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  1. #1
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    Most of you know that I'm new to the ecommerce site biz (not to the site biz), so I'm looking for thoughts from those who have been doing this awhile...

    Can you live without Overture?

    Thinking I had their formula nailed, I submitted some more search terms -- 7 out of 8 were denied. Why? On one (a site with multiple suppliers for one product), I left the name of one supplier off (oversight on my part, I generally do mention the supplier). Apparently (at least by this reviewer), the supplier names are required.

    The other six? The URL was accepted (and one search term). What was the deal with the ones that were denied? Well, I had numerous merchants, all with their names clearly stated, so that wasn't it.

    What it was -- say it was a Widget page, telling you all the places you could get different widgets -- red ones, plastic ones, electronic ones. One supplier for each type.

    It's okay for that kind of page to have the search term "widget merchandise", but not "electronic widgets" -- back to the one supplier thing.

    To be frank, I spent way too much time hunting out an obscure (yet profitable product) where I could afford the bids on Overture. After this experience, I can't see doing it again (I'm tempted to up my bids on the ones I do have, just to meet the $20 minimum).

    I know Overture is more attractive with the new Yahoo! connection... but is required for survival?

  2. #2
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    Cedric,

    Overture is looking for "content" sites now and not "affiliate" sites or "link farms". This doesn't mean you can't link to a CJ merchant, it just means that there needs to be another purpose of your page.

    For example, your "widgets" page. Instead of just "here are places to buy widgets", if you write a couple paragraghs about "widgets" describing the different types of "widgets", what to look for in buying a "widget", and my favorite place to buy "widgets" is at "www.widgetmerchant.com" with your CJ link there, overture would be much more likely to accept the listing. Pages written as "informative" often times will convert better too, because your "article" will give some credibility to your recommendation. People will say "boy, this site knows alot about widgets, I'm sure this widget place must be good for them to reccomend them." [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

  3. #3
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    Try using FindWhat, Kanoodle, 7Search, or Ah-Ha. Each one is just $25 to start, $0.01 minimum bid, and no monthly minimum. Usually the bids are lower anyway. Others recommend GoClick, ePilot, or Sprinks - but I have not used these. Try www.payperclicksearchengines.com and www.payperclickanalyst.com for information. If you don't get enough traffic from these pay-per-click engines, then you may not have to grin and bear it with Overture. You can try search engine optimization (or hire an SEO) or join a pay-per-click banner affiliate program as an advertiser (such as clickxchange). Good luck!

  4. #4
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    "I know Overture is more attractive with the new Yahoo! connection... but is required for survival?"

    NO!!!

    Other PPCs will be glad to have your patronage. There's also Google. And there's Inktomi paid inclusion. Out of those other PPCs, FindWhat's been good and there have been mixed reports about Kanoodle. I haven't used Kanoodle myself so I can't say from experience...

    There's plenty of posts about Google already so I don't need to go into that.

    I just listed on Inktomi Paid Inclusion so I don't have enough experience with that one to say much about it...except that your money does not guarantee rank. So you need some SEO skills (not too many skills). And it's no good for major terms because their partners show their own results first (either directory listings or bidded listings, depending) and there's a gazillion non-Ink results for them.

    As for OverSure, if they're that adamant about not taking your money/listings, [img]tongue.gif[/img] to them! Even though I have lots of listings there, that's because I put them in BEFORE OverSure turned into a TOTAL bunch of a****les. I haven't put any new listings on there in a long time--and I haven't stopped putting new pages up, either (ie, I'm advertising elsewhere)!

    With all the hash they cause, you might as well use the Free engines. It'd be easier than getting some of the yo-yos at Over to list you... (Not that I'm suggesting purely free listings--it's too easy to disappear suddenly from those engines!)

    [ 11-16-2001: Message edited by: Leader ]

  5. #5
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    My last email to Oversure ...

