

Cubics is still a "black box" system. We are planning to stay this way, but we are looking to provide more insight and actionable data with which to work. We had an extended discussion about this topic in the Facebook forums, but the problem is not an easy one to solve. Providing these numbers is a first step. You're now getting numbers that talk about traffic quality in more specific ways.

A primary benefit of having these numbers is to provide network-level insight. One of the problems with eCPM is that it changes day-to-day and it's not really your problem. The network as a whole has 10 to 15% daily fluctuations. Some people were seeing a 15% drop in eCPMs (revenue) for "no good reason".

This system changes that, now your quality and engagement are relative to the network medians. If your eCPM changes but your quality/engagement do not change, then it's probably just the network.

Why are quality and engagement important?

Everyone wants better eCPMs, but eCPMs are a really misleading stat in this space. What everyone really wants are better payouts and more revenue. Of course, this is what advertisers are looking for too. Advertisers want people to see their ads (Engagement) and they want people to buy their products (Quality). Advertisers are willing to pay more money for ads with more engagement and quality and this will effect revenue as a whole.

In fact, some advertisers only want to be shown on places with high quality and engagment. Brand advertisers have definitely pushed for these metrics, so we're letting you see them first.

We'll start posting more details about increasing Quality and Engagement in the future. The first step is to make sure that you have registered your apps and that you're sending us app-level data.

What do you think of the new system? Please leave us comments on the blog or drop us a line.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

10B monthly impressions, MySpace Virality

2 Big pieces of news. The first is that we've just made a press release regarding monthly impression counts. We're now doing 10B monthly impressions:

"Our massive reach allows advertisers to get their message out to an extremely
large number of online consumers in an environment where they spend a large
portion of their time,"
says Dwayne Lafleur, General Manager of Adknowledge
Social Advertising

We're also launching a new "promo" on MySpace.

EDIT (2008-07-24): a more detailed press release here.

The MySpace application platform does not contain many of the viral features of the other platforms. So we are launching a system that allows them to monetize their MySpace application and build their user-base simultaneously. Adknowledge now matches 100% of money that MySpace application developers earn from their application in free advertising for that application. Our goal with this offering is to help grow the entire application platform on MySpace and make it as vibrant as the Facebook platform.

This initiative is currently slated to run until the end of August. We may run it out further or produce other similar offerings based on feedback and overall success.

Details: for this to work, we need to connect your publisher account to your advertiser account. The easiest way to do this is to go here and login. You'll be taken to a screen for "linking" an existing advertiser account or creating a new one.
  1. If you have an existing advertiser account, you simply need to enter your user name and password and we'll link to this account.
  2. If you do not have an advertiser account, enter a password for that account (bottom) box and click the Create button to create a new acount.
  3. If you have multiple publisher accounts, you can connect each publisher account using method 1.

Once you've made the connection you'll be ready to receive deposits into your advertiser account. Each day at noon we'll make a deposit equal to the previous day's earnings on MySpace traffic.

If you're having any difficulties with getting set up, please leave a comment on this blog or drop us a line.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New Facebook, new Ad size

The new Facebook profile re-design is well underway. Based on the information we have at this time, the new page width will be 760 pixels. This opens up the opportunity for a new popular ad format: the Leaderboard. Leaderboards are 728 x 90.

The leaderboard effectively takes up the width of the new canvas and adds a few more pixels of height. If you were using the Facebook Banner or the standard Banner, the Leaderboard is the ideal substitution for the new profile redesign.

If you're using our other supported platforms you're also encouraged to use the leaderboard. MySpace, Hi5 and Bebo also have similar page widths, so it's a good match.

Why change?

  1. Appearance
    The Facebook Banner fills the page left to right, that format was launched because developers wanted to use this whole space.
    The Leaderboard will fill the same role after the re-design.

  2. Popularity
    Big Advertisers really like the Leaderboard and they're willing to pay more for these ads. This format has been a highly requested feature for quite some time.
Why now?
Yes, MySpace and others have been able to support this size for quite some time. However the largest chunk of our traffic is still on Facebook. Too many ad sizes makes for too much advertiser work. We've held off on this change to ensure sufficient reach for our advertisers.

The Facebook redesign gives us the opportunity to benefit both our publishers and our advertisers, so we're launching this format.

How do I get these?
Get your new ad code by logging in to your Cubics Publisher account and clicking on the Place Ads button. Select your platform and you'll see the new size listed in step 4 (see image below).

