PPC Management: When To Give Up On A Loser

PPC Management: When To Give Up On A Loser

by: Dave Brown

Pay per click (PPC) advertising can be a dream come true. You can get traffic almost immediately from some PPC search engines. And it can be mighty cheap too. Next to joint ventures, PPC search engines have been responsible for most of my online income. Iกve gotten some great returns on PPC campaigns. And I know other people who have too.

Right now, I have one PPC campaign thatกs making me $56.69 for every $1 I spend. I know, thatกs pretty incredible. And itกs not typical. But I have another thatกs making me $8.84 for every $1 I spend. Yet another makes $7.73 for every $1.

But I have other campaigns that have lost me money. Making money, instead of losing it, with pay per click search engines involves wise management. There are many different factors that decide whether youกll be in the red or in the black. And you need to be aware of what these are.

In fact, there are times that even the best management of your PPC campaign won’t save it. Some of them will be losers and thereกs nothing you can do about it. But you need to know when to decide that you have a loser on your hands. At what point should you bury it and move on?

There are a number of different factors to consider. Thereกs no simple answer. I can’t tell you to simply abandon your PPC campaign after 200 clicks without a sale. Or to quit after youกve lost $50.

First of all, you need to know how much your profit will be on each sale (before advertising costs). For example, if you’re selling your own product for $47 through Clickbank, then youกll make $42.48 on each sale after Clickbank takes their fees.

But if you sell someone elseกs product for $47 through Clickbank, and you get a 50% commission on each sale, then youกd only get $21.24.

But you need to know even more than that. You also need to decide how much of that $42.48 (or $21.24) you’re willing to spend on advertising. In other words, whatกs the least you’re willing to earn on each sale? This will determine how much you can afford to spend on advertising.

Letกs assume you make $42.48 per sale. If you decide that youกd be happy with a $20 profit, then you can spend as much as $22.48 to make each sale.

So now you know what your advertising budget is. Next, estimate what your conversion rate will be. If this is a brand new product you’re promoting, then you may have no idea. In those cases, I tend to use 1% as a rule of thumb. That means that 1 out of every 100 people that visit the site will buy. Letกs use 1% for our example here.

So if you’re willing to spend $22.48 to make each sale, and you expect to make one sale out of every 100 visitors, then you can afford to spend 22 cents to get each visitor to the site. This means that you can afford to bid 22 cents on each keyword on the PPC search engines (max).

At this point, you can go ahead and set up your PPC campaigns. Find your keywords. Place bids. I won’t cover these issues right now because they’re off the topic. The purpose here is to know when to drop your campaign because itกs a loser.

Now, just because you *can* bid 22 cents on each keyword, it doesn’t mean you should. You should bid as low as you can to get good traffic (whatever you consider *good* to be).

In our example, letกs fast forward. Imagine youกve already gotten 150 clicks, and your average bid has been 22 cents a click. So youกve spent $33, and you haven’t made a sale yet. Should you ditch this campaign?

No. *On average* you can spend $22 per sale. But thatกs an average. Which means that sometimes youกll spend more, and sometimes less. And if your conversion rate is 1%, then thatกs also an *average*. So don’t freak out if you haven’t made a sale after 150 clicks.

When you decide to drop a campaign though, make the decision based on how much you’re spending on it. Not the conversion rate.

When I first start a campaign, Iกll often wait until I spend at least double my advertising budget with no sales before I consider dropping it. Maybe even triple my budget if Iกm emotionally attached to it. 😉

But if I haven’t made any sales by then, Iกll usually stop the campaign. However, you may want to wait longer if you’re willing to spend more money to see if it works. I think Iกm probably more of a conservative.

At any rate, I *rarely* end a campaign before I get 300 clicks. 300 is typically the minimum number of clicks before I feel I can judge whether a campaign will pay off. And I will generally only end it then if Iกve had *zero* sales.

Sometimes, though, youกll make a quick sale and get excited. But then you see few or no sales after that. If you find that you’re consistently spending more than your budget for the first few sales, then get ready to end it if you don’t figure out how to make it better.

I want you to realize, too, that when you bid less on your keywords, you can afford to live with a lower conversion rate. But when you bid more, your conversion rate has to be higher to provide you with the profit you want.

Iกve only talked about *starting* a PPC campaign so far. But sometimes, you may have a PPC campaign thatกs paying off, and then it starts choking and gasping for air after a while.

In that case, you need to decide when to pull the plug and retire it. Otherwise, it may eat up all the profits youกve already made.

Iกll usually be more lenient in this case. Since the campaign has made me money in the past, Iกm more likely to give it the benefit of the doubt and keep it running. I don’t know if thatกs a good idea or not. But sometimes, itกs just hard to say goodbye to an old friend. After all, maybe itกs just a temporary downturn.

But you still have to cut it off at some point. If I find myself breaking even (or even losing money) on each sale for any length of time, then Iกll start thinking about ending the campaign.

In our example here, if you notice that youกve been spending $45 per sale lately, then start thinking about the future of this campaign. Try to figure out whatกs changed and see if you can fix it.

How long should you wait before you abandon it? Two weeks? A month? Ten sales? A hundred sales?

Itกs completely dependent on your situation. If you make 20 sales a day, then obviously worrying after only 20 sales is unwarranted. On the other hand, if it takes you 4 months to make 20 sales, then maybe you shouldn’t wait quite that long. Listen to your gut.

In the end, be aware that PPC management is not a rigid science. You have to use a certain amount of judgment. But try not to be emotionally attached. If a little voice in the back of your head is telling you that you’re spending too much for too little, then listen to it.

What Iกve given you here are guidelines based on my own practices. Iกm sure there are other people who do it differently and are also successful. But these strategies work for me. And Iกm sure you can adapt them to work for you.

About The Author

Dave Brown is a selftaught marketer and software developer. He also publishes the uncommon and uniquely original newsletter on making the most of your life A Fresh Perspective. You can learn more at



This article was posted on January 23, 2004

by Dave Brown

Game Theory, Nobel Prize & Auctions Auction Prim

Game Theory, Nobel Prize & Auctions Auction Primer Series – Part 1

by: Steven Woodward

The Auction Primer Series is a group of articles to help further educate sellers about auctions; their history, strategies for use, and provide a comparison of various auction sites and types. In Part 1, we look at the more common type of auctions in use today.

