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  1. #1
    Newbie FlyFisherman's Avatar
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    July 12th, 2006
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    Experience with Ask.com PPC
    Based on a thread here at Abestweb.com, I decided to give Ask.com a try for some PPC advertising. Let me pass along some advice: Don't Bother! Their network is full of fraudulent advertisers and sites. My balance went down by $50 in less than 30 minutes on keywords that normally take several days for Google/Yahoo to burn through $50. I'm disputing the charges to my credit card because this was a complete waste of time. Buyer Beware!

  2. #2
    Full Member
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    Yep, I dumped them a while ago. Thieves. Waste of money and time.

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Ask
    I've used Ask on three separate occasions and on every occasion they went through the budget in less than an hour with NO visits past the landing site. Considering that 40 - 45% of G visitors click to subsequent pages the writing is on the wall.

    I tried them over a year and a half ago and concluded it was a lesson learned. Being stubborn I again gave them a shot earlier this year when they announced their "new" technology. Again, a lesson learned.

    I gave them their last shot about two months ago after they made me an offer to match my deposit 100% if I'd try their new program. Again, lesson learned.

    It's always possible that a SE can improve - so I am sometimes open to giving someone the benefit of a doubt. Now we are sure. A little trial and error, a little capital spent to learn for ourselves. The nature of business...
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  4. #4
    Internet Cowboy
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    Ask has lots of adware as distribution partners. Your budget not only gets drained instantly but your brand takes a hit as well from popping on the machines of infected users who are no doubt tired of the pop ups by the time they see yours.

    Lots of corruption among the lesser PPC arenas. Be careful with anyone but the top three.


  5. #5
    15 years and counting
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    IAC Search & Media owns these crappy companies, specializing in adware (or worse), and stealing traffic.
    Ask.com
    AskforKids.com
    Bloglines.com
    Evite.com
    Excite.com
    FunWebProducts.com
    IWon.com
    MyWay.com
    My Web Search
    My Web Search also known as the My Way Speedbar is the Internet Explorer toolbar part of the Fun Web Products suite of utilities such as Smiley Central, Cursor Mania, My Mail Stationary, My Mail Signature, PopSwatter, Popular Screensavers, and the My Way website portal.
    Fun Web Products are found by most spyware removal tools such as Spybot Search and Destroy, Lavasoft Ad-Aware

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager DreamPrints's Avatar
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    July 19th, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    Lots of corruption among the lesser PPC arenas. Be careful with anyone but the top three.
    Great advice. Thanks a lot... I am often tempted to use something new

  7. #7
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    They are complete turds. My bad stuff files on them are ridiculously fat. And there's been many posts here about why not to use them - so I question the "Based on a thread here at Abestweb.com, I decided to give Ask.com a try for some PPC advertising". But anyhow...

    If you use Google AdWords, G syndicates ads through Ask, but monitors them for fraud - so there's ZERO need to sign up at Ask to run ads, you can run ads there through AdWords and wear protection.

    Stick with G, M, Y-search (no Y-content!) and try G-content at low bids if your roi is fat. Step off these places and you're going to get burned.

  8. #8
    Newbie FlyFisherman's Avatar
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    Ask.com experience
    Donuts, the thread I was referring to was "Is Google getting rid of affiliates with own websites". In that thread, there was statement to the effect of "use Yahoo.com or Ask.com's PPC system instead. Google maybe tops but there are alternatives."

    So I figured what the heck, I'll give it a try. I've also tried MIVA and it was low volume with mediocre results, so I assumed a similar experience from ASK.com. However, I definitely did not expect the outright fraud.

    Moot point now, but hopefully others can steer clear going forward.

    Regards

  9. #9
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Gotcha, I've been avoiding that thread - a bunch of doomsday types that can't see the myriad of aff sites showing up in serps, both organic and ppc... but anyhow, it wasn't "that you saw it" that I was questioning... but rather questioning it as unreliable advice given where ever you found it previously.

    Watch your miva roi... tricks come in phases and you will get burned there... their syndication is horrible and filled with tricksters. I've seen it so many times. Watch your logs and see some of who their ad syndication partners are...

    Good luck.

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    The little engine that couldn't
    My earlier post was about Ask.com. I agree in general that the smaller SE's are a waste of time and money - but we have had and are having a limited amount of success with a couple of the smaller engines. Nothing compared to the likes of the big G, but above break even. All other things considered, another variable that can apply is "what" your site is selling.

    This afternoon I was speaking at length with one of the smaller SE's that we've used regarding the overall low opinion that affiliates and merchants have of the little guys. Click fraud, mistargeted audiences, and undesireable relationships were big on the discussion table.

    I held nothing back in telling him that as a whole the small SE's are looked at with contempt and explained my thoughts on why that is. I will say that when I was done with my comments he stated that I was right on and that they realize that their traffic quality has to improve. Who knows what if any good it can amount to. I've had these same discussions with a number of the small engines and to date - it has done nothing to change the bottom line. However, I am also one who - rather than complaining about their ineffectiveness, I pick up the phone and call them to voice opinions and offer feedback.

    At some point in time, there will undoubtedly be other search engines that come on the scene that will be competitive. Nothing is more certain than change. Maybe one of the existings who heed feedback will actually DO something to improve traffic quality, rid themselves of undesireable relationships and reduce click fraud if enough advertisers voice their concerns to THEM.

    Every change for the better starts with feedback - so while it sometimes feels like a waste of time, I keep talking about it to the engines and I encourage more marketers to do the same.
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  11. #11
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    I've talked to several until I was blue in the face. Eventually I reached the conclusion that they know exactly who and what they are and they even realize why they can't change. They need real traffic, but instead of focusing on long term search engine quality to attract real people, they work feverishly on ad distribution deals that continue to ruin their long term chances of viability.

