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  Keyword Tools: Wordze vs. HitWise

If you are doing keyword research, there are a ton of tools out there that can help. One of the more expensive options is Hitwise. It costs about $25k/yr. When I first subscribed to Hitwise, it was one of the only ways to get access to keyword data from ISPs - what users type in as they browse the internet.

A much less expensive choice is Wordze, which is around $500/yr.

I subscribe to both services, and while HitWise has many features for general brand marketing that go far beyond what Wordze can do, for most PPC and SEO keyword research needs, Wordze is more helpful. I'm going to review them by stepping through some common tasks.

PPC Keyword Research Scenario:

Suppose we want to promote whirlpool dishwashers

We want to find a lot of related long tail keywords so we can create ads on Google and Yahoo related to dishwashers

First let's find the keywords that send traffic to


In Hitwise, we use "Search Intelligence -> Website Search Terms". We type in "" and in about 10 seconds, we get a list of 173 search terms. These are the terms that send the most traffic to the website. We export this to excel. Here's the top 10.

Rank SearchTerm Volume
1 whirlpool 28.16%
2 whirlpool appliances 6.94%
3 5.98%
4 whirlpool refrigerators 3.00%
5 2.23%
6 whirlpool washers 1.24%
7 whirlpool customer service 0.99%
8 whirlpool dishwashers 0.99%
9 whirlpool home 0.99%
10 whirlpool parts 0.99%

Looking at the Hitwise list, we find a few useful things like mis-spells: wirlpool, whirlpol, whirlppol; URL type-ins like:,, etc. But we also have to manually filter some of the odd irrelevant phrases that show up: Is "albuquerque zoo symphony" really deserving of place 37 on this list? It's in there, along with "fiserv irving tx", "free trial of pantene hair products" and others... perhaps about 10 out of 173 terms seem irrelevant.


With Wordze, there is no direct way to find all the keywords sending traffic to, so we try the "Keyword search" on "whirlpool". It comes back quickly with 2763 keywords. The top 10 are:

 freezer fridge whirlpool
 dishwasher whirlpool
 oven whirlpool
 fridge whirlpool
 freezer whirlpool
 whirlpool parts
 philips whirlpool
 whirlpool appliances
 whirlpool dryer repair

Wordze's list can be exported to Excel as well, and that takes a few minutes to complete. When we look at the whole list, we see that most phrases have the keyword "whirlpool" in them, but we need to filter them somehow for dishwashers.

We can either filter the list with an advanced query option or just try "whirlpool dishwasher". We find 91 keywords with Wordze when we search for "Whirlpool dishwasher".

Stuff like this:

whirlpool dishwasher du1145xtpb
whirlpool dishwasher
whirlpool dishwasher repair
whirlpool dishwasher repair troubleshooting
whirlpool dishwasher timer
whirlpool dishwasher du915pwpq2
whirlpool dishwasher troubleshooting
whirlpool dishwasher manuals
whirlpool dishwasher stainless steel

Hitwise Analysis

In hitwise, we can do a search term analysis on the term "whirlpool dishwasher" and it will tell us which sites receive traffic for this term, and give us a list of 43 related search terms. Fairly similar to wordze's list, but about half the size.

Wordze Misspells and Synonyms

Wordze has some very handy features for PPC campaign building - a thesaurus and misspell database. Looking up whirlpool in the misspell database gives this list:

Similarly, there are 8 variations for "dishwasher" in the misspell database in Wordze.

The "thesaurus" in Wordze is really a "related keyword" tool. For the word "dishwasher", it returns:

dish washer
domestic technology

Perhaps 50% of those would be useful in building a keyword list.

Keyword Expansion - Dig

Another Wordze feature this is really useful is: "Dig", which is keyword expansion - i.e. drill down on a single keyword, and expand it by finding instances of it's use in Wordze's database of site content. Digging takes a while, but can produce very large lists of long tail keywords. There are some good videos on the Wordze site that explain how to use the "Dig" tool.

There's also a video on competititve keyword research.

Keyword API

The fact that Wordze has a XML API for getting 100's of related keyword is also very attractive for automating content creation. (If you are into that sort of thing).

Wordze also has data on some of the more lucrative parts of the keyword world that can be hard to find if you stick to the major search engines: I.e. poker, warez, porn, etc. By default, these terms are filtered out, but you can set advanced options in keyword search to enable them.

What HitWise is Good For

For most PPC marketers and SEOs, HitWise is not worth the expense, since tools like Wordze have deeper toolsets for building keyword lists. HitWise is especially good for brand managers tracking trends. You can build sophisticated watch lists composed of many sites - i.e. consumer electronics by combining:,,, etc. into a group.

