Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Moanin' Ronin

Let's suppose you built a cool new metasearch engine that refines Google search results. Now let's assume you explain to Google what you're doing *before* you have millions of users using and enjoying your system. And finally, let's assume Google bans you from freely accessing their search API in order to prevent a technologically adept, nascent competitor from reaching escape velocity.

What does that make you? An extremely talented technologist but naive businessman in my opinion.

And what does whining about Google's business decision in public make you? A whining, naive businessman.

We who make our living off of the two titans of search - Google & Yahoo - need to build our businesses in such a way as to stay in their good graces, at least until there's a better spread of search marketshare than exists today and for the foreseeable future.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

An SEM Man With A Cause

Erik Qualman manages search marketing at TravelZoo, but finds time for much more than impression/click/cost/revenue data munging. He recently published Crisis, a political thriller that has received pretty good reviews. All of Erik's profits from the book will go to charity, so if good reading is on your holiday shopping list, you can buy the book here.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

To Those Whining About AdWords Factoring In Landing Pages

Waaaaaah, Google's examining my landing page for relevancy, waaaah.

Grow up and be a man!

Google has 65% of the global search market because it continues to out-monetize anything else out there; and it got the that point primarily by factoring in CTR. Lest we forget, Google is the shizzle because it provides all of us huge volume of high-quality traffic.

Now that Google has correctly understood that ad copy is easily manipulated and therefore a poor proxy for a good user experience, Google is examing the landing page itself. This makes perfect sense for Google, perfect sense for the searcher, and perfect sense for the progression of the search marketing industry towards better ad targeting, better websites and higher conversion rates.

IMO, this is a first step towards Google becoming a revenue share-based search engine, and those who are whining about this should focus on giving feedback to Google that will ensure *proper implementation* of a change whose result will be to push advertisers to increase conversion rates and focus on the user experience.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

If You Hear Something Ten Times, It Must Be True

This morning as I spoke with a search affiliate arbitrageur who spends $1M+/mo on Google & Yahoo, I heard something I've heard at least ten times now:

Arbitrageur: Chris, I know Efficient Frontier has a great solution for improving performance of PPC campaigns, but what we really have our mind set on is finding a good self-service bid management tool.

Chris: I can't fault you for wanting to continue to manage your campaigns in-house, but the reality is we both know that there *aren't* any self-service bid management tools that will set you apart from your competition. So until that product comes along (note: I can give you several reasons why that'll never happen BTW), give up tactical control over your PPC campaigns to us in order to get the strategic control of knowing you're getting the most ROI possible from your campaign, and certainly much more than your competition.

I'm as biased as they come, but for good reason - all self-service bid management tools suffer from the same problems:

1)They don't automate much of the work the SEM staffer has to do
2)They tend to work horribly, if at all, on Google. Google's 60-70% of the market, so that's bad
3)They are only as capable of providing lift as the user is in doing gargantuan amounts of ROI calculations. I'm no math expert, but I know that if you have 1000 keywords with 5 bid positions of meaningful volume, that's 5 to the 1000th power calculations you have to do to be aware of all yield scenarios for that keyword.

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