While you're there, please take the time to track your apps. The Cubics system will optimize ad placements at the app level, we're also rolling out reporting at this level. If you're already updating your ad code, now is the easiest time to get your AppId in there as well.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Cubics down-time

Cubics was down for three hours this afternoon (Sunday, 2008-06-07).

It was an issue at the data center level, affecting hundreds of web servers. At the moment, it looks like data is current and intact.

It's a long weekend here in the US, so we'll have a better idea of what happened tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Track your apps, New FB ad size

We've just launched a couple of new features for our Cubics Developers. One big, one small.

The small feature is that we now support a "Facebook Banner" size of 645x60. See the screenshot below for a sample of what it looks like. Please note that this is not an IAB standard size, so we don't have nearly as many graphic ads in this size. Switching to this ad may result in a change in payouts.

The next change is the big one: we're adding application-level tracking throughout the system.

Lots of publishers don't just have multiple apps, they also have multiple apps on multiple platforms. To date, the best level of optimization that we could perform was a publisher-level optimization. So if you had two completely different apps with completely different user bases, we may have been missing the mark on our optimization routines.

These recent changes will fix that. They will also allow you to track earnings on an application basis without creating multiple channels to handle this case. App-level statistics are also a big deal from an advertiser perspective. We've already received several advertiser requests to advertise on a specific set of apps, but we obviously need numbers at the app level.

So we've rolled out the changes to include an AppID in the ad code. Here are the visual steps for doing this. First visit the Place Ads page and select your platform.

Now you'll see the new Step 2. To start, you won't have any apps available, so click on the Manage Apps link. Once you've added apps to the system, you'll be able to select apps from the drop-down

The app list is blank to start, so click on the Add Application link to start adding your apps. You'll likely find it useful to have your platform-specific app manager screen available at this point.

The information requested will vary based on the platform. If you have a Facebook app, all we need is the Public Key (just make sure the app has been published to the directory).

Apps on Bebo and other platforms will require more information, but they should all be functional.

Once you've added your applications you can return to the "Place Ad" screen and regenerate your ad code.

The quickie FAQ.

  • Do I have to add apps?
    No you don't the system will work fine without the AppIDs. However, it is highly recommended to do it now rather than later. Even if you only have one app, it's nice to be able to add a second without having to change things on the first app.
  • How come apps aren't in the reports?
    We're updating the reporting feature to accomodate the changes in apps. It's not really useful right now because we don't have any app-level data. Expect to see this feature very soon.
  • Will this influence my payouts?
    Some publishers will not see a significant payout difference, but others may see changes. If you only have one app, then it's unlikely to affect your payouts. If you have multiple apps, then we're more likely to find the right ads for your audience, which should affect your payout.

As always, any feedback is much appreciated, we have several small rollouts planned over the next couple of weeks, so we'd love to hear your experiences good and bad..

Server maintenance

Hello developers & advertisers.

If you've been unable to log in this morning, the problem is not your password. We've taken the DB off-line for maintenance. Now the website can't connect to the DB, but we're giving you the wrong error message.

The ads are still serving (they're on distributed web servers), but the login pages may not be active for a few hours.

I'll let you know more as soon as I know more.

EDIT: The website is back up and operational. Thank you for your patience.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Going to GSP East

We're going to be at the GSP East conference in DC from June 9-11.

Here are some snazzy pictures of myself (Gates) and Jasper, the publisher relations team here at Cubics. If you're a publisher or an advertiser, we'd love to hear from you. I'll be walking around in bright blue Cubics shirts, so we should be easy to pick out.

Please drop us a line if you like to catch up for sit-down. Just e-mail us, attn: Gates.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Eyeing brand advertisers

Here's some new Cubics news:

Adknowledge announced Monday that it has hired Matt Rochios, former Senior Sales Manager for MySpace, to run sales efforts out of their west coast office in San Francisco. Matt’s experience includes selling into social platforms, representing behavioral and contextual targeted inventory; rich media and video as well as leveraging advertiser brands against content. Matt will work to motivate brands to participate in Adknowledge’s social advertising channel. Matt previously worked for MySpace, Tremors Media and InfoSpace.

I've highlighted one of the key sentences here. Matt is here to bring brand sales in the social space. We believe that brands are going to be part and parcel with making the social advertising space much more valuable. Of course, there's still a lot of work to do, but the wheels have started turning.

EDIT: 2008-05-28, quote spacing was incorrect.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New ad-blocking feature

The Cubics team is proud to announce that we've released a new feature for blocking ads on your apps. Before now you were only allowed to block your own ads, which meant blocking ads that were shown on an advertiser account that you owned.

