Why do all search partners suck?

by Werty on November 20, 2006

It is roughly 3:00am, my stats program updated for the day about an hr ago, and I am already about 8x as profitable today as I was yesterday. That is kind of weird eh?

The only 2 variables in the advertising that I was doing was 1- day of the week, and 2- opting in to Googles Search Partner network of SHITE.

I do not think #1 was the issue, since we usually do pretty well on Sunday, so I am going to go with #2 being the culprit for yesterdays narrow margins.

To start the morning off we decided to try the Google search network to see if we could increase traffic and sales to one of our sites. We usually spend about $30 an hr, and today spent nearly 4 times that per hr. Our ROAS (return on ad spend) is usually around 75% and today we were running at a sweet 3.2%. I would have been better off putting my money in a fucking ING saving account to get that rate. To give you a better idea of how much we got p4wn3d by google, we spend $1525 to make $49.

The biggest source of new traffic was an amazing “high quality” partner searchportal.information.com. These assholes have more sophisticated robotic clicking than your run of the mill rip off companies. They were actually passing the user agents of numerous cell phones, which is a new fun trick, since we are not opted into the mobile market.

So I give props to both google and searchportal.information.com ganging up and giving me some sweet double anal action.

Tomorrow I get to waste 2 hrs requesting a refund for the shitty traffic you sent. The worst part about this is that the only true source of decent traffic at the moment are the following companies/settings:

Google – google network only
Yahoo – none/some with hard work and numerous complaints.
MSN – does not let me buy adult traffic, low volume for non adult sectors. PURE traffic and highly recommended.
ASK – a joke

So in the sectors I work in my only real choice is Google, and with that only the Google/google partner sites provide conversions for me.

I guess the ‘good news’ is that we are not the only ones dealing with the click fraud. Here is another guy over at SEO Chat.

What sites do you get the most fraudulant traffic from?

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2 Terrible PPC Companies Just Joined Forces

by Werty on November 1, 2006

In a battle of the second tier PPC engines, it appears that Lycos has Joined forces with Ask.com to produce a brand new network of second/third tier traffic:

http://sponsoredlistings.ask.com/lycos/index.html

https://insite.lycos.com/

I have my complaints with both of these, and ASKs tools for opting out of their shitty partners are horrendous. Lycos actually had a decent to use tool set but an interface that was for shit. When I was able to opt in to only lycos.com I was very happy with the low volume high quality traffic I received. Ask on the other hand enjoyed whoring my ads out across their sweet network of sites geared toward the robotic audience.

I would stay far away from this network until further testing is done to see where the ads are displayed. Either that or set low limits, have reporting set up on your end and prepare to spend a few hrs on the phone demanding refunds and adjustments on your accounts until they quit sending you shit traffic.

My question is this, when you combine two things with not much value do you get something better or worse than what you started with?

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Ask.com – Worthless PPC Advertising Buy

by Werty on September 25, 2006

This is my first tip on the site: DO NOT USE ASK.com FOR PPC, unless you are only selling clicks…

Background: I signed up with an Ask Jeeves Advertising account yesterday and experienced a massive amount of worthless traffic that was not even clicking my links once it reached my site. After finding out about this I wrote a nice little email to ASK.com explaining the situation. I am kind of upset that I forgot to tell Barry Diller to eat a dick in the email.

Here is the email:

Hello, I signed up with ASK last night (account # 490588) and managed to use almost half of my deposit (around 50 of my $100) in under a few hours. Also my daily budget of $10 was exceeded on both days.

In addition to that I am getting ONLY clickbot traffic from your network of sites, which I did not opt in to including these sources:

http://6161.partners.findology.com/2.php
http://www.unitedsearchnetwork.com
http://feed.genieknows.com/yz/search_html.jsp
http://suzako.com/other.php
http://6678-59069_2559710.partners.findology.com/2.php
http://6679-59131_2596293.partners.findology.com/2.php
http://6678-59069_2577094.partners.findology.com/2.php
http://6678-59647_2597279.partners.findology.com/2.php
http://6678-59069_2559717.partners.findology.com/2.php
http://www.bestohyes.com/search/
http://6678-59844_2597280.partners.findology.com/2.php
http://www.findaccurate.com/pro.php
http://www.2005.com/search/
http://6453.partners.findology.com/2.php
http://6678-58768_2579356.partners.findology.com/2.php
http://6678-60689_2592612.partners.findology.com/2.php
http://www.searchfeed.com/rd/Clk.jsp
http://dpxml.verizon.net/_1_2DH7U4H0LYLJ3K__vzn.isp/search/web/n

