Are You PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Prejudiced?
┐by: Bonnie Kotch
I was reading an article one day, that ironically I found while searching through Google for subject matter to write about. I wish I had bookmarked the page, but I didn┐t. I do remember the content of the article:
Now, being in and out of PPC advertising off and on as the mood strikes me, the title of the article hit me in the forehead like the snap of a strategically aimed wet towel. I believe I still sport the welt.
The article led you to believe that PPC was not only fraught with fraud, but the fraud was growing at an alarming rate with no controls to keep it in check! I read about instances of Competitors for keywords setting up ┐farms┐ of clickers to run out the PPC budgets of smaller businesses, ad copying, hackers using ┐click bots┐, and link spamming. The two giants (Google and Yahoo), who also offer a way for people to earn by placing those same PPC ads on their sites to get paid for each click and cheating abounds! There is no way to stop it or track it! Well, there are ways to track it, but little is being done to stop it. And it will only get worse before it gets better.
The article definitely gave the impression that pay-per-click search engines not only had no effective way to stop click-fraud, but had no INCENTIVE to stop it. It┐s money in the bank for them and unless you as the advertiser, are vigilant in closely monitoring and analyzing your traffic (looking for too many clicks from the same domain, for example), you are high and dry with as much as 35%-50% of your traffic possibly being fraudulent! I don┐t have time to baby-sit their business, do you?
After reading this article, I went searching for others (after pulling my PPC campaigns) and found the same consensus . . . PPC providers, especially the big guys, really did not, and will not care unless they start losing MANY advertising dollars. One site even estimated as much as $1 billion in click fraud across all search providers combined! Bill Gates could probably afford to lose that much but Google and Yahoo won┐t refund that to advertiser/victims.
It was also popular belief that PPC fraud-eliminating technology (if the search engines had any incentive to research it) is way behind the brilliant, bored and malevolent hackers and their motivation to ┐stick it┐ to the ┐man┐.
Will Pay-Per-Click die in the throes of key word competition and click bots? Not anytime soon. I can tell you that I, as an advertiser, just can┐t wrap my mind around the need to use a marketing method that is that rife with fraud. That┐s MY money! There ARE better and more effective ways to make it work for me. PPC is not the only means to accomplish the desired end!
Do not despair. Although the popular and quickly visual advertising method that it is, there is still the good old fashioned site submission. You remember! The FREE ones! Google still takes free listings and many of the popular directories still take free listings and guess what? If you bone-up on keyword phrases and place them strategically on your web site, get some good back links with other web sites with similar keyword concentration, you can STILL get on the first page of the search results! It takes time and there is an art to it, but given some patience, you can benefit two ways . . . Traffic from those sites, and link popularity ranking in the search engines.
I┐ve also noticed a few interesting alternatives popping up on the internet that should make some smaller businesses very happy. Let┐s take a look at some of those:
1. Articles, if you write them, can still bring in traffic. I watched a brand new site of mine practically dominate 8 pages of Google search results for my chosen keywords within days. And every one of those articles had a link to my web site in my byline.
2. Affiliating your site. Do you sell a product or a service? Set yourself up as an affiliate manager. There are many sources out there to get affiliate manager software, or set it up through an affiliate network like CJ.com or Commission Source. Have hundreds or thousands of other people with a link on your site and pay only per sale or per lead. You will have much better ROI and it┐s faster than writing web site owners asking them to exchange links to build up link popularity.
3. CPA advertising - There are tons of list owners, e-zine owners, newsletters, membership websites and the like that offer CPA (cost-per-action). Some of the most profitable campaigns I┐ve ever run were through a list owner. Pay a deposit to get the campaign started, then a percentage of each sale.
4. Ad Swapping - Many think this is limited to e-zine advertising . . . it is not. It┐s along the same lines as link exchanging. Dating sites and Horoscope sites do it all the time. Endorsement swapping is another way. Find a complimenting web site or business and agree to endorse each other. No money spent, and a lot of possible profit!
5. Something I┐d like to see more of, like Snap.com┐s approach. They have pay-per-click, but they have also implemented a CPA alternative to search engine advertising that currently does not cost you anything to start your campaign. You are charged only when you have a sale or a lead and they don┐t bill you until you reach your first $100 dollars in campaign cost. (This may change and they may require a deposit as Snap has new owners, but currently, you can start your CPA campaign free).
6. Press Releases are a lot more cost effective than PPC advertising. It could also help you with link popularity.
7. RSS Feed is currently free to submit to most search engines and web sites picking it up will help you in search engine ranking.
8. Leads - Many of the big marketers buy leads and import them into auto responders. I personally don┐t like the spam ramifications of doing this, but many lead promoters now offer to send them to a landing page, where the interested parties opt themselves in. Many top earners I know ONLY market this way.
I can remember as little as six years ago, PPC search engine advertising was just getting started. In six short years it has grown into a revenue monster for the search engines. There are currently over 500 of these ┐pay-per-click┐ search engines and amazingly, except for the top tier search engines, most of them have very little of their own traffic.
I have also talked to people who LOVE PPC search advertising and swear by it. However, if more noise is not made about PPC fraud, less is going to be done about it. It is your advertising dollars at stake. It is getting harder and harder to get good key word ranking and it is getting more costly. The millions they generate from it should be invested in better security. As it stands now, they will not even admit there is a sizable problem. Just my opinion, but I┐d rather go with an advertising source that has better regard for it┐s customers money. Until they do, consider me PPC prejudiced.
Copyright 2006 Bonnie Kotch
About The Author
Bonnie Kotch is the owner of www.trinityonlinemarketingschool.com and publishes the newsletter "Trinity Affiliate Marketing Review", focusing on affiliate marketing and web site optimization and promotion.