LOOKs Can Be Deceiving

Written by Kalena Jordan


You may have heard that Looksmart Ltd have made some changes to their business model lately. In fact, Looksmart have maderepparttar profit-driven decision to move Looksmart.com from a Paid Submission based directory to a Pay Per Click based directory. The first warning shot was fired on April 3rd, with an email to existing Looksmart customers announcingrepparttar 128169 impending launch of Small Business Listings: "Based on feedback from customers like you, we've merged and enhancedrepparttar 128170 benefits of our 'Submit' and 'Site Promote' products into one product called Small Business Listings." Hmm... we thought, smells like pay per click. Discussion boards and forums worldwide were rife with rumours, complaints and concerns. Feedback? What feedback? Nobody put their hand up to say they had asked for a PPC model. Next came machine gun fire inrepparttar 128171 form of an email sent to existing Looksmart customers on April 12th: "LookSmart has launched Small Business Listings, our first pay-per-click product for small businesses. This new, improved product replaces both Submit and Site Promote... Your account has already been updated and is ready for you to log in. We've waivedrepparttar 128172 $49 per listing set-up fee. We'll give you $300 in free clicks per listing. Each month forrepparttar 128173 next 20 months you'll receive a $15 credit per listing in your account - starting today." [I should take a moment to point out that currently, these changes apply to Looksmart.com only, not regional directory versions]. Meanwhile, new customers were asked to pay a $49 "set-up" fee and an initial account deposit of at least $150 towards future clicks. Existing Express Submit customers who paidrepparttar 128174 $199 or $299 one-time submission fee discovered they were only entitled to a maximum of 100 clicks per month instead ofrepparttar 128175 unlimited number of clicks they were receiving underrepparttar 128176 old model. Ouch. What's more, Looksmart demanded that these customers log-in and "activate" their accounts by July 11th (by entering their credit card details) in order to receive their "free" clicks. All types of conflicting assumptions and questions began appearing onrepparttar 128177 forums and discussion boards. "What happens if I don't activate my account?", "Will existing listings stayrepparttar 128178 same if you do nothing?", "Will my site be dropped if I don't activate", "What happens to my Looksmart listings on MSN?". So confusing and misleading wasrepparttar 128179 announcement from Looksmart that some people thought they were getting a huge bargain while others believed they were getting ripped off big time. To make matters worse,repparttar 128180 Terms of Service and FAQ's forrepparttar 128181 new Small Business Listings onrepparttar 128182 Looksmart site seemed to show conflicting information that changed each day we looked. But it took a couple of days forrepparttar 128183 true deception to sink in. Once people began to log in and activate their accounts, it wasn't long before they started receiving "Listing Traffic Interruption" emails from Looksmart announcing their sites had already receivedrepparttar 128184 100 "free" clicks allocated as part ofrepparttar 128185 new deal and would consequently receive no more traffic for that month, unless they increased their monthly budget (in other words, agree to pay $0.15 per click for all additional visitors that month). One of my colleagues received this email within 8 hours of activating his account, which meant that he was previously receiving more than 300 clicks per DAY, let alonerepparttar 128186 oh so generous 100 clicks per month that Looksmart were offering him as part ofrepparttar 128187 new deal. He worked out that he would need to add an additional $1,300 to his account each month, just to maintainrepparttar 128188 level of traffic Looksmart were providing him underrepparttar 128189 old system! Upgrade? I think not! Here are some interesting tid-bits I've discovered aboutrepparttar 128190 new model: - Unlike regular Pay Per Click models such as Overture.com, Looksmart are not giving customers control over their bid amounts and also providing no way to regularly update their listing description without paying $49 each time forrepparttar 128191 privilege.

- Sites previously receiving an unlimited number of clicks per year viarepparttar 128192 old system are now restricted to 1,200 clicks per year, unless they fork over more money. - The new system has a $15 per month minimum spend requirement. This means that if a listing fails to generate $15 worth of click revenue for LookSmart in a particular month,repparttar 128193 site will still be billed for that entire amount

PPC Bid Management Software Showdown

Written by Kalena Jordan


If youíve been keeping up withrepparttar search engine industry lately, youíll know that Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a fast growing trend. Nearly all ofrepparttar 128168 major search engines and directories have now integrated one type of PPC or another into their search results. Atrepparttar 128169 moment Overture.com (formerly GoTo) isrepparttar 128170 clear leader inrepparttar 128171 PPC field, with an estimated 90% ofrepparttar 128172 total PPC search market. But others such as FindWhat, Kanoodle and eSpotting are slowly catching on. Overture currently has partnerships in place with Yahoo, AOL, AV, Lycos, Netscape, InfoSpace, MSN and Excite. People bid to purchase keywords from Overture andrepparttar 128173 top 2 or 3 bids (called Premium Listings) appear on their partner sites when searches are conducted for those keywords. Most ofrepparttar 128174 time, Overture results appear above regular search results as "sponsored matches", so you can see how effective this type of campaign can be when used to draw targeted traffic to a web site. Whenever a viewer clicks on a sponsored listing, they are taken torepparttar 128175 advertiserís site andrepparttar 128176 advertiser is charged forrepparttar 128177 click atrepparttar 128178 rate determined by their bid on Overture.

