Search Engine Advertising Articles


This page lists articles from Search Engine Watch and around the web that offer tips on getting more out of paid placement and paid inclusion listings on search engines. It also includes articles generally about how search engines sell listings-based ad units, as paid placement and paid inclusion, along with some search ad partnership information.

NOTE: Article links often change, especially the older an article is. In case of a bad link, use the publication’s search facility, which most have, and search for the headline. Also, some very old articles flagged “no longer online” might indeed be online — but the former URL no longer resolves, and it’s not worth the time investment for me to try and personally track down these down versus spending time producing new content.

Jump to articles from:
Sept. 2004 Onward
Jan-Aug 2004200320022001

Jan-Aug. 2004

SearchTHIS: Debunking Click Fraud
iMedia Connection, Aug. 24, 2004

The headline is somewhat misleading. Rather than debunk the idea that clickfraud happens, this is instead a look at the issue and some specific tips to detect clickfraud, prevent it and gain refunds.

Why Nonconverting Keywords Will Drive Search Ad Spend
ClickZ, Aug. 23, 2004

Just because no one clicks on your search listing doesn’t mean it lacked value in the overall marketing mix. A search listing may add to your share of brand voice. Ensure you can quantify that some way, and you’ll be more than a one-hit direct marketing wonder.

Creating Compelling Search Engine Ads and Landing Pages
SearchDay, August 18, 2004

Effective search engine advertising goes far beyond simply bidding on keywords. With both ads and landing pages, you have scant seconds to capture the imagination and clicks of a searcher.

Boost Volume and Lower SEM Costs
ClickZ, Aug. 13, 2004

Tips on how to get your ads appearing for many more keywords quickly, while also hopefully keeping conversion also high.

UK government enters search listing stakes, Aug. 11, 2004

To promote its new Directgov site, the UK government is now bidding on keywords with Google, Overture and Espotting. Also see BBC coverage.

Combating the Rising Cost of Keywords
ClickZ, Aug. 9, 2004

A reporter asked me recently what was the first step in getting started with search engine marketing. I said understanding how much you can afford to spend per lead. If you don’t know that, you don’t know how much you can afford to bid on terms, to spend on natural SEO and so on. I’m hardly the first to say this. Fredrick Marckini from iProspect earlier this year put a great label on moving forward without knowing what you can spend: “ass-backward SEM.” In this column, Gary Stein from Jupiter Research covered the same topic at length. Lots of good advice.

PPC Advertising Connects to Conversion Rate
ClickZ, Aug. 9, 2004

Being priced out of paid listings because of higher bids? Increasing your conversion rate might put you back in the game.

Marketers Eye Alternatives to Google, Overture, Aug. 5, 2004

Covers tips and advice on buying ads beyond Google and Overture, out of a session at the SES San Jose show. Click prices are going up, so alternatives are desirable. Conversion on alternatives may not be as good, but at cheaper prices, it may be good enough.

Marketers Want Content Listings Separate From Search, Aug. 3, 2004

Marketers want search and contextual to be kept separate, and for good reason. I can’t believe we’re well over a year into Google offering contextual ads and we’re still getting the entire “we can’t unbundle this from search because we’re trying to make life easier for advertisers” pitch. Just do it. Advertisers are grown-ups. They can handle the concept of running contextual campaigns separate from search campaigns. They already do this at Overture. Don’t make them opt-out. Make it easier to opt-into both separately.

New Data On How Paid Ranking Translates Into Traffic
The Search Engine Update, Aug. 1, 2004

A new study from Atlas DMT tries suggests that top rankings do indeed equal lots of clickthrough and traffic, at least in terms of paid listings.

Buying Brand Keywords: A Case Study
ClickZ, July 30, 2004

Buying your own brand name leads to great conversion.

How To Handle AdWords With Thousands Of Keywords
Search Engine Watch Forums, July 29, 2004

10,000 keywords, a unique URL for each of them — how best to set this up in Google AdWords?

How to Stop Click Fraud (Or at Least Get a Refund), July 28, 2004

Case study on how a firm identified clickfraud in order to get refunds and to deter it.

Overture tool broadens ad analysis, July 28, 2004

Overture has launched a bid management feature called Search Optimizer to its existing conversion tracking tool, but the bid management only works for Overture listings. Those with Google AdWords accounts will still need to seek another solution.

Overture Announces New Bid Management Tool
Search Engine Watch Forums, July 23, 2004

Overture is rolling out its own bid management program for advertisers to manage prices automatically, and looking at adding other new features.

Will Paid Inclusion Be Banished?
DMNews, July 19, 2004

Looks at how Yahoo is the last major search engine to still offer paid inclusion within its web results, an amazing change given that just over four months ago, everyone but Google was offering this. Similar coverage from Wired. From ClickZ, also a look at the issue, using a single case study as proof that paid inclusion can improve relevance and that without it, content wouldn’t be found.

Suffice to say, plenty of sites have found ways to get their “hidden” content found without paid inclusion. In fact, that’s been essential for ages, since otherwise, these sites would lose visibility on Google. Paid inclusion just makes the solution easier for those with budgets — and if relevancy is improved by having this content, then what happens when the budget runs out and it disappears?

As a reminder, the latest in my series on paid inclusion is here. The issues are complex — that’s why I still have one or two more parts to go.

Overture vs. Google AdWords
Search Engine Guide, July 19, 2004

Very nice compare-and-contrast to some key differences to between how paid listings work at Google and Overture.

Exposing click fraud, July 19, 2004

Nice long look at the issue of bogus clicks, how search engines monitor for it, but how marketers still have to watch out for themselves. Want some tips to protect yourself? Check out Jessie Stricchiola’s guide, Click Fraud – An Overview.

Seasonality Descends on Searches
Wall St. Journal, July 9, 2004,,SB108933011309259323,00.html

Yahoo says paid listing revenue and query volume showed no major rise from the previous quarter, causing financial analysts to fear the paid search boom is over. Yahoo says it’s a seasonal thing. Apparently, it hasn’t been noticed as strongly in the past because of other factors that have pushed growth up. More coverage also here.

Advertising the Sale of PageRank at Google
Search Engine Roundtable, June 25, 2004

The first rule about selling PageRank via Google’s AdWords program is you do not talk about selling PageRank. The second rule is that you talk instead about how to improve or assist in gaining PageRank. More on the issue of ads that seem to go against Google’s rules of SEO behavior being on Google itself.

Ask Jeeves Drops Remaining Paid Inclusion Program
ClickZ, June 24, 2004

Ask Jeeves is ending the remaining paid inclusion program it ran for its web search, the flat-fee based Site Submit. My understanding is that those with existing time left on their URLs will continue to receive listing benefits but no new URLs are being accepted.

Efficient Frontier Takes Holistic Approach to Keyword Search Bidding
MediaPost, June 23, 2004

Efficient Frontier, which has been managing paid listing campaigns for some very big companies, offers its services to the general public. The company aims to predict how a portfolio of keywords will perform over time, in an effort to make ad management easier.

Paid Search Automation
iMediaConnection, June 22, 2004

Looking to automate you bid management? Here are some things to consider when looking at tools or services.

Use Caution when Going Broad with Overture and Google
SearchDay, June 23, 2004

Running a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign on Google and Overture can get complicated, especially now that both networks offer different types of keyword matching options when placing bids. Here’s how to avoid trouble and maximize your campaign’s effectiveness.

Pay-Per-Click Affiliate Deals Come Under Fire at Symposium
DM News, June 24, 2004

Paid search has grown from a pay-per-click basis, but as clickfraud grows as a problem, will the model have to change?

Portfolio PPC Campaign Management
ClickZ, June 18, 2004

Forget thinking about your campaigns on a keyword-by-keyword basis. Instead, consider that you have an entire portfolio of keywords, which overall you hope will achieve a particular ROI. Think of it as keyword-cost averaging!

Going Beyond FTC Paid Inclusion Disclosure Guidelines
SearchDay, June 17, 2004

A look at how Yahoo might go beyond FTC guidelines about paid inclusion as a means of rebuilding faith in the impact of paid inclusion on relevancy and its listings in general. This version for Search Engine Watch members explains how to decipher listing URLs at Yahoo to spot paid inclusion content, how some results for popular queries may be hardcoded, finds paid inclusion showing up in only 2 percent of listings based on a small sample of 700 queries, and looks how sponsor labeling in Yahoo’s directory hasn’t appeared to hurt the sites shown there.

The Paid Inclusion Dinosaur
SearchDay, June 2, 2004

Why would Yahoo and other search engines do paid inclusion? Money is a big reason — the ability to earn off what otherwise would be free listings. But paid inclusion involves a gamble that relevancy won’t be hurt. A look at the bet Yahoo’s making and alternative plays they could have tried.

Portfolio PPC Campaign Management Part 1
ClickZ, June 11, 2004

Forget thinking about your campaigns on a keyword-by-keyword basis. Instead, consider that you have an entire portfolio of keywords, which overall you hope will achieve a particular ROI. Think of it as keyword-cost averaging!

Transforming Clicks Into Rings
New York Times, June 7, 2004

No web site? No problem. Ingenio plans to insert telephone numbers in place of URLs for small businesses that are web challenged. Perhaps it will work, but I’ve got one big concern. It’s the wrong medium.

Someone who is already on the internet and doing a search to me will be more likely to click on an ad rather than pick up the phone. After they’ve visited an advertiser online and done some research, then I think they might be more inclined to call. But before? You’d do what’s normal, surf the web.

Consider the alternative. What if you opened your yellow pages directory and some ads had only URLs, for businesses that had no phone numbers. Would you put down the book and surf to the advertiser? Perhaps, but more likely you’d first call those who did have phone numbers.

