Keyword Ownership: What It Is and Where It's Headed? By: Richard Zwicky Published: August 20, 2003, SiteProNews.
Have you ever got one of those silly emails that offers to let you own a keyword? Silly question. How many such emails do you get every day?
A number of such services regularly email me offering keyword ownership of premium keywords for $300/year. They say that anyone can type keyword I bought in address bar of Internet explorer, instead of typing in a URL, and they will be sent directly to my site. In total it seems that there are about 2% of Internet users worldwide who have enabled one type or another of this system, spread out between a few competitive services.
Data shows that between 4% and 7% of search queries are performed by entering something in address bar. By default for IE users, these searches are automatically routed through to MSN search. Many of us however have installed so much software over time, and unknowingly, some of this software has re-routed these search queries to other search portals, such as iGetNet, or others. This often happens if you've installed any file sharing software. We have all heard / read about how many extra 'features' come with programs like Kazaa. This means that your default search from address bar may no longer be MSN, and may have been rerouted elsewhere, but basic principle still applies. Of queries that are actually run from an address bar, at least half of them are unintentionally instigated by people mistyping desired URL. This means that between 2% and 4% of Internet users actually search via their address bar.
So how exactly do these address bars work? There are many of these companies offering this kind of service, with each one of them selling very same keywords to different and sometimes competing companies. To make things worse, keywords you might buy will only work with issuing companys proprietary address bar plug-in. Then, to actually offer search capabilities from address bar, each of these service providers needs to get individual Internet users to download and install their plug-in, and remember to run searches from address bar.
How effective can a marketing strategy of this nature be when various tools are not interchangeable, theres numerous competitors selling same key words to different companies, and you are targeting only a small fraction of Internet users? If your ad is being displayed because its similar to search query, are you paying for irrelevant results? This can happen; If there is not a perfect match to a search query, next closest match may be displayed.
Competing with these companies is any search engine that offers its own toolbar. You can download a toolbar from any number of engines, and run searches on any key word or phrase quickly and easily. You then get search engines selection of closest matches, from all web sites they have indexed. They offer more than just one choice, and dont cost anything
Who Started This? Started in 1998, Realnames was first company that tied searching via address bar to a web browser. At time, it was touted as a value added solution for businesses around world who were attempting to get their products found quickly, but didn't want customers to have to wade through a sea of Web addresses to reach their destination.
In part, it was deemed necessary because so few web site operators were search engine savvy, and fewer still knew anything about search engine optimization and promotion. What Realnames solution did was allow a web site operator to buya keyword, and then when any user of Internet Explorer would type that keyword into IE address toolbar, they would get directed to web site that owned keyword.
The company hoped to profit from businesses which wanted to reach Internet users who would type keywords into their browsers address bar instead of remembering url, or going through a standard search interface.
Unfortunately for company, service was entirely dependent on Microsoft; and when Microsoft stopped supporting technology in May 2002, company was forced to close. The reason it was so totally dependent was simple; Unlike new companies on market today, Realnames did not depend on an end user downloading and installing a plugin, instead it was essentially integrated into Internet Explorer by Microsoft. Therefore everyone who used IE automatically had plugin.