Punch the monkey!

March 1st, 2007

We’ve all seen this ad… it loudly proclaims “Punch the monkey to win a free _____”, fill in the blank with whatever is new and out today. A ps3, an xbox, maybe even an iphone (which hasn’t even been released yet). It’s perhaps one of the strangest phenomenons of online advertising, and I have yet to meet a person not in the industry who understands how these make money.

So lets look at an example I just saw on myspace.com:

So, if I hit this monkey ten times, I’m going to get a FREE PS3!!! OMG that’s awesome, I’ve always wanted a ps3 (or not.. had it been a ‘free wii’ ad I would have been much more likely to click)! But wait… someone told me once, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Ok, so what’s the catch? Somebody is paying somebody here right? And how can I possibly get a ps3?

So, lets walk through the ad and follow the money. First, we gotta hit the monkey (kind of fun actually). GOT HIM!

Monkey hit!

Ok, so this takes me to http://onlinerewardcenter.com/rd_p?p=154103&t=528&c=12814-ps3_728_monkeygame&a=, where I see that I actually have a CHOICE of the free gift I can get… life is getting better! Now, at this stage, no money has exchanged hands yet. Publisher hasn’t gotten paid, and advertiser hasn’t made a penny.

landing page

Now entering in my zip on this page takes me to the next page which is some sort of registration form:

reg form

Ok, seems harmless enough. Why don’t we try filling this out? Before we do, lets take a look at the ‘terms and conditions’ (conveniently hidden at the bottom of the page). Hrm…

By participating in the programs offered on the Site (each, a “Program”), you signify your express consent to receive information from Company in electronic format. You will need a computer with browser and Internet access to receive such electronic records. Electronic records may include terms and conditions, agreements, privacy policies, Gift redemption voucher(s) (each, a “Gift Redemption Voucher”) and other items.

Translation — We can send you any email we like if you fill out this form.

In attempting to become a Member, you agree to provide your personal contact information (you must provide your full legal name, postal address, land line or mobile telephone number and valid email address) in order to receive solicitations, marketing materials and other communications from us and third party advertisers and marketers (collectively, “Third Party Partners”), via e-mail, telemarketing, direct marketing, mobile marketing and any other method, as set forth in the Privacy Policy. In addition, you agree to participate in the Programs in exchange for the chance to receive a gift or other promotional offer from Company (“Gift”).

Translation — We will be sending you a lot of email/regular mail since you just agreed to it

Well, that doesn’t seem too bad. This is the first interesting piece. By filling out this form, you are now ‘converting’ on the very first step of this offer, namely, providing personal information. As you can see from the terms and conditions, this company is going to (with your consent) sell your personal information to various marketers. If you do continue, expect to see a large increase in the amount of email you get — ok… lets be honest, spam email, as even though you consented and opted-in to this, it’s not the type of email you’ll be reading. So how much is this information worth? It really depends on who you are and how much info you provide. Last I heard, an name and email address was worth about $1.00, whereas full registration information (address, phone, etc.) was worth more like $2.50 – $5.00. So if I fill out this form, somebody is going to make a couple bucks!

Ok, well, I REALLY want that FREE ps3, so lets do it! I can handle a bit of ‘bulk email’. So, what do we see now:

first-step

Surveys? I don’t want surveys, I want my free PS3!!! Ok, skip this.. it says I must answer truthfully to get my free PS3.. Ahhh… it just keeps asking me these questions!!! Where is my free PS3?

q1
q2
q3

Ok, lets take a look at the Program Requirements. How many questions do I have to answer??

2. For this promotion, Playstation 3, you must complete a total of 10 offers as follows: Page 1 – complete any 2 offers; Page 2 – complete any 2 offers; Page 3 – complete any 6 offers to get your gift. [...] If you do not correctly, and fully, complete the number of Offers required on each page, you will not be entitled to a Gift. If you have any questions, please contact us.

I have to complete 10 offers? Holy shit. What’s an offer? Well, after finally getting through the survey, I get to ‘page 1′ of the official offers, and they aren’t the kind of thing to sign-up for on a whim. I see Netflix, Blockbuster, a Discover card? (who has a discover card anyways?).

First offer page

Ok, so lets get to the point, can I get a free ps3? If so, what’s the catch, and who gets what?

