Cheating Google… Or Why Pay Per Click Isn't Always The Best Model

from the just-saying dept

Chris “Long Tail” Anderson has an amusing post on his blog about how he’s “cheating Google” with an advertisement he’s running via Google’s AdWords program. The “scheme” works as follows: he’s written a pretty bad ad on obscure keywords — which never gets clicked on. Of course, part of Google’s AdWords juju is that if your ad never gets clicked on, they yank it. However, you can re-enable the ad by raising how much you’re willing to pay per click. Of course, as Chris points out, that doesn’t matter at all if no one is ever going to click on your ad. So, instead, you’re getting “free impressions” — though, the effectiveness of those impressions is rightly questioned. Either way (and Anderson is mostly joking), this does highlight some of the limitations of “pay-per-click/call/action” advertising. We get companies pitching us almost daily on some sort of pay-per-action advertising — knowing full well that very few people are ever going to buy. What they’d be getting, instead, is a ton of free brand-building. Later on that can be useful to them — but we certainly don’t get a cut of that. That isn’t to say these types of ad programs don’t have their place, but there are limitations to them, and its why many publishers still feel a lot more comfortable with traditional CPM advertising. Advertising isn’t just about the immediate action.

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Comments on “Cheating Google… Or Why Pay Per Click Isn't Always The Best Model”

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Colin says:

Google Ad Cheating

But they still have to read the ad and elaborate on it enough to remember it…I find that I don’t even see ads a lot of the time anymore. It’s like watching a movie in widescreen and not seeing the borders…if you have a good eye, you can recognize where the ads go and what they look like peripherally, and just kinda zone ’em out. Y’know?


Michael Birnholz says:

PPC - Action Advertising

We run an Automotive eCommerce company. All of our clients are after the same traffic (those looking for car parts). I can say that Adwords and Yahoo/Overture PPC make or break my clients businesses. I do not agree at all that PPC does not work. In fact it works for all involved. There is NO way to get your site ranked in the top 10 on a major engine for a competitive keyword. SEO only works for phrases that make no sense. Of course, we all know that the engines themselves surely benefit the most from PPC, but it is no different than traditional media.

Lastly, I will pose a question to you all. Does dot-com branding really work anymore, anyway? When there are ten pages of the essentially the same site, or affiliate site hawing the same products at just about the same prices, do the consumers actually ‘buy’ the brand or the price?

Shoal Creek says:

Re: Re: PPC - Action Advertising

You’re right. Newegg does not always have the cheapest price on many things, but their service is very reliable and the shipping is fast and inexpensive. If a defective part gets shipped, you know you can ship it back to Newegg without a lot of hastle. Most people that shop Newegg recognize the brand as a safe company with whom to work.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: PPC - Action Advertising

I do not agree at all that PPC does not work. In fact it works for all involved.

I never said that PPC doesn’t work. I said that it’s not *always* the right thing for *publishers*. You’re talking about advertisers. In fact, the point was that advertisers often get a better deal out of it because they don’t have to pay for branding.

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