Yahoo Advertising on Google
MarketingVox, June 7, 2004

Yahoo’s running ads on Google to drive traffic to its shopping area. It’s not the first time a search engine has advertised on another one. Indeed, Yahoo’s currently running a major campaign in Europe on Google and Espotting to promote some of its portal features.

When to Kill a Keyword Listing
ClickZ, June 4, 2004

Tips to consider before you pull a keyword from your advertising campaign.

Managing a Search Engine Advertising Budget
SearchDay, May 27, 2004

You want top search result positions now, and you’re willing to pay for them. But is your paid listing launch on hold until you can justify a budget and demonstrate ROI goals?

Yahoo Reawakens The Paid Inclusion Debate
SearchDay, May 18, 2004

Yahoo drew widespread criticism for new paid inclusion programs launched in March. What is Yahoo doing? How does it impact the advertiser and searcher? Are there changes Yahoo should be making? The first in a series of articles looking at paid inclusion.

Study Shows Paid Search Listings Are More Relevant To Women And The Unemployed
MediaPost, May 18, 2004

The latest release of an iProspect study of search interaction shows women were lightly more likely to choose a paid result as relevant than men. Those with full-time jobs are also more likely to click than part-time or unemployed searchers. College graduates are more likely to see editorial listings as relevant over paid.

Google’s ad plans provoke grumbling, May 17, 2004

Image ads can be brand building tools — so shouldn’t Google sell its new contextual ads on a CPM basis? Some competing ad distribution services suggest it should. But hey, why stop there. We know that search ads can also build brand. Overture even did a study a few years ago to support this, in a quest to get more brand revenue from agencies. Shouldn’t those be sold on a CPM basis, as well? That’s the way it used to be on Google, so I don’t expect a flip-flop any time soon. Meanwhile, vertical search site drops its CPM-based banners entirely.

“Cheap” and “Free” Keywords: Not Always a Bargain
ClickZ, May 17, 2004

Use the words “cheap” or “free” and you might see conversion rates plummet. Meanwhile, longer bids may cost less and convert better. Of course, I think eventually the search engines will continue their ongoing rollup of terms. That means eventually you’ll pay the same for a five word query (for example, “cool running shoes for marathon”) as shorter ones (for example, “running shoes”) if these are deemed as relating to the same audience .

Behead Berg Ad On Google
Searchblog, May 14, 2004

Now it’s gone, but for a short time, Google was sadly carrying an ad for someone selling a video clip of Nick Berg being beheaded. As spotted by Gary Price, with screen capture from John Battelle.

Google Offers Banners & Image Ads — But Not On Google Itself
SearchDay, May 13, 2004

Google has debuted a new graphical ad option for its advertisers — the ability to run banners, skyscrapers and other image-based ad units. However, these ads won’t run on Google itself.

Advertisers Bid, You Click, They Pay
Washington Post, May 12, 2004

No revelations here for readers — a look at how paid placement listings work. But some nice anecdotes from large companies that are using them.

Reality TV and online games
CBS MarketWatch, May 11, 2004

There’s a search tidbit buried in here — Google’s claim that it sends half the search traffic to gaming sites. You can also read more direct from Google. Of course, there’s a good chance that a majority of that traffic comes from Google’s unpaid listings, something the pitch to advertise on Google obviously doesn’t mention.

Yahoo Bans Online Casino Ads; Google’s Ban Has Holes
The Search Engine Report, May 6, 2004

Both Yahoo and Google decided to drop ads from online casinos by the end of April. But despite this, the ads can still be found lurking on Google.

Yahoo Adds Targeted Ads to its Companion Toolbar
Search Engine Lowdown, May 3, 2004

Andy Beal has a nice screenshot and catch about how the Yahoo Companion toolbar was recently showing ads. But don’t get too excited — it’s not going to be a permanent feature. Checking with Yahoo, they tell me the ad was part of a preexisting deal they’ve had with FTD that’s now ended. The ads have been shown on the toolbar before, but they won’t any longer. “This deal was the last part of a legacy deal that we had with FTD. There are no other ads in the pipeline and there aren’t any current plans to sell additional placements,” said Yahoo spokesperson Stephanie Iwamasa.

India’s secret army of online ad ‘clickers’
Times Of India, May 3, 2004

A look at how people employed in India are paid to click on online ads.

T-Shirt Maker Claims He’s “Gagged by Google”
ClickZ, April 28, 2004

Google’s policy against “anti” sites gets more bad publicity, as a T-shirt maker finds he can’t advertise his products that target US President George W. Bush or Democratic candidate Senator John Kerry. Pamela Parker rightfully takes aim at Google in this commentary.

Sorting Out SiteMatch, April 23, 2004

Remember the hoopla and fears many had about the rollout of Yahoo’s new paid inclusion program. If you don’t — my upcoming series will remind you of the issues. But no need to wait for that. Barry Lloyd provides an excellent rundown on how free listings still survive, how past penalties haven’t been lifted in the new program and how a Yahoo directory link appears to be a key way to boost a page.

Mastering Search Engine Advertising
SearchDay, Apr. 22, 2004

Buying your way to the top of search results may seem easy, but managing an effective search engine advertising campaign requires a thoughtful approach with more than a little elbow grease.

Managing Search Marketing Campaigns
SearchDay, Apr. 20, 2004

While search engine paid placement campaigns can be immensely profitable, effective bid management can be time-consuming and can quickly become a drawn out game of chess, or tug of war, depending on your rules of engagement.

Some question Yahoo’s ‘paid inclusion’ plan
Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2004

A month into its new paid inclusion program, this article finds a mix with advertisers. One assumed he should get rank boost and quit when he didn’t. Another is happy that his entire site gets spidered. One says the program improved rankings — though in a follow-up, he also acknowledge that this was after making search engine optimization changes in line with what Yahoo recommended.

Mesothelioma brings in search-engine bucks
UPI, April 8, 2004

Recently, a reader pointed out to me that Overture had raised its minimum bid to $100 per click. What pulls that much money? The term “mesothelioma,” a form of lung cancer, has always been a good example to show how high people will go with paid listings. This article talks briefly about how law firms have gone after it. When I looked recently, this had dropped down to a high of around $37. What to use instead, to see those top bids? Try a search for “structured settlement,” which my reader hold told me about when mentioning the new Overture limit. Sure enough, the top three bids are all at the $100 maximum.

Subtle PPC Differences Can Boost ROI
ClickZ, April 5, 2004

Ads on Google and Overture are not the same. Tips on how to get the best performance by working to the unique features at both places.

Google, Yahoo ban online casino ads
AP, April 4, 2004

Both Yahoo and Google have decided to drop ads from online casinos by the end of April, the AP, the New York Times and other sources report.

The move comes as US authorities are apparently pressuring media outlets not to accept ads from casinos said to be illegally accepting bets from those in the United States. However, neither Yahoo or Google explicitly cited this as the reason for their pullback.

MediaPost reports on the shock to those in the online casino industry and provides more on pressure being put on media outlets. There’s also speculation that the search companies may bring back the ads, if they see the revenue there for when the US football season gets underway.

The Ads Google Just Says No To
The Search Engine Update, April 2, 2004

Want to buy an ad on Google? You might find it rejected after the fact for a variety of unpublished reasons.

Paid Search Programs Finally Growing Up
SearchDay, March 31, 2004

The search industry has come a long way since the days of running poorly targeted banner advertisements on search results pages. Enhanced keyword targeting capabilities and powerful new bidding and analysis tools have raised the value of search as a promotional channel.

Feds Arrest Alleged Google Extortionist, March 22, 2004

We’ve long done sessions at Search Engine Strategies involving how to monitor your PPC campaigns for fraudulent clicks. Despite safeguards in place by search engines, things still get through. But here’s an extreme case of a man accused of trying to extort $100,000 from Google. He allegedly threatened to “destroy” Google with software that would run up fraudulent clicks on Google’s contextual ads during a meeting with a company. Another good account of the story here from the San Jose Mercury News. For some past Search Engine Watch articles on the topic of auditing your click charges, see Ask the Search Engine: Coping with Fraudulent Pay-Per-Click Traffic and Perfecting Paid Search Engine Listings.

Yahoo’s New Paid Inclusion
ClickZ, March 19, 2004

Kevin Lee explains why you might want to try (or perhaps resign yourself) to Yahoo’s new paid inclusion programs.

Norton Blocks PPC Ads
MarketingWonk, March 16, 2004

By default, the latest version of Norton Personal Firewall now apparently blocks paid listings at Google and Overture. This is the second such software that I’ve heard now that does this. Intermute released its AdSubtract tool formally back in December. Like the Intermute tool, Norton probably does not block paid inclusion listings.

Here’s some irony. Search for personal firewall on Google. The Norton product now blocks ads from its competitors — but also from a company that sells Norton’s own firewall product. A search for antivirus has less impact on Norton but would wipe out ads from its competitors.

B2B Search: Playing the Odds
ClickZ, March 12, 2004

B2B search marketing may involve long-term or offline sales, making it difficult for the marketer with a fixed budget to measure success. Some tips on estimating the value of your advertising buys.

Manx Parents Win Google Apology
Isle Of Man Online, March 10, 2004

A search for children’s stories brings up an ad on Google for violent incest. Google apologizes and removes the ad.

News Sites Seek Readers via Search Ads, Feb. 17, 2004

The BBC, Financial Times and other media outlets are buying paid listings on Google to drive traffic for special coverage of news events. Ironically, they can’t buy ads to appear alongside Google own news search results.

