Tuesday, October 03, 2006

SEM Competition: The Perpetual Motion Machine Trick

I know some people in the SEM space like hearing about how competition plays out, and so I'll share a funny story:

One of our clients is a big finance site who's been with us for roughly two years. During this time we've worked extremely closely with them and in a manner that makes me SO proud to have the account management team we have.

A Sales VP at one of the companies that competes with us recently resorted to the following tactic:

1)Offer a *free* 3-month test to a big EF advertiser to get his foot in the door
2)Start test
3)Email several other EF advertisers in the same vertical with a subject that reads "[Competitor] Lands Another Major Mortgage Player This Week"
4)In the email say "One of the wins this week was a major online mortgage lender that has been using Efficient Frontier."

This, folks, is the Perpetual Motion Machine trick, aka Leaning Forward a Bit Too Much On Your Skis. The competitor gives one big advertiser a free test, giving others the false impression that his firm is succeeding in the marketplace, which then leads to more tests.

Like the perpetual motion machine, this competitor needs:

an initial dose of kinetic energy = a free test + a Jupiter ranking
periodic infusions of kinetic energy = lies

But as with claims of perpetual motion, the proof is in the performance, and the competitor's test went horribly and the advertiser gave them the heave-ho.

As I said in a previous post, SEM competition is fierce, and I love it.


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