Searching Beyond the Paid

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Not Feelin' The Love From The PPC Engines

OK, I'll just come right out and say it. I'm a big-time PPC ad spender. 6 figures. Big 6 figures. Our spend the last 2 months is double what we spent the same time last year. It's a good thing for us, because our ads and web site are working. PPC is one of our biggest cost centers. Not too shabby for a cost center that didn't exist 5 years ago.

I was really looking forward to getting some nice holiday swag from the engines as a thank-you for increasing the lining of their pocketbooks. I've got lots of cool Google swag already, and they've never forgotten me at this time of year.

Well, here it is December 20, and I'm feeling like the Grinch. Or the red-headed stepchild. I've got nothing. Zilch. Bupkus. Everyone is talking about the nice Google digital photo frame (as seen on Barry Schwartz's personal site, Cartoon Barry). Didn't get one. Barry's also talking about his nice Yahoo gift on his blog. Didn't get that either. Nor did MSN or Ask come through. Not even a card.

So, what does this mean? Did the engines cut their gift-giving budgets this year? (I doubt it - since others are getting stuff.) Did my stuff get lost in the mail? (Doubt that, too.) Have these engines' programs all grown to the point that we're no longer big enough to warrant a gift? (Bingo - that's my guess.) I don't know the answer, but I'm feeling slighted! Cmon, PPCs, show me some love!

Google Adwords Now Allows Site Exclusion for Parked Domains

Looks like I stirred the pot a little when I posted a new thread at Search Engine Watch forums about site exclusion in Adwords. Previously, site exclusion was only available in the Content network. However, at SES Chicago, during the Domaining and Address-Bar Driven Traffic session, Hal Bailey from Google said, and I quote: "There is not a single site that you cannot exclude from Adwords." I came away taking that literally - that ANY partner site could now be excluded from Adwords.

Apparently, that's not exactly true. Parked domains are the only search network sites that can be excluded. Other non-parked domain search partners still are all-or-nothing. On the one hand, that's too bad, because some of those partners may be low-quality (although I'm not aware of any at the moment). On the other hand, it's definitely a step in the right direction. Yahoo and Ask don't easily allow advertisers to opt out of these often-low-quality sites - in fact, many would argue that there is NO opt-out option in Yahoo or Ask. (There really is, but that's another post.) I applaud Adwords for taking this much-needed and long-overdue step in meeting the needs of advertisers.

In addition to the SEW thread, discussion continues at Webmaster World and Search Engine Roundtable .

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Danny Sullivan and Friends Are Living In Search Engine Land

I think everyone in the industry knows that Danny Sullivan has left Incisive Media and Search Engine Watch, and has launched his own site, Search Engine Land. This post, Welcome To Search Engine Land! gives a good overview of what they're doing.

One of the big announcements is that SEL is starting their own search engine conference, Search Marketing Expo, or SMX. The inaugural event will be held June 4-5, 2007 in Seattle. Will this conference be strong enough to unseat the hugely popular Search Engine Strategies? I don't think so, at least initially. I'll be posting more thoughts on SES Chicago soon, but suffice it to say here that this was by far the biggest and most jam-packed SES I've been to. I think Danny's conference will be excellent, no doubt, but will serve as something incremental rather than an SES replacement.

Back to Search Engine Land... Lots of great info there, and Danny's got top-notch folks in the search world on his team. Look for lots more big things to come.