XML Paid Inclusion: Marketing Winner, Search Spam Killer
ClickZ, Feb. 13, 2004

Paid inclusion will be coming big time to Yahoo soon, and it’s likely you’ll hear some criticisms of this come up in the coming months. Kevin Lee offers a defense as to why XML feeds in particular can be relevancy boosters. No argument here. XML paid inclusion content can in some circumstances indeed help relevancy, reduce spam and offer other benefits. But in other circumstances, it might hurt. I don’t know anyone who can universally declare that overall, it’s “better” or “worse.”

What I can say is that paid inclusion is an ADVERTISING program, pitched to ADVERTISERS. As such, it’s time the listings be disclosed in some way as ads. It doesn’t have to be anything major. A small icon or something to help those who want to know what is paid versus unpaid content on a search results page. Do that, and the criticisms of paid inclusion largely disappear. But without disclosure, it’s nearly impossible for the typical search consumer to distinguish paid inclusion ads from free listings — and some will want to do this.

By the way, I’m not part of the faction that thinks XML feeds let SEMs generate search engine spam. Rather, I think the search engines offering paid inclusion may hold content in these programs to more liberal rules than would apply to “unpaid” content. In other words, a doorway page may be seen as spam by a search engine when it is outside a paid inclusion program. But feed it via XML, and suddenly the criteria of what makes a good “page” seems much more generous. And that’s not spam, since it’s the search engines themselves that define spam.

Google Bans Environmental Group’s Ads
AP, Feb. 12, 2004

Google pulls an anti-pollution ad, keeping to its often controversial (and still apparently unwritten) policy of not accepting anti-anything ads that has infuriated potential advertisers across the political spectrum and various special interests.

Using Paid Inclusion to Get to the Next Level, Part 1
ClickZ, Feb. 9, 2004

Primarily tips from Inktomi on how they believe you can get more out of paid inclusion. Top tip? Do an XML feed and have an SEM firm “tune” the feed for you. In other words, tweak that page until you get a top ranking.

Of course, Inktomi’s content guidelines say it wants, “pages designed primarily for humans, with search engine considerations secondary,” warns against “the use of text that is hidden from the user,” “pages that give the search engine different content than what the end-user sees” and “pages built primarily for the search engines.” XML feeds often break some or all of these rules. Tweaking an XML feed is especially something you do solely for search engine considerations. A human will never see your feed content.

All of this I described last year in my Doorways Not Always Bad, At Inktomi article last year. In short, I agree with Inktomi — if you are a serious search engine marketer, definitely consider XML feeds. The ability to tweak your pages to improve search engine placement is much more endorsed when you are in this program.

In the second part, Inktomi rolls out the usual arguments about why paid inclusion helps everyone. And some of that’s absolutely true. It’s also true that Google manages to do a lot of what its competitors make out can only be done through paid inclusion.

A Golden Opportunity: Politics and SEM
ClickZ, Feb. 6, 2004

Should political candidates be pitching messages via search engine marketing. Kevin Lee votes yes.

Dayparting – What’s all the Fuss? Web Search Guide, Feb. 5, 2004

The headline says it all. You may have heard about dayparting. Why care? As Jennifer Laycock explains, targeting your ads during certain times of the day might improve conversions.

Google Grants Non-Profits a Break, Jan. 27, 2004

Seen a public service ad delivered by Google’s AdSense program? Those ads are helping drive traffic to charitable web sites.

BBC buys up ‘Hutton inquiry’ Google links
MediaGuardian, Jan. 26, 2004,7496,1130052,00.html

Like others in the UK, I’m required to pay over US $150 per year in order to watch television. OK, so the commercial-free children’s programming on CBeebies alone is worth it. Still, perhaps there are better things to do with my money and that of others who pay than for the BBC to advertise its coverage of the Hutton Report on Google. Oddly, no news is mentioned on whether the BBC also bought similar ads on Overture or Espotting.

The Graphical Search Divide, Jan. 14, 2004

How about a logo next to your paid listing? That’s not something the majors offer now, nor plan to, seeing them as distracting rather than helpful. Any other reason? Putting graphics next to paid listings makes them look different from unpaid listings, which might cause consumers to avoid them. That’s not good for advertising sales.

FindWhat Adds New Division, New Tool, Jan. 5, 2004

FindWhat completes its purchase of Miva, a maker of ecommerce and shopping cart software. The company also rolls out “IntelliMap,” a broad matching tool that groups similar words, misspellings and punctuations together under a single term.

Articles From 2003

Kanoodle Debuts Set-And-Forget Search Terms, Dec. 19, 2003

Kanoodle introduces dayparting, the ability to have your ads run for set periods of the day, or on particular days or in particular months. It’s a first for any US-based paid listings provider, though European provider Mirago deserves credit for being the first in the industry, to my knowledge, with the feature. Mirago rolled ts dayparting feature out in November.

The “Secret System” of Search Engine Advertising
SearchDay, Dec. 18, 2003

Search engines have become one of the fastest growing venues in the advertising market, bringing clients from the old world of traditional advertising to the new world of paid listings. Yet while ad revenue increases for the search engines, so do the concerns for some long-time search advertisers who have invested a huge stake in the industry.

GooglePrudery: Booted for Dissing Dubya, Dec. 15, 2003

Blather found itself running afoul of the Google advertising police, who pulled its ads for because the site had content that “advocated against George Bush.” What was this verboten content? Blather linked to George W. Bush’s official biography as part of the Google Bombing prank (see to make it number one at Google for a search on “miserable failure.”

Ironically, by this argument, Google itself should not be able to carry its own ads, given that its own search results are content that some would see as advocating against Bush.

In a further irony, while Blather is not allowed to pay Google to carry its ads, Google seems to have no problem with Blather carrying Google’s own ads — even on the evildoers page in question.

The Power of Paris Hilton
CPU Review, Dec. 15, 2003

Accidentally coming up tops for a search on “paris hilton sex video” for this web site turned out to be a costly mistake.

Shopping Engine Bidding Gets Smarter, Dec. 9, 2003

Want to do better on (formerly DealTime)? Now you can bid your way to the top of the results.

Trademarks and SEM
ClickZ, Dec. 5, 2003

Recaps instances where trademarks might be linked to paid listings and ways to seek resolutions if you are a trademark holder with objections.

Sex sites fire up Internet search engines’ profit
New York Times, Dec. 3, 2003

Brief look at how search engines make money by carrying porn listings.

Google, Overture Limit Pharmacy Ads — But Not In Free Listings
The Search Engine Report, Dec. 2, 2003

Overture and Google have reacted to pressure to drop ads for unlicensed online pharmacies in the United States. But while the ads will be gone, the access to sites selling prescription medicines without proper approval will remain virtually unchanged.

‘Tis the Season: Build a Search Engine Marketing Budget
ClickZ, Dec. 1, 2003

Overview of types of fees you might want to budget for to undertake a search engine marketing campaign with the aid of an agency.

Dayparts & Other Search Engine Paid Listings Evolutions
SearchDay, Nov. 25, 2003

When it comes to gaining the most bang for the buck from paid search engine listings, micro-managing is a good thing, says our panel of experts.

SEM Arbitrage: Golden or Cooked Goose?
ClickZ, Nov. 21, 2003

Getting affiliates to generate search traffic can sound attractive. But if they’re making a profit on the difference between what you pay them and what they earn, you might be missing opportunities.

Google Applies Double Standard to Political Vendors
Accuracy In Media, Nov. 19, 2003

Google banned an advertisement for a anti-Clinton book, citing its criteria of rejecting “anti” ads. Ads for Ronald Reagan-related material was then rejected because of other “anti” items for sale on the same web site. However, other web sites selling such material, such as bumper stickers against George W. Bush, have been allowed to advertise.

Yahoo back in X-rated business
San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 17, 2003

Yahoo pulled adult banner ads in 2001, but it’s back to selling porn ads return through its ownership of Overture. Porn paid listings don’t appear on Yahoo, but they do appear (as they long have done) on the now-Yahoo-owned sites of AllTheWeb and AltaVista. Of course, Yahoo has always had its own directory of adult web sites. Despite the ban on banner ads sales, it always continued to sell listings in its directory to adult web sites at a premium rate.

It’s Good to Compete With Your Affiliates in PPC Search
ClickZ, Nov. 17, 2003

Affiliates need not be your enemy, when it comes to search engine marketing. For one thing, your affiliates can effectively let you dominate paid listing spots. The major providers generally allow a company to have only one paid listing, but they make no restrictions on how many affiliate listings a company can gain. In short, it’s an end run around the rule. That’s to the advertiser’s and search engine’s benefit, but it’s also something I expect will change. That’s because it’s a bad user experience. Other affiliate issues are also explored.

Partner Traffic from PPC Affiliate Programs: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Traffick, Nov. 11, 2003

Andrew Goodman lets rip about junk traffic produced by some partners of paid listings providers, praises conversion of those seeing Google’s AdSense listings on some partners but is amazed at some of the other sites that also get included as part of the AdSense program.

Study: Overture Better Than Google, Oct. 30, 2003

Jupiter Research found that Overture had the best features and management interface of major paid listings providers, according to interviews that were done with experienced marketers and Jupiter’s own experience using the toolset. Google ranked second, followed by now-Google owned Sprinks. Also rated was FindWhat. Despite coming in second, don’t read the report as a sign that Google will necessarily lose advertisers. Overture and Google have completely different distributions, so most advertisers find it necessary to buy with both, in order to extend their reach as far as possible.