William Vickrey, highly regarded as the founder of auction theory, was an economics professor at Columbia University when he published two papers outlining his views on auctions:

กCounterspeculation, Auctions, and Competitive Sealed Tendersก, 1961, Journal of Finance

กAuction and Bidding Gamesก, 1962, Recent Advances in Game Theory

In 1996 he received a Nobel Prize ขfor fundamental contributions to the economic theory of incentives under asymmetric information.ข It’s important to understand that asymmetric information is an essential component of auctions, where potential buyers have varying levels of knowledge about the value of the item.

Although Vickrey considered his work on auctions as กone of my digressions into abstract economics, at best of minor significance in terms of human welfareข, to those of us who work with online auctions, much of what he outlined is useful to understanding our marketplace.

Vickrey identified 4 general types of auctions:



Firstprice sealed bid

Secondprice sealed bid

English Auctions

The most common type of auction is the English Auction, although it may also be known as an ascending price auction. In ascending price auctions each subsequent bid is higher than the previous one. This is the most popular type of auction for single items.

Although traditional ascending price auctions use a ขsoft closeข format where bidding continues until a final bid is placed, the majority of today’s online auction sites use the ขhard closeข format also known as a ‘time intervalข auction having a set time limit, regardless of ongoing bidding. It’s important to note that in a ขsoft closeข format, bid snipping, that is bidding during the last few seconds or minutes on an item, is eliminated since the auction stays open as long as bids are being made.

In an attempt to minimize bid snipping and provide more of a ขsoft closeข characteristic to their ขhard closeข auctions, eBay allows bidders to use ขproxy biddingข. In proxy bidding, a bidder enters the highest price they are willing to pay for an item when they first bid. The bid begins at the lowest possible level and increases automatically only if their original lowest bid has been beaten. For more indepth information on the ขproxy bidding capability on eBay go here. http://pages.ebay.com/help/buy/proxybidding.html

Amazon.com currently offers a feature for their auctions called ขGoing, Going, Gone.ข The Going, Going, Goneข feature extends the end of an auction for 10 minutes if a bid is placed effectively creating a ขsoft closeข. For more information on the ขGoing, Going, Goneข feature on Amazon go here. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/browse//1161360/10316661898415007#goinggone

From the buyers standpoint a ขhard closeข format is preferable since they may be able to make a final bid before others can react, possibly winning the auction at a lower price.

For sellers, a ขsoft closeข format provides an opportunity to realize the maximum price for an item by removing the time restrictions for an auction. As long as bidders are bidding the auction remains open.

Dutch Auctions

As you may have guessed, the concept of the Dutch auction originates in the Netherlands. Unlike English auctions which utilize ascending price methods, Dutch auctions are descending price auctions and are commonly used when multiples of the same items are to be auctioned. In a Dutch auction the bidding starts at a relatively high price which is driven progressively downward by bids.

As an example of a Dutch auction let’s say you had 10 items you wanted to sell for $20 each.

Bidder A bids $18 for 6 items

Bidder B bids $17 for 5 items

The final result is:

Bidder A would receive 6 items for $17 each

Bidder B would receive 4 items for $17 each

Please note that most Dutch auctions allow bidders to refuse an order for a lesser number of items than what they bid on. A ขsoftข or ขhard closeข format may be used in Dutch auctions although the most common is the ขhard closeข.

Firstprice Sealed Bid Auctions

Sealed bid auctions differ from the English and Dutch in as much as the bids are not announced to other bidders. The individual bid is only know to the bidder and the seller. This type of auction may be either buyerbid, where the highest bidder wins the item and pays the amount of their bid, or sellerbid, where the lowest bidder sells the item and is paid the amount of the bid. This form of auction is common for construction contracting, military procurement, foreign exchanges, and other types of goods.

Secondprice Sealed Bid Auctions

Another common name for secondprice sealed bid auctions is Vickrey auctions (named after William Vickrey) There is a slight variation to the firstprice auction for Vickery auctions. In a buyerbid auction the highest bidder buys the item and pays the amount of the second highest bid. Or in a sellerbid auction, the lowest bidder sells the item and is paid the amount of the second lowest bid.

The above descriptions provide a general overview of the most popular auction types in use today. Depending on the auction website these general categories may include a number of variations and options such as reserve pricing, open or closed venue, multiple items, fixed price and lot listings to mention a few. Before entering any particular type of auctions make sure you study and understand the rules for that specific type of auction, as the rules may vary from website to website.

About The Author

Copyright © Steven Woodward – All Rights Reserved

Steven Woodward is the owner, editor and publisher of the Auction Sellers Network (ASN); a web site for individuals and companies who are serious about utilizing the online auction marketplace for their business. In addition to topical articles, ASN provides an extensive resource center, news feeds and member forums. For more information, or to become a member, please visit us at http://www.AuctionSellersNetwork.com.

No permission is needed to reproduce an unedited copy of this article as long the About the Author tag is left in tact and included. We do request that we be informed of where it is posted and reciprocal links will be considered.


This article was posted on August 26

by Steven Woodward

Is Click Fraud Really a Problem?

Is Click Fraud Really a Problem?

by: Tommy Maric

Click fraud is currently a major topic in online advertising. Many argue that it presents a threat to the stability and viability of payperclick (PPC) advertising, the key revenue generator for both Google and Overture. In actuality, click fraud is not a significant issue at all.

Click fraud occurs when ads are clicked for reasons other than a genuine interest in learning more about the product or service advertised. Click fraud occurs in two forms. In one instance, fraud arises from competitors trying to sabotage each other. One competitor clicks on the ads of another just to drain the budget of that company. The other instance occurs when webmasters (or people associated with the webmaster) repeatedly click Google AdSense ads (which are syndications of others’ ads) on their own web pages in order to generate more revenue. While both Overture and Google have developed sophisticated technologies to detect click fraud, their systems are, and may never be, foolproof.

The real question is how much does click fraud actually damage the PPC industry? Gross fraud, i.e., when one person or technology consistently and repeatedly clicks on an ad, aside, which Overture and Google can easily detect, we believe that click fraud has no real impact on the industry. The following explains why.

Efficient market theory says that it is impossible to ขbeat a marketข because prices already incorporate and reflect all relevant information. As the PPC industry has matured, efficiency has begun to take root. That is, the price of each keyword has been driven up to the point where it reflects the highest price an advertiser is willing to pay for a click.

For instance, a book retailer may pay $1.00 per click based on internal metrics. These metrics dictate, for example, that on average 30% of clickers purchase a book and the average profit per sale is $4.00. So, for every 100 clicks ($100 cost), they make 30 sales ($120 revenue) and generate a $20.00 (20%) profit. Note that years ago, the same retailer may have been able to pay only $0.50 per click, but as the market matured and more retailers began advertising, competitive bidding forced the price up to $1.00 where the highest return the most advertisers can make is 20%.

