Do you think Google making 66% of their revenue in the US is a sign that they are too dependent on the US market?
I don't think so. Google has plenty of room to grow internationally. And that percentage is coming down as they expand internationally. Eventually, the US will likely represent somewhere around 50 - 55% of revenue. Does that seem like a lot?
I think that's a reasonable number by analogy. Google is just a large marketplace for ads. Comparable as a market to the world stock market. Guess what percentage of the total world stock market the US is? A: 55%
As Google matures, the breakdown of Google's revenue by country will mirror the total economic activity in that country.
What I find most interesting of all is the tension between these two statements:
Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. We believe that the most effective, and ultimately the most profitable, way to accomplish our mission is to put the needs of our users first. ... We will do our best to provide the most relevant and useful search results possible, independent of financial incentives. Our search results will be objective and we will not accept payment for inclusion or ranking in them.
We generate our revenue almost entirely from advertising, and the reduction in spending by or loss of advertisers could seriously harm our business.
Is Google capable of balancing those opposing forces? I'm sure they think they are.
From the indefatigable Anne Holland at Marketing Sherpa a report on best practices for conversion rate. She went to a web analytics conference where the attendees spoke up about what works for them. They should know, because they actually measure it.
Some ideas to think about:
My favorite snippet:
A panel that included a marketer from Macromedia concluded "95% of Web marketing design using Flash is inappropriate - it's not helping the visitor scratch their itch." However, one panelist said if you're marketing to Japan that may not be true.
Japan is just a cultural signularity. That's why it's so fun.
If you are in the internet advertising business, you need to understand how NexTag works. Simply put: they buy low and sell high. Except instead of stocks, NexTag buys leads. Then they auction them to the highest bidder. Great business model.
So what? WIIFM* you ask? NexTag can do this because they have great metrics on markets, how much leads cost no matter how they acquire them (from TV, radio, Google, banner ads, anywhere). Since they know all that, they can move quickly to buy and sell leads.
So if you advertise on the internet in any high volume space (travel, education, autos, consumer electronics), you are competing against several companies like NexTag that have a real good feedback system. Do you know your up to the minute conversion rate and profit margin on the current ad campaign you are running? If not, you better think about how long you can afford to play against companies like NexTag.
PS. A quick interview with NexTag's CEO on a shopping blog.
* WIFM = "What's in it for me?"
Several political bloggers apparently got penalized in Google search results for accepting ads from a link farm. At Captain's Quarters blog it's funny to read the commenter's interpretation of why Google did this.
At that conservative blog, speculation is rife that Google is a company of leftists... Mostly due to reports that Googlers gave over $207k to the democrats in last year's election. HA! Google employees are probably much more liberal than conservative, but $207k in political donations is nothing! That was before they were all rich. Imagine how much they'd donate now...
What's interesting is how Google's ever-shifting algorithms and battles vs SERP spammers are starting to affect and be noticed by normal users. Whatever those users ascribe the changes to (e.g. political agendas), the perception that Google is arrogant, politically motivated, too powerful, etc. can't be helpful in the long run.
From San Jose Mercury News reporter Michael Bazeley's Siliconbeat.com blog:
We promised to forward Google's response to the scraping problem. Google spokesman Barry Schnitt just got back to us, and the general message seemed to us to be that the problems aren't big enough for Google to take action. He couldn't say much.
Two recurring themes for Google in this response to a question about what they do about people who violate their terms of service and scrape their search results.
That pretty much sums up Google these days... The slow transformation to the dark side continues...
Much like the slow approach of the Killer Bees from South America, the Click Fraud Meme is getting closer to Wall St. Rick Munarriz covers it in a story about Google "potentially fatal flaw". The fatal flaw is essentially that all of Google's revenue comes from AdWords.
Was it Charlene Li that coined the "One-Trick Pony" meme about Google? I imagine the Google founders laugh at that notion, but what will they do to disprove it?
Agence-France Presse sues Google for copyright violations. The suit may have merit. However, Google has a lot of power on the internet - and step one, they pull AFP from Google News. They could pull them out of search results as well - though I doubt they will.
