I have used adbrite occasionally in order to monetize some of my websites. Up until recently they have been OK. Late last year a cheque did not arrive and I reported it to adbrite who stated the cheque would be stopped and a new one issued in the following payment cycle. I waited patiently as I had never had any negative experiences before. Two months later I had received no word from adbrite regarding this matter so contacted them again and, at length, they replied. This occurred twice but, finally, I received notice the cheque had been stopped and my payment reissued.
I received my payment late December and banked it straight away after Christmas. It normally takes around a month to clear. I was expecting it to clear this week.
I then received the following correspondence through from adbrite via email.
Dear adBrite Advertiser,
Over the last few weeks, adBrite and its management have been evaluating the go-forward plan for the business. Given market conditions and certain financial liabilities, in working with our lenders, we have decided to cease operations on Feb 1, 2013.
This is a difficult decision for all of us at adBrite. However, after much deliberation this seems to be the best course of action despite the impact it will have on all the employees, clients and partners who helped build this business. There will be a team in place as needed to assist with winding down your campaign, and final reporting and invoicing.
Thank you for being part of the adBrite community.
The adBrite Team
I began to feel a little concerned. My cheque had not cleared and I had spotted one or two people complaining on twitter they had not received their most recent payment and customer services at adbrite were no longer responding.
Today I logged onto my digital banking account to discover my December cheque from adbrite had bounced and caused me to receive an additional €25 in bank charges. I have emailed adbrite explaining the situation to them but given their earlier announcement do not expect them to honour their agreement – so am expecting no response. There is no telephone number on their website either. No surprise there!
AllThingsD reports the company has 26 employees who will be affected and, apparently, adBrite are in the process of selling off their assets. The article also states that the reason adBrite will be shut down is simply that an attempt to find a buyer was unproductive. According to CrunchBase AdBrite has raised a reported $40 million since 2004, much of it from Sequoia Capital. It was best known for many years as the creation of , who was well known during Web 1.0 boom for his FuckedCompany site. For many years the company described itself as the “largest independent ad exchange, rivaling Google and Yahoo.” Given my bounced cheque I would have thought the company had financial problems in recent times – as there no longer seems as much revenue to be paid in advertising of this kind. CEO Hardeep Bindra recently stated in an interview, Bindra says he had been trying to sell off the entire company (which is apparently what he was hired to do), but sales talks “unfortunately fell through a couple weeks ago.”
All in all, and given the situation, I would have rather not received any cheque at all, would have preferred adbrite to be honest about their financial situation and then, at least, I would not have had to pay €25 for the privilege of having a cheque from them bounce. Much better to not receive money than actual to end up losing more money because of dishonest dealings. As it turns out the total cost to myself was nearer €40 because I was also charge €15 for the presentation of the cheque in the first place! In this climate this is money I can ill afford to lose.
Update 1 February 2013: All attempts to contact Adbrite proved fruitless. Their website now shows an error 404 which effectively means they have gone I am afraid. I believe this means that any publisher partners with adbrite will NOT receive their final payouts. Let me know if, by some miracle, you do receive a payment! My loss is not as great as some however the bank charges I incurred as a result of their failure irks me considerably. I do feel for the staff who have lost their jobs. Always a shame when a business goes down – especially like this leaving so many out of pocket.