The key point is that click fraud is already taken into effect when advertisers select the highest amount they will bid. For instance, there is no difference whether an advertiser pays $0.83/click for 121 clicks with 21 being fraudulent, or $1.00/click for 100 clicks when there is absolutely no fraud. In either case, the advertiser pays $100 and generates a profit of $20, and Overture and/or Google make $100. What changes is the advertiser’s yield (e.g., the percent of clickers who purchased the book) which in turn effects their highest bid price. That is, with fraud, 30 out of 121 clickers (24.8%) purchased the book, and without fraud 30 out of 100 clickers (30%) purchased it. Without fraud, the bid price in an efficient market will rise from $0.83 to $1.00.

In summary, online advertisers must focus on analyzing and improving their internal metrics (e.g., conversions) and not worry about click fraud as it is already incorporated into keyword bid prices. Hopefully, the frivolous lawsuits and refund requests spawned by apparent click fraud will end as those in the industry recognize this undeniable fact.

About The Author

Tommy Maric is the manager of TopPayingKeywords.com. TopPayingKeywords.com is designed to help webmasters maximize their profits using Google’s Adsense™ program. Through extensive research, TopPayingKeywords.com develops uptodate databases of the most popular keywords and their accompanying bid prices. For more information, please visit http://www.toppayingkeywords.com.





This article was posted on April 13

by Tommy Maric

Forgive All Ebay Sins!

Forgive All Ebay Sins!

by: Robert C. Potter

Over the years, I have been amazed at the ขblindingข greed and reckless approach to commerce that some business owners have employed. Lying to customers, selling inferior merchandise, and not offering refunds, left a firestorm of irate customers in their wake. Without fail, all of this ขill willข led most businesses to bankruptcy, and in some cases, Federal Prison.
I realize that not everyone engages in ขbusiness criminalityข that rises to the level of fraud and incarceration. Most people try to be good stewards, and approach their enterprise in an honest and forthright manner. For those of you who own thriving business concerns, you already know that in most cases the customer is always right. You make sure that you communicate effectively, refund monies if the buyer is truly unhappy, and try to meet the needs of the people who buy your goods or services.
However, there are more than a handful of Ebay sellers that are of the mind that customer service and effective communication is not something that they need not participate in. Take the case of a woman named Barbara, (Nickname: BobAnn) who recently posted her disappointment on the Ryze Business Network:

Barbara Cerda wrote:
Greetings Everyone,
ขWhen will sellers on Ebay understand that customer service is key? And when will Ebay sellers learn using customer friendly approaches can only make their business grow?ข Again today Iกve bought from a less than friendly seller.
Thought I was placing a bid and instead bought the item at the buy now price. Of course the seller refused to allow the retraction, nor was I allowed to place a bid. I always pay for my winning bids immediately upon email confirmation.
And did so in this case. But it would have been customer friendlier for this seller to accept my retraction to be replaced with a bid. He would have gotten repeat business from me and my friends. His กBuy Nowก price is 30% over the retail price for this item. Lesson learned by me again that there are way too many sellers on Ebay out to grab a buck and the hell with fair practice.
Lesson learned yet again.ก

End quote…
The operative phrase here is ขrepeat business from me and my friendsข. There is no better endorsement of your product or service than word of mouth advertising. Lack of flexibility on the part of the seller, not only cost them one customer, but also destroyed the possibility for future business. Good news travels fast, but bad news travels faster!
As an auction seller, (Ebay auction ID: LevelBest77) I would have accommodated her request right away. And while I have never had anyone use ขBuy It Nowข by accident, I have had several people over the years ask me to retract bids. The number of people who have made that request can be counted on one hand! Some, did not even understand the process, (bid retracting) and I was more than willing to guide them through it.
People make honest mistakes, and you should never ขabuseข a buyer for doing so. If you plan to get into Ebay auction selling for the long haul, always practice good will toward your customers. Unless someone is totally unreasonable, and you have done everything in your power to accommodate their request, never deny people the ability to change their mind, return an item, or retract a bid! Developing good will also requires that you anticipate customer needs…..
For instance, I had a few overseas customers bid on a wireless router. This particular item needed to be powered with a Universal Adapter, since voltage requirements in France and Australia are obviously different from those here in the United States.
I made this abundantly clear to both bidders before they sent me any payment. The purchase of such an adapter, not to mention the shipping price, would have doubled the US retail cost. I told them that they could probably get the product cheaper at their local electronics stores. Without hesitation, I let them out of their obligation to pay for the item. I then contacted the next highest bidder and offered that person the chance to make the purchase.
Both bidders thanked me for my honesty. They had forgotten about the electrical differences. I could have ignored that little detail, and sold them the item anyway. I just had to put myself in their situation. Think of how frustrated they would have been if I did not reveal that information. Buyer’s remorse would have set in quickly, once they realized that they could have purchased the same item for a lot less in their native countries.
While the benefits of these actions may not have an immediate effect, you can be sure that should I ever have another ขitem of interest!ข these two gentlemen would not hesitate to purchase from me. They can count on me to accommodate their needs, instead of catering to my wants. Creating this type of good will instills trust, and the knowledge that you have the customers best interest in mind.
ขMe thinketh thou doth protest too much!
Do you accentuate the positive? Or, do you run on negativity? Negative Ebay feedback is a tool that everyone should use with restraint, or not at all. As a rule, I never leave negative feedback. Unless someone has blatantly lied about your product, or attacked you personally without merit, then I would not leave any feedback in the ขminusข side of the isle!
ขFlameข wars are not pretty. I have seen a lot of unnecessary back and forth ขbanterข that could have been avoided, if they (the seller) just resisted the urge to make their ขtwo centsข known. Sometimes it gives customers the impression that you are more concerned about arguing, then conducting your business.
I have also witnessed seller feedback that has included some pretty foul language. Engaging in this type of verbal sparring is not much of a confidence builder either. It is more telling of what you are, then about revealing the sins of your customers. Don’t go out of your way to register a negative response if you can help it. Heed the sage advice that our Mother’s use to tell us: ขIf you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!ข
ขWhat we have here is a failure to communicate!ข
Communication with your customers should not amount to the sound one hand clapping! Bottom line, if someone emails you with a questionanswer it! Here is an example of the type of feedback I obtained by doing just that……
ขHe was very Helpful and cooperative in answering questions.ข Followup: Will DEFINITELY use his services anytime he has items of interest! Great Seller!
The gentlemen who left this positive review, wanted to know about some of the particulars of a ขMickey Mouseข clock I had up for auction. His wife is a collector of all things Disney, and thought it would be a nice surprise for her birthday. The clock, to say the least, was in sad shape. It was incapable of keeping time, and the only part of it in working order was the second hand. I thought for sure that he would be disappointed with the item despite full disclosure of all of it’s imperfections.
To my surprise, not only did I receive positive feedback, but he also told me that his wife absolutely loved it! In this instance, one man’s junk, truly, is another man’s treasure! I never thought this item was worthy of any praise! The time it took to answer his questions—all of five minutes!
I know that some of you will say that I am not being realistic. You just can’t answer emails all day; ขI have a business to run!,ข you might proclaim. If you plan on making a living on Ebay, then you better think about hiring someone to help you answer your daily inquires if it is just too overwhelming. If you specialize in a particular product, set up a Frequently Asked Questions page to any AutoResponder.
If you use Ebay on an infrequent basis, and have less than thirty listings a month, then you really don’t have any excuse not to provide great customer service and email communication. You shouldn’t be inundated with questions regarding that many items, unless the product you are selling is technical in nature.
If you ignore your customers, they will go away. Good customer service should be woven into the fabric of every good business. I cannot overemphasis the importance of this issue. I continue to be perplexed by the fact that it is last on the list of business priorities for some Ebay sellers!
Will good customer service and communication alone make you rich on Ebay? That would be a resounding กnoข. You will have to understand your market, and provide products that the Ebay community will bid on consistently. There will be ขbidders & buyersข out there that will make mistakes and commit some auction sins! Forgive all Ebay sins and you will be rewarded with happy, repeat customers!

