Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The PPC City Never Sleeps

What can we expect to happen with the quantity and quality of PPC traffic in the not-so-distant future? Has the genesis of the machinery that creates, controls, and disperses traffic reached its plateau, and everything that can be invented has already been invented? It may appear so on the surface.

Consider Overture. The company currently has the widest reach, extending to 80 percent of Internet users, 67,000 active advertisers, and last quarter revenues of $152M. "Key factors that will ensure our continuing leadership position are our long-term contracts with distribution partners, state-of-the art proprietary technology that allows us to operate the business on this scale, and having a very strong international element," said Overture's Wax.

Have the industry leaders become complacent? Make no mistake. "We not only believe that someone smaller than us, or someone currently not in our space, can come up with a great idea that could change our industry and FindWhat.com's standing within the industry," said Thune. "We assume it will happen. And it has recently, with Google's entrance into pay-per-click paid listings."

Currently, the large and small PPC players alike rely on anecdotal evidence of their traffic effectiveness, as provided from time to time by cooperating advertisers - though many advertisers themselves rely on quite unscientific traffic-to-sales conversion information.

To address these issues, 7Search has recently introduced a feature that in the long run can produce a huge impact on the whole traffic industry. The company created an "ROI feedback tool" that sends information on advertisers' sales back to the search engine, where it is used to gauge the quality of affiliate traffic.

It is hard to overestimate the importance of 7Search's approach. Just think, for example, what it can do to the Google's Ad Words program relevancy and rankings algorithms?

"There's targeted traffic, and there's more targeted traffic," said Prestipino. 7Search is also implementing a patent-pending technology dubbed "predictive search" to increase relevancy of advertisers listings appearing as a result of the search.

Search123 works along similar lines, integrating the technology that will assist in matching keyword-based search queries and phrases with users' intentions. "Understanding the dynamics between the buyer and the seller", explains Beriker, "is what it will take to be the leader in this industry."

Search123's website sums it up best: "We're obsessed with traffic quality."

And so are all of us in the business of buying and selling, measuring and analyzing, loving and hating, going broke and making a killing on Internet traffic.