Watch out for a shift in the pay-per-click (PPC) industry, happening right now! This shift is finally going to give smaller search engines and directories the ability to tap into the PPC market, currently monopolized by the big guns online (Google, Yahoo & MSN). They will attain this lofty goal by banding together and delivering paid ad placements on a mass community scale for a fraction of the cost.
More and more advertisers are going to want to advertise through the ISEDN because of the sheer amount of exposure that they will be able to receive through all the search engines and directories partnered together through this network.
I was able to be the first to interview Mel Strocen, CEO of Jayde Online, Inc., the parent company of ExactSeek.com.
The Independent Search Engine & Directory Network (ISEDN) was an outgrowth of ExactSeek's commitment to bring affordable and effective search advertising to the web community. Although ExactSeek was successful in partnering with a number of search engines and directories, it became apparent that popularization of a new pay-for-inclusion program would be better served by an active and independent association of search engines and directories than by a single engine.
Mel: "The organization was officially founded in June of this year, although the idea for a network of this kind was being discussed for several months previous to that. The ISEDN website, however, is only a few days old."
Martin: "How many members does the ISEDN network have right now?"
Mel: "47 members at the moment, but the network has been acquiring new members at a rate of 3 - 5 per week."
Martin: "What kind of market reach can the network deliver?"
Mel: "It really depends on how big the network becomes. Some search engine and directory members have reported 10,000,000+ searches/month but, given the rapid growth of the ISEDN and the fact that it's only a few weeks old, we really haven't had the opportunity to determine the total number of search impressions the network can deliver. We expect to receive specific numbers from the members in the coming weeks which will enable us to provide a more accurate picture of the network's search reach. My best guesstimate right now is that pay-for-inclusion listings are displayed approximately 120 million times per month. Of course, that figure will grow as the ISEDN grows."
Martin: "Why should advertisers choose the ISEDN network over Google or Yahoo?"
Mel: "The most obvious reason is cost. An advertiser buying a 3 or 12 month listing is looking at a cost of $3 - $4 a month. I'm not aware of any other engine that can match what the ISEDN offers in terms of value or exposure. Where else can you buy targeted keyword terms for less than $5 a month and get top 10 exposure for your site listings across 45+ search engines and directories?"
Martin: "You're right, that is amazing!"
Martin: "Because of the sheer distribution size this could potentially have, what preventive measures are being implemented for click fraud?"
Mel: "In the ISEDN advertising model there is no incentive for click fraud to occur. You pay a one time fee for your selected keyword term and that's it. Competitors or bots could click on your ad repeatedly and it wouldn't cost you a penny more. With the monetary motive for click fraud removed, it's unlikely to be a problem."
Martin: "What does the future hold for the ISEDN?"
Mel: "It's a little early for me to speculate on how the ISEDN might evolve. ExactSeek is just one member. Future plans will depend on member participation and input in the coming months. What I would like to see is for the ISEDN to become a counter weight to the gradual monopolization of search on the Web by engines such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN. I would also like to see the ISEDN contribute in other areas related to search such as search relevance and possibly the support of open source search software. In the long term, I believe the Web and searchers in general will be better served by diversity than by monopoly."
Martin: "Are members going to decide the future of the network?
Mel: "The short answer is yes, they will. To function effectively, the ISEDN will in time need to implement some kind of governing structure that determines the organization's future course. What that structure is and how the ISEDN evolves will depend on input from the members. Initially, direction and objectives will most likely be determined by majority concensus.
We've just added a private member discussion forum to the ISEDN website which will allow members to voice their views on issues such as the network's direction, objectives, online advertising, governing structure, network promotion and other topics of relevance to the membership.
Martin: "So will any of the discussions from the network forum be opened up to the public?"
Mel: "Eventually, yes. Assuming public interest, we'll setup discussion forums that allow webmasters and/or siteowners to ask questions and provide feedback to individual ISEDN members or to the membership as a whole. If we go this route and, I expect we will, it should help to improve communication between searchers and search providers. It should also help raise general public awareness of the many excellent directories and search engines on the Web that currently are under the radar."
Martin: "So how does the advertising portion work?"
Mel: "Every ISEDN member is provided with an XML feed to implement within their search results or directory listings. The feed can be modified by the individual members so that pay-for-inclusion listings are displayed in a way that matches their site look and feel, but regardless of how the listings are displayed, advertisers are guaranteed top 10 exposure across the entire ISEDN network. Premium placement of this kind is made possible by the fact that we limit the number of times any one keyword term can be purchased and because all paid listings are rotated in the SERPs (search engine result pages) on each individual engine and directory.
Surveys have consistently shown that few searchers look at more than 30 search results for any given search query. The ISEDN advertising model takes this into account and limits the sale of any keyword term to 30. If a keyword term has been sold less than 10 times, the paid listing almost always appears on the first page of search results (depends on how many listings an ISEDN member displays per page) although not always in the same position. If a keyword term has been sold more than 10 times then paid listings begin to rotate between the SERPs. On sold out keyword terms, the worst case scenario for an advertiser would be that his listing would appear on the first page of results roughly once of every 3 searches on his keyword term. This is somewhat offset, however, by the fact that the system supports broad keyword matching as well as exact keyword matching.
Martin: "With this first come, first serve program - Are you worried that bigger companies will buy out all the keywords available?"
Mel: "Not really. There are literally millions of keyword term combinations available. As the more obvious terms are bought out, it might require more creative thinking on the part of advertisers to come up with good searchable terms, but other than that, I don't anticipate a problem. Based on current trends, many buyers either forget to renew their keywords or simply let their listings expire. The end result is that thousands of keyword terms will be rolling over on a continual basis. In the event that the program becomes so wildly popular that keyword availability does become a problem, we may have to look at changing the parameters of the system to accomodate demand, but that's unlikely in the forseeable future."
THIS IS AN ADVERTISER'S DREAM!
Anytime a PPC or paid inclusion ad can get distributed through an entire network of competitors, it has the potential to be very powerful and deliver a lot of quality results. Personally, I would much prefer to advertise within 100 websites rather than just one. The power of advertising is in the numbers!
This couldn't have come at a better time. The SEO industry is crying for quality PPC alternatives. Google's recent battle with click fraud has left many advertisers world wide wondering if they should really keep their entire internet advertising budget within one basket.
Increase Your ROI Through Smaller Programs Online:
More and more, Smartads is recommending paid advertising in smaller, more tightly knit search engines and directories to our clients. ROI (Return on investment) is very important to the adverising industry, and we have found that advertising in smaller ventures rather than the bigger gorillas online, brings better results.
The reason for this is simple:
- Less competition
- Greater targeted audience
- More local opportunities
- More exposure for your money
In the old days, creating smaller, more targeted PPC campaigns used to be a lot of work for the marketing professional to research and maintain. The ISEDN has made that job a lot easier for us to maintain on a larger scale. Why would spend hours trying to find smaller directories and other programs, when you can find them under one umbrella?