The offers that this marketer has are all pay-per-lead based. For example, one of the offers I can signup to fullfill my requirement of ’10 offers’ is a Netflix subscription. Netflix probably pays somewhere between $50-$100 for a new user, bam, marketer makes money. Other offers are credit cards, book clubs, and a whole assortment of random stuff. For every ‘offer’ that I sign up for the marketer makes money. If I actually do go out and fill out 10 offers I’m guessing the marketer is making between $300-$1000, depending on what I signup for. How much is a ps3? Exactly, the fact is, even after sending you a ps3, they still make money! Not to mention the money they make from selling your personal information and from all the users that only completed one to nine offers and didn’t fully complete the process.

Interestingly enough, the advertisers behind the offers don’t mind this at all. There are ample choices of offers to choose from, which means that if you signup for Netflix in an attempt to get a ps3, you’re probably somewhat interested in Netflix already.

Is it worth it? Hell no. Most offers are subscription based, which means that once your’e done with this whole process and get your PS3 you have to go back and cancel all 10 before you get charged up the a$$ in fees. I would personally just spend an extra month or two saving and go buy the damn thing in the store. Although — If you do go through the process, at least go for the free wii =).

So why do you see so many of these offers when you browse the web? As you read above, the payout happens early in the process, when you giveup your personal information. This is a very easy thing for users to do and many do it without realizing what they’re signing up for, and hence, these offers can pay high CPMs. Also, since there is no ‘marketing budget’ here, the money will simply keep flowing as users continue to signup.

There is also a good lesson here for more ‘traditional’ marketers. There can be huge value in a user’s personal information. I’m not saying to go out and start selling it, but instead of aiming on getting users to signup for your deal directly after clicking on your ad, why not start by just asking him about who he is and what he likes? You can then easily send more information or retarget the user (more on that later) in future campaigns. The less impulsive the purchase, the harder it is to get someone to signup.

Interested in reading more? Wired has a great article here.

Related Posts:



  • http://brontemedia.com/2007/03/01/economics-of-punching-the-monkey/ Bronte Media » Economics of Punching the Monkey

    [...] won an iPod’ or ‘punch the monkey to win’ ads, go and read Mike Nolet’s post about the economics of punching the monkey. [...]

  • http://www.offtheisland.com Cam

    So much for that long post resolution. ;) I love the long posts and love this blog. Keep it coming.

  • http://www.davebarousse.com/index.php/2007/03/21/mybloglog-spam-readers-dont-vote4cleo/ DaveBarousse.com » MyBlogLog Spam Readers: Don’t Vote4Cleo

    [...] This entire process may seem a bit strenuous, but it is obviously working for these marketers as we see these types of campaigns all over the internet. They wouldn’t be putting forth so much effort to dupe people into their offers if it wasn’t making them money. You can also see this technique used in combination with display advertisements such as the classicpunch the monkey ads. [...]

  • http://www.mikeonads.com/2007/03/25/best-ad-ever-tickle-the-fat-kid-to-make-him-barf/ Mike On Ads » Blog Archive » Best ad ever — Tickle the fat kid to make him barf

    [...] of the pants and the end barf…). In case you’re wondering how these make money, read my Punch the Monkey [...]

  • http://www.mikeonads.com/2007/03/30/should-public-companies-participate-in-giveaways/ Mike On Ads » Blog Archive » Should public companies participate in “giveaways”

    [...] you don’t know what a “giveaway” offer is — read my Punch the Monkey post [...]

  • http://brontemedia.com/2007/05/23/free-ipods/ Bronte Media » Free Ipods!

    [...] If you don’t know what a ‘free ipod’ offer and its many incarnations are, go read this great post describing exactly how they work. [...]

  • http://brian.jimdar.com/post/2008/03/Introducing-Slidie-My-Silverlight-20-project-is-posted!.aspx Introducing Slidie: My Silverlight 2.0 project is posted!

    [...] what are we going to do with it? Wouldn’t it be a shame if all it was ever used for was stupid “punch the monkey” banner ads? No! And again I say, NO! We have a real programming environment, so let’s build real [...]