We appreciate that Publishers like to have some level of control over the content of their apps. So we've expanded the blocking feature to provide for a more general purpose ad-blocking. The feature has been available internally for a few weeks, and now we've added the necessary UI components, so that you can start blocking your own ads.

Here's how it works. When you see an ad on your app that you don't want displayed, just right click on the ad and select the Block Ads link (as seen below). This means that you can just block ads a you see them.
You'll then be asked to provide your Cubics login information and the ad(s) will be displayed with various options. In particular you can select whether to block only the given ad or all ads for the given advertiser. From there you can click on the Manage Blocking link (top left) to see what other blocks you have in place.

Below is a preview of the main ad blocking screen. You can see the newly blocked ad in the center of the screen. If you'd like to block ads from your advertiser account (our original ad blocking), use the Block my own Ads link on the top left of this screen.

So that's how you do blocking. Here are a few general notes:
  • Ad-blocking will affect your payouts.
    The system is currently geared to show the highest-performing ads. Blocking ads that you regularly see will mean that you're blocking ads that generate revenue.
  • Turnaround time.
    Ad-blocking is not instant. Ads that are blocked will typically require 1 hour, but may require up to 3 hours to become active.
  • Browsers.
    The right-click feature should work with modern browsers (IE 6+, Firefox). Please let us know if the feature seems to be having issues.
  • Removal.
    Notice that you can "unblock" ads from the Manage Ad Blocks screen.

So this is the implementation for the time being. We have some plans for the future, but we'd definitely like to hear from you. So please drop us a line in the comments or by e-mail, we'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Default Ad Substitution

As of today Cubics has launched a new feature: Default Ad Substitution.

This feature allows developers to provide ad code from another network to replace our "default views". So if Cubics is not able to show a well-earning ad, then we'll run somebody else's ads in place. It's really a way to help ensure that you're providing ads to all of your traffic.

To set up these default ads, first login to your Cubics publisher account. Then click on the Manage Ads button and the Default Ads link.
Next you select an ad size and enter the code for your replacements ad. Ensure that you select replacement ads for all ad sizes that you're currently running. Once you've hit the Save button your changes should be active, though a few minutes may be required as the appropriate caches are updated.
Q & A
Does Cubics pay for these substituted views?
No, whenever a view is substituted that view displays an ad that is not a Cubics advertiser, so we don't pay you for that view. However, you should be logging views with the other ad network.

Can I set my own threshold for default ad substitution?
Not yet, we have this feature slated for deployment in May or June.

Of course, it's worthy of note that the value of "well-earning" tends to vary pretty dramatically from country to country. So there's definitely some extra overhead on the publisher side to make that feature work.

Does this work across all of the Social Networking Platforms?
The code right now supports a simple substitution by size. If you have apps on Facebook and Bebo, the substitution will always be the same. If you need to substitute different code for different platforms, please let us know in the comments.
Can I add larger ad sizes?
We have support for allowing larger ad sizes such as those that are wider.

If you would like to substitute ads that are larger than 468x60 (such as ads that are 645x60) you will need to modify your original Cubics ad display code in addition to entering in a larger default ad code.

After you enter in your default ad code for a size, you'll need to change your Cubics ad code.
FOR EXAMPLE: In javascript, simply add the line: var framesize="645x60"

<!--- Ad Code START -->
<script type="text/javascript">
var pid = XXXXX;
var plid = XXXXX;
var adSize = "468x60";
var linkColor = "%230033ff";
var textColor = "%23000000";
var bgColor = "%23ffffff";
var channel = "";
var firstName = "";
var frameSize = "645x60";
<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript" src=""> </script>
<!--- Ad Code END -->

FOR EXAMPLE: In FBML / SNML, modify the frame height and width properties: i.e.: width='645' height='60'

<!--- Ad Code -->
<fb:iframe src=' &adSize=468x60&bgColor=%23ffffff&textColor=%23000000&linkColor=%230033ff&channel='
width='645' height='60' frameborder='0' border='0' scrolling='no'></fb:iframe>

Monday, April 21, 2008

Changes in the Cubics base CPM?

Over the weekend a few users pointed out a change in their base CPM.

Please know that payouts have not changed. Cubics has not reduced the amount of money that you make.

This change has affected a small number of Publishers who are running Skyscrapers (120x600) & Rectangles (300x250). The system is over-reporting views which caused a dip in Base CPM which was then canceled out by a rise in QR. Another way to look at it: the process for calculating your revenue is quite complex. We're showing numbers at the wrong part of the process, but we're showing the correct final value (i.e.: the money you earned).

