Speaking of advertisers...
I thought I had heard it all until this morning.
I added a CPM advertiser to one of my sites last week. We negotiated a $1CPM rate and I added the code to show their ads. The site I added it to is in the 600K monthly page view range. I saw this as an easy way to bring in an extra $600 a month and move me closer to my goal of not working.
I knew something was wrong when I noticed they were always showing the exact same ads with no rotation of ads. Board Game Geek sells CPM ads all over the place but they rotate them among their inventory, you would not see 1K ads for Settlers all in a row. So, seeing the same exact ad every time had me wondering what was going on.
After a few days went buy I logged into their tracking system to see how the ads were doing. I was shocked to say the least. I should have been making about $20 a day from this program but I was only making $0.50 per day.
I came to find out that they were not doing real CPM. They were also only counting US traffic (this site gets about half of its traffic from outside the US). Even worse they were only counting each visitor as one impression no matter how many pages they viewed! Every time a reader views a new page you are supposed to send them a different ad, it's called 'rotation'! Instead this company was sending the same ad on every page and only counting a reader once no matter how many pages they viewed.
When I called them to ask what the deal was they told me that they have always done CPM this way because an unscrupulous webmaster might sit around all day refreshing their page to create false impressions. That may be true but it is easy to see if one IP address is getting 99% of your ad traffic. The fact that they cold called me to advertise on a site that I was not even running advertising on made me wonder why the rep would quietly accuse me of false impressions when they wanted to run the ads on my site! It's not as if I called them and asked to be in their program.
If they do not give me a satisfactory answer I will be dumping them later on today.
To me, CPM is the second best form of Internet advertising behind CPA. AdBlock users block CPM ads (so they don't get counted) while CPA ads can be in the form of text links inside an article (buy this product here) and are thus near impossible to block. CPC is susceptible to click fraud and even though you could generate false impressions on CPM the amount of money you would get by doing so is often very low and not worth the trouble. In order to get a CPM rate high enough to be worth creating false impressions you would already have a site popular enough that it would still be a waste of your time to do so.