Reader Q&A: October 2003
The Search Engine Update, Oct. 22, 2003

Answers to the following questions from readers:

+ Will paid ads on Google or Overture hurt your unpaid listings?
+ Why can’t I find the submit link for an Open Directory category?
+ Do I have to pay a new submission fee if I change my web page?
+ Where can I find out the popularity level of shopping search engines?
+ Why did the Open Directory drop my sites?
+ Do search engines read the words within links?
+ How do we get Google to drop misleading and spammy web pages?
+ Is there an easy way to find out what the cost or a particular term is on the various search engines?
+ I don’t see AllTheWeb in the search engine ratings pages you maintain. Why not?
+ I am trying to find out which search engines have the most users and what keywords are used the most when navigating to sites in particular subjects. Can you help?
+ Why do you recommend search engine math commands over Boolean commands?
+ Do you know anything if Froogle will be released in the UK or elsewhere? What other UK shopping search engines are there?
+ Is the meta description tag still worth doing?

Think Negative
ClickZ, Oct. 17, 2003

With expanded matching capabilities introduced recently at both Overture and Google, marketers need to think more about removing terms they don’t want to target.

Be it Resolved that Paid Inclusion is Search – A Response to I-Search and Paid Inclusion Naysayers
Marketleap, Oct. 16, 2003

My usual reminder: I’m not an opponent of paid inclusion and fully recognize that it has valuable things to offer advertisers and searchers. But I have to strongly object to the suggestion in this article from paid inclusion reseller Marketleap that paid inclusion “online search at its purest.” For more, clickthrough to a longer review.

Dialing in on Channel Conflicts
iMediaConnection, Oct. 9, 2003

Kevin Ryan makes some really good points about how affiliate programs and resellers make for consumer confusion when they all vie to sell the same products via search engine listings. Recently, I’ve had a number of advertisers complain to me about this. It’s hard to argue that the consumer is being well-served by listings dominated in this way. It’s also hard to see the search engines changing things on their own, since that means lost dollars to them.

Why Sharis Berries is happy to let affiliates pay the search freight
Internet Retailer, Oct. 7, 2003

Some companies have learned to hate their affiliates, finding they make it expensive when they wants to directly purchase advertising. But Shari’s Berries loves them. They don’t advertise directly and instead let the affiliates do the heavy work. But from a searching perspective, it’s more than a little annoying that this strategy means that Google and MSN results, as cited in this article, are essentially full of junk pages that all lead back to the same company. It’s the search equivalent of walking into a store and only seeing one brand on the shelves.

Google Accepts Porn Ads but Refuses Those for Guns, Oct. 7, 2003

I reported on this about a year ago, but here’s a revisit on how gun ads are not acceptable to Google but porn is OK.

Web Searches: The Fix Is In
BusinessWeek, Oct. 6, 2003

BusinessWeek did more than 30 interviews and analyzed dozens of searches to conclude that paid inclusion seems to provide ranking boosts to customers. Unfortunately, the Lamps Plus example listed is a bad one. The person wasn’t listed with LookSmart, which is the primary data source MSN search uses. He signs up and suddenly discovers he’s ranking better.

Of course. He wasn’t present before, and by getting in, there was a good chance he’d naturally rank well. The same would be true if he wasn’t listed in Google, then got spidered. He might then suddenly rank better there, as well. In contrast, the only way to know if paid inclusion really gave Lamps Plus an actual ranking boost, rather than just a chance at ranking well, would be to see if they were already listed, then shifted their listings to a paid inclusion program and found a favorable ranking change.

Despite the Lamps Plus example being bad, other examples like “green sleeping bag” being full of paid inclusion listings do underscore the idea that paid inclusion content seems favored and sometimes can be terribly off-target. It also remains true that paid inclusion content can be helpful in some instances and that “pure” search results are hardly pure. It’s just that the search engine itself receives no money directly.

Overall, I think the reason bad paid inclusion results are so annoying is because part of the paid inclusion pitch by search engines offering it is that content is carefully reviewed for quality. Discovering off-target paid inclusion listings causes you to lose faith. In contrast, bad “free” listings can at least be excused since no particular oversight is promised.

For further examination of paid inclusion, see the Buying Your Way In page, which provides a summary and past articles I’ve written.

Searching For Holiday Profits, Part 2: Seasonal Keywords, Listing Expansion
ClickZ, Sept. 26, 2003

Get ready for the holidays by looking at ways to expand and target your seasonal terms.

Google, Amazon in a war of search words, Sept. 26, 2003

Google keyed an employment ad to appear on its web site anytime someone searched for the name of the president of Amazon’s new ecommerce search unit.

LookSmart Opens Deep Listings Option To Small Businesses
The Search Engine Update, Aug. 5, 2003

LookSmart has expanded its LookListings paid inclusion program so that small businesses can purchase “deep listings” previously only offered to large businesses with big budgets. The article below looks at the changes, as well as the role LookSmart plays in powering search at MSN and elsewhere.

Is SEM Becoming Unaffordable?
ClickZ, June 27, 2003

The price of paid listings is rising, but following the right tactics can ensure you’re getting the most out of your spend. Gets 20% of New Customers via PPC Search, July 22, 2003 used some of its email marketing budget to fund paid search listings. This article shares tips, such as to depend on resources other than search term suggestion tools, fight back to explain why rejected listings may be relevant to a term, track conversions in the long-term to better understand success and to try second-tier paid listing players but watch conversions closely. Also has stats on clickthorugh rates (generally 8 to 10 percent) and conversion rates.

Use IRTA to Measure Search Engine Marketing Success
Marketleap, June 26, 2003

How do you know if you are successful with search engines? I’m listed! So what, do you actually rank well for anything? Yes! So what, does anyone actually search for those terms? Yes! So what — are you making sales? Ultimately, it’s this last part that’s most important. IRTA summarizes these four aspects succinctly and is well worth understanding, to ensure you are focused correctly with your efforts.

eBay Starts Keyword Advertising, June 24, 2003

Want a higher profile on eBay? Now you can purchase banner ads on a cost-per-click basis. You cannot link these to content outside of eBay, however.

Market Your Website Around Your Budget
Web Host Directory, June 20, 2003

Is paying $15 per click too much? Not necessarily, if you know your cost per acquisition.

The Power of Copy
ClickZ, June 20, 2003

The copy on your pages isn’t just helpful for organic search engine optimization. It can pay off on the paid listing side, as well.

Paid Search Handbook, Part 2
ClickZ, June 12, 2003

Looking for alternatives for PPC campaigns beyond Google and Overture? Here are some options. Also has link to the first part of the story, with more.

Inclusion Confusion, Continued
ClickZ, June 6, 2003

Close up with how XML paid inclusion allows you to feed content directly into organic listings and perhaps draw qualified traffic for less than CPC-prices.

Paid Inclusion Confusion
ClickZ, May 30, 2003

A look at XML paid inclusion and how it has been confusing for potential advertisers due to misselling and varied technical standards. Covers the recent move by Yahoo to reduce paid inclusion resellers from 18 to just three (iProspect is a fourth, but only to its own clients).

Writing Effective Search Engine Ads
SearchDay, May 29, 2003

Relevancy is the name of the game when it comes to copywriting for paid listings, not only for your potential customers, but increasingly to meet the stringent requirements of the search engines themselves.

Case Study:, May 12, 2003,,10417_2204601,00.html

Dan Harrison has been selling pool and spa supplies for 10 years, but no advertising venue comes close to driving qualified leads compared to search engines. “It all boils down to the search engine stuff,” he says, in this interesting case study. His site, which made $7 million in revenue last year, focuses on free natural or organic traffic, with the site following a strategy of offering a library of content related to pools, rather than just offering product information. Paid listings and paid inclusion via XML feeds are also pursued. I especially enjoyed the comment that Inktomi’s XML feed is working for the company to give it top listings because it thinks, “Dan paid us all this money.” Inktomi constantly says that its paid inclusion program does not guarantee results. Nevertheless, this customer certainly has the impression it helps, and you wonder if he’s gained that impression in part from a sales pitch for paid inclusion. In either case, he certainly feels it is paying off.

Paid Placement Alternatives to Overture and Google
SearchDay, May 15, 2003

In an online advertising world dominated by 900-pound gorillas Overture and Google AdWords, what do second-tier pay-for-placement engines such as Ah-Ha, FindWhat and Search123 bring to the party?

Managing a Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Marketing Campaign
SearchDay, May 13, 2003

How do you choose a firm to manage your pay-per-click (PPC) search engine marketing campaign? The CEOs of four well-known search marketing firms offered valuable insights and tips on making the choice.

How to Improve Results and Up Your Budget
ClickZ, April 18, 2003

Don’t just look for ways to save money but cutting waste in search engine advertising. Also consider how to reinvest your savings wisely.

FindWhat Raises Bid Price, April 17, 2003

Come September 1, FindWhat is increasing its minimum bid price to $0.05.

Google tactics invade city’s mayoral race
The Globe And Mail, April 17, 2003

It’s not that long until the 2004 US presidential election, and perhaps the Toronto mayoral race is a harbinger of what to expect in terms of political paid listings. Candidates are buying ads linked to their opponents’ names.

Manufacturer Tests Launching 3 Different Sites & PPC Ads to Improve Circuit Board Sales, April 9, 2003

To generate more leads, ECD created new, branded sites focusing on different circuit board products it sold. They drove traffic through both organic and paid search engine marketing, even running some ads on certain networks, believing those networks had an audience more suited to a particular product. A key finding was that positions 2-4 in paid listings provide “bigger bang for the buck.”

Online Marketing Idol
eMarketer, April 8, 2003

Q&A with search engine marketer and ClickZ columnist Kevin Lee on changes and developments in the search engine space.