About The Author

Robert C. Potter is the author of ขThe Ultimate Guide To Products For Resale.ขOver 300 Wholesale & Surplus Supply Sources, For Ebay Auction Sellers, ECommerce Websites, Flea Market Vendors, and Retail Store Owners! You can find his ebook here: http://www.productsforresale.com This article can be reprinted by contacting the author..


This article was posted on July 18, 2004

by Robert C. Potter

Pay Per Click To Guarantee Targeted Traffic!

Pay Per Click To Guarantee Targeted Traffic!

by: Steve Nash

The days of free search engine traffic are over!

(And the reign of cheap search engine traffic has begun!)

Okay, that may not be quite the case *yet*, but you really do have to work hard (or pay someone to work hard), to even get close to guaranteeing a top 10 position on search engines like Google.

PayPerClick search engines, however, offer the promise of guaranteed visitors, for the keywords of your choice.

Choose to pay per click wisely!

There are literally hundreds of payperclick search engines available for you to spend your money. Only a few can guarantee targeted visitors to your site, though. Iกve listed the best payperclick search engines below.



Overture (formerly GoTo) is the original (and most popular) payperclick search engine.

Overture is also one of the most expensive, and competitive. A quotation taken from their signup page:

กA $50 initial deposit is nonrefundable and will be applied to clickthroughs or to the minimum monthly spend. Each account has a $20 minimum monthly spend. There is a minimum bid requirement of $0.10 per click through.ก

Overture do have tough antifraud measures in place always evolving, obviously so there is far less chance of receiving socalled กbogus clicksก using Overture.

And Overture has an impressive search engine reach, with its results found in กSponsored Listingsก in many search engines.

You can currently choose from Fast Track or Self Serve signup options.

Verdict: If you’re serious about generating targeted traffic to your site, but less bothered about minimum (or maximum!) bid amounts etc. then you should consider signingup with Overture.

Overture http://www.overture.com

Overture UK http://www.uk.overture.com


Espotting is the selfproclaimed #1 payperclick search engine in Europe. Its results appear on many major search engines as well as well as thousands of relevant smaller sites too

This is what is says at Espotting UKกs signup page:

กEspotting Media can help you access targeted leads from 72% of the UKกs online population… By ensuring that your listings appear within our top 35 search results, you will benefit from highly targeted leads from Yahoo! Europe, Lycos, Kelkoo and Netscape and many more. ก

It offers a Gold, Silver and Bronze service depending on how กhandsonก you want to be with your payperclick campaign (and how much money you want to spend!).

Verdict: A serious contender in Europe, worth considering.

Espotting http://www.espotting.com


Even Google operate a payperclick search engine.

Called Google AdWords, results appear on the Google search engine itself, as part of the search engine listings (right hand side).

Results also appear as part of AOL and Yahoo!กs searches and other major content providers. Though this might change soon.

And, with itกs recent launch of Google AdSense, Google AdWords now appear on minor, but still relevant, content sites.

Unlike other payperclick search engines, Google AdWords doesn’t always list the highest bidded term first (see BID, BID, BID below for details). In Googleกs words:

กGetting great results in AdWords doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot either. The AdWords system rewards the bestperforming ads.ก

Verdict: Definitely consider signingup to Google AdWords, but learn how to make the most of your AdWords campaign first via a suitable tutorial or learning resource!

Google AdWords https://adwords.google.com/


There are other payperclick search engines worth considering. All of the pay per click search engines listed below have considerable reach, and can guarantee visitors to your site (often at a much cheaper cost than Overture etc.)



http://www.xuppa.com/ (formerly Bay9)








Using Overture as an example here, making a bid is simply a matter of choosing the following:




And as Overture recommends on its site, always repeat the keyword in both the title and description to improve your chances of a click. Overture also comes with a keyword suggestion tool, available to Overture advertisers only.

Choosing your keywords, and the amount you are willing to bid is also simple, but can take a lot of time.

This is because you need to research suitable indemand keywords, that cost little. Solutions to this problem include using the paidfor version of Wordtracker the excellent keyword suggestion tool allows you to brainstorm good keywords, and determine the current cost of the top 20 bids. You might also want to use bid management software.

Wordtracker http://www.wordtracker.com

Example of bid management software for Overture http://www.ppcmanagement.com/


Make sure you don’t spend too much money.

Clicks can add up quickly. Itกs probably worth investing in some kind of bid management software, or at least worth using the inbuilt bid management provided by search engines like Overture.

Remember, you ONLY want your prospective customers to click. And you must know the value of your visitor! (A rough guide: Value = average earnings / average unique visitors .)

Try and make sure that the cost of a click never exceeds this กvalueก of a visitor.

One successful strategy is to bid low on many listings.


You can find out a great deal more about payperclick search engines from this excellent resource.


And the online version of this article contains a variety of signup offers for some of the search engines listed, as well as details of Google AdWords learning resources.