We're aware of the issue and we are investigating the details. More information will be posted here as it becomes available.

EDIT (2008-04-21): The issue has been resolved. Publishers affected by this issue should see their base CPM return to normal levels starting tomorrow.

Friday, April 18, 2008

New Contact System

So we've made some changes to the way we handle contact submissions. The big one from a Publisher perspective boils down to this:
We have a "Contact Us" link from within the Publisher control panel. This will give you a ticket number to track your support requests.

It's also worthy of note that we do have a toll-free number: 1-877-CUBICS-0. which is available during North American business hours, from 7 PST to 3 PST.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Going to SNAP Summit 2.0

We're going to be at the SNAP Summit 2.0 conference in San Francisco on Tuesday ().

Here are some snazzy pictures of myself (Gates) and Jasper, the publisher relations team here at Cubics.

If you're a publisher or an advertiser, we'd love to hear from you. We'll be walking around in bright blue Cubics shirts, so we should be easy to pick out.

Please drop us a line if you like to catch up for sit-down. Just e-mail us, attn: Gates.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Ad Formats on Facebook

Hello Cubics Developers;

Over the past several weeks, Facebook has contacted all ad networks regarding the content and layout of advertisements displayed in Facebook applications. They have set forth guidelines for the displaying of ads that will allow for the continued monetization of applications while protecting the Facebook user experience.

Cubics has gone through great measures to comply with these regulations and will continue to work with Facebook as the platform continues to mature.

The regulations for ads displayed on Facebook that were provided to us are:

  • No use of a Facebook style button, including the Facebook blue color and the arrow image.

  • No use of generic calls to action including “continue” & “next”

  • No “crush” style ads or ads that mislead users to think that a friend or other facebook user has completed an action or has an interest in them specifically.

  • No ads with false statements such as “You just won an Ipod”.
Below is an excerpt from our correspondence with Facebook:
“Developers running these ads are in violation of Facebook Terms of Service, so we are asking all advertising networks running on the Facebook Platform to prohibit these ads immediately.…Where we continue to see these ads we'll need to approach developers directly and ask them not to run them, and in some cases, impose an enforcement step such as a moratorium on access to Facebook Platform functionality.”
If you see any ads running on Cubics that you feel violate the above guidelines or if you have any questions regarding the policies or the actions we have taken, please contact publisher support at

Thank you;
The Cubics Team

Friday, March 7, 2008

Shiny new servers

So it's finally happened. Cubics' software has left the Alberta Foothills and moved to Kansas City.

Our co-loc in Edmonton was having all kinds of problems meeting our service requirements (bandwidth and hardware issues). So during the week of February 18th, we quietly moved all of our traffic to new servers with better network hardware on a much better co-loc over here in Kansas City. Since then, we've added more servers to effectively double our capacity, and we have even more servers already on the way.

So what does this mean?

For our publishers it simply means that we're expecting less down-time and less latency on displaying the ads. It also means that we're better equipped to handle the loads when MySpace comes on-line March 13. We now have a co-loc that can deal with the increased load.

This also gives us more computing power for improved targeting. Better targeting generally means more advertising variety and more room for higher-paying, highly-specific ads.

However, targeting and latency tend to work against each other, b/c every level of added targeting makes it one step more complicated to retrieve the ad. When you're displaying 50,000 ads / minute, even small changes can have a big impact.

We already have some new targeting software, we'll be releasing it soon.

Of course, reporting will also affected, more power means that we'll be providing you with better reporting tools. To whit, we're targeting a release of country-level traffic details sometime next week.

So subscribe to the feed and check back here for more details.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Going to GSP West

We're going to be at O'Reilly's GSP West conference in San Diego on Monday & Tuesday (March, 3 & 4, 2008).

We is myself (Gates) and Jasper, a recent addition to our Publisher Relations team.

We'll be walking around in bright blue Cubics shirts, so we should be easy to pick out. If you're reading this, we'd love to meet you face-to-face, so come say hi. We'll be handing out a few snazzy Cubics t-shirts and details on a big MySpace promotion we're announcing next week.

Our next conference appearance should be SNAP Summit in San Francisco (March 25, 2008)

Hope to see you there.

Friday, February 8, 2008

MySpace Development

If you haven't heard the news yet, MySpace has opened up their developer platform.

