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Old 11-04-2004   #1
Chris Sherman
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Searching for Clicks away from Google and Overture

Fed up with ever-escalating costs for search marketing campaigns on Google and Overture? Tier Two networks such as Findwhat and Looksmart are compelling low-cost alternatives that often provide comparable ROI to the big players.

In today's SearchDay article, Search Marketing Beyond Google and Overture, guest writer Dana Todd reports on a recent Search Engine Strategies conference panel that explored the benefits of the literally hundreds of smaller PPC networks available to search marketers.

Comments welcome!
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Old 11-04-2004   #2
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Worst Conversion

I have tested these 2nd tier engines in a number of different verticals. My conversion is usually .5% or less. Even though the clicks cost significantly less, you get so much junk traffic it's nearly impossible to make money. Plus click prices are on the rise at these 2nd tier engines too.

One thing that is most dissapointing about 2nd tier engines is the distribution partners that they have. Most are just spam filled junk sites.

The good distribution partners these 2nd tier engines claim like Excite, Dog Pile and others usually show Google, and Overture results first anyway. The reason is because they make more money off of these programs.

Think about it this way: If you are a top distribution partner are you going to show Google, and Overture results, which pay more money, or FindWhat, and Enhance results, which pay only a fraction?
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Old 11-04-2004   #3
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Hi Chris, it was nice to meet you in Stockholm... I would like to notice that as there is no Overture here in Poland, so it is we (Onet.pl) who play their role... Just as we play the role of never-existing 'Yahoo! Poland'.

Our CPC system ( http://boksy.onet.pl/ ) is only in Polish now, but I hope within a week it will be available in English version.

However, as there are a few million Poles in the US, it shouldn't be difficult to find somebody who can help in translating ;-)

Marek J. Minakowski, Onet.pl
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Old 11-05-2004   #4
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Searching for Clicks away from Google and Overture

I notice Dana didn't deal with the patent war that's brewing between Overture and some of the 2nd tier CPC search sites. Overture has a patent on matching search results to advertiser links by means of a bid and CPC system. I understand they've already sued FindWhat and another search engine in Massachusetts. Overture was able to extract an extremely lucrative licensing agreement over this patent with Google during their IPO. I wonder about the future of the 2nd tier CPC search sites, given Overture patent and their success to date in enforcing it?
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Old 11-06-2004   #5
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In another life I am Frank Watson... and I have to say Dana did a great job of summarizing the perspective of that panel... you have to test each of the smaller engines... I agree FindWhat, Kanoodle and Enhance have huge fluctuations in conversion... you should also look to the even smaller engines... SearchFeed and 7Search are two that seem to be doing well in the business vertical...
Also having your site translated into other languages allows you to market on Google and Overture as if they were smaller engines.... but have great ROI at great rates... Spanish seems to lead the way for alternative traffic since there is a huge distribution of the language globally... Europe, South America and thr US...
If you do not have someone to translate your site and keywords and creatives it may be worth the expense of finding a solid translation company - we have used Universal Engine which seems to be developing a great feel for this market.
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Old 11-07-2004   #6
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The Second Tier is the Third and Fourth Tier

There is no such thing as the second tier as this group is totally reliant upon the "third/fourth tiers" and beyond to serve clicks. This is due to their not having a destination property of substance and having a business model that is predicated on distribution (which lack quality controls).

The way they see it is like this: I got a buck per click, serve this ad and i will give you 50 cents per click, i got 50, please serve and i will give you 25. i got 25, i'll give you 12 cents. And so the distribution rings go.
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Old 11-07-2004   #7
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Thumbs down finding clicks that quickly click away

recently I just started a small campaign on LookSmart...averaging a cool 95% bounce rate thusfar and they are sending me twice as much traffic as Overture is (for the same terms)...both of those should combine to tell you an incredible amount about traffic quality at LookSmart
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Old 11-07-2004   #8
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This is due to their not having a destination property of substance and having a business model that is predicated on distribution (which lack quality controls).

The way they see it is like this: I got a buck per click, serve this ad and i will give you 50 cents per click, i got 50, please serve and i will give you 25. i got 25, i'll give you 12 cents. And so the distribution rings go.
I've seen those a lot on individual PPC affiliate pages that I come across in the search engines, particularly from a few companies consistently. They look to be generated by feeds; I noticed one that had a "real" web page from another site in an iframe, and ran the PPC affiliate links underneath.

Tracing to the companies, some have 50-60% commission structure, so I'd imagine it's very motivating.
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Old 11-07-2004   #9
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Wink Testing 642 PPC engines ?

AussieWebmaster writes
>you have to test each of the smaller engines

You guys/gals downunder must have some time on you hands - smile

Nathan from Brisbane has his list of 642 PPC engines at PayPerClickSearchEngines.com
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Old 11-08-2004   #10
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I have tried out a number of second tier engines, without much success. Conversions ranged from .3 to .7%, not worth it in my opinion as most of the clicks were from foreign countries that could not purchase products in the US. They might be interested, but they sure aren't buying...as one client once said. I do have one client that swears by Findwhat though, saying they get good conversion on cheap retails products.
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Old 11-08-2004   #11
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We are converting searchfeed, 7search, blowsearch and a couple of others at lower than Google and Overture... we are on top of tracking and ROI... the sad part if there just is not as much available... doesn't mean we should leave the cheap customers for someone else....
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Old 11-09-2004   #12
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Objective

I think using smaller engines depends upon your objective. If you are searching for traffic, and there are still many who do, then I'd always recommend some of the smaller engines. Sites like Enhance of Kanoodle will drive cost effective clicks to a site that may help justify your CPM business model.

If you are looking for ROI then again, sites like FindWhat often drive good ROI just poor conversion rates and low volume so in aggregate there often isn't much harm in leaving them on.

The area where smaller engines really hurt is when the CPA or or CPS (Cost Per Sale) exceed the limits and regardless of traffic CPC as the sheer volume will kill your metrics.

JC.
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Old 11-13-2004   #13
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FindWhat has been ok on very small volume, LS send all kinds of traffic but you'd be better off putting your money in a slot machine as the conversion rate is horrible. All LookSmart advertising was pulled shortly after the MSN split but sometimes we were charged for more clicks from LookSmart after the split than before. Go Figure.
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Old 11-13-2004   #14
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You can also work Google content in a separate account and use it like another engine.
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