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>As you know in our Advertiser Terms and Conditions,
    > (http://www.overture.com/d/about/adve.../usterms.jhtml) we reserve the
    > right to decline search listing submissions for any reason. However, as a
    > courtesy to our advertisers, we offer Secondary Reviews, upon request.
    >
    > If you'd like to submit your search listings for a Secondary Review,
    > please complete the attached form.
    >
    > Please read the instructions on the form carefully, and submit the form to
    > us using the Support Center tab in the DirecTraffic Center. Search
    > Listings must be submitted via this form to undergo Secondary Review.
    > Listings submitted via e-mail or any other method will not be processed.
    >
    > Please use the Manage Listings tab in the DirecTraffic Center.
    > (https://secure.overture.com/s/dtc/ce...gs/index.jhtml) if
    > you are resubmitting your listings for any of the following reasons:
    >
    > -Significant changes to your site
    > -Changes to your URL
    > -Changes made to the Title or Description
    > -Changes made to your site for technical reasons (e.g. backbutton)
    >
    > Please note: Search listings undergo only one Secondary Review. By
    > resubmitting your search listings, you acknowledge that all decisions made
    > on this request are final.
    >
    > Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any further
    > assistance. Thank you for choosing Overture!
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    My response ...

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>No I don't want another review ... I just won't use overture anymore. You
    got where you are today, partly with the monies of Affiliates such as
    myself. You have lost the confidence of the Affiliate community (just go look
    in the bullitin boards) You have gotten to big for your britches and I wont
    be surprised if you lose most of your business to new PPC engines that cater
    to Affiliates like Findwhat.

    Good Luck and forward this email to someone who makes business decisions at
    Overture.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Do I think they care? nope ... But they will lose my cash [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]


    Regards,
    Dave

  6. #6
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    >>Overture is looking for "content" sites now and not "affiliate" sites or "link farms". <<

    CKing: thanks... and I want to believe it's as simple as that. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] ... and I know that's the theory... but I think it also has a lot to do with the reviewer you get. See, one of things I'm trying to test is finding the "sweet spot" of content. What's too much, what's too little. I'm come from the B2B world with product starting prices in the tens of thousands -- that I know how to sell via the web.

    But that knowledge doesn't mean squat in general B2C. So on with the experiment. One of my URLs accepted into Overture last week had nothing but product links (just images, barest of text descriptions). Both the ones today had way more descriptive info and recommendations. If any of them had the "link farm" look, it was the one that was accepted.

    I guess my major frustration is that there seems to be a very stringent set of rules, but Overture will be d@mned before they'll share them with the advertisers.

    Peter and Leader: thanks. I started with Findwhat and have since added e(I'll-Be-Dead-Before-My-Initial-Deposit-Is-Used-Up)Pilot and Kanoodle (*love* the speed). I will check out the others you mention.

    I submitted two URLs to Inktomi today (yes, I got the idea from reading here [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]) -- submitted them about two seconds after I received the latest epistle from Overture. I know the price is going up and I should submit more, but I don't know (yet) which ones to submit.

    Google -- I'm hoping to make the next index... cross your fingers for me (I do have the site linked from a handful of other "already-listed" sites). It's been a long time since I brushed up on my SE skills, but I've been doing so over the past couple of months... hope it pays off.

    Peter, thanks for the payper links -- I hadn't run across them before and I'll be spending some time with them. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    And Leader, thanks most of all for your "NO!!!" -- I was extremely frustrated when I wrote my earlier message and just seeing that from someone in the biz made me feel 100% better. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    And Haiko, thank you for this board. If it wasn't here, I'd have probably gone job hunting by now... lol...

  7. #7
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    Thank you, Dave. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] I do believe you have the right attitude.

  8. #8
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    Lets hope so ... I've always said there are power in numbers.

    20,000 piss ants ... make one big army ant [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]


    Dave

  9. #9
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    Cedric,

    Who you get for a reviewer is a factor.
    I have made this point in several other threads. Although, In theory, their new rules were suppose to result in more consistency in their approvals/rejections, I myself have not seen an improvement in this area.
    I have submitted pages since their new rules where the intent of the page was clearly to drive traffic to a CJ merchant and was accepted. I got my acceptance notification around 4-5pm PST on a Friday (probably their last review before happy hour). [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

    It is frustrating when their seems to be a lack of consistency in their rejections. I do try to include "content" on most pages I submit to hopefully improve my odds of acceptance.

    [ 11-16-2001: Message edited by: Commission King ]

  10. #10
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    CK ...

    This is in part why I wont spend anymore money at Bendoverwhatever...

    This has been an inconsistancy for a long time now. If they have rules .. make it universal .. not just any hiltler editor that had a bad day.

    I still think they sold out the big guys and dont care about us (the piss ants)

    Dave

  11. #11
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    Yahoo just laid off 400 people, are going to charge for personals and classified listings and are going ppc. They will probably buy Overture sometime next year and just import their system into Yahoo.

