Searching Beyond the Paid

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

More On The New Ask Sponsored Listings

Just a couple postscripts to my earlier post on Ask's new interface. I said in that post that Ask would rotate ad creatives, should you choose to use more than one. Wrong. I asked a question about that during their webinar, which wasn't answered during the webinar. I did receive an email from them today, stating the following:

Question: Can you have more than one ad per keyword / ad group? Will they rotate?
Answer: Yes, however, they will not rotate. Instead we'll select the ad with the highest performance (i.e. Max CPC * CTR).

Doh. This has been discussed on many blogs and forums already, but I have to say it again: Why, why, why do the engines automatically assume that the ad with the best "performance" (CTR, quality score, CPCxCTR, whatever) is the BEST AD??? Furthermore, how can I test ads for CONVERSIONS (which is what really matters, anyway) if the engine is skewing the ad serving with this silly formula? I already know the answer - they show the ad that makes them more money. Pure and simple. Well, that may not be the ad that makes ME more money. And that's what's really important, isn't it? Isn't it?

Oh, Ask's email also contained a phone number for their customer service department: 1-877-453-3837. I eagerly called it, hoping to finally get the answers to a couple of burning questions. Ha, I was a bit too eager, I guess! I got basically a trumped-up voice mail system, where I got to leave my name, phone number, account number, and question - and now I get to sit back and hope to heck someone actually calls me back. Oh well, it's a small step in the right direction, anyway.

EDIT: Hey! They called me back! Like, in 5 minutes! Big bonus points for you, Ask! Apparently they use some kind of "match driver"-ish tool for their exact match keywords, causing ads to show on common misspellings, plurals, and the other usual suspects. Problem is, their matching also includes the ".com" thing. UGH. I will say again that match driver really isn't the same thing as exact match - why not do it like Google does, and let ME enter the plurals and misspellings as keywords? But I digress. Ask's suggested solution, initially anyway, is to try making those single-word terms broad match instead of exact, and put in a bunch of negatives, including "www" and ".com." I'm reluctant to do this for a number of reasons, but I told them I'd try it on a couple of these terms. I'll report back on the results.


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