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  1. #1
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    I just received the following e-mail from one of my accounts with Overture. I bleeped-out some of the personal info so I don't piss-off Overture any further. You are not gonna believe this...

    Feb 28 2002 ##:34 PT

    Hello #####,

    Overture™ is committed to providing highly relevant search results to
    users because it translates into higher clickthrough and conversion rates
    for advertisers. In addition, high user satisfaction increases our
    ability to expand agreements, such as the recent MSN expansion, which
    results in more quality leads for advertisers.

    In February, we notified advertisers about a review of search listings by
    category to ensure compliance with the Listing Guidelines. We recognize
    that meeting the guideline requirements can be challenging, which is why
    we've made every effort to make this process as easy as possible. Since
    beginning this review we have segmented listings into three areas:

    1. LISTINGS THAT DO NOT MEET THE GUIDELINES AND CAN BE MODIFIED
    To minimize the impact of this review, below we've identified those
    listings that do not meet the guidelines. In addition, we’ve provided an
    explanation of why these listings do not comply. If the listing does not
    meet the Titles and Descriptions Guideline, an example of how to modify it
    has been provided.

    2. LISTINGS THAT DO NOT MEET THE GUIDELINES AND CANNOT BE MODIFIED
    In some cases, despite our best efforts, it is not possible to bring the
    listings into compliance and therefore they will be removed on March 14,
    2002. We will notify you after they have been removed from your account.

    3. LISTINGS THAT DO NOT REQUIRE MODIFICATIONS
    Listings that do not appear require no changes at this time. Please note
    that listings outside of this review cycle might not comply with the
    Listing Guidelines. We will notify you if and when your listings require
    modifications.

    As the category reviews continue, you may receive additional notices over
    the next several months if you have listings in multiple categories.

    LISTINGS ON YOUR ACCOUNT REQUIRING MODIFCATION OR DELETION

    First Search Listing:
    book store
    Buy Science Fiction Books at ######## Books!
    ######## Books has a vast selection of hard-to-find science fiction titles as well as all the latest top-sellers.

    Explanation:
    Modify-DirectPath and Modify_Style&Grammar
    Direct Path Modification: suggested URL goes directly to links to Amazon.
    T&D Modification: removed exclamation point. Modified to reflect suggested
    URL and search term content.

    Example of how to modify:
    Suggested URL = http://amazon.com/
    Amazon.com
    Link to science fiction books at Amazon.com to access the selection of hard-to-find science fiction titles as well as all the latest top-sellers.

    Second Search Listing:
    Buy Books at Amazon.com
    Shop at Amazon.com for Books at ######## Mall.
    Compare the prices and comparison shop for books at Amazon.com, Barnes & Nobles, Borders and other popular online book stores
    Explanation:
    Delete-ExternalLinks
    External Link Delete: this site is just a bridge for Amazon.com, so a user
    could go directly to that site and get the same content without going to
    ###### Mall.

    To retain your search listings, please refer to the explanation of why the
    current listings do not comply. If you would like to use the provided
    example or make other modifications, simply reply to this e-mail and let
    us know the changes you would like to make.

    If you would like to submit new listings or make modifications to existing
    listings not referenced in this e-mail, please use the DirecTraffic
    Center®.

    If you have questions, please contact us at
    AdvertiserListingReview@overture.com. For further information on the
    guidelines, please visit http://msg.overture.com/d/about/advertisers/relevancy. jhtml.

    Thank you for your cooperation. These changes allow us to continue
    delivering quality leads to advertisers that result in higher clickthrough
    and conversion rates.

    Sincerely,

    Hollady Ann Barker
    Search Quality Team
    Overture
    74 N. Pasadena Avenue, 3rd Floor
    Pasadena, CA 91103 USA



    Excuse my language, but is this un-****ing believeable or what????????????????

    [ 02-28-2002: Message edited by: seaslug44 ]

  2. #2
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    It's typical. This is just an escalation of the BS they've been pulling for months.

    But thanks for posting it--it makes me more at ease with the fact that I let my account go empty there... that's just the kind of BS that I was fed up with!!

    I must say that suggesting that you pay for a link directly to Amazon is a new low. I can only wonder if they typed it with as straight of a face as it sounds...

  3. #3
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    Leader,

    I'm sure you posted it in the past, but would you mind sharing your marketing strategies/game plans? I'd love your advice on "where do we go from here??"

  4. #4
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Try google since they are setting the others on their respective rears.
    "Understanding the Changes at Google

    by Jackie Rosenberger

    AdWords
    Despite some misleading news from the rumor mill, Google users can take heart – Google’s new AdWords Select plan is beneficial to both advertisers and users alike. The new initiative not only enables the search engine to increase revenue but also to retain its integrity. Google’s search results will remain as unbiased as ever.