The really good news is that it will be monetizable (see section 5.1):

MySpace allows you to include advertising, sponsorship or other commercial or promotional content (collectively, “Advertising”) on your Application Profile Page(s) and Canvas Page(s) in the areas which you control.
The platform has just gone live, but we already have the code in place, so you can start running ads today! The process is simple, just log into your Cubics Publisher account (or create a new one) and click on Place Ads. In addition to our previous options of Facebook, Bebo and Friendster, you'll now see a fourth option for MySpace.

Just select MySpace, click next and voilĂ , you have ad code.

Of course, the MySpace developer platform is still very new and their coverage of the OpenSocial spec is incomplete. Keep an eye on their Developer Forums for a list of their upcoming changes.

If you're having any issues with the ad code please drop us a comment in the forums so that we can keep everyone up-to-date on the changes.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Understanding timing with your Account Summary

The Cubics Publisher Reports screen contains several pieces of information regarding your account and account status. One of the issues that new publishers seem to deal with is understanding how today's numbers are tracked.

The basic premise is that your numbers are updated throughout the day and then these numbers are "snapshot" at the end of the day. That means that your numbers for today are not final until the "end of the day". For our purposes, the "end of the day" is midnight CST, but there's a little more to it then that. "Midnight" CST usually happens later than actual midnight.

For all intents and purposes, all numbers during the current day should basically be treated as estimations.

To get an idea of what's going on, here's some insight into the workings of the system.

What's up with stats?

The Cubics system has multiple web servers processing 20-40k views/minute. (we're doing well over 1B impressions/month) That's 20k+ DB inserts every minute just to track views! The web server data is regularly aggregated and pushed up to the main database, but it's all on a delay, we're not tracking data in real-time here. We track clicks for several minutes out, so views stay on a web server for 30+ minutes before they're pushed to the primary database.

We have a regular process (call it Archiver) that runs through our web servers, compresses the data and posts that data to the primary database. This data then becomes the stats that you see in the reports screen.

Can you see what's happening here?

The views are 30+ minutes behind and they're spread across multiple web servers. So if the Archiver runs at 10 minutes past midnight, it hasn't gathered all of the views for yesterday. If it runs at 40 minutes past midnight, it will grab views for yesterday and today. So your stats would have numbers for yesterday and today all at once.

But we're still not done with yesterday's numbers, we have multiple web servers.

So you could log into your account at 40 past midnight CST and see data for yesterday and data for today, but your numbers for yesterday may not be finalized. We have another process that runs and finalizes the day, but it has to wait until the Archiver has finished running against all of the web servers.

And then there's click fraud...

The other issue surrounding statistics is click fraud. The Archiver and the Finalizer are running a whole gauntlet of tests to track for click fraud. The system does its best to clean up click fraud as early as possible, but it's not a simple problem and sometimes it takes more than a day to catch. Google has been known to go back several months when correcting fraudulent clicks: crediting advertisers and debiting publishers in December for clicks registered in July.

We've never had to go back that far, but tracking click-fraud is a big issue. We're parsing tens of thousands of clicks daily & hundreds of thousands of clicks weekly, looking for signatures of fraud. And whenever we find something we have to run back through the affected data and update stats for everyone who's been affected.

So what does this all mean?

It means that your numbers for the day are not "set in stone" until sometime the next morning. If you login at 1 AM CST and see stats for today, it doesn't mean that your numbers for yesterday are complete, we could still be waiting on a web server or the Finalizer could still be running or we could be cleaning up click fraud. Normally, the time-line is quite tight and everything is done by 1 AM CST, but sometimes we're out a few hours.

So treat today's numbers as estimations until at least the next morning.

We're working towards more transparency about the status of these numbers, step one is to separate those numbers that have been processed from those numbers that are still processing. But there's a lot more to it click fraud is a big reason. We'll be posting here as we make future changes.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Taglines Tutorial

Cubics / Adknowledge is proud to present the release of Taglines for Cubics.

Taglines is an existing Adknowledge technology that can be used for monetizing e-mails sent. The basic premise is simple: send an e-mail via taglines and we'll paste an ad from one of our advertisers at the end. Here's what it looks like:

The Taglines product is generally offered in partnerships with large web sites, but Cubics is bringing this technology to our independent publishers.