Hitwise is also helpful for understanding where to buy ads on certain sites, since you can see where that site's traffic comes from and goes to.

Who Should Subscribe To Wordze

If you spend more than $500 / month on pay per click, or if you generate more than $500 / month with content sites, subscribing to Wordze will pay for itself in a month. It's especially good for building out long tail keyword lists for affiliate campaigns.

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  Comparing AdWords, Panama & AdCenter Performance

At the end of the month, I like to evaluate my campaign performance a bit more in-depth.

In late April, I set up a PPC campaign with 700 keywords, and 3 ads as identically as possible on Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing (aka Panama), and Microsoft AdCenter.

This campaign was in a high-value consumer electronics area, with a medium amount of traffic (no it wasn't "digital cameras").

So, for the first 30 days of May, here are the stat lines:

SourceClicksCTRAvg CPCTotal SpendConversion Rate
AdWords 605 1.25% 0.31 $185.67 10.4%
Panama 655 1.3% 0.28 $186.25 8.4%
AdCenter 20 1.77% 0.26 $5.14 n/a

Just a couple of observations:

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  Annoying Differences Between Yahoo Panama and Google AdWords

Well before Panama launched, I entreated Yahoo to just copy Google's interface. Copying the key commands is how Excel took over the market from Lotus 1-2-3.

They did not. They made up their own UI conventions. So far, after about 8 months of use, I'm disappointed at how few improvements in UI workflow Yahoo has made. During the same time, Google AdWords has only increased its usability lead. Fundamentally, Google is better at rolling out changes quickly. It's also better at usability.

Here's a little list of easy things Yahoo Panama could do if they want advertisers to be able to spend more and create bigger campaigns quickly:

  1. Get rid of the limits. My account has a ridiculous limit of 30 campaigns. Why?
  2. Copy Google's workflow. In AdWords, when you are looking at an ad group, you can simply press "Previous/Next" to get to the next ad group. Even MSN does this a lot better than Yahoo. They have a breadcrumb navigation that makes all components accessible.
  3. Adapt Google standards for ad display. For example, in Google, you can have a display URL with capital letters and spaces. This url: Wow is rendered as: in Panama. Annoying and stupid. Google also has a different notion of "lines" in the ad. Just copy theirs!
  4. Enable Keyword substitution that works like Googles. Enable the exact same macros: {KeyWord:Default}.
  5. Allow Keywords to be substituted in the the destination URL. This is a huge pain now because you have to use the "custom url" field to put keywords in the destination, and they are relatively static.
  6. Email-able reports. Google has this, MSN does too. I complained about it back in January as well.
  7. Show all the ads in a single view, with stats, like Google does. Right now, you see the "name" of the ad in Panama, and you have to click each name to see the actual ad.
  8. Introduce an equivalent to "Exact" match! Make keyword matching conventions work just like Google. Even with Standard match, Yahoo considers "word" and "words" to be the same. It handles misspells differently than Google as well.
  9. Make an advanced search / replace function that works like AdWords'.
  10. Turn on international markets in Panama. I shouldn't need a separate account to buy UK ads.

Finally, Panama should just copy the AdWords Editor fat client. For large campaign management, that is a god send. I just changed text on 43 adwords ads in about 3 minutes in AdWords Editor. It'll take me several hours to do that in Panama.

The goal should be for search ad buyers to spend almost no time and bring over large AdWords campaigns into Panama.

Yahoo needs to learn the lesson of Microsoft - "embrace & extend" - there's no shame in simply making the UI work exactly like Google's - Google's done a ton of research on usability that Yahoo could pick up for free. More importantly, they are the market leader, and everyone knows their interface. Standardization means more buyers! Until the Panama team gets that, they won't threaten AdWords.

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  If Search Engines Were M*A*S*H Characters

Google would be Hawkeye.

Yahoo would be B.J. Honeycutt.

MSN Live would be Frank Burns.

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  Microsoft Buys Aquantive. Top of Bubble.

OK, yes, things are frothy and bubbly in the online ad business.

But 14X revenue for an ad agency? Agencies aren't exactly known for pristine revenue reporting either...

There's a ton of reporting on Microsoft paying $6B for what is essentially an ad agency.

I'm shocked that no one is pointing out that AQNT has profit margins of about 12%. Microsoft other businesses average around 28%. Microsoft may be saying that Aquantive is an "ad network", but it's really a service business. Ad agencies are tremendously cyclical, hiring when times are good, and firing when times are bad. Times are good right now. So that 12% profit margin IS THE BEST margin they are gonna do.

