Moolah Works Performance-Based Ad Model

Article by Monica Alleven – December 14, 2010

If you think the mobile ad space is too crowded for yet another new ad network, consider this. A very young Moolah Media came out of stealth mode today, saying it's serving 100 million impressions and generating more than 250,000 quality leads each month.
The founders of the company were trying to make a profit from a mobile app - FatText for the iPhone - when they more or less stumbled on a problem. They weren't getting what they needed from existing ad networks, and what they needed was profitability. So, they set out to design something better, pursuing a performance-based ad model that's common in the online world.
"From our perspective, what the mobile industry lacked was true transparency," says Shawn Scheuer, Moolah's CEO and co-founder.
Scheuer is joined at Moolah by co-founders Kanwar Dhaliwal, who is chief product officer, and Sam Darawish, chief revenue officer, who has a background in the advertising world. Scheuer and Dhaliwal bring the wireless-specific expertise; both are former Openwave veterans.
The executives say the only time their company gets paid is when an advertiser is either very close to an actual sale, like a worthwhile lead, or in some cases it is an actual sale. It could be a simple case of downloading an application or getting students to enroll in a class. Most ad networks get paid when a user clicks on an ad; Moolah doesn't get paid until the user does something on that page with a lot more intent.
The model is well established on the wired Web but so far, until now, it hasn't translated well for mobile, they say. At FatText, the developers were showing ads from AdMob and other established mobile ad networks and for every thousand ads shown, they made between 10 and 25 cents. They started putting their own ads in, and that figure jumped to as much as $4.
The FatText app is still out there, but they're not putting anymore effort into it, moving their attention to the ad side. Moolah started building its systems in September at a "pretty ferocious" rate with their engineering team. The company currently has about eight people dedicated to it and is hiring a number of others. The company already has about 40 advertisers and 40 or so publishers that it is working with.
Moolah supports a range of ad pricing models, including cost per click (CPC) and cost per action (CPA). The CPA model is attractive to advertisers because there's little risk on their part. Moolah also is working with a number of ad exchanges and ad networks to fill inventories.
Broadly speaking, anybody who's showing ads could be considered a competitor, but Moolah executives say they don't really feel there is any serious direct competition out there. Some entities have talked about doing CPA on mobile but in their first month, Moolah says it has done more than others have done in the last six to eight months.