Back when Microsoft mattered, they could do all sorts of thing to discourage, intimidate or blackmail a company that bothered MSFT competitively or legally. Now, I think Google has that power...
Transparent Bundles, whose tagline is "Somewhere between Wall Street and Madison Avenue lives the future of both." has some deep posts on the nature of the internet - using computer science terms like automata.
They [ad network players] capitalize on a behavioral blindspot, where the supply of inventory versus the demands of advertising value are disjointed. As consumers become smart about these artificial mechanisms (banners, keywords, freeipods) their effectiveness drops and they look to get acquired by larger media entities.
Translation: You can make a lot of money very fast by getting customers to vendors efficiently. However, what works today won't work for very long...
As the Internet medium continues to evolve into a sales channel, the price of advertising is becoming mapped algorithmically to probably outcomes. Very little is being left to chance, as even the most ephemeral of creative decisions (color of the car in the banner, the choice of text in the link) are immediately evaluated in terms of click-thru rate.
I think these are good points, even though the references to PageRank and CTR seem out of date to me. We're still in the upswing on the PPC ad trend, because most buyers are not measuring their cost-per-lead. When the majority do measure that, then the overall PPC ad market will start to look efficient, and the trend will be on the downswing, as the cutting edge people look for the next inefficient place where outsize returns occur.
Back to Seth's tagline. I agree with the ad market and the stock market having the same nature. But I think Madison Avenue has a long way to go before it reaches the efficiency of Wall Street. In the financial world, the time value of money is the heartbeat of the markets - Seth's "automata" dance to it's beat. In the ad world, the heartbeat of the market is the acquistion cost of customers. That's what the music behind the waltz is. However, out of the $250B ad market, I'd guess that only less than 5% moves to the beat of automatable, accurate metrics.
PS - Seth Godin also has deep thoughts, I just happened to be referring to a different Seth... They probably know each other, though, so I think they'd be OK with it.
Andrew Goodman points out that Ask Jeeves has a 4% market share. Barry Diller's IAC has offered $1.9B for them. The current ad market for search is maybe $10B at most. Hmmm. Sure it's growing, but with MSN getting more involved, Ask is a distant fourth, and they rely on Google for their ads. Perhaps hype does work...
Search Engine Lowdown issues an ultimatum to Google. Blogger has been really slow of late, and there are minor bugs - but hey, you get what you pay for!
I was a little disappointed in this intro to SEO article on Wired News. I've come to expect more of Wired than newbie coverage of tech issues. However, it redeemed itself at the end with this quote from an SEO - it's a crystal clear definition of search engine spam:
But Boser defines search spam another way: "It's any site that ranks above mine."
Check out Google's open-source code center. Mostly heavy duty Python and C++ (anyone need a fast, thread friendly malloc?) that Google is contributing out to the world. Giving back, as it were. Can an API evangelist, and a blogging evangelist (a la Zawodny) be far behind?
Is it just me, or does Steve Ballmer have the senatorial-like capability to blather on about any subject promising a lot while not actually saying anything?
Here he's appealing the advertising constituency. He'll say anything to be re-elected!
Nelson M. offers a list of do's and don't when launching a web service, including:
- High quality reference docs
- Sample programs and XML
- Best practices
- Support plan with quick answers
- Test in every language
Nelson is perceptive, but I wonder how he would grade Google's launch of AdWords API? Lately, the newsgroup is getting more traffic with Googler Brian Kennish helpfully chiming in, and the AdWords API blog has accelerated to all of 6 posts in the last 2 months. However, I'd give Google a D on launch execution, using the minimum criteria above.
The reference docs are good, but the sample programs, best practices, FAQs and "testing in every language" were not good. Nelson mentions XML samples. The AdWords API site has a total of 1 sample in XML. The newsgroup is filled with instances of people trying to get the basics right, solving the same problems over and over (try using version 0.60 of SOAP::Lite in perl, and downgrade to v1.82 of NuSOAP for PHP while you're at it...)
Simply put, I don't think Google knows how to do hand-holding yet. Essentially, they throw the stuff out there, and if you're smart enough, you'll figure it out. I wonder if they know how to allocate enough resources to the community or will they just keep relying on the engineering teams to do it all. Yahoo's learned how to execute on this stuff over the years, and I think Yahoo does it better.