http://6678-59895_2604160.partners.findology.com/2.php
http://6106-b2001.partners.findology.com/2.php
http://www.searchcreep.com/results.php
http://6678-59647_2597286.partners.findology.com/2.php
http://6678-59780_2576412.partners.findology.com/2.php
http://6679-59131_2561197.partners.findology.com/2.php
http://6679-61013_2614426.pa
rtners.findology.com/2.php
http://6916-175.partners.findology.com/2.php
http://6107-b2001.partners.findology.com/2.php

At this point you have 2 choices;

1. refund our money for this worthless traffic, opt us out of your “partners” and only show our ads on ASK.com

2. cancel our account, refund the remainder of the money in the account and face a chargeback on the previous charges.

I would also like to be assured that you will not be automatically rebilling my account when the budget is low.

Regards,
George Kepnick

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Click Fraud on Google and Yahoo

by Werty on September 25, 2006

This is one the best articles I have read about the subject of click fraud.

Business Week – The Dark Side of PPC

Finally someone digs into the numbers and gives examples of how a Paid To Read click ring works.

This is also a reason why MSFT does not have click fraud issues at the moment, however they are about to start whoring out their network with an AdSense type of program it sounds like. Don’t do it MSFT!

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MSN AdCenter Updates: A Work In Progress

by Werty on August 2, 2006

Work in progress was the theme of the MSN AdCenter pre SES meeting today. They seem to be taking notes on all the problems keep addressing on the various message boards and they plan to start rolling out feature upgrades.

The next big update to Microsoft AdCenter will be on August 5th, 2006, referred to as the 8-5-6 update.

Here is what they are planning on adding:

  • Support for Firefox 1.5 – One less thing for everyone to complain about.
  • Cut & Paste – up to 200 Keywords, up from 100
  • Filters by Timestamp – this is a fancy way of saying that they are copying the AdWords interface. It will allow you to change the time frame of the report details on the keyword/order/campaign pages. Right now it is showing “life to date” and it will allow you to change it to month to date, last month, etc.
  • Reporting Update – They are working making the reporting more up to date, pull the info quicker, etc.
  • Various Bug Fixes – all the stuff that people noted on the forums, including getting billed over yopur budget due to delays in their system
  • Estimation tool - Improving the estimation tool to be more accurate.

Maybe not in this release, but probably in the next:

  • Power Posting – like on Adwords it would allow users to paste in a keyword, url, bid price and parameter.
  • Negative Keyword Enhancement – not 100% sure what they are doing on this, but they will be expanding the capabilities of the negative keywords.
  • Waterfall Properties – this is the fancy name for adjusting something at a top level and having it apply to the things below it. I will call hieratical preferences…such things as geo targeting, day parting, demographic settings, hopefully negatives, could be applied at a campaign or account level and apply to everything below, rather than having to manually adjust the settings on every order in your account.

Other then that stuff they talked a bit about their contextual network, tools, analytics and some other items…nothing major other than these fixes. MSFT did show some testimonials from adveritsers and I plan to diagnose their business models and see if I can replicate the results for my self (c:

The tools seem to be pretty amazing over at AdCenter Labs. Geddes (TV’s eWhisper) covered one of their keyword tools, their new free analytics program (coming soon), and touched on the contextual hype.
Check out the official MSN Adcenter Blog for more updates.

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eWhisper posted some insider info about YSM over at WMW, but the thread requires a membership. So go to his site for read about it for free.

A quick summary is that they are planning on doing a massive overhaul of their existing system that has not changed in years.

Here are the main things that will change:

  • Account structure will be like that of google.
  • Bidding will be more like google, mainly in that it will be performance based, using CTR data.
  • They will also be adding a bunch of tools like that of MSN Labs.
  • They are also supposed to add geotargeting which would be a huge step, since now you can only target by country, and to do so you need an account per country!
  • The other nice thing is that they say they will leave bidding open, meaning you can see what your competitors are paying.