    The AdWords Select program recently launched by Google allows advertisers to place highly targeted ads ranked by relevancy on the search engine site. Advertisers pay for association with particular keywords relevant to their business. When Web surfers type in those keywords, the associated ads are served up along with search results.

    It’s very important for users to understand is what Google’s new service is not. Some search sites, such as Overture, mix ads into user search results. When users type terms into the search engine, advertisers paying top dollar for keyword associations receive the highest rank in search results. Commercial ads are not differentiated from non-commercial results and can confuse hit relevancy.

    Google does things a little differently than Overture. Paid ads are clearly marked and are not incorporated into user search results. Ads are labeled "sponsored links" and appear to the right of user search results. In this way, search results are actually enhanced by paid ads rather than confused by them. Search engine users benefit from this practice, as the ads they receive are highly relevant to their searches, and may be as helpful as the non-commercial results they receive.

    Advertisers bid against each other to achieve the top ranked spot in the list of ads. However, the amount paid by advertisers is not the only factor determining which ad will appear first in the list. The click-thru rate of each ad is also factored in – a poorly performing ad will not be ranked first simply because the advertiser paid more. This ranking system assures that relevant ads interesting to users will be ranked near the top of the list.

    Another tool called AdWords Discounter helps advertisers save money on their ad campaigns. This tool continuously monitors bids on particular keywords. When bids drop, the Discounter will accordingly lower the other bids on those keywords. Calculations are performed each time a search is run, providing advertisers with constantly fluctuating rates that accurately reflect the value they are receiving for their advertising dollars.

    AdWords benefits advertisers in other ways, too. If an advertiser pays more than the minimum required to win a bid on a keyword, the advertiser’s bid is automatically lowered to the minimum amount necessary to win. Paid associations with keywords resulting in less than 0.5% click-thru rate for particular ads are disabled, saving advertising dollars on keywords that aren’t getting results.

    The AdWords Select initiative should prove to be a boon for users and advertisers alike. Google’s algorithms will assist advertisers in finding their market and searchers in finding vendors. Google hasn’t sold out – it’s just figured out a way to retain its ideals and stay competitive.

    To Catalog or Not to Catalog
    Do you have any sensitive documents on your network? If you do, try searching for them at Google. You may be shocked by what you can find, and what others can find too.

    Late last year Google added the ability to search for a variety of additional document types on the Web. Cataloged documents now include files of the following types: Adobe PostScript, Lotus 1-2-3, WordPro, MacWrite, Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Works, Write, and Rich Text Format. With the easy-to-use tools provided by Google, it’s now a simple matter for even inexperienced searchers to find sensitive documents not intended for public viewing.

    Small programs called spiders are constantly sent out by search engines to find content, catalog it and keep search engine data up to date. Now that Google catalogs multiple document types, spiders catalog those new files too.

    Google defends its cataloging practices and file type search tool. They say they only catalog what is public. Of course "public" is defined as anything that is exposed to the Internet and not specifically blocked.

    While sensitive information is definitely at risk, other concerns are out there too. Infected documents can spread viruses to an unsuspecting user who’s found a tainted Word document by accident. File search tools can also expose network vulnerabilities and provide simple ways into computers for hackers.

    What can you do to protect your network? Remove sensitive documents from Web servers or other Internet-accessible computers. You can also create a robots.txt file to turn away prying spiders, although such files may actually attract hackers because the presence of a robots.txt file suggests something interesting lies in that directory.

    When you search for information, think twice before clicking on an unfamiliar Microsoft Office file that could carry a virus. Keeping your antivirus software up to date is a good practice in any case. Google’s file type search tool also lets you exclude such documents from your search if you wish to avoid them entirely.

    Webmasters can get specific advice directly from Google at http://www.google.com/webmasters/3.html#removed, which offers tips on ways to keep documents off the Internet. Educate yourself thoroughly about the Internet and your Web server, and you’ll avoid damaging security breaches... - Jackie Rosenberger author"

  5. #5
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    Seaslug, I have been exploring other options for a while. I can't yet say "We should go here or there" because I haven't actually DONE a lot of what I've been exploring--but some of the alternatives do look promising.

    I do know I'm not going to pay for clicks from SEs anymore. Someone suggested using the Bait-and-Switch on OverSure (give 'em a content page and then switch it to something financially worth listing)...that may work and would serve them right, too, but when I'm PAYING for something I am not going through the PITA.

    Non-PPC SEs may say they don't want affiliate pages, but I'm "selectively deaf"...and I "select" to Not Hear That. The question is whether an engine WILL take the pages, not whether they say they WANT them.

    But SEs of any kind are only one option. Other means of getting traffic (WITHOUT adding non-ad content!) that I've seen, include:

    (I haven't tried these myself yet so I can't say for sure that they'd work--but they look promising.)