About The Author

STEVE NASH has written many business articles useful to all. Read them below!


HIS BEST TIP? Use Site Build It! to develop a profitable business online! Learn more at


This article was posted on March 06, 2004

by Steve Nash

How to Hire a Freelancer Using Elance

How to Hire a Freelancer Using Elance

by: Matt Bacak

If you have a project that you need to outsource but don’t know where to turn, Elance might be your solution. Elance connects businesses with a pool of professional providers from around the globe. When you post a project on Elance, providers compete against each other to give you the best price and service. You can choose either an open bid where all qualified Elance professionals can bid or an invitation only bid where you can peruse portfolios and choose which providers youกd like to invite to bid on your project. Signing up with Elance is easy and itกs free. Hereกs a stepbystep guide to start you on your way to finding the professional thatกs right for you.

1. Go to Elance.com and click on the ขBuy Servicesข tab located at the top of the page. This will take you to the next screen.

2. On this screen youกll be presented with three choices: ขPost Your Projectข, ขSearch For Providersข or ขGet Project Reviewข. For this guide we are going to focus only on posting a project for open bid. So, click on the first button, ขPost Your Project.ข (You can always come back later to investigate the other options.)

3. Here, youกll need to enter your contact information. If you do not already have a username and password, click on the ขclick hereข underline next to the password box to get to the next screen. If you have a username and password, enter it now and skip to step 5.

4. Youกll see a screen with eight empty boxes. Youกll need to create a ขusernameข and choose a password. Enter each within the assigned boxes. Reenter your password in the ขReenter passwordข box. Remember to choose both a username and a password that youกll remember. Next, enter your email address, first name, last name and phone number. Youกll also need to reenter your email address for verification purposes. Then, click ขcontinueข.

5. Choose the category which best suits your project needs. There are 11 categories to choose from. These include: Administrative Support, Architecture & Engineering, Audio, Visual & Multimedia, Graphic Design & Art, Legal, Management & Finance, Sales & Marketing, Software & Technology, Training & Development, Website Development and Writing & Translation. Once you choose your main category, youกll be asked to choose a subcategory. This allows you to receive bids that better match your project. After choosing your subcategory, youกll be taken to the next screen.

6. On this screen there are three main boxes of information to provide. In the first box, youกll need to Choose a Title for your project (e.g., 12 Business Articles), describe your project in detail (how many words, project deadlines, etc.), choose how many days you will allow providers to bid on your project, choose an estimated start date, a projected budget and attach any files that may be relevant to your project. The more detailed you are in describing your project, the easier it will be for qualified providers to give you detailed proposals regarding your project.

7. In the next box, youกll be asked if you want providers to able to seek clarification on your project via the private message board. If so, check the box. If not, skip to the next box.

8. Finally, youกll be asked to choose how you receive your bids. The Select Level will provide you with higher quality providers. Providers will give you more competitive bids as Elance charges providers a higher rate to list as a Select Provider. Youกll also be seen as more serious about your project if you choose this level. The lowest amount you can receive for your project is $250 and you also must pay a refundable $25 deposit to post your project. If you choose not to go this route, you can pick the Basic level which allows you to post your project without a deposit but youกll still need to be credit card verified (so that Elance knows you can pay for projects you award.) After filling in the required information in each of the boxes, click ขContinueข to move to the next screen.

9. Here, youกll need to provide your credit card information. Unless you chose Select providers you won’t be charged. If you want to pay your provider with a credit card through Elance, youกll need to verify your credit card. Elance will make two small posts against your card and then refund them once youกve posted your project. Once you supply the required information, click on ขContinueข.

10. On the next screen, youกll confirm the information you supplied regarding your project. If you need to make any changes, this is the place. You can either click on ขPost Project Nowข to make your project active or on ขSave & Post Laterข to post the project at a later date.

11. Now that your project is live, bidders can bid on your project. When you receive a number of bids, pick the provider best suited to your needs and your project is on it way to being completed.

About The Author

Matt Bacak became ก#1 Best Selling Authorก in just a few short hours. Recent Entrepreneur Magazine’s eBiz radio show host is turning Authors, Speakers, and Experts into Overnight Success Stories. Discover The Secrets http://promotingtips.com

This article was posted on August 08

by Matt Bacak

Online Auctions: 10 Secrets You Should Know Before

Online Auctions: 10 Secrets You Should Know Before Bidding At An Online Auction

by: Ikey Benney, CEO

You may have heard about ebay and other online auctions.

You may have participated in some of the biddings.

But before you do the next bidding for a product or service, here are some few important online auctions secrets to help you:

1. Know the value of the product before you bid. If the product is brand new, check to see what price retailers are charging for it. If the product is used or reconditioned, you will want to pay way less than the retail value.

2. If the productกs description or picture isn’t detailed enough for you, contact the merchant to get more information before you bid. You don’t want to take a chance to waste your hard earned money.

3. Know the highest price you will bid for the product and stick with it. Don’t get caught up in a bidding war; you may end up paying more than the productกs worth. Don’t forget to add in the shipping price with your bid.

4. Visit a few online auctions before bidding because some merchants auction the same product in many auctions. You usually can purchase the product for a lower price in a unpopular auction because there are less bidders.

5. Know the time the auction begins and ends. You also want to know how long it will take to ship. If you need the product by a certain date, youกll want to estimate the time it will take to receive it.

6. Know the payment options the merchant accepts before you bid on their product. If they only accept checks or money orders, it may take even longer to get the product because the payment has to clear. If they accept credit cards make sure they have a secure server.

7. Know if the merchant offers a warranty or money back guarantee or before bidding on a product. You don’t want to get stuck with a product that does not work or you’re not satisfied with.

8. Online auctions will, sometimes, allow you to check the merchants history with their auction. Check to see if people have complained about the their products or business practices before you decide to bid.

9. Itกs important to place a bid early in the auction to show other bidders you are interested in the product. If someone does out bid you, don’t be afraid to out bid them. Remember not to go over your maximum bid price.

10. Another reason to know when the auction ends; you can place a last minute bid. The other bidders may not be keeping track of when the auction ends or may not have the time to bid again.

May these online auctions secrets help you to make a lot of money.


Ikey Benney, CEO

About The Author

Ikey, a Millionaire CEO from New York City is the creator of กMscsrrr: Millionaire Secret Cash Systemก, (internet income opportunity) which has helped thousands of ordinary people from all over the world to attain financial security and shining success during the past 2 yrs.

