In the past I wrote about how I loathed scheduled calls, appointments and meetings.
Can’t stand ’em.
“Ruins my day” is melodramatic but you get the point.
I’m not big on impromptu calls or meetings either, but when it’s scheduled, that’s another layer of unpleasantness.
Scheduled work events are stifling.
I have no problem scheduling stuff outside of work… weekly tennis games, a monthly poker game, tickets to some event, a promise to take kids on a big bike ride, vacations, etc. I enjoy a reasonably busy life.
But when it comes to work I enjoy the freedom to just do what I want at any given moment throughout the day.
Operative word being freedom.
Which is why I refuse to enter into long term contracts.
I subscribe to software with the monthly option even though I’d save money on an annual purchase.
I prefer hiring folks on a freelance basis than a full hire where there’s a long-term expectation involved. This partly explains why I really like working with writers at WriterAccess. There’s not even a hint of an expectation placed on me to continue working with any particular writer.
That said, I’ve hired writers on a permanent basis or with a permanency expectation.
I’ve also entered into contracts for software.
The one long term commitment I’ve never entered into and hope to never enter into is with ad networks.
How these work is an ad network agrees to serve ads on a web property in exchange for a set duration commitment… usually 12 months by a publisher. There are often financial penalties for ending the deal early.
Even if there’s a promise of better money, I’d worry about something better coming along that I wouldn’t be able to try.
Or worse, the ad network’s performance takes a hit. Once upon a time a few years ago I was with one ad network who couldn’t pay publishers for about a month. Fortunately they were a secondary network so it wasn’t a huge concern for me but for publishers who depended on them entirely, that’s a huge problem.
That ad network shall remain nameless. It’s never happened since and the entire thing was purportedly beyond their control – they were stiffed further up the food chain.
I love trying new stuff in this business.
It’s one thing to switch software platforms. The cost to me is some wasted money on the previous software.
It’s another thing altogether to be prevented from trying another ad network because I’m stuck in a contract I never should have signed.
I get why ad networks want publishers to commit. It probably makes it easier to enter into deals with advertisers.
But I won’t do it.
My refusing contracts has served me well. I’ve been broached with contracts over the years and I’m sure glad I didn’t sign.
I currently get ads for my sites from AdThrive.
They’ve never asked for a contract.
I hope they never do. As far as I know they have no plans to do so.
I suspect their attrition rate is low. As in most publishers who get accepted are happy with their service and don’t leave. More specifically, happy with the revenue AdThrive earns.
Which goes to show that outfits requiring a contract could hint at some sort of weakness instead of being confident that people won’t leave because it’s too good.
Ezoic doesn’t have contracts either. It’s a good sign about their business.
Ezoic does have have a 12 month option with their premium ads program. The operative word there is “option”. A 12 month commitment is not required.
When I was with Ezoic, I kept the premium ads month-to-month even though that cost me money. In other words, I was told I’d profit more by committing to sticking with the premium ads program for a full 12 months.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t enter into contracts. Sometimes it can be a great deal.
For example, if in 3 years from now I’m still with AdThrive and it’s still performing really well for me and they made an amazing offer, I might consider it. I’m not sure. A part of me would wonder why after all these years they want a contract. What do they know that I don’t know? Is some bad stuff happening and they want to lock me in?
I bring it up because it came up recently with a secondary ad network I use.
I politely declined and had no choice but to move on. They came back and said I didn’t need to sign a contract, but by that point I had moved on. I have no interest going back to an outfit that really wants to get me under contract.
Folks ask me once in a while whether they should commit to some ad network’s offering.
My standard response is telling them what my practice is and that is to avoid contracts.
It may not always be the smartest move but it’s served me well.