How do I get this working with my app?
There's really only three steps:

  1. Sign-up for Taglines account via the Cubics interface.
  2. Paste in our Taglines helper code.
  3. Modify your existing e-mail code to include the call to Taglines.
So first, log in to your Cubics Publisher account and click on Place Ads on the navigation bar. Select the Facebook option and then Taglines and then Next Step >> (as in the image below).
You'll then be taken to the Taglines screen, however you're not yet signed up for a Taglines account.
Click on the button marked Enroll in Taglines Now to activate your account for Taglines. The system will automatically enroll you for the Taglines account and will then return with a screen like this:
Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and you'll a text box with your code. The code has two parts: some placeholder variables and an e-mail helper function, as below:
The code is heavily commented, but the fundamental piece is this. Copy the sendEmail() function into your PHP code and then use this function to send future e-mails.

How does this make me money?
How do I get paid?

Simple really:
  1. You send e-mails to user (using our Taglines code above)
  2. User clicks on ad
  3. Taglines pays you directly into your Cubics account.
Once you've signed up you can go to your Reports screen and you'll see a link for Taglines Reports.
Taglines is a CPC network, so we'll track clicks and let you know your CPC and your earnings for each day. You can run both Cubics ads and Taglines and we'll pay out earnings from both to the same account. So you'll get paid just like you always do (check or Paypal).

Who's advertising on this?
Our Taglines team has a dedicated sales team and several developers who have been building the product over the years. Some of the advertisers may coincidentally overlap those advertising via Cubic's banners, but we're definitely pulling from a different pool.

What type of eCPMs are we going to get?
What do we make per click?

Who knows? Adknowledge has done lots of Taglines, but they've never done it through Facebook, so we don't have any eCPM numbers. The CPC is going to be variable like it is in all of the advertising spheres. So the only way to find out your number is to try it out.

Let's look at it this way.

How much money are you making right now from sending e-mails?
Probably nothing, right?
So "something" is definitely a step in the right direction.

Can we do this?
Adknowledge's Tagline product is fully CAN-SPAM compliant. For the conspiracy theorists out there, we are not storing personal information from your users. What we're doing is providing you with a way to mitigate the cost of sending e-mail updates by placing ads at the bottom of the e-mail.

Quick Questions
  • Support other than PHP: not yet. Cubics is developed on the .NET platform, so we have the .NET knowledge, but the majority of our publishers seem to be using PHP, so we're starting there.
    Please let me know with a comment below if you're interested in the .NET version (or the Java version or the Ruby version...)
  • How many e-mails can I send?
    Facebook has specific limitations about the number of e-mails you can send to your users. Please adhere to whatever guidelines they have set.
    Remember, this is a Pay-Per-Click setup, if you send e-mails that just get ignored then you won't end up with any clicks, so it's your best interest to ensure that e-mails are getting read.
  • Where are my stats for today?
    Stats are being pulled from Taglines server, but there is a delay. Your stats will not be updated hourly, we're expecting delays of a day or so. We have to wait for people to read and click on the e-mail, this could obviously be a few days for some people.
  • Is it just text?
    Taglines does support an HTML i-frame mode where we could stick images, but it's just not available via the current Facebook API. We're looking into it, but for now it's just hyper-linked text.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Hello and welcome to the Cubics Publisher blog.

This blog has been created to support social networking Publishers who use the Cubics advertising platforms. We'll be posting:

  1. News items
  2. Tutorials on new (and existing) technology
  3. Planned outages
  4. Links to outside news & articles in the social networking space
  5. Information about updates to the Cubics website
This is a blog, not a monologue, so we're going to allow comments. But we are imposing some regulations about what is and isn't allowed. Violating these regulations will result in immediate deletion of your comment and may result in moderation of future comments.

So here's what we don't want to see posted here:
  1. Support Requests.
    Support requests go here, on the Cubics contact page. Support has to go through the appropriate channels, we can't answer it on the board.
  2. Comments that violate our TOS.
    So the usual obscene or illegal material, spam, etc. are not allowed here.
    This also includes any comments that would require us to reply in a way that violates our terms of service.
  3. Requests to Advertise or Publish.
    We're an advertising platform that connects publishers and advertisers, so we can't host comments from people trying to do that on their own.
What we do want to see posted here:
  1. Questions
    Preferably related to the topic at hand.
  2. Concerns
    Are there things that we're failing to address? Did we miss a step in our "step-by-step"? Is there an angle that it doesn't seem we're looking at?
  3. Ideas
    Is there a new feature that you'd like to see implemented? Something to make your publishing job easier?
Our goal here as an advertising platform is to enable Publishers. We want you to be able focus on building apps while we take care of ads. So we're always looking for ideas to make your lives easier.

So thanks for stopping by, have a good one and happy Facebooking.