Mscsrrr Millionaire Secret Cash System helps you to generate $1,500+/Week for life, from home or office, part time or full time. No large investment or hassles. Win $1000$2000 free ขcashข…



This article was posted on March 21

by Ikey Benney, CEO

Paid Search Advertising that Delivers Maximum ROI

Paid Search Advertising that Delivers Maximum ROI

by: Ivana Giardi

Paid Search Advertising (also PayPerClick, PPC) has gained a significant influence in the search engine industry over past couple of years. Whilst a traditional search engine optimisation still remains the online marketing strategy number one, more and more emarketers discovering the potential of online advertising campaigns. Properly designed and managed, PPC campaign can deliver highly qualified visitors to your online shop.

1. Quick Overview

PayPerClick (PPC) Search Engines are built on the similar principle as auctions. The difference is that you bid on keywords terms people use when they search for stuff on the internet.

The concept of PPC bidding is rather simple: you buy (= bid on) keywords that relate to your product. The highest bidder gets placed at the top of the search results, the second highest bidder gets the next listing and so on. Every time someone clicks through to your website, you pay the amount you bid on that particular search term.

Advertising with PPC search engines basically gives you three key advantages:

• Cheap and Highly Targeted Traffic

With bidding on keywords that relates to your product or service, you actually prequalify the type of visitors you wish to attract. You determine how much you are willing to pay (bid) for the click and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. This implies that PPC search engines can cheaply direct qualified visitors to your website.

• Fast Exposure, Immediate Profits

Traditional search engines usually take few weeks (sometimes even months) to list your website. If you are having problems to get your website indexed by search engines or if you would like to get a quick results from the search engines then PPC is the best alternative. Most of PPC search engines will set your website live within a couple of hours (maximum few days) and the impact on your site traffic and sales is practically immediate.

• Guaranteed Top Position

Search engine optimisation is the classic method of getting your website on the top of search results for free. Simply said, the process of optimisation involves choosing keywords that are directly related to your website and placing them meaningfully within your pages. However, as easy as this sounds, for an average webmaster this is usually a quite daunting task without any guarantee on the success. This again brings me to PPC as the best solution to gain high rankings on the search result list. Often, by spending just few cents per click, your website can get to the top three positions within 24 hours!

The bestknown and most popular PPC Search Engines are Google AdWords (www.google.com/ads) and Overture (www.overture.com). Advertising with those two industry leaders will get your website lots of exposure and traffic. Furthermore, top 3 listings in Google AdWords and Overture appear on an extensive network of sites (including Yahoo!, MSN, AltaVista, Excite, and many others) so you can reach up to 80% of all active Internet users. However, at the same time be prepared that their top listings tend to be rather expensive and you need to pay quite a bit.

Generally, the more popular keyword you choose for bidding the higher is the price. You can start your bid from 1 cent per click and finish paying $5.00 (or more) for very competitive keywords.

2. Designing Successful PPC Campaigns

The golden rule of PPC bidding is: ขAttract highly qualified buyers and keep your bids as low as possibleข. Since you are paying for each single visitor landing on your website obviously you wish to maximize the effectiveness of your PPC campaign. Let’s take a look at some basic guidelines to help you optimise your campaign and ensure your ROI:

• Determine your bid cost

The calculation of the bid cost (also cost per click) requires a rather complicated formula. For the purpose of this article I mention just a baseline that helps determine how much you can afford to bid:

Firstly, you need to know the conversion rate of your web site. That means how many unique visitors you need to close one sale. For example, if you need 50 visitors (= clicks) to close 1 sale then your conversion rate is 2%. If your bid is 10 cents per click than one sale has $5 of bidding cost.

Secondly, you need to know your profit margin. If your profit margin is high enough to justify the cost you can consider increasing the bid and getting a higher position for your ad. This way you may increase the number of clicks through your website and acquire more sales.

Finally, calculate if the extra sales justify the extra cost and adjust the bid accordingly.

• Focus on highly targeted keywords

As mentioned earlier, PPC Advertising can deliver cheap and highly targeted traffic to your website. To use this advantage to your benefit it is important to choose wisely the keywords you wish to bid on. The key is to be specific. For example, instead of bidding on ขskin careข you can consider bid on ขanti ageing herbal treatmentsข. More targeted keywords attract more qualified buyers. It is easier to convert them into paying customers because they found exactly what they were looking for. This strategy is also a big money saver more specific keywords tend to be less expensive than the general ones everybody is biding on.

• Customize your advertisements

You will attract more attention from qualified buyers by writing ads specifically for each of keywords you bid on. Speak directly to the type of visitor you want to serve. For example, instead of writing an ad for ขpiesข you can write ขhome made meat piesข.

When tailoring your ads to a specific audience, be also sure that you direct your visitors to a page on your website where itกs easy for them to buy these items.

• Use less popular PPC search engines

Overture and Google AdWords are clearly the PPC market leaders. However you can still benefit from the less popular ones such as:

FindWhat http://www.findwhat.com

Espotting http://www.espotting.com, (biggest PPC engine in UK and European market)

7search.com http://www.7search.com

Kanoodle.com http://www.kanoodle.com

Enhance Interactive http://www.enhance.com

Sprinks http://www.sprinks.com

Bids on these less popular PPC search engines are much cheaper and you can purchase your listings for as little as one cent per visitor. Even though you may not get the same exposure as you would get with Overture and Google, you still generate a decent amount of traffic. And while you only pay for actual clicks to your website, you never waste your money.

• Choose the best position for your advertisement

To be listed first on the search results is not always a smart move. It certainly helps to attract lots of visitors, but may cost you lots of money at the same time. People usually visit first 5 top listings before making a final decision about their purchase. Therefore, it is more profitable to have lower ranking for highly competitive keywords.

3. Managing PPC Advertising Campaign

You have designed a killer selling ad copy, chosen highly targeted keywords, calculated the maximum you can afford to bid on each of search terms and determined which spot on the search results you wish to secure. Yet, there is no guarantee that your ad always remains on your desired position.

The key to managing the desired position is to adjust your bids correctly in accordance to the PPC market conditions. It’s like monitoring shares on the share market to get the best deal you need to constantly watch prices and react immediately to any change.

The main factor influencing the price of the bids and your position are your competitors. Let’s make few examples of bidding strategies you can consider using in your PPC campaign: assuming, your maximum cost per click is $1.00 and your goal is to secure position #3 at the most effective cost.

(a) Maintain Target Position

Your aim is to target the position #3 however your ad appears on the position #10. Knowing that the current holder of the position #3 pays $0.51 per click you can improve your position and take over his place by bidding $0.52. This strategy sometimes tends to drive up the keyword prices so be aware you don’t cross the limit of spending $1.00 per click.