    Ask may be an exception to this general observation at times - their TV ads are quite good and certainly do bring many real people to them. But, problem is, their search engine so over-monetizes things that it's quality suffers, and people don't return. There's no compelling reasons to use Ask over G or Y or M - so most people don't. They were born of an adware / spyware company and their focus is on monetizing above all else. It is my fervant opinion, that in the search engine dominance wars going on now, the parties that win are the ones that focus on the user's experience (and let the money follow as a result, not as the primary goal).

    You said:
    "However, I am also one who - rather than complaining about their ineffectiveness, I pick up the phone and call them to voice opinions and offer feedback."

    Alan, I like you man, but it's important for others to know that your products cannot normally be advertised on the major search engines, so you are forced a little bit (in addition to your kind heart and get it done attitude), to try and work with the second tier folks. I don't say this to slam you at all - you know me better - but, I will say this... if you succeed in getting them to change their ways and they become mainstream and large, they'll move to block products like yours as they mature into a major player. So I believe you'll always be stuck, in some product sectors, in working with the 2nd tier engines. You have little alternative but to do so, which isn't the case for most others here at ABW. The distribution is whacky in those 2nd tiers and I could show you examples that are embarassing! But as you come to realize the ppc landscape, the 2nd tier relative inefficiencies, and more, you'll lean towards seo for your products. All the major search engines show organic results with very little filtering. If I were in your shoes, I would focus much more on seo than anything else. Tons of people are looking for your products and unfortunately, the big ppc players, like most mainstream media in our country, have caught a bad case of the prudies...

    If you can find a positive return with the 2nd tiers, knock yourself out babe. I'm just saying that there's a lot of real traffic that you're missing because of the way these 2nd tier folks burn through your money. If I were on your team, I'd be showing you a few seo tricks I've got up my sleeve. :-) Your SAS program would benefit from a fat dose of seo affiliates much more than finding some ppc freaks - good news for you there - there are plenty at SAS to be found and Andy showed you the coolest trick since sliced bread, at his Chicago seminar, on how to use power tools to locate desireable organic affiliates for you! I am quite excited for you buddy! Lean on that trick he taught you and very good things will come!!! I promise!

  12. #12
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Good stuff Donuts
    Thank you for your thoughtful post Donuts. I appreciate very much the time you took to offer your grass roots knowledge, observations and advice. I welcome it with open ears. I also have an increasing amount of respect for your knowledge and your way of addressing issues. Thanks, I like you too.

    As you know, I am learning the affiliate marketing ropes as we go. We've been working on SEO in house (for the Rx) for some time and actually do get a level of consistent orders from the effort. We also get some return from 2nd tier ppc. But not on the scale of the B3.

    I am envisioning the time when "big" SEO affiliates team with us. We are working toward that goal one little step at a time and we are committed to reaching that objective. We realize that all good things take time, and I know from 58 years of life experience that trust is something that can only be earned through longevity and performance. As I said in Chicago, I have time.

    So again, thank you more than much for your expert guidance on this. You are a find indeed Mr.D. Wish I had understood better what Andy was showing us when he covered this - but as a new guy on the block, my brain was on info overload. I will either get better at it, or look for a consultant who can get it there for us.

    Regarding my post about the 2nd tier guys though - I was not really referring to the special challenges that we have with the Rx industry. I was actually making observations about 2nd tiers in general.

    I proudly represent my AmeriTrust Rx program and continue to focus on it as our number one priority. We're rightfully proud of it, work hard to grow it solidly, and my sons, wife, programmer and I are committed to building positive long term objectives on our own, through affiliate forums and through super SEO affiliates. That day will come and we look forward to it.

    However, we are also involved in a couple of unrelated programs as affiliates for other merchants. By in large, as I said before, and you said it again in your post - the 2nd tiers are most always useless wastes of capital and time. However, in isolated examples we have made minimal profits with a couple of them. Nothing to shout about - but every penny on the + side counts.

    That said, my many - continuing - more to come - never ending conversations with these folks in an effort to shake their greed driven / immediate gratification cages will continue because I AM looking to the long term. My objective is that we can get even ONE of them to consider the wisdom of "long term" thinking. Yes, I think in many ways that it is a waste of time.

    In fact I think in ALL ways that it is presently a waste of time. But on the other hand, I firmly believe that just as Google, Yahoo and MSN were born one day, others like them (or possibly even better) will be born in the future. Maybe there is a next to slim - miniscule - outside chance that one of the existings will get it together, capitalize for the long term and lay a plan that will insure quality traffic. If that is even slightly possible, the input, pressure, criticism, advice, and complaints they receive from those of us in the industry is well worth the time and effort.

    Just like many of them, many of US are guilty of short term thinking, convenience thinking and sinking into a false comfort level. Hey G is easy to get results from, so why should I spend any time giving feedback to the engines that are presently substandard? It's like being settled in a job for 20 years that we complain to others doesn't pay enough. But we stay at it and don;t look for another alternative because it is in our comfort zone.

    Then, one day we get laid off - and suddenly we scramble to create an income. We wish at those times that we had begun looking for something else before we lost what we had. But we didn't because we were not truly thinking for the long term. We were comfortable where we were - until it went away.

    That is the reason for my comment about not "just complaining" about the problem here and why I feel it is important to get more in our industry to keep pounding on these folks. Persistence = results and surely we would all be better served if there were alternatives out there in the future. Who knows what G will do to serve its own best interests someday? In the meantime, what are we doing to build on tomorrow? (hope this doesn't sound like an election year campaign speech).
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