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Old 06-28-2004   #1
NFFC
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PPC, PFI et al - Is the pain behind us now?

Or to put it another way has the pay to play market peaked?

PFI seems to me to be a busted flush, Ask announcing they want no further part in it, Yahoo rumoured to be "reconsidering" their offering and the most popular SE on the www not touching it with a barge pole.

Switch to PPC; if the current obsessive compulsive mantra of "ROI, ROI" has reached its logical peak then PPC bids are as high as they ever will be.

Maybe, just maybe, we are seeing a return to the fore of good old fashioned pure play SEO. The last few years have seen a movement of the total available spend away from "traditional" SEO and into various pay to play schemes, I think we have all seen a lot of bandwagon jumpers move in on that space. Looks to me like the pay to play element may have peaked as a percentage of the budget and is looking more like a fixed cost, those wagon guys are already looking for other things to jump.

Is it time for a fight back for the far from "dead" SEO's?
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Old 06-28-2004   #2
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Seems to me that PFI was mostly a jump start while waiting for Organic SEO to take hold. PPC obviously works, as does SEO. I think there is a problem with cost over the long term for PPC when it comes to smaller businesses, some of whom can't always afford PPC or PFI costs.

Very interesting topic, NFFC.
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Old 06-28-2004   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NFFC
if the current obsessive compulsive mantra of "ROI, ROI" has reached its logical peak then PPC bids are as high as they ever will be.
Depends on the industry. Some sectors are indeed probably mature, but in other areas there is still lots of headroom. One factor is the number of players in the market. If there aren't a lot of bidders the keyphrases often go for a lot less than they're really worth.
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Old 06-28-2004   #4
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>when it comes to smaller businesses, some of whom can't always afford PPC or PFI costs

They are naked without the balance of an SEO campaign, PPC+PFI-SEO = Bye Bye in the short/med/long term. If you can't pay you have to play.

--------------

>but in other areas there is still lots of headroom.

Let me guess......on second thoughts I'll leave it to others.

My view, the pay for play gravy train has run its course and we have reached a peak. Time for SEO's to reclaim the space that belongs to them and send the plethora of PPC/PFI chancers back where they belong [selling timeshares etc etc]. Imho.
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Old 06-29-2004   #5
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Yahoo is reconsidering? I'd like to hear more about that, if it's true, or if it isn't, then where we get such rumors.

That aside, I disagree with the whole premise of calling this stuff "pay to play" (it may be your sandbox, but for searchers, it's a tool) and lumping in so-called PFI with so-called PFP, or what have you.

Paid inclusion and paid ads near search results are very different animals. I wonder if it wouldn't be better to discuss them separately. (I personally dislike paid inclusion both as a marketer and as a user. Two strikes! But like paid ads near search results, both as a marketer and as a user. But I'm biased by my professional affiliation as a marketer anyhoo.)

There's another thing to consider: "pay" keeps search engines in business. It could be argued that without paying advertisers or listing clients, public Internet search engines are little more than noble research projects funded by gobs of misguided investors' cash.

So where exactly are we going when we vaguely refer to PFI as a "busted flush"? Stylish sounding comment, but what are you getting at? What's the alternative? Or is this forum just a place to sell SEO services, so we don't really care?
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Old 06-29-2004   #6
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your statement about being biased by being a marketer is so true. in my mind there are millions and millions of searches for adsense or adwords although SEO is only one small part of the web.

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewgoodman
So where exactly are we going when we vaguely refer to PFI as a "busted flush"? Stylish sounding comment, but what are you getting at? What's the alternative? Or is this forum just a place to sell SEO services, so we don't really care?
I like the phrase busted flush. I think people forget what a huge advantage Google has and expect every other search engine to have the same (or similar) policies. Google has first person advantage, an amazing brand, and are ran almost entirely by mathematics. its hard for their competitors to compete with that.
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Old 06-29-2004   #7
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To me, SEO and PPC are solid models that work. PPC provides profits for the search engines as mentioned, keeping them in business. PFI I can see going by the wayside. If Yahoo really is reconsidering their new program, I think that would be a good move on their part.
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Old 06-29-2004   #8
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>Yahoo is reconsidering? I'd like to hear more about that, if it's true

You will have to trust me on that but lets just say that the site match product has fallen well below Y's expectations of take up rates. Mr Gates seems none to pleased with the "product" either, I would be watching the MSN space closely next week [remember you heard it here first].

>disagree with the whole premise of calling this stuff "pay to play" (it may be your sandbox, but for searchers, it's a tool)

I'm only a part-time searcher but a full time webmaster, from my side of the fence there is certainly a large element of pay to play.

>But I'm biased by my professional affiliation as a marketer anyhoo

Yeah.

>There's another thing to consider: "pay" keeps search engines in business.

Honestly I have enough on just running the little tin pot empire I have, I struggle to schedule the time to worry about other peoples business models. Joe searcher is a much better judge than me and he is 1/2 billion strong, lets trust his judgement.

>Stylish sounding comment, but what are you getting at?

That PFI has largely been rejected by the webmaster commuinity, that Joe Searcher seems to be far happier with a non-PFI engine, that large wholesale buyers of search are also unhappy [see MSN], that even the PFI providers are saying it may not be the best thing since sliced bread [see Ask] and so on and so forth.

I suppose the main thrust though is that we have gone through a period where imho the art and craft of SEO has been undervauled, I think that is coming to an end and that far from being dead SEO is coming back to its rightful place as the "must do" thing to ensure a sucessfull online business.