    Haiko has mentioned (and I must give credit to Fred who says it a lot, too) starting a PPC program as a merchant. I think that's a good idea and if I can get anyone to sign up at 2-3c/click, and send decent traffic, I think I'll do it. I would get into this one slowly because some people can send 10 million clicks and get 0% CR. That would CREAM the budget quick. To use an aff. program and get the highest possible targeting and Conversion Ratio would probably require a category with some stability as to merchants. Fred suggested a "deals" page--but I only want to entice clicks from people interested in the EXACT deal I have on the destination page!! I'm still exploring this option, though, so I can't say anything more definitive. I'd have to be doing it awhile, then the do's and don'ts would start to show up...

    And someone (I'm pretty sure it was you, Seaslug) mentioned a $190 radio ad bringing in 20,000 hits. I want to check this out more! I could see pounding that to death like some advertisers do with TV ads...and burning the name of my site permanantly into the people's memory!!! I never imagined that a decent radio slot could go for only $190! What kind of a station was it? Talk? Music? I have lots of questions! The thread you mentioned it in was going in a totally different direction or I would have asked then...

    I've also wondered about TV advertising. From what I understand, the price can vary A LOT depending on the channel and when the ad runs... I actually have a leaning toward the radio because people are less likely to run to the bathroom or raid the fridge when a radio ad comes on.

    Online, I believe I will add the old "bookmark this page" line to some likely pages. Contrary to propaganda from Content's knights, straight Revenue sites can and do get bookmarked--I see it in my log files already. Adding a suggestion to do it should get a higher percentage of people to do it than already do...

    That's it for now but I've definitely got my eyes open.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Leader for your response. I was just thinking about PPC as a merchant myself too. How much fraud do you think there might be?

    The radio deal is amazing. Believe it or not, radio advertising is not expensive at all. I live on Long Island. There are a handful of companies that own more than one radio station. Some of the stations broadcast throughout NYC, Brooklyn and The Bronx. I've purchased 30 second slots from them for as low as $36 a slot. Those were overnight slots (after 8pm) and weekend slots.

    However, think about it... isn't that the time many people are surfing on the internet with their headphones on because the kids are finally asleep? Isn't it the people who are working the night shift who are least likely to get caught surfing the internet by their bosses?

    The most expensive slots are during the morning and evening commutes. But for us, that's the worst slots we can buy. Most people can't surf the net while in their car. And when they arrive at work or at home, they instantly forget their commute.

    The $190 slot that I spoke about was a mid-day slot on a top-20 station in what the radio industry would classify as a "large market". The catch with that station was that I had to buy at least four slots. I've had anywhere from 300 to 50,000 hits follow my ads. I haven't got it down to a science. However,

    B]there is no traffic more targeted than the kind that goes out of their way to type in your URL.[/B]

    You will also be shocked to learn that most radio stations accept AMEX, Visa or Mastercard for payment. Some even bill you on a 30-day invoice. The ads are also recorded by one of the station's DJ's with a background jingle or musicFor FREE!

    Once you become an advertiser, your account rep might even call you with some last minute deals. There were a few times when Nike, Priceline.com and a few other large advertisers pulled their ads the day before they were due to air. Radio stations often have "fire sales" to unload the available slots asap. I once got four prime-time slots for the price of two over-nighters.

    One last thing... the reason why we can buy radio slots so cheap is that in any part of the Country, the top music stations that can charge $700 a slot are almost always the stations that are most listened to by teenagers (teenagers are the market that spends the most money on music). Lucky for us, we usually don't want to target the kids because they don't have the credit cards. That usually leaves the second-rate, "oldies", "classic rock", "seventies & Eighties" stations and "talk radio" stations starving for advertising dollars.

    Hope this helps. My wife and I had such a thrill the very first time we heard one of my ads. We also had a laugh. It made it seem so weird that I run these sites while sitting here in my bedroom in my underwear.

    By the way, what part of the Country are you in?[

  7. #7
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    Hey SeaSlugs - that sounds like a great option for advertising. Thanks for the tips.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for sharing, SeaSlug.

    I can see where having a memorable, easy-to-spell domain name would be of prime importance here. The kind of keyword-stuffed, hyphenated domains that often do well in the search engines wouldn't work for this.

    Any advice there?

    Elisabeth Archambault

  9. #9
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    >keyword-stuffed, hyphenated domains

    We always buy the "type in" as well
    www.veryshort.com
    always .com

    imho

  10. #10
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The kind of keyword-stuffed, hyphenated domains that often do well in the search engines wouldn't work for this.

    Any advice there?

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You are absolutely correct. In our quest to best optimize our sites for the search engines, we tend to go after url's with keywords that relate directly to what we are trying to get listed for. But in marketing, it's all about url's that people will remember and be able to know how to spell (since they will hear the domain name and not see it).

    If you think that stupid-sounding names or made-up words won't work, you better think again. I've got two words to say then;

    GOOGLE!
    Yahoo!