Search and the Buying Cycle
ClickZ, April 4, 2003

Just because your visitors aren’t ready to buy today doesn’t mean they are worthless. Understanding that they need to move through the buying cycle may help you better reach them for when they are ready to purchase.

Pay-Per-Click Strategies for Search Engine Marketers, April 2003

Three marketers share tips on cost-per-click advertising, in this fifth part of a series of articles. Follow the links at the top of the article to also read previous parts of the story, which touch on selecting cost-per-click paid listings providers, selecting keywords, balancing PPC and organic unpaid SEO.

Cut Online Ad Costs by 90% & Raise Sales – 5 Tips for Search Marketing, March 11, 2003 needed to increase revenues in 60 days. The company dumped its spending on keyword-linked banner ads and instead tried paid placement with Overture and Google, as well as paid inclusion with LookSmart. Formerly spending up to $150,000 per month, the company now spends only $10,000 per month but has seen a “drastic increase” in sales volume. Well worth a read, especially the portion of canceling with Overture due to concerns over fraud detection and getting Google to remove paid ads linked to’s trademarked domain name.

Dayparts Online: Promises TK
eMarketer, March 4, 2003

Expect to hear more about “dayparts” in terms of paid listings. The idea is that you pay for listings only during certain times of the day, when you expect your most likely prospects to be online and searching. Neither Overture or Google offer daypart advertising easy right now. Instead, you either have to manually fudge things or use a third party bid management tool to sort of get this. This article doesn’t go into that situation with search engines, but it will help you to understand the concept of dayparts more.

Singingfish Multimedia Search Engine Launches Paid Inclusion
SearchDay, Feb. 27, 2003

Singingfish, the search engine that holds a Google-like dominance in providing multimedia searching to audio-visual players, is launching a paid inclusion program this week.

Ask Jeeves UK Launches Paid Inclusion
Web Rank, Feb. 21, 2003

Want to be in the Teoma-powered results of Ask Jeeves UK? If you aren’t already listed for free, now you can try paid inclusion through a new program that’s been launched. Let’s see. Paid inclusion with Ask Jeeves for its US site is US $30 for the first URL, then $18 for each additional. In the UK, the cost is about US $65 for the first URL and $40 for each additional URL. That’s more than double the price. Well, now you know why so many Brits complain about living in “Rip Off Britain.” Product prices are often much higher than will be paid in other countries. To date, my favorite personal example was having to pay twice the price for a Honda CR-V in Britain, compared to the price in the US. Ah, but fuel costs more in Britain, so that adds to the price when you transport products, the manufacturers like to say. Well, the CR-Vs sold in Britain are made there, while they also get exported to the US — and still wind up cheaper. As for why paid inclusion costs so much more in the UK, maybe URLs are shipped by boat to data centers/centres in the US?

Interview With Dakota Sullivan of LookSmart
Web Rank, Feb. 20, 2003

LookSmart’s move last year to a pure cost-per-click model for all commercial listings caused uproar but the company says all is well now because LookSmart has more than 30,000 business paying ongoing monthly fees with it. It’s a gamble that paid off, and one that’s spurring others like Yahoo to examine how to make more off of their editorial listings, as predicted in my article from last year, The Bumpy Road To Maximum Monetization.

Overture Inks Search Pact with MSN Japan, Feb. 13, 2003

Overture gets an expansion of its test to provide paid listings to MSN Japan, with contracts for the Internet Explorer search pane and the MSN Search Japan site running through December 2003 and 2004, respectively.

Paying Per Click, Getting the Most Out of Overture, Google and Others, Feb. 12, 2002

Lots of practical advice on doing well with cost-per-click search advertising.

Yahoo UK! admits! scam!
The Register, Feb. 11, 2003

Fraudsters! have! been! telling! people! in! the! UK! that! they! need! to! pay! to! renew! their! Yahoo UK! listings! They! don’t! need! to!

Merchants Outbid for Top Billing
New York Times, Feb. 10, 2003

Fraudulent retailers may outbid legitimate firms for top rankings in paid listings. Those legitimate firms think that paid listing providers ought to screen out the fraudsters. An analyst rightly says the paid listing providers have little incentive to take aggressive action. Overture rightly comments that it’s hard to screen nine million listings to determine the legitimacy or reputable nature of a vendor, but that the company will and has taken action when it gets credible reports of problems. Google declines to say much of anything about the issue.

Overture Doubles Keyword Price With No Notice to Advertisers
Direct Newsline, Feb. 10, 2003

Minimum bids at Overture US rose from $0.05 to $0.10. Lower bids are grandfathered, but this story looks at complaints that the official notification from Overture gave people little chance to react to the change.

The Lunchtime Effect
ClickZ, Feb. 5, 2003

If paid listings were like television ads, the vendors selling it would essentially be telling you that you need to have your ads running with every program they have, all throughout the day and night. While you still can’t pick and choose distribution partners, with a little work, you can at least chose when you want to run your ads. Carefully thinking about your “dayparts” may give you better performance, as Kevin Lee explains.

Ending The Debate Over Cloaking
The Search Engine Report, Feb. 4, 2003

A look at why people have traditionally cloaked, how XML feeds these days provide a form of approved cloaking and why the bigger issue to focus on isn’t whether cloaking is allowed but instead whether paid content gets more liberal rules about acceptability.

LookSmart rewarded for pay-per-click gamble
The Age, Jan. 30, 2003

LookSmart posts a net profit of $3.4 million on the back of strong growth in paid listings revenue.

Beyond Price/Position: The SEM Strategy Loop
ClickZ, Jan. 22, 2003

Forget about your paid placements and other SEM activities in terms of how much they cost or the position you attain with them. Instead, post-click conversion analysis will give you a better perspective about what to do.

Seven Ways to Increase Pay-Per-Click ROI
ClickZ, Jan. 24, 2003

From tracking to dialogue, ways to get more from your CPC campaign.

Ask Jeeves Bans Banners, Jan. 6, 2003

It’s bye-bye to banners, at Ask Jeeves.

Articles From 2002

The Bottom Line on SEM
Direct, Nov. 18, 2002

Various paid listing services explain misconceptions and mistakes about paid listings, in a panel discussion.

Marketers Say Quality of Search Traffic Most Important
Direct, Nov. 18, 2002

A survey of 300 businesses by paid listings service Search123 found 85 percent thought quality of traffic was most important, versus 67 percent rating bid price and just over half concerned about quantity. More stats from the survey are in this article.

Paid Inclusion Listings May Get Boosted At AltaVista
The Search Engine Report, Nov. 4, 2002

AltaVista’s Trusted Feed paid inclusion content may indeed get a bump into the top results, in the right circumstances.

Perfecting Paid Search Engine Listings
SearchDay, October 17, 2002

Many companies are already “buying their way to the top” of search engines. Most of these advertisers are now focused on optimizing their campaigns to improve traffic and conversion rates.

Media Buyer’s Guide to Search Advertising
ClickZ, Oct. 2, 2002

Come from a traditional media buying background and trying to figure out the nuances of search engine advertising? Kevin Lee compares and contrasts with what you are used to.

Is Lycos InSite Pro Paid Inclusion Worth It?, Oct. 2, 2002

Lycos paid inclusion didn’t seem much of a value, to this person, with 500 pages of included content generating only 41 visitors in two weeks. Also touches on tips for the “Lycos spider,” as sent back by Lycos. My main worry here is that Lycos doesn’t run its own spider — it uses results from FAST. OK, maybe it’s a branding thing — but this particular advice actually sounds exactly like that which was offered back when Lycos did run its own spider in 1999. Somehow, I suspect some very old information is being sent out by Lycos support people.

AltaVista Sales Pitch Suggested Paid Inclusion Boost
The Search Engine Report, Oct. 1, 2002

An AltaVista sales pitch tells’s Andrew Goodman that paid inclusion will boost his pages. AltaVista then recants and says it was all just a misunderstanding.

Click Fraud – Is It Happening to You?
Submit Express Newsletter, Oct. 1, 2002

A look both at what paid listing services to do protect advertisers from click fraud and what advertisers themselves should do to look out for their own interests.

Are Yahoo Sponsor Listings Worth The Investment?, Sept. 30, 2002

Being a “sponsored” site at the top of a Yahoo category page is completely different than being a sponsored site through an Overture listing on the Yahoo search results page. Is the separate program worth it? Not for one listing that was tested, but they still might be for others, this article says.

Behold the Mighty Pterodactyl: Meta Search Lives!, Sept. 29, 2002

Review of InfoSpace’s various meta search services. Oddly contrasting comments from InfoSpace executives, on the one hand admitting stuffing meta search results with paid listings has degraded search quality while on the other suggesting that the press and advocacy groups have created an “artificial” divide between paid and spidered results. No one is saying that consumers shouldn’t see ads. They are simply saying that ads ought to be easily identified as ads. Moreover, the US Federal Trade Commission has recommended that search services make clear distinctions or face possible action (see FTC Recommends Disclosure To Search Engines. Despite this, all four services run by InfoSpace: MetaCrawler, Dogpile, Excite and WebCrawler, still completely fail to delineate paid content according to the recommendations. This not only serves consumers poorly but waving such a red flag in front of the FTC is probably not in InfoSpace’s interests, either.

The Overlooked Killer App: Paid Inclusion
ClickZ, Sept. 18, 2002

Recap of major paid inclusion programs with some interesting stats on query length.

Paid Search-Engine Listings Gain Popularity
Wall St. Journal, Sept. 17, 2002

Anecdotes and observations about companies making use of paid listings.