My main drive is to compete with some of the biggest businesses in the world from what is a virtual back bedroom. I believe that far from pay to play being a bottomless pit, as it at one time looked, it now has a finate cost related to the keyword space you compete in. If you can organise your business to compete on that level you can go head to head with the biggest, baddest, richest companies out there.

To sum up check the nick, round these parts we have a tradition of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, I think things are getting better for us poor guys.
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Old 06-30-2004   #9
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Quote:
Yahoo is reconsidering? I'd like to hear more about that, if it's true, or if it isn't, then where we get such rumors.
I've heard the same from several contacts that I trust and consider to be informed on the matter. Wrote this up as part of my series on paid inclusion that's been running, in the second part, I think. My understanding has been that there's been debate on the subject, Yahoo's so far decided to stick with it.
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Old 07-01-2004   #10
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http://news.com.com/Search+engines+r...tml?tag=cd.top

many of been talking about this.
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Old 07-01-2004   #11
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It's nice to hear that Yahoo has listened to all the feedback and might be reconsidering. (At least if you have access to "sources close to the company.")

The PFI program seemed to push things too far with its "pay, and pay again" model, and as I've argued in the past in connection with LookSmart, flat click pricing adds another layer of irrationality. Not to mention that you have to factor in the need to optimize for the algo - because you can - and that adds up to a heckuva lot of work and head-scratching for the average company.

The cleanest, easiest-to-understand way of getting Yahoo exposure at present IMHO is Overture. At least there, you know what you are getting. Prominent placement on the page that you can control with bids.

I look forward to a rethink of Yahoo's paid inclusion. Now that MSN is coming to the table with no paid inclusion in their new index (or so it seems), that puts additional pressure on Yahoo.
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Old 07-01-2004   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NFFC
Or to put it another way has the pay to play market peaked?

PFI seems to me to be a busted flush, Ask announcing they want no further part in it
Got to seriously wonder about the sincerity of that announcement after they announced this today!
http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/...read.php?t=454

Kelkoo looks to be a paid product feed provider.
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Old 07-01-2004   #13
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Definitely agree -- the Jeeves announcement on dropping PFI was inconsequential, T. Paid inclusion there was something many felt safe to ignore anyway. Everyone is rightly focusing on Yahoo wondering about their intentions. Marketers looking for placement on Jeeves might well have enjoyed some small amount of organic traffic without paying, and paying didn't seem to help. More to the point, the placement of Google Adwords on ask.com is so prominent (up to 10 results at the top of the page), you have to wonder how this breaks down -- how likely it is you'll get clicked out of the organic results on a commercial query when the screen is full of PPC ads -- surely the lion's share of the clicks is on those sponsored listings. Jeeves is very different breed. Its users seem oddly tolerant of this situation. But I don't think that's going to last forever.
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Old 07-01-2004   #14
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>Kelkoo looks to be a paid product feed provider

No flies on you, I thought we were talking about web search though?

>the Jeeves announcement on dropping PFI was inconsequential

I never thought I would say this but I agree with you. Having said that looked at in isolation its true, look at the overall picture and I think you will see a major shift which I believe shows that pay for play has peaked.

Imho the independent webmaster/seo can sleep a little easier and look to the future with more confidence.
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Old 07-02-2004   #15
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The only use I've seen for PFI is for dynamic pages that might not otherwise get crawled. While it would be better if the site owner would modify the nature of the dynamic URL's to make them friendlier, many are steadfast about not wanting to change the current technology and don't mind paying a per-page feed to get them into Ink.

The silly thing is that it still keeps them out of Google, the top engine.
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Old 07-02-2004   #16
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BTW- I'm assuming there is another thread on MSN dropping SiteMatch trusted feed- I haven't looked yet.
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Old 07-05-2004   #17
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Cough http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum35/2478.htm
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Old 07-05-2004   #18
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Has PPC peaked? Not by a long shot. If you just look at who isn't yet in the PPC space you'll be able to judge how much more growth is ahead. If anything it's still in adolescence.

Two other major factors:
1. With the impending death of PFI, it is by far the 'quickest fix' for huge dynamic sites to maintain their reach.
2. It's much easier than SEO for a CEO or CFO to understand, explain to board members, and put on a balance sheet.
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Old 07-06-2004   #19
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Yahoo / Overture Site Match (PFI)

I was recommended that I should end all agreements with paid inclusion (Overture SiteMatch), which will allow my site to be crawled for free. If not, then my site will be "hold" and spiders can't really crawl (at least the ones own by Yahoo!). I want to let Yahoo/Overture know I'm not going to do paid inclusion. Is this something I should do? Could I expect to see my site crawled and ranked for free within a couple of months and see good traffic results to my site?

I'm also getting a lot of pressure from Overture SiteMatch to work with their Paid Inclusion program, but we had issues with tracking so I couldn't tell the performance of the test campaign in our backend.

There appears to be a direct struggle between SiteMatch's Direct vs. Reseller team. I've been working with another vendor who works with the Reseller team on paid inclusion. But ever since Overture has been aggressive with trying make us go direct, my other vendor has issue with getting feed into Inktomi. Does anyone know what's going on?

Last edited by seekingseoadvice : 07-06-2004 at 04:26 PM. Reason: change title to reflect more of posting
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Old 07-06-2004   #20
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I don't see PFI dropping completely from the landscape just yet. Though it is getting closer to extinction. The fact that the inhouse people refer people to independent resellers to explain the product does not bode well for Overture/Yahoo.

The others really do not promote the traffic to warrant it and thus are losing credibility. The day Yahoo drops to that level will be the end of PFI...
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