While this is not news - it really should be. Most of the small search engines are arbitraging one way or another. And the Big Three (clearly 3 since Ask back fills Google PPC) make their cuts on the front end.
A Bruce Clay map for all the PPC partnerships and the rules that govern them would be handy.
My rant here started when I noticed at Ask that we were not being served Ask ads but rather our Google ads. Spoke to one of the people over at Ask and was told that they back fill with Google when the CTR drops below their acceptable level.
Guess that is the level where Google would pay them more to put their ads in... so some of our $10 plus Google terms pay Ask more (rumors of what percentage vary but let's work with 60%) - they get $6 a click from Google when we advertise for say $3 on Ask.... so the CTR would have to be 200% to make them enough money to change....
They are not the only ones.... I see many of the small engines pushing their results out into even thinner search provider portals.... the search results may stay at the site but the results are feed straight from another engine... yet many of these engines also arbitrage their onsite inventory with one of the Big Three so they force their advertisers to bid up to at least what these other people are willing to pay.
Not making much sense - after a while people are going to realize they are just using variations on Google, Yahoo and MSN and just go there first.
I want to start a Back Fill Map - so everyone post what you know in the forum and I will develop something that we all can use.