A good analogy for the PPC market place is the stock market. Stock markets are large, liquid auctions of underlying virtualized supply. So by analogy imagine:
Now do you have to go to the website of the NASDAQ to buy some CSCO stock? Do you need to call up the NYSE to buy IBM? Of course not, you can buy stock listed on any of these markets through brokers, electronic exchanges and everything else. The key is that the buying process is pretty standard.
So I think it's crazy to have separate stand-alone interfaces for each ad market.
In the ad world, aggregators and agencies usually do the brokering. Google's genius was in accepting credit cards and creating a self-serve model. However that model doesn't scale if you want to buy ads across 20 properties that all have their own interface.
So you'd think that someone would become an "ECN", like Island, Instinet or Archipelago.
Whoever can create one of those for the online ad market might do OK.
What to make of MSN announcing that they will have their own PPC ad system? Well, one thing they do differently than Google is pre-announce instead of just launching it. It's not clear when MSN keywords will be for sale direct from MS.
Is this announcement good for the SEM world? Raise your hand if you want to deal with another set of user interfaces, reports, account managers, bidding tools, TOS, payment systems, APIs, etc., etc.
Now if Microsoft actually did something new, that might be nice. I wonder if they have it in them. CPA, anyone?
I find this quote from the USA today interesting:
"Competition is fantastic," says Chris Winfield, the president of New York-based search marketing firm 10e20 Web Design. "I'm hoping this will lower some of the costs per click. I can't see Microsoft charging as much as Google and Yahoo, at least not in the beginning."
I don't see how dividing up inventory that's already rep'd by Overture is going to change prices at all. If MSN's ad system is better and easier and well-promoted, it actually might attract more buyers and raise prices...
Jeff Jarvis posts about blog ad networks, and something rather confusingly called "open-source ad calls". What are those? As near I can tell, a way to tag ad space so it can be part of an "ad-hoc" network:
In open-source ad calls, the publisher (blogger, media company) makes an ad space available to advertisers (or their agencies). In this case, the advertisers are selecting the publishers' sites.
What I find really interesting is the growing sentiment that the future of content advertising is cost-per-acquisition oriented. Jeff says "performance basis" and that could mean CPC, but I think a break-out will occur when someone (maybe Snap.com?) gets it mapped to CPA.
First, in either sell-side advertising or with open-source ad calls, I imagine that most advertising will pay only on a performance basis. The fraud, in that case, is about manufacturing clicks, but that's a different problem.
This sentiment feels like a repeat of the late 90's when banner advertisers started worrying about effectiveness, and started asking for cost-per-click or cost-per-action advertising.
So it's easy to imagine that the contextual content networks (i.e. Google AdSense, BlogAds, etc.) will be the first to move to cost-per-acquisition (CPA). Don't you think?
Offer a money-back-guarantee, no-questions-asked, on every click delivered. "Pay for only the clicks you like," Google could say.
The catch is, in response to your requests for refunds, Google will "down-weight" (or curtail altogether) your ad placements in exactly those "places" which generated unwanted clicks. If you choose to pay for no clicks, your ad soon stops running everywhere. It's in your interest to pay for the clicks that were truly valuable, so your ads continue to run in exactly the right and honest "places".
I think this cool idea but mostly serves as an inspirational model for what could be done. Most advertisers have a hard enough time getting used to the current "relevance" model at Google. Basically, this model might be too confusing for it to make sense to most Google buyers.
It's also not clear how Google and the buyer would decide which ad placements to downweight... They could choose the wrong place, and the fraudulent clicks could increase as a percentage. You'd need some method to tune the feedback. But overall, anything that "floats" the price you pay for a click by eliminating per-click minimum costs and potentially increasing the cost for more valuable clicks could be an interesting experiment!
I also think Gordon has a very valid point: "Google is uniquely positioned to implement and benefit from such a policy." In other words, Google will have a big advantage when they incrementally introduce a cost-per-acquisition model.