The main drawbacks to advertising on PPC engines to date have been:

a) The quick exhaustion of funds due to large traffic volume

b) The time consuming nature of bid rank analysis for multiple keywords

c) The impact of bid gaps on cost-effectiveness (when your bid is more than it needs to be to maintain your target rank).

When you are managing PPC campaigns for hundreds of keyword sets for multiple client sites, these problems are compounded. Fortunately, software has sprung up to help people manage their PPC campaigns and automaterepparttar 128179 bidding process.

We have reviewed eight of these Bid Management Software programs in our effort to findrepparttar 128180 one right for our client campaigns and thought weíd sharerepparttar 128181 results with you:

(Please note a more detailed version of this article, including a Software Features Chart can be viewed at our site here: http://www.high-search-engine-ranking.com/PPC_Bid_Management_Software_Showdown.htm)

1. Tangareís Pay Per Click Maximiser www.tangare.com

The Pay Per Click Maximiser is a great product. A downloadable desktop program, no monthly fees, plenty of keywords and a good price forrepparttar 128182 Standard edition (USD $199 for 500 keywords). It supports FindWhat, Kanoodle and eSpotting in conjunction with Overture US & UK and allowsrepparttar 128183 user to determinerepparttar 128184 bid update frequency. Other notable features includerepparttar 128185 ability to export reports to Excel, HTML and email.

My only real problem with this program isrepparttar 128186 Interface, which tends to be confusing, (all that gray on gray) and not very intuitive. There is a help menu, but on first launch, it is not clear where to start or how to launch a new project. The "manage search terms" tab is also a little user unfriendly, but once you studyrepparttar 128187 help menu to determine how to set your rank targets and bid limits, youíre off and running. Their free trial download simulatesrepparttar 128188 bid optimization process, but is otherwise fully functional. Score 8/10

2. Click Patrol www.clickpatrol.com

Click Patrol claim to berepparttar 128189 largest provider of automated Pay-Per-Click bid management services, but I canít see any redeeming features that differentiaterepparttar 128190 service from other providers. For starters, it is Internet based, so if you are security conscious, you may not likerepparttar 128191 idea of handing over your Overture account login details to a third party provider. Then there arerepparttar 128192 monthly fees, which arerepparttar 128193 most expensive of all programs reviewed, ranging from $100 to $500, with an extra fee per keyword if you want your bids checked more often than every 24 hours. Seerepparttar 128194 Features Chart for details. They do support seven ofrepparttar 128195 major PPC engines and I hear their "Auto Position" feature works well to close price gaps, but there is no free trial of their system that I could find, only case studies and a screen capture. Score 5/10

3. Gapster www.did-it.com/gapster

Withrepparttar 128196 release of their freeware bid optimization tool Gapster, Did-it had an opportunity to win hearts and capitalize on a thankful market. It sure sounded promising: free automatic bid monitoring & updating for 200 keywords on Overture US & UK, FindWhat and Kanoodle.

Unfortunately, they chose to abuserepparttar 128197 privacy of their customers and win enemies for their trouble. As reported by Danny Sullivan in his latest Search Engine Update newsletter, beta users of Gapster allegedly had their Overture account login details published onrepparttar 128198 Internet last month, care of one of Did-itís own servers. The security breach was quickly corrected, butrepparttar 128199 damage to Did-Itís reputation was already done. Mindful of this first impression clouding my judgment, I tried to downloadrepparttar 128200 beta version to verifyrepparttar 128201 product itself and give themrepparttar 128202 benefit ofrepparttar 128203 doubt. But at time of writingrepparttar 128204 download was unavailable due torepparttar 128205 software undergoing an update. Letís hope their updating their security protocols. Score 0/10

4. Save Per Click www.saveperclick.com

Another Internet based program, Save Per Click supports more PPC engines than any ofrepparttar 128206 other products we reviewed, Nine in total, including some Iíve never heard of. They offer a free 7day trial, but you need to have an account already in place at one ofrepparttar 128207 supported PPC engines. This is a fairly straightforward program, but my major gripe is price andrepparttar 128208 inability to pre-determine bid update frequency, although you CAN choose time of day. The monthly fee ranges from $19.95 to $89.95 forrepparttar 128209 Standard edition (updates once a day) and $59.95 to $199.95 forrepparttar 128210 Pro edition (updates once an hour). Price range is determined by number of keywords. Seerepparttar 128211 Features Chart for details. Score 6/10

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