    Oveture on the other hand wants to get rid of as many pure selling listings and manny keyword as possible because they compete with the people who can and do pay the big money. Overture does not want affiliate competing for slots with merchants.

    Why? Here's an example. You are a merchant
    who can and will pay whatever it takes for a top ten listing. So let's say you are number 3 and pay $.50 and you pay affiliates 10% and you have just 5 affiliates also listed on the page with you. If you get 500 clicks you pay $250. If your affiliates get a combined 1000 and sell $1,000. You pay them $100. It's now costing you $350 for you to get YOUR 500 clicks. Now if you can get rid of the affiliates bidding, you can lower your bids say to $.35 and still be number 3 and you get 1,500 clicks. You pay more out of pocket for the total clicks, but you get to keep all the sales money. The more affiliates you have bidding for a keyword, the higher you have to bid and the more money you have to pay out PER SALE.

    Now Overture has only 1 client to deal with and not 11. In most cases the 11 who leave generate less money for Overture than the merchant as a single entity does.

    Grin and bear it, the net is morphing to a standard advertising model where merchants pay x amount for y number of impressions.

    They do not want affiliates competing with them direct because it costs more than the not doing it that way - or so they think.

    It's typical though, most people in advertising are total morons and most merchants are not much smarter mostly because they never think things through, they just jump to conclusions because they
    are not making the money they think they should be making. It's never their fault that they are clueless and believe pigs fly and there are pies in the sky.

  12. #12
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Fred--

    "Grin and bear it, the net is morphing to a standard advertising model where merchants pay x amount for y number of impressions."

    Uh-UH! It's the ones who are stuck in the PAST (which is what the statement above is actually describing), who are having trouble. The article Ssanf linked to in the thread "Yahoo is Sooooo Over" (Okay, I'm back, here's the links: Thread ARTICLE )says quite clearly that Yahoo is NOT making it at ALL with the per-impression crap and therefore is DESPERATE for cash!

    By the way, they posted a WHOPPING $182 MILLION loss for the year despite an incoming $700 million. Their costs are that high!!!

    SO MUCH FOR ALL THAT TRAFFIC BEING WORTH ANYTHING!!!

    [ 11-17-2001: Message edited by: Leader ]

  13. #13
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    I am no expert but I have to agree with the Professor. The problem that exists with large companies like Yahoo and other DotBombs is that you have 20th Century Businessmen operating a 21st Century medium. The Brick and Mortar guys are running around trying the same old tricks that have been tried and tried for the last 50 years to market products and companies. They have a mindset that will not change.

    The visionaries and the entrepeneurs become overwhelemed by the initial success of their operations and go find these yuks, dust 'em off and put them in the game. The BM boys lack the vision of the founders and try to run it exactly the same way they did during the glory days at whatever big company they were successful at an eon ago.

    Until a couple of months ago, I worked at AOL. The exact same thing is happening there. When I started in 1997, AOL was the little company that could. Then they started bringing all of the Bob Pittman types in to run things and it's going to hell in a hand basket and now they've got the Time Warner YUKS gumming up the works and in a few years AOL will be in the same boat as Yahoo.

    How does this all relate? These 20th Century business people view affiliate as employees. That we work for them and that out of kindness they pay us a wonderful commission on their fine product or service. If I am that businessman and I see that I can spend about the same amount of money, eliminate headaches and keep more profits, I would be a fool not to do it and Yahoo sees it too. So the BM guy decides to cut the fat and the first to go are the people that helped make him successful in the first place and he moves on and puts his money with the new dog that hunts.

    Leader, your thinking of the biggest bang for the buck is correct, but these CEO's look at branding their product or company above all else because that's how you built a company's presence in the past.

    In the end, most of us may be just like a small town merchant on Main St. watching Wal Mart coming to town and crushing our little five & dime unless we employ the correct strategy to overcome it.

    Just my 2 cents plus a half dollar more. My apologies if I owe change.

    Mike [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

  14. #14
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Grin and bear it, the net is morphing to a standard advertising model where merchants pay x amount for y number of impressions.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    whoa... where do you get that? The CPM model has taken a HUGE nosedive since its inception (and I do mean huge) -- partly because of the very fact that so few marketing people understand/trust branding -- they're totally hung up on cold, hard, TRACKABLE ROI (and they don't know enough about marketing to know that SOFT numbers do mean something even if they're soft).