I wonder if Google is really a unique company and can innovate around click fraud, choosing the right time and place, and explaining a new system to its customers? I don't think the hard part is technical, I think the hard part is changing a the current system that produces a billion dollars a quarter. Who can make that bet, and can they do it early enough?
In a recent post, I complain that the search and PPC space is under-covered. After delving a bit more deeply, I found a trove of jupiter analyst blogs. So maybe some of these analysts are covering the space more than I thought.
But there are a couple of problems:
I'm not picking on Jupiter Media here - they deserve credit for having blogs (although I think they could promote them a bit better, and use some of their corporate web skills to make the format a bit nicer, more consistent and better branded.). I still think the $6B search and PPC market is under-covered. Maybe it's just a matter of time...
Next Sunday at 6pm ET, The Biography Channel will be airing their special on Google. Ray Allen, CEO American Meadows, who is the officially profiled AdWords client on Google's site, told me Biography sent a video crew out to interview him for the show....
"Copywriting is my big thing. I've been doing it since the beginning of time," he said. "Everybody talks about ad rank. They don't talk about the words. If your ad is at #1 or #2 and it says 'Wildflower Seeds', I'm going to kill you by saying 'Wildflower Seeds on Sale'. It doesn't matter if you're #1, if the guy at #3 is a copywriter, he's killing you."
It sounds easy, doesn't it? But it's not, so Mr. Allen advises you to hire someone with direct mail experience.
I think the PPC market is not deeply covered by the traditional tech media. Considering the amount of money flowing through PPC advertising, and the importance of search technology to the success of the internet, you'd think the analysts and press would be all over it.
When speaking to reporter Susan Kuchinskas of internetnews.com, I asked her about her beat. She covers a huge range of technology from RFIDs to Enterprise Software to Google and Yahoo. So she can't spend a lot of time focusing specifically on search and PPC. I don't think there are any traditional tech media outlets that have reporters that have gotten deep into the PPC / Search space. There also aren't really any analysts staking the area as their own. Charlene Li of Forrester may be the closest thing we've got - she covers the marketing space and just touches on PPC.
I think this is a blind spot for the old-school tech media, and perhaps it's an area best covered by bloggers and specialists like Danny Sullivan. Majestic Research is also taking an innovative approach from a financial analysis perspective - and their blog is more informative than their company website. For example, Seth Goldstein provides more support for my "under-covered" thesis:
Jordan Rohan a solitary sell-side analyst came out with a note that claimed paid search keyword prices were rapidly declining. this appears to have been based on a single anecdotal conversation with a 3rd tier search engine off-the-record. The entire sector plummetted....
Investors are gasping at any evidence of a turn for the worse (or the better) for GOOG and YHOO, and to a lesser extent, EBAY and AMZN. Almost a quarter-trillion dollars of market capitalization is currently being waged on the fortunes of these companies.
There's a lot of leverage for anyone who says anything about the search space, because there is not a lot of reliable, well-recognized coverage. Perhaps Tom Foremski at Silicon Valley Watcher has the right model - by scoping out rumors and news in the space, he'll build a valuable property. There's enough real-estate for somebody to win big, just by being the go-to expert from the traditional tech media.
Internetnews.com reporter Susan Kuchinskas did a round up article on Yahoo's busy week. Here's a quote I gave about Yahoo's incipient contextual ad program:
For example, according to Krystynak, publishers have little control over what Google AdSense ads show up on their pages, nor do they know what advertisers are paying for clicks.
"If Yahoo launches it correctly, and goes for something different that would make some of the bigger publishers happy as well," he said, "switching costs are zero."
Ugh. A great big run-on sentence. I've gotta work on those sound bites...
This USA Today article covers AdSense from a lot of angles, and is worth reading. However, what caught my eye was this quote from Jason Calacanis of Weblogs, Inc.
In his first four months of Web publishing, AdSense brought in $45,000. Some of his blogs produce $3,000 a month. His best do "four figures," Calacanis says, though he's reluctant to fill in the exact numbers. "And that's with zero marketing," he says.
