A (Not-so) Brief History of Kevel

James Avery
James Avery
A (Not-so) Brief History of Kevel

One of our favorite podcasts here at Kevel is Acquired. Acquired tells the story of acquisitions, IPOs, and great companies. We recently started sponsoring Acquired, and we needed to come up with what our ads should be. At Kevel we believe the right ad, in the right place, for the right audience can be exponentially more effective than just a good ad.

So we got to thinking, what is the right ad for Kevel and Acquired? Acquired is about stories — so what if the story of Kevel was the ad? And that’s what we decided to do.

As a companion to the audio, we will tell the story here as well, with some fun extras and artifacts.

Let’s get started.


Our founder, James Avery, was a software engineer who wrote books for O’Reilly and Microsoft Press (even some with circular saws on the cover). He also managed a blog for .NET developers.

To monetize the blog, James had thrown in Google AdSense, leading to an impressive $5-10 per month in ad revenue. Then he was invited to a small ad network called The Lounge, which was focused on Microsoft-related publishers, and he immediately started making $50 a month through them. Nothing crazy, but at least now he could buy lunch occasionally.

"The crazy thing was, when I switched to The Lounge, I also cut back on the number of ad placements. It was a single 120x90 ad with some text, but in a prominent place. It was the right ad in the right place to the right audience."
James Avery, Kevel's CEO

The Lounge's founder soon after moved on, and James (being what these days you would call an "Indie Hacker") volunteered to run it. They worked out a deal, and suddenly James was running the microest of micro ad networks, doing just a couple thousand dollars a month.

The Lounge Site

(James said the website looked good back then, but this is what the Wayback Machine found, so surreee...)


In our next sponsorship of Acquired, you will hear about the challenges of running a small ad network and about the later launch of the SaaS platform that would become Kevel.

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