I have noticed that A LOT of people ask questions about Project Wonderful in the Etsy forums, and I'm often answering the same questions over and over again. I wrote a particularly long answer today and I didn't want to waste it so I'm going to repost it here. When I have a little more time, I'll add to this post to make it more thorough. Then I can just direct the curious to this post.
What is Project Wonderful used for?
I use Project Wonderful to promote my websites. I also use it to make revenue. Some PW users never put any money into PW advertising because they use ad spots on their own websites to pay for advertising on other websites.
Do I Have To Bid For An Ad Spot?
Yes, you do have to bid for a spot. You find an ad spot that you like on a website, click on the, "Your ad here, right now" part under the ads, and it will take you to a bidding page. You can also search for ads through Project Wonderful by entering search criteria.You click on "Place Bid" and log in to your Project Wonderful account. If you don't have a Project Wonderful account, you can create one from there. Once you're logged in, you can choose/change which ad spot you prefer to bid on. You can also bid on all ad spots. Hint: bidding on all ad spots is good if you are bidding zero cents. Choose which ad you want to display (if you have more than one).
Set the maximum price you are willing to pay for that ad spot. Project Wonderful will put your bid against anyone else that is bidding. If no one else is bidding, then your ad will be shown for the minimum bid price. In this picture, there is no minimum bid, so your ad will be shown for free if you are the only bidder. Then set how many days you want to bid for. Zero cent bids can only last for two days, but all other bids can last for longer. You can also set a maximum amount to spend on this bid. Your bid will automatically expire once it exceeds this dollar amount.
Confirm your bid, and then you're done.
How Much Does Ad Space Cost?
You set how much you want to maximum bid for, and how many days you wish to be in the bidding for. If you have the highest bid, then your ad will be shown. If someone bids higher than you, then their ad will be shown instead.
Project Wonderful will always bid the lowest amount that is possible. So, if no one else is bidding on that spot, your ad will be shown for the minimum bid price (usually free).
My ad is never shown because someone always bids higher!
If you don't like bidding and want to be shown all the time for a set price, then talk to the site owner. Many of them offer a set price for direct advertising. For example, this blog offers ad space for $5 per month.
Where should I advertise?
Make sure that you are using your advertising dollars wisely. Bid on sites that get a lot of traffic and make sure the ad is placed in an easily visible location. Also look for sites with good content so that you can be confident that a lot of readers will go there.
My tutoring site has over 7000 unique visitors per month and a page rank of 3; my blog has over 4000 page views per month and a page rank of 2. Aim for sites that have statistics like this or, ideally, even better. Don't bid high on sites with very low traffic unless you have a really good reason for it.Use the Project Wonderful Statistics
Project Wonderful gives you good statistics on turn-around for your ads. Make sure you use those to monitor how well your ads are performing.Make a good ad
Also, make a good ad. You need to compete with a gazillion other PW ads out there. Make sure that when your ad IS shown, that it's eye catching and that people will WANT to click on it. There's no point having a great advertising spot that costs a lot of money if your ad sucks. If you can't design a good ad yourself, get someone else to design it for you.
I don't have time to bid on sites one by one
Try running a campaign. You tell Project Wonderful what kind of sites you want to bid on (Hint: be VERY specific!) and PW will bid on numerous sites for you at the same time. Be sure to check on the performance of your bids to make sure you are happy with the sites PW is choosing for you. A lot of people are very happy with campaigns because they just don't have the time to bid on sites one by one. They want maximum exposure for the minimum time investment.
The dark side of campaigns
Campaigns give me less control over how much money I spend. If I set a maximum daily amount or campaign amount, it invariably exceeds it by a little. I also have less control over which sites I'm bidding on and where the ads are placed on the sites (unless I check them all). Since I don't mind spending a few minutes each day bidding on good sites I prefer not to use campaigns, but whenever I'm short on time campaigns are invaluable.
Hope this helps.