    Before these names were branded, they would have sold for next to nothing on the domain market. Use your imagination and you'd be surprised at what you come up with.

    Some other tips...

    Despite what anyone ever tells you, .com's suceed 1,000 times more than .net's, .org's, .biz's, .tv's etc... If you don't own the .com version of your doman name, you are going to just be directing traffic to whoever does. I think it was Earthlink that started with Earthlink.net instead of Eathlink.com. It didn't take them very long to realize that mistake.

    2nd, stay away from anything that involves numbers unless you buy both the spelling version and the numeric version of your name and both combinations of having the number before and after (onewidgets.com, 1widgets.com,widgetsone.com & widgets1.com).

  11. #11
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    Here's what I found to be the best non-search engine traffic generators.

    Right near the top of any offer or sales page have - Click Here To Bookmark This Page.

    At the bottom - Thank You For Viewing Our Offer.

    Click Here To ADD this page to your favorites list, so you may easily find us again.

    Marketing Research has shown that it takes at least 4 to 5 "looks" at an offer before most people buy.

    If people do not buy and they are interested they WILL click on the automatic bookmark link and most will come back to your site.

    Branding does work.

    Ask people to subscribe to your newsletter.

    Click Here To Subscribe To Our MONTHLY Shoppers Review So You Can Keep Up With Our Latest Specials And Money Saving Deals. (Something like that)

    A PPC merchant program where CLICKS ARE TRACKED AS LEADS - means the whole page has to load before it counts. You can target like a laser or like a shotgun or do both with this method.

    Free Classified Ads - Adlandpro & Websitings are the best.

    Newsgroups: Twice a month post an ANNOUNCEMENT in 5 to 7 pertinent newsgroups.
    Read the posts first before posting.

    Newspaper or Magazine Classifieds. 3 Line Ads are cheap - A Good headline followed by a
    short sentence and the URL can get you good targeted traffic.

    Plus you can use these as test vehicles to see what sells etc for cheap.

    (This method made Don LePre and host of others well off.)

    If you have a real ad budget think about placing a small display ad in the Sunday TV guide that usually comes with your local paper. The good thing is that this little booklet stays in the house all week and is usually read by one or two people for sure.
    You get 7 times the exposure for about twice the cost of a regular one day ad. Horizontal ads work better here than verticals.

    If you have a Pennysaver or Nifty Nickel you can place classified ads here for cheap - people do read these things.

    Make up a 8x11 flyer about some deal you are promoting or your site and go put them in the local library.

    Or get a pad made with the pages touting your webpage stick it on some cardboard backing and put it on the local supermarket bulletin boards.

    If you have stuff that applies to a specific trade go to the library and look up the trade magazines for that industry. Send the magazine a request for a media kit telling them you are interesting in advertising in their magazine. One, they will send it to you
    and include the latest issue and maybe a back issue with all the demographics. Two, they will subscribe you to the magazine for FREE. You will probably get a call from a ad sales guy (which is good). You can pick his brain about what works and what dosen't.
    Place a CLASSIFIED AD in the magazine before any display stuff. It usually takes about 60 days lead time before your ad shows up but trade magazines are read cover to cover by industry people - much more so than regular mags.

    Enough FREE advice.
    Have Fun.

  12. #12
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Fred, that was fantastic! One of your best posts!

  13. #13
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    Thanks, Seaslug! That sounds great!! I'll definitely look into it. I'm not too amazed about them taking MC/Visa but I was surprised that they actually record the ad for you Free!

    As for fraud with PPC programs, I really don't know the percentages are. The clickmeisters I was referring to that get 0% conversions were Legit! Someone who already is running a PPC program could probably answer that better.

    You ask what part of the country I'm in--I'm in Michigan. The closest major market that has many radio stations is Detroit. Pontiac's actually closer, but they don't have as many radio stations there, probably because they can pick up signals from Detroit just fine for major stations. I'm not in either city, myself--Detroit's about 35 mi. out... which is close enough!

  14. #14
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    Heh heh, I just finished growling at Fred for something he said in another thread. Honor decrees that I give him a public pat on the back for this one. Some good info there!

  15. #15
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    I like the frequency of that newsletter, Fred--MONTHLY...

    And I like the line you used to ask for bookmarks.

    There's some pretty good tips in your list!

  16. #16
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    Thanks - I appreciate the kudos.

  17. #17
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    No thank you Fred. I have been wanted to add buttons that prompt visitors to add my sites to their favorites for a long time. Your post finally motivated me to get the codes and do it.

  18. #18
    Full Member tmd5's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing that excellent info Fred. Reminds me of some of the equally fine stuff you've shared in the past about how to write a newsletter. You seem to come in for a "bit of stick" here sometimes but I appreciate your generosity in sharing this kind of info. Thanks!

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