Google searches for exposure–overseas
ZDNet, Aug. 30, 2002

Google is seeking out new markets, growing ad sales staff in Europe and Japan.

Search Engine Results You Can Control
ClickZ, Aug. 29, 2002

Media buyers need to be aware that good search engine marketing can build brand, as well as drive traffic.

HomeClick Profits From Keyword Prospecting, Aug. 12, 2002

HomeClick, an online high-end housewares merchant, says search engines are bringing it 70 percent of its new customers. The company makes $1 million in sales per month and has one full-time employee dedicated to managing paid listings on search engines.

LookSmart Extends Credits
The Search Engine Report, Aug. 5, 2002

Last month was when LookSmart was going to cut off people who failed to “activate” accounts created for them when LookSmart moved all paid small business listings into its new cost-per-click LookListings Small Business program earlier this year. Now the company has backed away from the cutoff threat.

Compare & Contrast: Ad Guidelines At Overture & Google
The Search Engine Report, Aug. 5, 2002

Those new to paid placement listings might assume that it’s anything goes, but the reality is that paid listings have stricter guidelines than crawler-based results. A look at the editorial guidelines at Overture and Google, to better explain why they exist and how advertisers can be successful within them.

Ask To Carry Google’s Ads
The Search Engine Report, Aug. 5, 2002

From September, a three year deal will see Ask Jeeves carrying paid listings from Google on its search properties, including Ask Jeeves-owned, which the company has positioned as a Google killer. In the article below, the how and why from an interview with Steve Berkowitz, president of Ask Jeeves Web Properties.

Forget The CPC! What’s Your ROI?
The Search Engine Report, July 1, 2002

Purchasing paid listings just got a whole lot more complicated — or a lot more easier — depending on your perspective, thanks to changes at Overture last week. The company rolled out a new bidding system that will force many advertisers to think more about how much they can afford to pay to gain leads rather than how cheaply they can get those leads. This important change has come about through the introduction of “auto-bidding.” This feature lets advertisers indicate the “max bid” they are willing to pay for a particular word, then have Overture automatically increase the amount they pay to get them the best position, as long as it doesn’t exceed the maximum. More about the mind shift being required of advertisers.

Yahoo pulls plug on online casino ads
Online Casino News, July 2002

Yahoo will no longer take ads from online casinos — at least graphical ads. Paid listings are still allowed, and Overture reports some casino marketers will pay up to US $20 per click, well in excess of the average 24 cents spent by Overture advertisers.

LookSmart Hit With Potential Class Action Lawsuit Over Submission Program
The Search Engine Report, June 3, 2002

A proposed class action lawsuit claiming breach of contract, fraudulent business practices and misleading advertising has been filed against LookSmart over a recent change in how the company sells some of its commercial web site listings.

LookSmart Aims To Mend Fences
The Search Engine Report, June 3, 2002

Nearly two months into its new pay-per-click listing program, LookSmart has posted a letter on its web site from chairman and CEO Evan Thornley to answer questions and concerns from customers.

A Guide to the New Pay-Per-Search Scene
ClickZ, May 30, 2002

With Overture and Google tightening the editorial requirements on ads, here are some tips on getting your copy accepted.

Can AOL Maintain High CTR’s on Sponsored Listings Near Search Results?
Traffick, May 27, 2002

Google recently tightened rules about how ads can be written, in part to please standards AOL required for paid listings. Andrew Goodman suggests in this article that the reason may also be to make the listings look so much like “editorial” results that users are tricked into clicking on them. Perhaps. However, the reality is that many people simply do not care what is paid or not. They simply want to do a search and get something that satisfies their query, regardless of whether it is a pure paid listing ad, editorial result or paid inclusion result. Of course, some people do want to know what’s paid, to better make their click decision. AOL and Google both adequately delineate their sponsored results, for those who care. Ironically, I think these standards can be onerous to advertisers. They place ads to a higher standard that the ordinary crawler-based editorial results. If these are ads, as long as advertisers are not misleading, then they should be able to market themselves in the way they think will attract clickthrough. Advertisers are probably far better able to determine this than Google or AOL, since they are paying for those clickthroughs.

IAB: Online Ad Sales Fell in Q4, 2001, May 23, 2002,1471,8471_1143881,00.html

Banner ads remain the big spend when it comes to online advertising, 35 percent revenue in the fourth quarter of last year. Keyword-based ad spending rose to third place and represents 6 percent of spending.

The Mixed Message Of Paid Inclusion
The Search Engine Report, May 6, 2002

Pages pitching webmasters on the advantages of paid inclusion end up hurting search engines that run these programs, because they imply that the search engines have out-of-date, incomplete listings of the web. A look at the mixed messages that are being sent out by the web’s major crawlers.

Ask the Search Engine: Coping with Fraudulent Pay-Per-Click Traffic
SearchDay, Apr. 18, 2002

Pay per click search engines can bring lucrative, targeted traffic to your site, but how do they avoid abuse that can needlessly drive up your costs?’s Patrick Hopf describes strategies and tactics to combat PPC fraud

HP, Overture ink search engine deal, April 9, 2002

Those with new Hewlett-Packard computers will have one-button access to paid listings from Overture, in a new deal. When HP users want to search the web, they’ll be directed to Overture’s ad-dominated results. From the press release on the deal: “HP is committed to delivering Internet solutions that make customers’ computing experience more productive and efficient.” Yeah, HP did this for their customers, not because it represented a way for them to make more money off their customers.

Cash from clicking
Guardian, April 8, 2002,7558,680403,00.html

Profile on how Overture and Espotting have been successful in the UK

Google Takes On Overture With Pay Per Click Ads
The Search Engine Report, March 4, 2002

Google is no stranger to advertising, having had paid listings on its site since “text banners” debuted in December 1999. However, in Feb. 2002, the company introduced a new pay-per-click payment option for its “AdWords” program that may make Google more attractive to some advertisers — as well as establishing the company as serious competitor with Overture.

Lycos & FAST Launch Paid Inclusion
The Search Engine Report, March 4, 2002

After months of beta testing, FAST has finally opened its paid inclusion program to the general public. However, FAST is not selling inclusion into its web index directly. Instead, FAST is allowing its search partners to resell the service to web site owners and site promoters.

Articles From 2001

Yahoo Changes Results, Increases Submission Price
The Search Engine Report, Oct. 2, 2001

Yahoo’s search results pages have undergone probably the most significant change since the service began, and the company also increased the price for submitting to its commercial categories by 50 percent to $299.

Search Engine Strategies: Buying Your Way In
SearchDay, Sept. 27, 2001

If you think you can’t buy your way into search engine results, think again — the number of new fee based programs is at an all time high

Inktomi Expands Inclusion Partners
The Search Engine Report, Sept. 4, 2001

Inktomi announced a number of new partners who are reselling its paid inclusion programs. A rundown on the new partners, as well as a refresher on the programs.

GoTo Speaks Out On FTC Complaint
The Search Engine Report, Sept. 4, 2001

At last month’s Online Advertising Forum, GoTo’s CEO Ted Meisel fired back at the complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission over paid listings on some search engines. His comments were both right and wrong on many points.

Designing Web Ads Using Click-Through Data
Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox, Sept. 2, 2001

Usability expert Jakob Nielsen experiments with ways to increase clickthroughs on paid listings at Google.

Yahoo Still a Haven to Sex Searchers, April 13, 2001

Yahoo has never been porn-free, but a recent announcement to expand porn offerings within its shopping area caused the service to come under fire. In response, Yahoo is ousting any stores, classified ads, auctions and banner ads related to pornography. However, the service will continue to list porn sites within its directory listings.

How to net results in search-site seas
USA Today, Aug. 13, 2001

A look at paid placement on search engines, along with tips for searching better.

Internet portals wrestle for ad dollars
MSNBC, Aug. 12, 2001

Three remaining major portals — AOL, MSN and Yahoo — are fighting it out even harder to capture advertisers and be number one.

The Search Engines’ Little Secret
BusinessWeek, Aug. 6, 2001

Commentary on the issue of labeling paid listings at search engines.

LookSmart Overhauls Submission Process, Increases Prices
The Search Engine Update, August 2, 2001

LookSmart has changed its paid inclusion program so that sites are given a ranking boost, while also adding a pure paid placement component. Paid submission fees were also raised.

NBCi Switches To GoTo
The Search Engine Update, August 2, 2001

Search results at NBCi now come from that favorite of the failing portals, GoTo.

Realtor Finds New Leads Territory in Search-Engine Bidding
Direct Marketing News, July 16, 2001

Paid placement with GoTo not only increased traffic by 25 percent for this company but leads converted well, too.

Taking The Plunge in the Pay-Per-Click Link Pool
Link Mensch, July 16, 2001

Short, concise overview of getting started with paid placement search engines.

Spam Scam Targets GoTo Listings
Wired, July 6, 2001,1367,44901,00.html

What if you had a listing on GoTo and everyone clicked on it, just to run up your bill? A look at the things the company does to prevent fraud.

The Evolution Of Paid Inclusion
The Search Engine Report, July 2, 2001

Paid inclusion has always been a tricky concept to explain, but understanding it is important to both webmasters and searchers, as recent changes have suddenly made paid inclusion commonplace with search engines.

Paid Inclusion Program, Other Changes Coming To FAST
The Search Engine Report, July 2, 2001

FAST Search is launching a trial version of its paid inclusion program this month. Called “PartnerSite,” the program guarantees that submitted pages will be included in FAST’s web index.

iWon Brings Back Inktomi
The Search Engine Report, July 2, 2001

iWon has shifted away from pure paid placement results and brought back editorial style listings from Inktomi.