    Got any numbers (soft or hard) to show that we're moving to CPM? I know a lot of people who would be interested in those. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The problem that exists with large companies like Yahoo and other DotBombs is that you have 20th Century Businessmen operating a 21st Century medium. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Sorry, Affiliate King, but I can't even come close to agreeing with that. The reason for all the dotbombs is because people spent about billion-bejillion dollars in VC on companies that had no market strategy, no sales force, and most importantly, NO PROFIT MODEL.

    But they were all so very kEwl.

    During that time, all the "20thCentury Business People" were quietly posing the question, "how exactly are you going to make money?" and all the "21stCentury Business People" were responding "we're going to be billionaires, woohoo!"

    And people (in both centuries) were seduced. And very few people realized that the initial question was never answered.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The visionaries and the entrepeneurs become overwhelemed by the initial success of their operations and go find these yuks,<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I'd counter that the visionaries were a lot more overwhelmed when the VC Cow refused to moo -- the "yuks" get brought in when the company is expected to show a profit.

  15. #15
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    Cedric, regardless of our views we still come to the same end. The YUKS are running the show and they view everything from the brick and mortar point of view.

    You can look at any form of media today and see exactly what will happen to the net because the same mindset prevails.

    Competition in the newspaper and radio industries has all but disappeared as these outlets are now owned or operated by just a few companies thus controlling the price that businesses will pay to advertise their products and services.

    In the military it is divide and conquer. In today's business it is absorb and conquer and it will happen sure as the world to companies like Overture as they are sucked up in a play to control the revenues and ad cost and for businesses like Yahoo, it is the only way that they will achieve profitablility.

    Mike

  16. #16
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The YUKS are running the show and they view everything from the brick and mortar point of view.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Can you give some examples of what you mean by "brick and mortar point of view" -- I'm not at all clear on that, so I'm not at all sure we're ending up at the same place. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    And I'm not convinced they're "yuks". [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

    (edited for grammatical goof)

    [ 11-17-2001: Message edited by: Cedric ]

  17. #17
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>but I think it also has a lot to do with the reviewer you get<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Cedric, Yup, no doubt about it. My guess is still that we are competing against some of their sites. If that is the case they should have a rule that no employee's are allowed to list their sites. Here is a good example of a bad reviewer.

    I removed a lot of my keywords a while back to try to cut down on ppc cost at BendOver. After a month or so I decided to put some of the listings back in that I removed. One of the keyword listings was "free games" . They emailed me saying that the search term for free games wasn't relevant to my site. I added all the BS they require like Links to free games and so on in my description.

    Free games they said wasn't relevant. The name of my site as most of you know is Packy's Free Games. On my site I list the Free Game Sites. All Free Games. So obviously I emailed them back and asked what the hell they were looking at. They accepted the term and to this day we do battle. I have yet to loose an appeal. Most likely the girl has a free game site somewhere or just decided to catch up on her work and decline it without looking at it.

    Leader and I pretty much see eye to eye when it comes to BendOver. I also have a lot of Grand Father listings which will be gone if they ever decide to raise the stakes on them.

  18. #18
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    Cedric, I'm talking about the same executives that have run traditional media and other companies that come in with no clue of this medium or the fact that the net is different from what has traditionally been the model for success.

    Mike

    P.S. yuks, yaks, muckety mucks, head cheese, top dog, big kahuna, big man on campus... it's all the same. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]
    (edited to add yukky things)

    [ 11-17-2001: Message edited by: Affiliate King ]

  19. #19
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    Affiliate King, this statement you made: "The BM boys lack the vision of the founders and try to run it exactly the same way they did during the glory days at whatever big company they were successful at an eon ago." agrees with ME, not Professor Fred.

    The "big companies" of eons ago used CPM advertising through various entertainment media channels. They are trying it here on the Net (both sides of the deal) and losing their shirts!

  20. #20
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    Frederick,

    Your example:

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Here's an example. You are a merchant
    who can and will pay whatever it takes for a top ten listing. So let's say you are number 3 and pay $.50 and you pay affiliates 10% and you have just 5 affiliates also listed on the page with you. If you get 500 clicks you pay $250. If your affiliates get a combined 1000 and sell $1,000. You pay them $100. It's now costing you $350 for you to get YOUR 500 clicks. Now if you can get rid of the affiliates bidding, you can lower your bids say to $.35 and still be number 3 and you get 1,500 clicks. You pay more out of pocket for the total clicks, but you get to keep all the sales money. The more affiliates you have bidding for a keyword, the higher you have to bid and the more money you have to pay out PER SALE<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I think there a few other factors here.
    If a merchant his his listing at #3 and 5 affiliates also in the top 10, then this merchant is going to lose alot of sales if the affiliates disappear. In your example, the affiliate combined for 1000 hits, and the merchant had 500 hits for a total of 1500 hits. Take away the affiliates, and now the traffic to the merchant plumments to 1/3 of what it was losing roughly two-thirds of their sales.
    There are still going to be 10 listings in the top 10 and instead of having 6 listings (the merchant + 5), now this shifts to just 1 listing if the affiliates disappear. Other competitors will emerge into the top 10 and now the merchant is competing with 9 other competitors instead of just 4.
    The merchant doesn't pay for the affiliate sites listing fees (except commissions on sales). Paying commissions to affiliates shouldn't create a hardship to the merchant - if it does, then the merchant shouldn't have an affiliate program in the first place.

    Some merchants "overbid" search terms to try and avoid paying a commission, but then again, if you don't want to pay a commission to affiliates, then why have an affiliate program? Merchants may be better off encouraging their affiliates to bid in the top 10 of the PPCs and then not even bid themselves. In your example, the merchant was paying:

    50 cents per click for their own listing

    10 cents per click via affiliates including commissions

    35 cents per click if the affiliates disappeared.


    Seems like in this case, the merchant should pull their PPC ads and encourage affiliates to bid in the PPCs as that is the cheapest for the merchant. Counter-intuitive, but I think the numbers say the merchant should dump their own listing in the PPC. :eek:

  21. #21
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    One other point to add to my post above -

    If the merchant dumped their own PPC ad, then they probably wouldn't even lose much traffic because say for Example the listings go like this:

    Merchant A

    Merchant B

    Merchant C

    Affiliate Merchant to C

    Affiliate Merchant to C

    Affiliate Merchant to C

    Affiliate Merchant to C

    Affiliate Merchant to C

    Merchant D

    Merchant E


    Now by dumping their own PPC listing, they still end up with a listing in the 3rd position and the rankings would look like this:

    Merchant A

    Merchant B

    Affiliate Merchant to C

    Affiliate Merchant to C

    Affiliate Merchant to C

    Affiliate Merchant to C

    Affiliate Merchant to C

    Merchant D

    Merchant E

    Merchant F


    Makes you go Hmmmmmm.... :eek:

  22. #22
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I'm talking about the same executives that have run traditional media and other companies that come in with no clue of this medium or the fact that the net is different from what has traditionally been the model for success.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    But it was the "visionaries" that ran through the VC money like a kid through popcorn. Yes, the net IS different in many ways... and similar in more ways than the "viosionaries" would like to admit -- businesses, on the net and off, are expected to make a profit.

    See, I don't think it's the "visionaries" or the "yuks" who are at fault. This is still a baby medium (toddler, at best) and everyone is still figuring it out. We keep trying things (Everything is Free -> Banner Advertising -> Subscription Services -> PPC -> CPA -> etc etc etc) and when they don't work something new comes along.

    I still don't get what you think the yuks are doing so differently than the visionaries.

    Because frankly, I don't think anyone is running this show -- the technology and believed means for profitability on the web have always shifted with every wind... and even with the faintest puffs of air.

    I think it will continue to be a bumpy ride for a good while -- which can be good and bad. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

  23. #23
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>They accepted the term and to this day we do battle. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Life's too short. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    I'm getting ready to launch some new pages this week -- I think I'll see if I can get them listed and if so bid high (it's a fairly competive arena) and let those clicks drain my account. It will be cheaper than the amount of time I would have to dedicate to getting decent listings with them in the future. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    Thanks, everyone, for all your thoughts on this matter.

  24. #24
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    Cedric,

    Just one other thing to remember:

    If their is a "buck" that can be made by doing something, then someone will do it.

    So as long as a "buck" can be made by catering to affiliates, then someone is going to do it. Perhaps more findwhats or something better will emerge. If affiliates are willing to pay out the money, someone will be their to collect it.

    -CK

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    Just to throw in another other point of view...if you perform a search and almost all the results are affiliate links for the same place, and this happens almost every time you search for anything, thenwhat is the chance you would keep using that search site?

    And what is the chance the search provider could sell this service to respected portals such as Yahoo?

    And how are the advertisers' (affiliates and others) ROIs going to look when users click on one affiliate link site after another?

    Let's face it, as affiliate we have run amok on Goto for years. The party is over. Go home.

    [img]tongue.gif[/img]

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