Archive for May, 2009

Obama Administration Eyes Google Warily

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

After a previous battle with the DOJ regarding a merger with Yahoo!, Google is now a target of more strict antitrust enforcement from the Obama administration due to its dominance among competition on the web. After few antitrust lawsuits arose under President Bush, authorities are now taking a stance similar to that of the European Union. While Google is receiving a considerable amount of scrutiny from the government, the likelihood of an antitrust case arising is slim.

Google has already been a victim of private suits by small companies; as long as its competitive nature stays intact, Google will remain a consistent target of such allegations. Blair Levin, a former FCC official, stated that there is nothing wrong with becoming the powerful force in a market. “The question is: Once you’ve attained [dominance], what are the rules of the road?” Levin said.В В 

Authorities will continue to monitor Google in order to ensure that it does not use its search engine notoriety as an advantage in new ventures. It is moving into the social networking realm with Google Profiles, something that could give competition to websites such as Facebook and Twitter. User profiles would appear as search results, which could give Google Profiles an advantage.

Google accounts for 64% of the market in America, and while it may be a big force in online business, there are currently no grounds for an antitrust case. “You have to be big, and you have to be bad,” said Andrew Gavil, a legal professor at Howard University. Although no antitrust lawsuit is imminent, government authorities will continue to monitor Google.

Websites Look to Increase Revenue through Larger, More Striking Ads

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Decreased revenue is causing some website publishers to sell larger, more noticeable ads in order to increase profits. The Online Publishers Association has introduced a set of wide load ads that prominent agencies such as ESPN, MSNBC, and the New York Times have adopted or will adopt. Currently, publishers are only selling such ads to top customers, as prices are much higher than traditional styles.

One new style of ad, an expandable banner normally placed at the top of a page, enlarges and takes up most of the screen before collapsing back to a smaller area. A second format is placed near the side of a page. Due to its considerable size, publishers must adjust text in order to make room for the ad. Another style of ad, on the right side of the page, falls as users scroll down, limiting information that can be placed in the area.

Publishers continue to adopt the new formats despite potential dissatisfaction from visitors. David Payne, CEO of ShortTail Media, is pushing for a shift away from sensitivity to user experience. He is focusing on bigger, bolder ads and aims to introduce large video advertising in the future.

Payne’s new video ads would be marketed in a similar way to commercials on television. The ad, a Digital 30, and would take up the entire web page for a set amount of time. Reuters and Weather.com have already adopted this new style of ad. Publishers are interested in seeing how patient users are actually going to be with video ads.

A successful SEO campaign for a web site is contingent upon the web site’s effectiveness to earn revenue from that search engine traffic.В  Ad publishing is a huge part of how web sites earn revenue so it’s important web sites stay ahead of the curve when it comes to new ad formats.

Why You Should Never Use A “Flat-Fee” Pay-Per-Click Advertising Service

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Often, I receive calls from potential buyers looking for a “flat-fee” pay-per-click service. The majority of companies that offer ppc management services price services in the following manner: Management Fee + Click Budget charge directly by Google, Yahoo etc. Consumers often hate this pricing format because they’re being charged by two separate entities making the pricing seem confusing. But, there’s a reason why you want this as opposed to a “flat-fee.”

A loyal SEO client of mine recently emailed me saying he was considering dropping his own AdWords account for a service that “guaranteed top 3 placement in the sponsored listings” for one particular keyword. This placement would be 24/7 and would include unlimited clicks all for said “flat-fee.” Upon hearing this, I instantly knew something was up. I’ve seen these offerings for years now, and they still make my blood boil.

My client was told that for $650/mo. he would have top 3 placement for ONE keyword in both Google and Yahoo Sponsored Listings. Oh yes, don’t forget the $150 setup fee for ONE keyword and thus, one ad.

So, I started digging for the sake of my client. I researched the keyword being proposed, and I discovered the keyword was searched a whopping 10 times in Google per day. 10 times. Can you guess how many estimated clicks Google projected if your ad for this keyword was located in the top 3 positions? ZERO. Now, why on earth would my client be charged $650 a month for a keyword that received little to no clicks? In case you haven’t figured it out already, they are intentionally pocketing your monthly fee while setting up a keyword/ad that receives little to no click costs.

There are other tricks besides proposing keywords that draw little activity. These “flat-fee” companies can target your keyword/ad to your local area, even if your offering is nationwide, which also limits your potential clicks. Of course, every time you search the particular keyword, you see your ad and think everything is fine despite it only appearing locally not nationally. Ad scheduling can also take place.  They can schedule your ad to turn off throughout the day which can also limit activity. Overall, there are so many settings within AdWords that can discourage clicks making the “flat-fee” pure profit for these type of companies.

Here’s what you must have from a PPC management company. Keep in mind, Search Concepts offers all these elements when using our PPC management services.

1.  You want service fees and click costs distingushed. Click costs should be charged directly by Google/Yahoo!. That way you know you’re getting charged for clicks/traffic and receiving the true market value of each click.

2.  You need access to your account at all times. This allows you to check statistics and settings in case there’s any funny business taking place.

3. Make sure you have a wide variety of keywords. Don’t depend on one keyword for all your traffic.  Whether a keyword is searched one time a day or 1,000 times a day, you want exposure for it. A conversion from a low searched keyword almost always equals a higher ROI.

While writing this blog post, I received a call from a potential buyer looking for none other than a flat-fee pay-per-click service. I explained to the woman everything I’ve just stated and how there’s too much risk in pursuing a flat fee service, yet she didn’t seem to care. A friend of hers recommended a flat fee service so she refused to believe otherwise despite my longwinded explanation of why flat fee services are not consumer friendly.

At Search Concepts, we pride ourselves on being one of the select few companies that are honest about all practices in this field. We tell you what’s possible, what’s not possible so you can make the most informed purchase regardless if you choose our services or not. Feel free to contact us with any questions you might have regarding the search marketing industry. We’re happy to answer your questions and educate you, the consumer. We won’t even charge you a flat-fee for that.