Selling Yourself Short on Traffic
ClickZ, June 18, 2001

Not all traffic is the same, and you want traffic that converts. A guide to understanding conversion, which may help you understand that more visitors from search engines is not necessarily better than fewer, targeted visitors.

iWon, Go Paid Placement
The Search Engine Report, June 4, 2001

Two more portals — iWon and — have switched over to using paid placement listings, following a similar move that made in March.

Meta Search Or Meta Ads?
The Search Engine Report, June 4, 2001

A review of meta search services by Search Engine Watch shows that some are providing results where more than half of their listings are paid links. A guide to what’s paid, what’s not and how to get the most from your meta search service.

There’s No Such Thing as a Free Search
Afternic, April 10, 2001

A long Q&A interview with me on the growth of paid participation programs, tips on getting by without paying.

omi Launches New Paid Inclusion Program, Search Improvements
The Search Engine Report, April 2, 2001

Inktomi has rolled out a new paid inclusion program aimed at large content providers.

Excite Gets Search Refinement Feature, Paid Listings Coming
The Search Engine Update, April 2, 2001

Paid links from are to appear at Excite.

Portals Getting Creative With New Ad Units to Lure Traffic, March 26, 2001

New Ask Jeeves advertising options.

Ask Jeeves Mixes Ads with Content
Internet World, March 23, 2001

More about new “Branded Response” ads from Ask Jeeves.

Network Solutions Launches Inktomi Paid Inclusion
The Search Engine Report, March 5, 2001

Network Solutions was Inktomi’s first paid inclusion partner, announced way back in the middle of last year. Finally, that partnership has gone live, with Network Solutions now offering guaranteed inclusion in the Inktomi web index through its web site.

GoTo Increases Prices, Appears At iWon
The Search Engine Report, March 5, 2001

Paid links from GoTo appear at portal

Search results becoming more commercial
San Jose Mercury News, Feb. 15, 2001

Review of trend for paid listings at search engines, with comments from different services.

Yahoo Gets Paid Listings
The Search Engine Report, Feb. 6, 2001

If the appearance of paid placement listings on search engines has been a revolution over the past few months, then the war is over, because they’ve now come to that most conservative of search engines, Yahoo. A new “Sponsored Sites” program allows web sites to be positioned at the top of Yahoo’s commercial category listings.

Inktomi’s Free Add URL Penalty
The Search Engine Report, Feb. 6, 2001

Submitting your page to Inktomi via the free Add URL pages of its partners such as HotBot causes them to incur a ranking penalty. What?!!! Relax, it’s not as bad as it sounds, though disclosure of this change, made in the middle of 2000, would have saved confusion among those in the search engine optimization world.

LookSmart Cuts Staff But Gains Big Amazon Deal
The Search Engine Report, Feb. 6, 2001

LookSmart cut its staff by nearly one-third in January 2000, but this was due primarily to the continuing refocus at LookSmart on selling listings that are distributed to partners, rather than trying to sell advertising on its own site. In fact, just after the layoffs, LookSmart announced its biggest “Subsite Listings” sale to date, to Amazon.

How Moreover Got 10.21% Click Through on Ads
ContentBiz, Feb. 2, 2001

The headline pretty much says it all. Case study of a paid link campaign at Google.

Test Results for Paid Search Engine Listings
B2BMarketingBiz, Jan. 30, 2001

Case study comparing paid link programs at different search engines. Google is put across as the clear winner, but it’s not so clear after a closer reading of the story. Though CPMs couldn’t be compared between Google and GoTo, the cost per click (CPC) is easy to calculate and more important in this case than CPM. However, the key factor for giving Google the winner’s nod is that sales from Google were higher than those from GoTo. This underscores the fact that all traffic is not equal, and that some search engines may provide a better audience than others.

Suspicious-Traffic Allegations Plague Pay-Per-Click Search Company, Jan. 8, 2001

Allegations of clickthrough fraud are being raised by a advertiser. The company says its a misunderstanding, not fraud.

Paid Submission & Other Changes At NBCi
The Search Engine Report, Jan. 3, 2001

NBCi has rolled out a paid submission service that allows faster review of sites for inclusion into its main directory. In line with express submission pricing from Yahoo and LookSmart, NBCi is charging $199 for those who want an answer within five business days about being included in its directory.

LookSmart Ups Basic Submit Price
The Search Engine Report, Jan. 3, 2001

The price of LookSmart’s “Basic Submit” service has been increased from $79 to $99. Basic Submit guarantees that a site will be reviewed within eight weeks for possible inclusion into the directory.

Go Gains Paid Inclusion System
The Search Engine Report, Jan. 3, 2001 has become the second major crawler-based search engine to roll out a paid inclusion program. Its new US $199 “Premium Service” will add any URL submitted to its crawler-based results within 48 hours and revisit that URL on a weekly basis, for one year.

Articles From 2000

Golf organization asks Yahoo to pull gambling ads
Bloomberg, Dec. 18, 2000

Major US sports associations have been pressuring Yahoo to remove online gambling ads from pages where they have content agreements.

Studying Pay-for-Position Campaign Results
ClickZ, Dec. 13, 2000

Two short case studies on pay for placement results.

AltaVista Latest To Carry GoTo Paid Listings, Nov. 16, 2000

AltaVista becomes the latest search engine to carry GoTo’s paid listings.

Yahoo Drops Free Submit For Commercial Categories Nov. 16, 2000

Yahoo is now charging for all sites that wish to submit to certain commercial categories of its directory.

Paid Inclusion At Search Engines Gains Ground
The Search Engine Report, Nov. 3, 2000

Explains systems at Ask Jeeves, LookSmart and Inktomi that allow sites to pay to be included in their listings.

Inktomi Debuts Self-Serve Paid Inclusion
The Search Engine Report, Nov. 3, 2000

More about Inktomi’s paid inclusion program and partners can be found here.

GoTo Live At AOL, Enters The UK, To Appear At Lycos & HotBot
The Search Engine Report, Nov. 3, 2000

It’s been a busy month for GoTo, with its AOL partnership now live, new in-roads to bring its listings to the United Kingdom, and a deal to provide paid links to Lycos and HotBot just approved.

GoTo Expands To AOL, Netscape
The Search Engine Report, Oct. 3, 2000

Announcement that both Netscape Search and AOL Search are to carry GoTo’s paid listings.

Google Gets Paid Links, Quotes and More Languages, Oct. 16, 2000

Details about Google’s new sidebar ads program “AdWords.”

Submitting For Free, Oct. 16, 2000

Now that all of LookSmart’s major partners are offering the paid LookSmart Express Submit program on their own Add URL pages, a number of people believe that they must also pay a fee to be listed in the non LookSmart-powered portions of these search engines. That’s not the case.

GoTo Redevelops, Reaches Out
The Search Engine Report, Sept. 4, 2000

Covers the use of GoTo’s paid listings by other search engines plus touches on how paid listings exist at Ask Jeeves.

Inktomi To Offer Paid Submit Option
The Search Engine Report, Aug. 2, 2000

In the wake of LookSmart’s new pay-for-consideration system, Inktomi announced that it will offer a pay for inclusion service.

Portal Peril
ClickZ, Sept. 5, 2000

Basic overview of purchasing advertising at portals.

Search Engine Optimization Firm Sold For $95 Million
The Search Engine Report, Sept. 4, 2000

There are plenty of companies that work to influence the non-paid listings at search engines, and as this article points out, it’s a major business.

Yahoo’s Grand Vision for Advertising On the Web Takes Some Hard Hits
Wall St. Journal, Sept. 1, 2000

Hard look at unhappy advertisers at Yahoo and how the service is having to work harder for its deals. A paid subscription to the Wall St. Journal is required to read this.

AltaVista puts brakes on DoubleClick ads
Bloomberg, Aug. 9, 2000

AltaVista is now selling ads itself on the AltaVista US site, rather than DoubleClick, and it will be taking over ad sales on its various country-specific editions next February.

LookSmart First To Charge Commercial Sites
The Search Engine Report, Aug. 2, 2000

Commercial sites must pay to be considered for listing by editors at LookSmart.

Excite’s Free Online Stores an Overnight Hit
E-Commerce Times, July 14, 2000

Excite is offering free space to online retailers and attracting sign-ups.

Free Listings Gone At LookSmart
The Search Engine Report, June 2, 2000

Previous article on the LookSmart paid submit service, which touches on issues about editorial staff remaining in charge.

The Changing Face of Portal Deals, May 12, 2000

Portal deals aren’t dead, but advertisers are being more selective and looking more broadly than partnering with only the big players.

The End of the Stupid Portal Deal Era
ClickZ, May 4, 2000

Now that portals are feeling the pressure to gain advertisers and partners, some thoughts and tips on moving forward with them.

DoubleClick, Inktomi Ally to Grow Keyword Network, May 4, 2000,2171,12_355221,00.html

DoubleClick adds to its relatively new keyword banner network by enrolling Inktomi in the program. The program allows advertisers to purchase keyword-linked banner ads across several search sites.

Portal Addiction, May 3, 2000

Megadeals with portals seem to be a thing of the past, though the fallout will continue to occur.

Portals Start to Feel the Heat
Industry Standard, April 21, 2000
— no longer online —

Multimillion dollar ecommerce deals signed by some sites with portals now may feel more like multimillion dollar anchors, dragging them down. But not everyone is unhappy.

DoubleClick Stitches Together Search Sites, March 9, 2000,,12_318231,00.html

DoubleClick has developed a system to let you buy keyword-linked banner ads across all the search-related properties that it represents.