Maybe it's the old marketer in me, but someone who's getting their company mentioned in the USA Today is NOT doing "zero marketing". Whenever you hear that, either the company is run by engineers who are bragging that they don't need marketing, or it's run by a savvy marketer, who's pulling the old "I'm not an orator" rhetorical trick...
The point is, if you are hearing about it, and they have any web presence, they are doing marketing, whether they like it or not...
If you follow Google or Yahoo, and you are not reading Silicon Valley Watcher, you should be! Actual reporting, scoops and analysis on the PPC ad world.
This article, with accompanying movie poster image (King Kong vs. Godzilla) sums up the real story behind Yahoo's upcoming launch of an AdSense competitor. Tom Foremski understands how it all fits together:
At stake are hundreds of millions of dollars of Google’s Adsense revenues from publishing text ads on third party web sites, many of them blogs. Yahoo has an opportunity to strike a strategic blow against Google.
Declining conversion rates because of click-fraud will further exacerbate the competitive battle. Click-fraud, if left unchecked, will lead to advertisers paying less for each click in response to fewer sales per click.
However, the idea that Google has planned out alternative inventory locations to battle click fraud is a bit of a stretch. I don't think Gmail was premediated. In any case, the point is still valid.
And the tagline poster: King Kong vs. Godzilla is right on. I can't wait for the battle to escalate.
This Wired News article has a summary of last week's panel on click fraud at SES.
"Search engines don't have the incentive but have the data, while the advertisers have the incentive but not the data."
So if 33% of the audience has received a refund check, does that make it a big deal? I wonder if it's still 'under the radar' because the businesses are willing to put up with it at the current level? Too busy to fight. I wonder when that will change?
A ton of blogs have details on the incipient announcement of a Yahoo contextual ad program for content sites (i.e. AdSense from Yahoo).
Here's what I'm gonna do as soon as I can sign up: Put all Yahoo ads up on even days and all Google on odd days. In other words alternate the ads in some way that complies with the TOS. I believe Google's TOS is exclusive - you can't put other context ads up on the same page.
Why? Because the Google ads are too repititive on this blog. You see the same ads all of the time. I'm too lazy (so far) to explore the deep options on the Google interface to try and get different ads. But if I switch systems from day-to-day, then maybe I can reduce ad-fatigue... Who knows? But it should be fun to try...
Brainboost.com is a search engine that answers questions like: "Did Nixon play golf?". It's the first new search engine I've seen in a long time that does a search thing better than Google. Maybe NLP techniques will be the next wave of innovation, or perhaps Google will just buy them out.
It's also old school in that it takes 4 seconds for the answer to come back, and there are no ads...
Alas, I found that it can't answer: "Did Nixon prefer golf or bowling?"...
What a great system. I don't know how it works, but I imagine this could be done completely distributed. You hand out eye-tracking goggles to a few hundred people, and pay them for each page they look at. You collect the data and your fee, and generate reports. Given the reasonable cost, I think it must work something like that.
Now that's an internet business model...
Good point by John Jantsch.
I contend, however, that every business really needs at least two web sites. You should have one to tell about your company and your services and one that focuses strictly on providing great content about some aspect of your industry.
Seth Godin also posted on how you should think about search when building websites.
An enterprising developer has wrapped the AdWords API in PHP, and is selling the library. Ostensibly it should make using the Google AdWords API a lot easier. Is it worth it? Oddly enough, I think PHP is one of the few languages where it's already easy enough to use the Google API.
A library for VB might be useful, however. Microsoft has made all the modern SOAP tools work well for VB.NET. Unfortunately, 80% of the world still uses Visual Basic 6 - and it's much harder to get VB6 to work with the Google AdWords API.
Finally, some coverage of the Yahoo API launch that focuses on the Overture APIs. This internetnews.com article makes some nice points such as:
If the search engines' pay-per-click ad services were restaurants, Google would be McDonalds: fast and cheap; Yahoo would be Chili's: serving a limited number of patrons, offering a wide variety of higher-priced meals and not promising you a table.
Fun analogy, but just not very accurate... The rest of the article contains several questionable points brought up in support of this thesis that Overture is not really self serve.
"With Google, your ads are running within 10 minutes. With Overture, it takes a call or an e-mail to a sales rep. There's a bit of a hurdle getting in," said Jupiter Research analyst Gary Stein.
