Testing the Value of Smaller Pay Per Click Providers

Sometimes you do not even need to test a pay per click search engine to know there isn't much value there. In much the same way you can determine the quality of a directory by the sites listed there, you can also determine the (lack of) value of a PPC engine by looking at the sites listed there.

Check out these LookSmart ads:

And then look at this search result:

  • they throw tribal fusion pop up ads at site visitors.

  • they sell off target banner ads at the top of the search results.
  • they don't even have good ad placement on their own site, putting dumb banners and pop up ads front and center - making users hunt for the ads.
  • what is up with the dumb blue triangle on the left? It points at nothing.

If they sell trashy off topic ads front and center on their own site what does that do for advertiser or publisher trust in their ad network?

Dumb. Really.

They couldn't even keep Zeal, their free volunteer directory, running with their own ads OR Google's ads (due largely to ignorant ad placement / integration).

They may be able to leverage all of their content to make some sort of a content play, but they would probably gain more credibility if they stopped selling ads directly and / or got rid of pop ups and integrated the ads appropriately into their search results (ie: place off topic banners AFTER the relevant ads).

And they probably would do better in other engines if they cleaned up their URLs and page titles a bit. They probably cut off 50% to 75% of their traffic with their current URLs, page titles, spreading their content over many domains with poor internal link structure, and marking it hard to get back to the root site from some of the sub sites.

Combine that with making their own ad market less efficient due to poor ad placement of the relevant ads and scaring off visitors with pop ups and you can see how the margin based network business they are running is doing less than stellar.

It might be different if they didn't also own a search engine, but how can they be so not clued up?

Published: April 6, 2006 by Aaron Wall in pay per click search engines


April 6, 2006 - 9:47pm

*** note to Aaron - when I try to from the "Your Blog URL" text box it takes me to your site logo***

I tried out Looksmart Look Listings about a year ago trying to spread out my PPC dollars and find some cheaper traffic.

I deposited $75 into my account chose some targeted keywords (keywords that had good ROI on Adwords and Overture) and set up a campaign.

Looksmart reported that I received 1100 clicks in less than 8 hours and my $75 was used up. No sales and none of the "clicks delivered" left my homepage. hmm.

I found their system confusing at best to use and the traffic was garbage. My experience scared me off of trying other small PPC vendors.

Looksmart's current troubles are not surprising to me at all and scream out "we need money".

Mike Lawrence
April 6, 2006 - 9:50pm

the word "tab" got cut off from my previous post. When I tab from "Your Blog URL" I get to your site logo instead of the text area to enter comments...

Looksmart Share...
April 7, 2006 - 12:03am

But WHO IS Aaron Wall?

According to Daniel Brandt, September 20, 2004 .....


And he tells it all, here ...


Good luck Aaron.

April 7, 2006 - 12:34pm

So what is your point Looksmart Shareholder?

That Looksmart running a poor business model which precludes them from selling much targeted traffic is somehow my fault.

Or that $75 of clicks in less than 8 hours is somehow a good thing?

And anyone who takes Daniel Brandt with any credibility deserves to be a Looksmart Shareholder.

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