OpenX Ad Server: Beginner`s Guide by Packt Publishing Review

This is my review of the book “OpenX Ad Server: Beginner`s Guide” written by Murat Yilmaz and published by Packt Publishing (Open Source).

OpenX is an open-source PHP/MySQL based advertisement platform which supports unlimited advertisers, campaigns, banners, zones and websites. You can use OpenX to structurize the advertisement on one or multiple sites with one or multiple advertisers and several campaigns and banners. It’s also possible to use OpenX for your Google Adsense or other 3rd party advertisements.

Why would you believe my review and more important: who am I? I`m Ramon van Belzen, a 22 year old web designer from Holland. I’ve been using OpenX (formerly OpenAds) since 2006. I never got in-depth with it but I’m familiar with most of the functions. I use OpenX to structure my Amazon campaigns and zones on multiple websites.
Packt Publishing asked me if I would like to review this book.

The book is a beginner’s guide to the OpenX Ad Server platform. Since the book is a beginner’s guide you don’t need to have any experience with online advertisement, webdesign or the OpenX platform. Currently there aren’t other OpenX books around. Packt has the scoop.

Every step in the book includes a screen-shot and some describing text along with it. At the end of every chapter there’s a question which summarizes the chapter. At the end of the book every question is answered with a full explanation —why; what’s good and what’s wrong about the other answers. A short summary of the chapter is also included.

The book starts with an introduction.—how the book is written, what OpenXis, why you would use OpenX, what is possible with OpenX, what the system requirements are. This is followed by the installation procedure and some important notes. The whole procedure is shown and described step by step.

The second chapter of the book is an introduction on how to use OpenX. It shows you how to create an advertiser, campaign, banner (not the actual design), website and zone (where the advertisement is placed). At the end of this chapter it’s time to put things together and show the banner on a website.

Chapter three explains how to create a new advertiser and how the campaign systems works. It describes the CPC, CPM, CPA and tenancy revenue models. All ins and outs of these models are explained and put into practise.

The fourth chapter describes the multiple ways how a banner can be implemented and the advantages and disadvantages of each way.

The following chapter (five) explains the website and zone principle. It also shows you how to include the code to a website to actually show the ads. The last bit of the chapter explains how to use dynamic zones and geotargetting.
By the end of this chapter you can start selling ads in the real world.

The sixth chapter of this book explains targeting like site source and browser based targeting.

Chapter seven describes the user account management including all permissions and roles.  Chapter eight is the follow-up of chapter seven. It explains all the user account options.

Chapter nine explains how to upgrade OpenX when a new version comes out. Trust me, it`s not as easy as it sounds. The chapter starts with backing up OpenX, duplicating the right files and running the upgrade wizard.

The final chapter (number ten) describes how to generate reports and statistics. To run a successful campaign it’s important to generate the right reports and do statistics on these results. With OpenX it’s possible to export results to CSV and Microsoft Excel. While inside Excel it`s possible to generate graphics and statistics on the results.

I haven’t found any nonsense in the book. The book is technically correct. This also counts for the language used in the book. I haven’t found weird sentences.

I didn’t have any problems reading the book. The first three chapters were obvious for me whereas the next several chapters only got more into depth. I bet even people who have used OpenX for a while never knew all those features!
This book describes how to use OpenX, not how to use online advertisement successfully.

After reading this book, I’m going to reintroduce advertisement on my site. Now I can use OpenX to improve advertisement targeting and effect. I can also generate reports and implement them.

The only information I see as missing is a short explanation of the different kinds of inclusion methods like javascript, XML-RPC and iframe. The book doesn’t cover these items, although this is actually more interesting to specialized webmasters. The normal way of including banners (through javascript) is the standard way for OpenX and I don`t have problems with it.

And of course, it’s 2010 and it`s possible to buy the book online, both the paper and eBook versions;


Language : English

Paperback : 300 pages [ 235mm x 191mm ]

Release Date : March 2010

ISBN : 1849510202

ISBN 13 : 978-1-849510-20-2

Author(s) : Murat Yilmaz

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