  • http://alteregozi.com/2008/11/12/mashupads-the-banner-strikes-back/ MashupAds: the Banner Strikes Back « The Alter Egozi

    [...] grace and color to your pages. But we all came to think of banners as irrelevant, annoying “punch the monkey” stuff, and relevant banner designs take costly creative efforts, thus we all let AdSense [...]

  • Hu Mi?

    These can also be spam fest sites, the first page that asked for information just asked for my email address. After _just_ filling that out and stopping, my level of spam went from ~2 a day to >100 a day.

  • Mike

    Oh absolutely. Your email address gets sold for $2 because you just “opted in” to a whole bunch of mailing lists!

  • http://crenk.com/trafficspaces-self-service-ad-management-platform/ Trafficspaces: Self-service Ad Management Platform

    [...] engine, Gmail, Facebook, and possibly even Twitter will be unsustainable. I shudder at every “Catch the Monkey” ad like everyone else so I’ve been particularly intrigued to discover if there is a middle [...]

  • http://gigaom.com/2009/08/26/top-5-most-annoying-online-ads/ Top 5 Most Annoying Online Ads

    [...] get under your skin? Over here at the GigaOM Network, Simon at WebWorkerDaily can’t stand the “punch the monkey” ads and Chris at NewTeeVee gets miffed over credit score ads. Share what you think in the comments [...]

  • http://www.wowfeed.com/2009/08/26/top-5-most-annoying-online-ads-which-one-do-you-despise/ Top 5 Most Annoying Online Ads // Which One Do You Despise? | Mostly (New) Media – Definitely Digital

    [...] ads get under your skin? Over here at the GigaOM Network, Simon at WebWorkerDaily can’t stand the “punch the monkey” ads and Chris at NewTeeVee gets miffed over credit score ads. Share what you think in the comments [...]

  • http://blog.adhack.com/2009/08/27/anatomy-of-a-lego-person-best-animated-gif-ever/ AdHack Blog – Anatomy of a Lego Person: Best Animated GIF Ever

    [...] that animated GIFs are a dead media type. They were overused in the days of banner ads like ‘Punch the Monkey‘ and now get frowned [...]

  • http://www.webmaster-source.com/2010/08/28/blogbuzz-august-28-2010/ BlogBuzz August 28, 2010

    [...] Mike on Ads: Punch the monkey! Tweet [...]

  • http://force5blog.com/technology/why-i-use-chrome-with-ads/ Switching to Chrome or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Ads « The Force 5 Connection

    [...] and improved my security. (Not to mention I didn’t have to see a million ads asking me to punch a monkey or lower my mortgage interest rate). To me this was great! It was like being on a freeway or [...]

  • http://balgev.wordpress.com/2011/07/10/seo-tip-1-how-to-discover-the-value-of-a-google-rank/ SEO Tip 1: How to discover the value of a Google rank « Balgev: my life, lifestyle, interests, occupation and my music

    [...] around in a jarring fashion, banners which play audio, banners which try to get you to “punch the monkey” … anything for attention. [...]

  • http://cpa.swp-blog.com/2011/10/the-power-of-keywords/ The Power of Keywords | CPA Blog | Free Information Tips and Resources.

    [...] which bounce around in a jarring fashion, banners which play audio, banners which try to get you to “punch the monkey” … anything for attention. [...]

  • http://drewmckechnie.wordpress.com/2010/08/24/a-closed-platform-that-makes-you-want-to-watch-ads/ A Closed Platform That Makes You Want to Watch Ads « Drew McKechnie

    [...] or if Apple will be able to scale to meet the demand for these iAds, but if it eliminates the “punch the monkey to win ___” ads and ridiculous ads that don’t even make sense, then I guess it’s a step in the [...]

  • http://www.zip-repair.org/ Fix corrupt ZIP Archive

    This is really very informative post. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/Y7Z3RKGGTGTNDRYQPCGXYM7V3E Murat

    bayaneleman.wordpress.com

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/Y7Z3RKGGTGTNDRYQPCGXYM7V3E Murat

    bayaneleman.wordpress.com

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/Y7Z3RKGGTGTNDRYQPCGXYM7V3E Murat