LookSmart Launches Express Submission Service
The Search Engine Report, Feb. 3, 2000

More details about LookSmart’s express submission option, from when it launched.

Articles From 1999


ClickZ, Sept. 28, 1999

Excite has instituted a new auction system for banner ad buys. Good tips on how to cope.

Paid Links Dropped, Other Changes At AltaVista
The Search Engine Report, August 2, 1999

Just about a month after paid links were available to the general public, AltaVista nixes the program.

Many Changes At AltaVista
The Search Engine Report, August 2, 1999

AltaVista opens its paid listings program to the general public, while Lycos slips in new “Start Here” paid links with no one complaining.

How prime is portal real estate?, May 20, 1999

Despite questions being raised over the value of portal deals, they remain very important for the time being. A good look at the many issues involved.

Flexibility key to portal-merchant deals, May 20, 1999

Advice for those forging relationships with the portals.

AltaVista Launches Paid Listings
The Search Engine Report, May 4, 1999

AltaVista introduced a program in April 1999 that allows advertisers to be listed near, but not actually within, its search results. A look at the program and what’s considered the “editorial” area on the major search engines.

Portal Commerce Primacy to Wane
Jupiter, April 6, 1999
— no longer online —

Online retailers aren’t so enamored with portal deals, according to Jupiter Communications. Its research shows that while portal deals do drive sales, only five percent of commerce executives say they are “highly likely to renew” their current agreements.

Yahoo Opens Express Submission Service
The Search Engine Report, March 3, 1999

No, Yahoo is not selling listings nor bumping up sites in the rankings in return for payment. It is selling the ability to be considered more quickly. More about how the program works.

Amazon Paid Placements Raise Ethics Questions
The Search Engine Report, March 3, 1999

Amazon is not a search engine, but the revelations that publishers have paid for placement within the service have caused questions to be raised about paid placements within search engines.

Excite serving porn ads on “kid-safe” searches, Feb. 17, 1999,4,32548,00.html

Porn ads were appearing at Excite’s Magellan service, even when a kid-safe search mode was selected.

Pointed Clicks: Right Ad, Right Person, Right Time
ClickZ, Feb. 16, 1999

A look at ways to better target banner advertising at search engines, with a particular emphasis on Lycos.

Portals rethink retail strategies, shopping agents
Ad Age, Feb. 1, 1999
— no longer online —

Shopping bots and shopping centers integrated into portals make sense as a user benefit, but they can also upset online retailers advertising on those same portals in hopes of capturing customers. A look at how services are walking the tightrope.

Search Engine Portals Tick Me Off

ClickZ, January 1999

Tom Hespos reports that several search engines have adopted a policy of requiring advertisers to purchase untargeted run-of-site ads along with the keyword-linked banner ads that they really want — and he doesn’t like having this excess inventory forced upon him.

Articles From 1998

Online, Main Street Is a Portal Deal
New York times, Dec. 22, 1998

A nice overview of the types of ways online merchants are partnering with portals, ranging from banner campaigns to anchor tenancies.

Uneasy Allies: When Portals Go Retail

Industry Standard, Nov. 16, 1998
— no longer online —

An interesting look at the relationship between retail merchants and portal sites such as Excite.

Adult Sites Are a Snap
Wired, Aug. 4, 1998

Snap changes its mind and begins listing adult web sites and taking adult banner advertising.

Real Name Tops At AltaVista
The Search Engine Report, June 3, 1998

The RealNames system offers an indirect way for some advertisers to make it to the top of AltaVista’s search results.

LinkExchange Offers Low Budget Yahoo Ads
The Search Engine Update, April 22, 1998

Details on LinkExchange launching a service to let those with small budgets advertise on Yahoo.

A Bridge Page Too Far?
The Search Engine Report, Feb. 3, 1998

Some purists hate the idea of search engines selling listings. They believe the “raw” results shouldn’t be tampered with. But the reality is that paid listings are already being sold through third party optimization companies. This article looks at one example involving State Farm Insurance.

Yahoo and AltaVista Traffic Accident
Netly News, April 10, 1998,1012,1894,00.html

Discusses how partners Yahoo and AltaVista both count some of the same page views as their own.

GoTo Sells Positions
The Search Engine Report, March 3, 1998 debuts the first major pay-for-placement system seen since Open Text abandoned its experiment in mid-1996.

The Search Engines Search For Answers

Yahoo Internet Life, Feb. 1998

A comprehensive look at the various issues surrounding the desires of advertisers and the need for search engines to maintain impartial listings. Quotes and examples of retailer partnerships, positioning issues, and more.

Lycos Adds New Features, Reorganizes Suggested Links

The Search Engine Report, Jan. 9, 1998

Talks about the “Bullseye” links advertisers can purchase to appear above the raw search engine results, along with other changes.

Search engines, online services meld in 1997, Jan. 6, 1998,4,17804,00.html

A recap of how AOL, MSN, search engines and others have all moved toward a common service model.

Articles From 1997

Niche play pays off for Yahoo

MSNBC, Dec. 24, 1997

Excellent stats on how much traffic Yahoo’s “niche” or channel-oriented areas such as news and classifieds generate in comparison to leading sites devoted to these topics. Answer: a lot. Also interesting quote from Excite on how channel activity is now outweighing search-only traffic.

Lycos Adds Predetermined Listings
The Search Engine Report, Dec. 4, 1997

Lycos began prelisting its own content with search results, which wasn’t necessarily bad. But the preferred listing it gave to advertising partner Microsoft for its Carpoint site was harder to defend.

Risky business: Selling Web porn ads stirs debate
Ad Age, Nov. 3, 1997

Expands on the issue raised in the Online Advertising Discussion List about search engines accepting ads for porn sites. Of the top engines, only AltaVista and Lycos refused porn ads.

Stressing its search power, AltaVista to launch campaign

AdAge, Oct. 27, 1997

Good summary of AltaVista’s first-ever advertising campaign.

Web Sites Advertisers and Surfers Love
BusinessWeek, Oct. 97

Part of a special report on advertising, this table provides some nice numbers on page views and ad revenues.

Excite, Preview Travel beef up deal, Sept. 10, 1997

Excite Guarantees Shopping
The Search Engine Report, Sept. 3, 1997

Excite launched its Shopping Channel on Sept. 2, 1997, along with an unprecedented guarantee to protect those making online purchases via the channel from credit card fraud.

Search Engines Get Fancy With Ads
The Search Engine Report, Sept. 3, 1997

Several search engines unveiled a range of next-generation banner ads in Aug. 1997 that do more than just sit on the page.

Yahoo, CDnow strike a deal, Aug. 26, 1997

Announces that CDnow will become Yahoo’s primary music partner. Links to CDnow will be integrated throughout Yahoo’s editorial content.

Lycos, Barnes & Noble take on
Advertising Age, Aug. 25, 1997
— no longer online —

Story has analysts’ estimates that the Lycos-Barnes & Noble deal is worth $15 million to Lycos over three years, plus commissions, and other details.

Want A Top Listing? Become A Content Partner!
The Search Engine Report, Aug. 5, 1997

A look at how online retailers are partnering with search engines as “content partners” to achieve better positioning. Users get some benefits from the deals, but the real winners are the retailers and search engines.

Can You Trust Your Search Engine?
PC World, August 1997

PC World had someone anonymously approach the major search engines about paying for placement and found none of them would take the bait.

Giddy-Yap! Get More Horsepower From Search Engine Advertising

ClickZ, July 31, 1997

A very good advice piece on how to balance search engine advertising against how you are listed in search engines. Nice details on the traffic some terms can bring.

Top Ad Site Continues To Innovate
Web Week, July 7, 1997

A look at advertising within the Netscape site, including some details about the Netscape Net Search page, which will generate at least $40 million this year from the top four search engines listed.

Beyond the Veil of Pure Design: Dynamic HTML weds buyer to seller
WebTrends, June 27, 1997

Forget the article title. This has nothing to do with Cascading Style Sheets or layers. Instead, this is an interesting look at how HotBot determines what ads to flash at the top of the screen via cookies and other methods.

Search engine to share revenue with content firms
Ad Age, June 16, 1997
— no longer online —

Provides details about WebCrawler’s revenue sharing model with partners that supply information for its Shortcuts service.

Agencies sound off about Web sites

Ad Age, June 1997

A summary of what ad salespeople think of placing buys with different web sites, including Infoseek, Lycos and Yahoo.

Systems for Dealing With Information Overload
NY Times, April 1997

Nice summary of why search engines are turning to a channels metaphor to attract viewers and ad dollars.

Search Engines turn on to channels
C|Net News.Com, April 1997,4,9873,00.html

Similar to NYT article.

Scoreboards and Search Pages Are Hot Spots for Advertisers
Web Week, April 1997
— no longer online —

Interesting article where it is revealed that more than half of Infoseek’s ad revenue is now from keyword-linked ads. Similarly, Alta Vista now charges more for a keyword-linked ad than for placement on the home page.

Agents: Artificial Inflation Of The Web Kind
Inter@ctive Week, April 1997

Robots visit web sites and can inflate page views. The article discusses the problems this can cause.

Articles From 1996

Slanted Search Results for Sale?
Netguide NewsCam Weekly, Sept. 1996

Engine sells results, draws fire, June 21, 1996,4,1635,00.html

Open Text was the first major search engine to try a paid listings program, and it quickly came under fire. The program was later withdrawn. For the curious, here’s the Open Text Preferred Listing Ad pitch Open Text sent out via targeted email.

Will Ads Endure as Search Firms Go Public
Web Week, April 1996
-no longer online-

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