Microsoft probably hopes that Ave.A/Razorfish clients will now be directing a lot of spend towards MSN and Office Live. Meanwhile, Aquantive's big technology piece, Atlas, doesn't even work with MSN adcenter at this point

If I was an Aquantive client, I'd be shopping for a new agency right now...


  Google Allowed Fair Use of Porn Thumbnails

In a rather important case testing fair use, and aggregation on the internet, Google has won a decision allowing them to use thumbnails of copyrighted images.

Timothy Lee at arstechica calls it a "partial victory."

Terry Heaton says the decision "strengthens aggregators":

The appeals court overturned a district court ruling, and while there are still other issues to be resolved, this decision adds considerable weight to case law that strengthens the position of web-based aggregators.

In the decision, the court wrote that there’s no doubt the display of such images is a direct infringement but concluded that the use of the images meets the standards required for fair use. Thus, they overturned an injunction against Google issued by the district court.

I'm not the biggest follower of the legal issues around copyright, but I think it's clear that if Google lost this one, it'd have a big impact on both legitimate search usage, and on spammers / sploggers (even though they clearly don't have the same amount of public benefit as Google relied on in this ruling).

So keep 'on aggregatin'

PS. In other internet/porn-related news, the domain "" sold for over $9.5M. Man, I wish I had that time masheen perfected.

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  Panama Error Messages

Here's a fun error message from Yahoo's Panama system. It's showing me an ad that I've previously edited, and telling me that... oh, never mind...

Changes to this ad are pending editorial review. You are editing the current approved version, not the edited one. Any changes you make will supersede the edited version in editorial review.

Why even let the user get into a state like this? Doesn't happen in AdWords...


  Two Rocks Humping

Enquiro has a nice free download of a new report on B2B buying behaviour - and how business buyers use search engines (e.g. Google is the preferred choice of 82% of B2B buyers).

It's a good whitepaper, but the remarkable thing is that their new website site design features river rocks in strange positions with new-agey slogans about touch points.

Here's one of their images, which I call: "Two Rocks Humping".

Call me sophomoric, but I prefer to think of myself as effortlessly grokking the avant-garde.


  Review of Spider Man 3
Here's my 9-yr old's summary of Spider Man 3, (he hasn't actually seen the movie, except for the trailer):

There's 2 bad guys to fight, and an evil black spider man suit that Spider-Man literally cannot take off. It's like the director ran out of good ideas, and started copying Fantastic Four crap.

We also mused about what sort of accident during a scientific experiment would be cool for creating the bad guy in Spider Man 4.

Maybe there's some kind of nuclear lego factory and a crazy guy falls into a vat of lego plastic. And then when he comes out he's made of Legos and can shoot legos - and build stuff he needs by shooting them out of his hand.

Imagine the merchandising possibilities! Lego and Spider-Man already have a deal in place, so it'd be easy!


  Increase Campaign ROI by 1% - Guaranteed!
The best marketers copy good ideas, but I'm gonna outright steal this one from Chad at Directory Vault:

I will completely guarantee 100% that this tip will work for every person without fail. If you follow this tip, you will instantly increase your ROI 1% across the board on every cent your spend on your PPC campaign. Now that I have got your attention with the cheesy, E-book style hype, here’s the tip.

Instead of optimizing your actual campaign, it’s about optimizing how you pay. Instead of paying with a normal credit card, as most people do, sign up for a 1% cash back rewards card. There are many cards that do this, personally I have an American Express Business Rebates card. So for every dollar I spend in my campaigns, I get 1 penny back. This may not sound like a big deal but sometimes PPC margins can be tight and 1% does in fact make a difference.

This is so very true. Get a cash back card to pay each of the big 3. I.e. a separate card for Google, Yahoo and MSN. If you spend $30k - $50k / month, you'll get around $500 back.

Since cashback cards often have limits on how much you can get back, here are 3 good cards that can return a lot of cash back:

By using separate cards - and not charging anything but PPC costs on them, it's also a bit easier to handle reconcilliation since these business cards will all send you end of year statements.