This is great and should be helpful to anyone using the system, especially those trying to exploit it (c:

Now if they would only kill some partner relationships like the douchebags who run searchnut.com. Thanks for 30x the traffic of yahoo itself!

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Google takes a stab at arbitrage?

by Werty on July 8, 2006

Google appears to be adjusting its adwords algo this weekend, increasing the weight of “quality score of the landing page” .

As usual they do not declare what aspects of it are changing, so those who have numerous sites out there will hopefully be able to tell what exactly seems to be making an effect. It is strange that pay per click used to be a pretty simple model, now it is changing to a secret sauce no secrets shared model similar to that of their traditional organic model.

I think it is fine to have secrets, but when you are paying for traffic all things should remain open and defined. CTR x CPC was a great model, it maximized value for them and forced advertisers to write better ad copy.

Now we have CTC x CPC x ????unkown algrithmic characterists???? = advertisers paying different prices for the same product.

I think as a whole, adwords has become harder to use and their new adjustments end up hurting all advertisers more so than just the ones who do arbitrage. I think if they want to control arbitrage they should control either A. eliminate arbitrage sites from being able to buy traffic, or B. control their AdSense sites.

Some discusion here at threadwatch .

What is your take on the whole situation?

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YSM Panama starting to roll out?

by Werty on June 19, 2006

An interesting email arrived from Yahoo! today stating that I could easily import settings from an US Yahoo! Search Marketing (overture) account to a UK overture account.

We’ve made it easy for you to set up a new UK account. By creating a sub-account that sits conveniently within your existing account, there is no need to re-enter information we already have collected. Simply visit the link below and fill out the registration form. A UK client services representative will contact you via email with more instructions and account setup confirmation.

This is obviously not a full blown roll out of Panama but it is a huge step forward for Yahoo! to bring their PPC accounts into ONE centralized company, VS having to have 10 accounts at separate Yahoo/Overture sites to handle 10 different countries.

The signup page is located here, and states:

Start your UK sub-account

Setting up a sub-account is easy and you can simply transfer your existing listings to your new UK account. Just fill out and submit the sub-account request form below, and you’ll be contacted via email by our UK Client Services team for account set-up confirmation.

I am not sure if anyone has tried this yet, but it is a step in the right direction in my opinion and would love to hear your feedback on how it works.

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MSN AdCenter Making Changes

by Werty on June 8, 2006

Got this from MSN today in the mail, it looks like they will be making some much needed changes to AdCenter this evening.

>>>>>
Hello Everyone,

Guess what’s happening today, between 4PM and 10PM PST?

For one thing: The MTV Movie Awards are finally here!

If this doesn’t excite you, how about: Brand new Microsoft adCenter features are being released.

During this time, we’ll be upgrading several features in adCenter, including:

A new Reports page user interface
* Create a New Report tab
* Recent Reports tab
* Report Templates tab
* Customize date ranges
* Schedule and save reports
* Download reports

Additional reporting upgrades
* Schedule and run multiple reports in the background while you are working in adCenter
* Run more than 10,000 rows of report data (downloadable in .ZIP format)
* Run reports in multiple formats .TSV (Tab Separated Value) and .HTML formats
* View the previous 20 reports in the Recent Reports tab

We’ll also be launching our new Video Help that will provide a variety of step-by-step videos explaining adCenter tasks and information.

There are a few other goodies in there so be sure to check in after 10PM PST (or whenever the last “golden popcorn” is handed out) to explore the new features.

P.S. During this time you will not be able to access adCenter – but don’t worry, your current keywords and ads will continue to run.

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AdWords Editor Now an Open Beta

by Werty on June 6, 2006

Google has finally opened up the beta test of AdWords editor to all of its users. The software is available for download at this link.

I was lucky enough to have access to this for a few months and found it to be a great piece of software. It really helps out when trying to upload large keyword lists. You can save hours of time by knowing what you are doing in excel and pasting things to AdWords Editor.

My only suggestion would be to be able to upload a bulk upload style sheet that contains both ads, keywords, adgroups, etc, like the one you can download. Or can we just change the extension of a csv and trick the tool into thinking it is an accoutn snapshot?

Either way, thank you Google, this is a sweet tool!

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