(b) Remove Bid Gaps

Overture defines the bid gap as ขthe difference between the amount you are currently paying for a click and the minimum you could be paying to still remain above your next highest competitor in the search results.ข

For example: You pay $0.70 per click and your next highest competitor pays $0.60 per click. You can pay just $0.61 per click and still be placed above your competitor. By closing this bid gap you save $0.09 per click which in 1,000 clicks is saving of $90!

(c) Control your Maximum Cost per Click

As mentioned earlier in this article, the calculation of your maximum bid cost (cost per click) requires you to collect a list of statistics about your website. Based on our assumption, you are willing to pay maximum of $1.00 per click. Therefore you should not pursue any positions where the bids are over your $1.00 limit. Wait till the price falls under $1.00 to prevent any possible losses.

To get the most accurate bidding results without having to babysit your advertising campaign, I would recommend relying on one of the automated bid management software available on the market today. In general, those tools constantly check your bids and adjust them accordingly to maintain your desired position so that you don’t have to be alert 24/7.

The more sophisticated tools allow you to set your daily budget to prevent spending more than it is efficient for your business. Below I have listed the main features you should be looking for when choosing the bid management software for your campaign:

The ability to create and identify targeted keywords and phrases that convert leads in sales.

The ability to set the maximum amount your want to bid.

The ability to fix bid gaps so you don’t pay more money than is necessary

The ability to set your desired position.

the ability to compile comprehensive reports on your keywords, bidding cost, bid position and current bid for each keywords.

The ability to monitor competitor’s activity by checking competitors ranking and current bids.

If you would like to download a demo version of bid management software, there is one available for free at website http://www.keywordbidmaximizer.com/bidmaximizer. It will help you to better understand the whole process of designing and maintaining PPC campaigns so you always manage to costeffectively allocate your budgets and increase your revenue.

Paid Search Advertising presents an excellent opportunity to immediately address your offers to the proper online audience. Focus on identifying highly targeted keywords that convert for your website. Calculate your bids so your sales justify the cost. This way you will maximize your return on investment and ensure your website’s success with PPC advertising.

About The Author

Ivana Giardi is Marketing Director at Apex Pacific, developer of smart internet marketing solutions to help companies increase sales and profitability online. If you would like to learn more about Paid Search Advertising, visit Apex Pacific at www.apexpacific.com or email Ivana at marketing@apexpacific.com.

This article was posted on October 17, 2004

by Ivana Giardi

The 3 Minute Auction and Minute Auction Explained

The 3 Minute Auction and Minute Auction Explained

by: Renee Matt

Am I the only person who doesn’t know what a 3 minute auction is? Looking for fresh content for my site, I discover that กminute auction,ก or even a 5, 10 and 30 minute auction is a popular item. Some auction sites may refer to a minute auction as a กLive Bid.ก The กminute auctionก or ก3 minute auctionก actually comes the closest to duplicating the excitement (and anxiety) of a real auction. No, it is not the same as an Ebay minute auction.

I will give the example of Bidz.com. Bidz.com uses Flash technology to constantly update in realtime auction bids right before your very eyes! The price goes up, up, up and the time clicks away … down, down, down!. Add flashing green highlights for added new bids and red flashing for the ominous approaching 0 minute and to say the least, it is quite thrilling.

On the Bidz home page, there is a link that says 3minute auctions. This is a separate category all by itself. If you click that link you are taken to the 3 minute auctions, usually consisting of jewelry. (Note: See end of article for ‘the 3 minute auction too good to be true?ก)

A word of caution: It takes a little finesse to bid at these fastpaced auctions and I mean FAST! You must be EXTREMELY CAREFUL when bidding. The highest bid I came across on my visit was for $1500. My advice would be to practice on the dollar starting bids. Bids quickly escalate to $15 and $30. In the words of BidZ:

กIf you are bidding on items in the 3 Minute Auctions category, you will not be notified if you are outbid. These auctions move very quickly, so you have to monitor your winning bids very carefully.ก

Back on the 3 minute auction page of BidZ, what do you see? >From left to right: the product picture, the item number, title, price, bids, and time left. The กbidsก and the ‘time leftก are where the auction action is at. But just as its nearing 0 minutes left, it jumps up to more time left what gives? According to Bidz.com:

กIf the bid is placed during the last minute of an auction, the auction will be automatically extended for an additional 1 minute from the time of the latest bid. The auction will close once all bidding has stopped for a period of 1 minute.ก

OK I decide I am going to get in on this action. Registering is free (username must be a combo of numbers and letters). I have to click on the picture to go to the listing to actually bid according to Bidz.com directions below:

1) Simply use the กplusก and กminusก graphic keys to select the amount you would like to bid. The amount of the next bid is automatically one dollar more than the current bid. If you only want to place a one dollar bid, you can just click the Bid button without any adjustments.

2) Click the bid graphic button to register your bid. PROBLEM: I click the Bid! button and then find out I have to register my credit card in order to bid but they didn’t tell me that when I was registering (even though I quite expected it).

Another problem I encounter is a sluggish modem. By the time I reach the listing page and the picture and bid button loads, the auction can be over (sigh…).

Its not hard to become giddy over the amazing deals of a 3 minute auction…too good to be true? 3 minute auctions ‘typically offer expensive items, such as Cartier watches, Beanie Babies, computers, and cars at prices that are low enough to dull the scam alarm in most people.ก

This was taken from an auction fraud article. The same article reports that the Federal Trade Commission has identified a scam email that includes กLive 3 minute auctionsก in the subject line. See the details of the 3 minute auction scam at http://www.chiff.com/a/fSCAMauc.htm

For a list of minuteauction websites, refer to: The 3 minute auction list at http://shmyl.com/dpzison

My final words: The 3 minute auction and minute auction are the epitome of auction entertainment. So pop some popcorn, invite some friends over, and have yourself some Friday night auction fun!

About The Author

Renee Matt maintains AuctionTongue.com, a review site of auction tool, free auction templates, auction software, auction sniper and image hosting services. AT focuses on auction websites outside of Ebay. Sign up for their FREE Auction Freebies newsletter: http://www.auctiontongue.com/.


This article was posted on October 22, 2004

by Renee Matt

Make a Living, Or Simply Get That Extra Money That

Make a Living, Or Simply Get That Extra Money That You Need Working as a Freelancer

by: Aleksandar Petrovic

Itกs not important if you dont know how to programm, design, optimize sites or do similar things. You can still earn money doing things everybody knows. Start working from your home today, without any extra investments.