     HAFTALIK Yas sinirimiz 18-35 arasidir.  her yerinden evinden ve bilgisayarindan calismak uzere bayan eleman alinacaktir saat basi 15 tl ye calisarak aylik guzel bir gelir elde edebilirsiniz. gunluk 5 saat 75 tl aylik 2500 tl gelir olarak hesaplayabilirsiniz 3 dakikalik bir kayittan sonra hemen simdi giris yapabilir calismaya baslayabilirsiniz. 24 saat icerisinde gunun istediginiz saati gece ya da gunduz sistemimize giris yaparak gelirinizi istediginiz kadar yukseltebilirsiniz Odemeler nasil ve ne zaman yapiliyor? Odemeler Haftalik her Pazartesi yapilmaktadir saat 10:00 ile 14 arasi baslar saat 17:00 biter.
    iletisim icin msn: evdenpara724@hotmail.com   http://www.evdensohbetoperatoru.com/

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/Y7Z3RKGGTGTNDRYQPCGXYM7V3E Murat

     HAFTALIK Yas sinirimiz 18-35 arasidir.  her yerinden evinden ve bilgisayarindan calismak uzere bayan eleman alinacaktir saat basi 15 tl ye calisarak aylik guzel bir gelir elde edebilirsiniz. gunluk 5 saat 75 tl aylik 2500 tl gelir olarak hesaplayabilirsiniz 3 dakikalik bir kayittan sonra hemen simdi giris yapabilir calismaya baslayabilirsiniz. 24 saat icerisinde gunun istediginiz saati gece ya da gunduz sistemimize giris yaparak gelirinizi istediginiz kadar yukseltebilirsiniz Odemeler nasil ve ne zaman yapiliyor? Odemeler Haftalik her Pazartesi yapilmaktadir saat 10:00 ile 14 arasi baslar saat 17:00 biter.
    iletisim icin msn: evdenpara724@hotmail.com   http://www.evdensohbetoperatoru.com/

  • http://hinaiqbalsiddiquiseo.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/day-1-the-power-of-keywords/ Day 1: The Power of Keywords | hinaiqbalsiddiquiseo

    [...] around in a jarring fashion, banners which play audio, banners which try to get you to “punch the monkey” … anything for attention. [...]

  • http://www.key-logger.ws/ keylogger

    Tthank you so much for sharing this post!

  • sachin ruhela

    Access File Repair
    access password recovery
    Access Password Recovery Software
    MS Access Password Recovery
    Access Password Recovery Tool
    MS Access Password Recovery Tool
    download free key logger
    Chat Archive Recovery
    Database conversion software
    Database Converters
    Data Recovery Tool
    Free Data Wiper
    Digital camera photo recovery software
    Disk Recovery Software
    Data recovery software free download
    Web Hosting
    Free Keylogger
    Excel File Recovery
    MS excel repair software
    Fix Excel
    excel recovery
    Excel Recovery Tool
    Repair Excel
    Excel Repair
    recover msn password
    Excel File Fix
    Floppy Disk Recovery
    Floppy Recovery
    Free Excel Recovery
    Keystroke Logger
    Windows Data Recovery
    Windows Recovery Tools
    Hard drive data recovery
    IE Password Recovery
    IPod Recovery
    Key logger
    free keylogger software
    download a free keylogger
    keyloggers free
    keylogger freeware
    keylogger software
    keylogger software free
    keystroke capture
    Keylogger
    Keylogger Software Download
    free keylogger downloads
    best keylogger free
    msn password recovery
    Outlook Express Password Recovery Software
    password finder
    Recovery Password
    Password Recovery
    password recovery software
    password recovery software free
    pen drive data recovery software
    Pen Drive Recovery
    PowerPoint Repair Tool
    Chat Recovery Software
    Fix Excel File
    Restore Excel File
    Email Recovery
    cell phone sms recovery software
    recovery for excel
    Repair Excel Files
    repair excel files software
    Data Recovery Software
    sim card deleted sms recovery
    SIM Card Data Recovery
    Key logger software
    downloadable keylogger
    download keylogger freeware
    free invisible keylogger
    data recovery
    Download Free Keylogger
    keystroke recorder
    software keylogger
    remote key logger
    sim recovery
    Sim Card Recovery
    Sim Card SMS Recovery
    remote keylogger free
    Spy Keylogger
    USB drive data recovery
    Word file repair software
    Zip Repair Tool
    keylogger

    That’s interesting to read about, Thank you for sharing this informative stuff..