Huh? Since when do you have to call Overture or even email them to get ads running? While Google often gets ads running faster, Overture approvals usually happen automatically in under 24 hours. I've argued before that Overture is actually easier than Google for smaller advertisers, as well since relevancy is not a factor in positioning.
This breakdown of revenue makes no sense to me either:
In 2004, Yahoo made more than $3 billion in marketing revenue. Yahoo doesn't separate contributions from its Overture division, which it acquired in 2003. But Gartner analyst Denise Garcia estimates that Overture pay-per-click ads contributed around 20 percent of its revenue in 2002.
Is 2002 the latest data Gartner has? PPC ads were barely a factor way back then. They weren't even a part of Yahoo and they created 20% of revenue. Imagine what they are doing now that they've been folded in. Personally, I think it's very likely that Overture contributes 40+% of Yahoo's profits to the bottom line. It's undoubtedly the most successful and underrated corporate acquisition of the internet age.
Finally I wonder if this quote was worked in to fit with the story line:
"Yes, Google captures all of the small advertisers, and Overture has traditionally done better with the bigger advertisers," Stein said. "On the other hand, Google has had a really bad reputation for customer service, whereas Overture has a dynamite reputation. They're very responsive to problems; if you're extremely sophisticated, they let you alone; if you're new, they work with you. That takes a lot of resources, but these are bigger accounts."
Google captures all of the small advertisers and Overture does better with the big advertisers!?! The "long tail" may be long, but it couldn't explain why Google's revenue is $4B and Overture's is what, a 1/3rd of that? Is there any evidence that the largest spenders are under-represented on Google? I think Amazon, eBay, NexTag, Shopping.com, etc are spending much more on Google than Overture... As for the "dynamite" reputation of Overture, I wonder where that comes from? I don't think Overture has a bad reputation, but I've never heard it described as "dynamite" either...
A commenter asks: "Do you think Google will ever change to a pay per acquisition model?"
One of my basic laws for internet marketing is that nothing ever works well for more than 3 years. By the end of 2006, PPC won't be effective for a large number of online sellers. Google will have to adapt, and they will. It doesn't mean they'll stop the CPC ads, but they will somehow offer a CPA model. If they wanted to, they could do it right now, better than anyone else...
Also see my earlier post on how Google has a marketplace - much like a stock market, where they control all the rules, and that will be to their advantage when they need to adapt.
Tim at straightupsearch talks about "impression fraud". What's that? Apparently it's when automated search requests are made to inflate impression counts on ads and decrease click through rate. It would only seem to apply to AdWords... I wonder if it's real?
It probably is real, one of my maxims about the internet is: "If you can conceive it, it's probably already happening."
It shows you where people's eyes go when they view a Google page... Interesting, but it's anecdotal evidence compared to what you have in your logs, and your conversion tracking results.
While constructing my previous post, I did a google search for "Charlene Li Click Fraud". Basically she's never talked about it - yet...
What struck me was the increasing number of AdWords Ads related to click fraud that showed up on Google. Even though I type "Click Fraud" about 40 times a day into this blog, you never see any those ads on my AdSense IFRAMES, do you? Hmmm.
Those advertisers are all agencies and software companies vying to track your conversion rates and find click fraud for you. I guess the people that know what's what with AdWords Search and Content networks aren't putting their money on the content side.
Weiman said that one of the major obstacles to a click fraud crackdown is that search engines are reluctant to share the data that documents such fraud. She spoke of one instance in which her client had been billed for traffic that had apparently been generated fraudulently, and the search engine involved hadn't done anything to prevent it. "The search engine clearly wasn't being proactive in detecting fraud,"
Also via John, a "let's pile on GOOG" piece at Business Week. I'm surprised there's no mention of click fraud. But the "one-trick pony" line may be enough for a while... It's precisely because of the one-trick pony (i.e. 90%+ of revenue from AdWords) that Google is very susceptible to the click fraud meme.