  How To Convert & Upload Google AdWords Campaign To Yahoo Panama

Suppose you have a big Google AdWords Campaign, and you want to get it into Yahoo Panama. Here's what you need to do to convert an AdWords Campaign into Yahoo:

  1. Be a "Gold Tier" Yahoo Panama customer, so you can qualify for bulk upload. To be Gold Tier, you need to spend at least $500 per month for 3 months. If you've done that, and you don't see a "Import Campaigns" link on your Create a Campaign screen, you need to call Yahoo and get that added.
  2. Install the Google AdWords Editor
  3. Use Google AdWords Editor to Export your AdWords campaign to CSV.
    • Open AdWords Editor, and update your account information
    • Export your campaign as CSV from AdWords Editor. Select the specific campaign, and then choose: File -> Export to CSV -> Export Current Campaign
    • Open the exported campaign in Excel.
    • Change a lot of stuff in the Excel file. You generally don't want to upload the exact Google campaign. Look carefully at your bids. Also look at destination URLs, you may want to change tracking codes or parameters to indicate that the clicks will be coming from Yahoo. Save the changes.
  4. Goto "Import 3rd Party Campaign" tab in Yahoo Panama
  5. Import the campaign. Panama will upload your excel file, then convert it to it's format. When this is done, you download the file it creates, Check it carefully, and re-upload into Panama...
  6. Before loading it, go and make any Yahoo specific changes.
    • Change any tracking codes to indicate Yahoo sourcing.
    • Yahoo idiotically doesn't allow keyword substitution in the destination URL of the ad. However, it does have a field called "Custom URL" for each keyword, and you can set the specific keyword in the URL. That's handy for when your landing page needs to dispatch off the keyword (i.e. it can include the keyword in the generated landing page by pulling it from the URL.)
    • Look carefully at "Advanced Match" vs "Standard Match". Advanced Match is equivalent to "Broad Match" in Google. "Standard Match" is more like "Exact Match" in Google.
  7. Save the modified file. Set the file name to have a ".csv" file extension. BUT - Choose File type to be : "Unicode txt". The resulting filename must end in .csv.
  8. Go to the "Import Campaigns" tab in Panama
  9. Browse for the modified Excel file, give it an "Upload" name, and do "Upload".
  10. Wait a while.
  11. Check the new campaign. Look at any errors that may have happened during upload. Check carefully - seriously, mistakes can be costly!
  12. Go to the Dashboard page, select the new campaign and set a daily spending limit. You probably should turn off content matching as well.

Let it run. Check it tomorrow. Watch your logs in the meantime. See if it gets worse quality traffic due to all the garbage partners that Yahoo lets have Overture feeds (Hint: It will...)

Anyways, that's the easy and safe way. If you don't have access to the "Gold Tier" upload from Yahoo, you can call Yahoo and ask them to do it for you. If you do that, MAKE SURE you pre-edit the CSV file you give them, or else they'll just put in the stuff from Google, and you probably won't like that.

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  Best Wii Games for Kids
I've had a Nintendo Wii since day one. I've bought and tried a lot of games. Wii Sports is a great game. If you want new games for your Wii, and you have kids, the best Wii Games you should buy for Kids ages 7 - 12 are:

Super Mario Galaxy is fantastic, visually exciting and fresh. Super Mario Galaxy is probably best for ages 7 - 10.

Wii Play has 9 different games including Billiards, Tanks, and Skeet shooting. They are simple but fun, and you can win medals for each level.

Big Brain Academy is a fun brain challenging game. It's probably the most educational of all the Wii games. Adults can play against kids, like most Wii games.

Super Paper Mario is a deep combination of scroller / role playing game. There's a good bit of reading necessary to solve all the puzzles. If your kids liked Animal Crossing, I think they'll like Super Paper Mario. If they don't, it's even more fun for adults...

Madden on the Wii is soo much easier to play than on the PS2. The controller makes it a great game even for kids. My 7 yr-old is into Madden now. He's learned to tell the difference between a Nickel and Dime defense. So that'll come in handy during football season, I think.

Rayman's Ravin' Rabbids has a lot of crazy mini-games, ranging from shooting to Dance-Dance Revolution type dancing. It's definitely a game targeted more at kids. Pretty fun.

Zelda is a great adventure game that can take a while to learn. It's full of challenging puzzles and make excellent use of the Wii-mote controller. I'd recommend for kids 9 and above.

Sonic and Mario at the Olympics is going to be popular after the summer Olympics. It's probably best for kids over 7.

Lego Star Wars is the easiest game that boys ages 5 and up will like. It's very forgiving and fun.


  Funny Stuff on YHOO / MSFT in the WSJ
Here's some WSJ coverage of Microsoft's and Yahoo's "recent talks". Feel free to refer back to this the next time you need to judge how well major newspapers understand Silicon Valley.