Well if you are like me, you are not... But here's a blogger who's giving you the info and coverage of the Search Engine Strategies '05 in NYC: http://www.seroundtable.com/
The meme gets hotter. At this rate, spontaneous combustion is not far away... Here's a UK customer's point-of-view:
Mr. Elton said he remained dissatisfied with having to depend on search engines to make things right. "As of the present time, they are judge and jury on any suspect click fraud case such as ours," he said. "I believe there should be an unbiased independent arbitration by a separate specialist company..."
Collection of names to watch:
Marketwatch's Bambi Francisco talks to Danny Sullivan who is bullish on the PPC ad market. Of course, the growth rate is inevitably slowing down, but Danny finds a lot of new people want to go to his conferences.(Via SearchEngineLowdown)
The interesting part of the article covers startups trying to be like NexTag.com and acquire leads at low cost, to resell them. NexTag uses search as one of the ways it acquires leads, then it auctions the leads (which are people clicking on stuff) to merchants like Mortgage sellers, Digital Camera sites, etc. It's a great business model, so it's no wonder people are jumping in.
"If aggregators continue to buy search keywords in bulk and resell the traffic/lead for 2X via an arbitrage model it will assert pressure on the search providers [Yahoo and Google] to go more downstream to acquire the marketers directly at some point if they want to continue to grow their top line revenue," said D.C. Cullinane, CEO and co-founder of thinkingVoice, a startup focused on a pay-for-call business model.
However, time has shown that once a marketing technique gets over-saturated, it loses effectiveness. I wonder if all these big bulk buyers will cause that to happen in the PPC market. I also wonder if the new people going to Search Engine Strategies will find it too hard to compete with the bulk buyers?
Give me some comments - what do you think about PPC growth and pricing? Will the bulk buyers squeeze out the regular businesses?
I think the tempo is going to Yahoo on the API front.
Rather than write the crude attention grabbing title: "Yahoo is kicking Google's Ass on APIs", I decided to use the symbol for "much greater than". Anyways, here's the intial proof: the Y! API Wiki now has about 15 apps from third parties listed. Cool.
The Google AdWords API guys did announce a service to manage account settings. So maybe Google is going after functional completeness for the pro developers, while Yahoo's late launch allows them to get the net-buzz excitement. If that's true, it's an inversion of Google's usual approach, I think.
How about a contest, or a wiki Google?
Kanoodle announces ads in RSS feeds. Unfortunately you can't get much info from their site beyond the press release unless you sign up. They are partnering with moreover.com who also has basically nothing about the service besides the release on their site...
What to make of these attempts to somehow monetize RSS?
I'm not impressed by the ads in RSS schemes so far. I guess I think that you need actual content so people will put up with the ads. RSS headlines are themselves basically ads for the content.
Google's text ads were innovative in that they were just text, and were automatically relevant to the content. That's what differentiated them from the banners that had worn out their welcome. If the RSS ads have some relevance and don't intrude, that's a very incremental advance. But I don't think it's different enough, and it doesn't extend the effectiveness of the text ad model. That makes me think it's not good enough to catch on yet.
The way I use RSS, I still end up going to the web page to get the content, and I see the ads there... No doubt there are many ways to try and stick ads in feeds, but so far they simply clutter the feed. Maybe some things just don't admit ads from a usability point of view - for example, lynx text browsers don't see any ads on Google. So I think we're at an experimental stage - and I don't think it adds any value at this point...
A busy day for Yahoo. Not only did co-founder Jerry Yang provide the keynote "chat" at the SES show in NYC, but the search engine also made two major announcements today.
First, Yahoo is finally absorbing Overture fully into the family and changing the division's name to "Yahoo Search Marketing Solutions".
Overture is now called: "Y! SMS"? Yikes - let's hope that's an internal name only. Given that Overture is a huge profit maker for Yahoo, you'd think they could've ponied up for some better branding... Which would you rather buy PPC ads from: Overture, AdWords or Y! SMS?
Snap.com takes a swing at a cost-per-acquistion advertising model. Look at the start of the second paragraph in the press release:
Snap's Cost-Per-Action advertising also provides advertisers protection against click fraud, now rampant in the search marketplace.
Click fraud is now "rampant". Do you think click fraud is a blasto-meme yet?