Still, Microsoft has technical expertise that might benefit Yahoo. Under one possible scenario, Microsoft could manage the technical platform and infrastructure of the companies' combined Internet activities, while Yahoo's current staff could oversee the consumer parts of the businesses..

That's absurdly funny. Microsoft has no technical skills "that might benefit Yahoo." They've spent billions of their cash on their own infrastructure - and are way behind Google AND Yahoo - is that the skill?

While Yahoo is facing increased competition to sell advertisers the graphical-display ads, such as banners, that have been its bread and butter, the company recently has shown signs of momentum

Really? Apparently the last two consecutive quarters of serious under-performance counts as momentum to the WSJ?

Panama is now running, and Yahoo said recently that it expects the system to contribute to its revenue, starting this quarter.

Even this basic statement is grossly incorrect. Panama is of course, already contributing to revenue. It's revenue growth that's the problem.

Just remember that everything you read in the press is generally wrong in some important way. And it's doubly true for coverage of technical issues.

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  The Comfortable Poor

Kedrosky has a post up that says 1 in 18 households in the US are now "millionaires".

It recalls British publishing billionaire Felix Dennis' new classification of wealth:
Total assets  
£1m-£2m The comfortable poor
£5m-£15m The comfortably wealthy
£40m-£75m The comfortably rich

Beyond that come the super rich and the filthy rich...

Note that figures are in british pounds, so it's roughly $2-4M in USD to be comfortably poor.

  MSN AdCenter Garbitrage

Microsoft's adCenter has really gone downhill in performance lately. Along with declines in traffic, my accounts have seen big decreases in conversion and ROI.

On April 29, adCenter sent out a notice to advertisers changing their terms of use:

We're writing to notify you that your Microsoft adCenter Terms and Conditions are updated. The changes take effect on April 30, 2007.

Some of the key adjustments to your Terms and Conditions include:

  • Microsoft may use matching criteria other than keyword searches to display your advertisements.
  • Microsoft may display your advertisements on its network of advertising channels operated by the Microsoft network of participating websites and other distribution outlets.

Basically, they are saying that your ads can now show up for any reason on any of their partners sites. So much for targeting search keywords!

Microsoft has already announced that they are testing an AdSense competitor, so this change certainly enables them to show your ads on content sites with some type of contextual matching.

However, Melissa M. from the SEM2 discussion group also points out that she's seen Microsoft buying IntelliTXT ads, and routing the clicks to a landing page of adCenter advertiser ads.

MSN is actually running Intellitext ads on content sites, sending visitors to a Live search page with adCenter ads on it. We saw a spike in clicks on a handful of keywords on 4/30, with no resultant increase in conversions, and I attribute it to this garbitrage by MSN.

She calls that Garbitrage. Which captures it perfectly. Check this thread for more details.

So I see a few big credibility problems for Microsoft stemming from this:

  1. A major TOS change with basically no notice. You could almost call it a "zero-day exploit".
  2. Funnelling low-quality untargeted traffic to search ad customers campaigns.
  3. Overall desperation and drop in traffic and performance.

It's hard to believe how bad Microsoft is at this whole thing... but they are, and I expect them to lose even more accounts as people see this junk get reflected in their stats.

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Recent Posts

Keyword Tools: Wordze vs. HitWise
Comparing AdWords, Panama & AdCenter Performance
Annoying Differences Between Yahoo Panama and Google AdWords
If Search Engines Were M*A*S*H Characters
Microsoft Buys Aquantive. Top of Bubble.
Google Allowed Fair Use of Porn Thumbnails
Panama Error Messages
Two Rocks Humping
Review of Spider Man 3
Increase Campaign ROI by 1% - Guaranteed!
How To Convert & Upload Google AdWords Campaign To Yahoo Panama
Best Wii Games for Kids
Funny Stuff on YHOO / MSFT in the WSJ
The Comfortable Poor
MSN AdCenter Garbitrage


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Keyword Tools: Wordze vs. HitWise
Comparing AdWords, Panama & AdCenter Performance
Annoying Differences Between Yahoo Panama and Google AdWords
If Search Engines Were M*A*S*H Characters
Microsoft Buys Aquantive. Top of Bubble.
Google Allowed Fair Use of Porn Thumbnails
Panama Error Messages
Two Rocks Humping
Review of Spider Man 3
Increase Campaign ROI by 1% - Guaranteed!
How To Convert & Upload Google AdWords Campaign To Yahoo Panama
Best Wii Games for Kids
Funny Stuff on YHOO / MSFT in the WSJ
The Comfortable Poor
MSN AdCenter Garbitrage