You can do many กnontechnicalก things. Some of them are writing (articles, reviews …), data research/collection (finding specified info on the web), data entry (mostly copy/paste), translation and many more. Offcourse for all those technical people, there are things like programming, design, seo and others.

Sites to find jobs/projects :

Scriptlance This is a great website. Most of my projects were done on this website. And I recomend it. While itกs name determins that most of the jobs are in web development, there are other not so technical jobs as article writing, data entry, data collection (research) and others. You dont need to pay for signup, their fees are one of the lowest (5%) and you can withdraw money in many ways. They also offer escrow system, so you are enshured from cheaters. Users can leave a feedback about eachother wich is a nice option.


Rent A Coder I did only one project over this one. The overall mood on this site somehow isnt right, but never the less, you can find lotกs of different jobs there, not just coding. Also there are some restrictions that make communication with the buyer a little dificult, and they dont offer bank wire withdraw wich I like to use. Their fee is 18%, one more reason for me not to use it to much.


Freelancers Network This is a UK based website. So naturaly many of the jobs are UK specific. Offcourse there are many jobs that you can work from anywhere in the world from your home. The good thing itกs FREE, yup no fees, at the same time, thatกs the bad news, and it might happend that you finish the job, and not get paid. That canot happend when using escrow systems.


There are many other websites. But these should be enough for you to start. Eventialy you will realise that itกs best to concentrate on one or two of this websites. Mainly for the reason of feedback. Most freelance websites offer a way that buyers rate service providers after project is completed, and few good rates, with some nice words about you can work magic in geting future bids.

So at first it might we wise that you bid a little lower than people with more feedback. But dont think that giving the lowest bid, will enshure that you are picked. Sometimes I won bids even if there were people that had much more projects behind them, and less bids.

Your words also decide, make nice bid text, send personal message with questions if you have some, and details of what you plan to do.

Also you will realise that many of the people wich you found over this sites, will contact you latter for some additional work (if you worked ok for the first time) so you will start to build your regular clients.

Good luck with your bids !

About The Author

Aleksandar Petrovic is an freelance web developer. And he has been freelancing for more than two years.

This article was posted on November 13, 2004

by Aleksandar Petrovic

Paid Search Engine Advertising

Paid Search Engine Advertising

by: John Eberhard

Over the last few years, we have seen the rise of a new medium which at the current time is quite effective in driving traffic to web sites: Paid Search Engine Advertising. This term refers to paid advertising that a company can run on search engines, so that when a person enters a specific search term or phrase, your ad appears.

For instance, if someone goes to a search engine and enters กantivirus softwareก, you will see regular search results that come up for this term, but on many search engines, you will also see paid advertising, usually labeled as กsponsored links.ก That means that some company that sells antivirus software has paid to have that listing appear when anyone enters the search term กantivirus software.ก

Similarly, if you entered กgolf equipment,ก you would see the regular listings but also a bunch of sponsored links from companies selling golf equipment.

One can choose any word or phrase at all and choose to have your ad appear when people enter that phrase on that search engine. However, you will want to select words or phrases that are at least somewhat popular, i.e. that a lot of people are entering. That way you get decent exposure for your ad.

One of the biggest advantages to this type of advertising is that you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad and thus arrives at your web site. You start an account with one of these search engines, put some money in it, and every time someone clicks on your ad and comes to your site, your account is debited. This is has an advantage over most other types of advertising, where you pay whether there is any result or not. With paid search engine advertising, you only pay for actual traffic coming to your web site.

A number of regular search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, HotBot, and Lycos, are currently including sponsored links as part of their search results. For Google, the most popular of all the search engines currently, the sponsored links appear in the narrow, farright column (and sometimes along the top), whereas the regular search results appear in the wider lefthand column. Google’s paid ads program is called กAdWords.ก

There are also search engines that are called กpayperclickก search engines, where all the results are sponsored links. In other words, if you want to have your web site appear on a payperclick search engine, you have to open an advertiser account and pay money to have your listing appear.

Overture.com is the biggest of the payperclick search engines. Others include FindWhat, Search123, GoClick, Enhance Interactive, 7Search, and Kanoodle.

There are a number of other benefits to this type of advertising. First of all, with search engines, one always has the advantage that the web visitor went there specifically to get information on what you sell. If you sell antivirus software and you can put your ad in front of people that are looking for antivirus software, it doesn’t get much more targeted than that.

Secondly, it is very easy and quick to get started. In order to understand why I say it is easy to get started, we will have to explain a little about the regular search results on search engines, the way these have evolved, and what one has to go through in order to get listed high in the regular results.

Years ago, when search engines first started, the goal of the search engines was to provide relevant search results. And they have pretty much had this goal ever since. In this sense what they meant and what they were trying to do was to provide results that matched, as much as possible, what people were actually looking for when they entered a word or phrase. As an example of this, if someone went to a search engine and entered ‘ted Kennedy,ก theoretically they would want to see as the first entry, a link to Senator Kennedy’s Senate web site. Similarly, if someone entered กMicrosoft,ก the first entry he would hope to see would be the actual Microsoft web site, not a bunch of sites that were distributors for Microsoft products or a bunch of sites criticizing Microsoft.

The problem that has arisen is that, in our above example with Microsoft, the people with the web sites who were distributors of Microsoft products, or with web sites criticizing Microsoft, wanted their sites to be listed first. They wanted more traffic, and the higher you are in search engines results, the more traffic you’ll get. So what happened is that the webmasters for those other sites would study the search engines and figure out what system they were using to decide which sites would come first. Nearly all search engines make the decisions on web site rankings automatically, using a mathematical formula or algorithm.

So those other webmasters would figure out what criteria Google and Alta Vista and other search engines were using to rank sites, and they would artificially change their sites to better fit the criteria and defeat the search engines’ goal of relevancy. In other words, sites ended up being listed as #1 or very high for certain key words or phrases, that shouldn’t have been.

As a result, the criteria of the search engines to decide the rankings for web sites in their regular search results have changed dramatically and repeatedly over the years. The result of this, for webmasters, is that you have to either spend about half your life studying the search engines and what their criteria are and how to achieve good rankings in the regular results, or pay an expert to do this for you. Plus, when you make a change to your site that is calculated to improve your rankings, you will usually have to wait about two months before you will see any improvement.

So compared to that, paid search engine advertising is a much easier and faster medium. You can start an account and have your listings up and running within hours. And you don’t have to struggle through and worry about the myriad requirements of the search engines in order for you to be listed high in the regular results. Not to say you can’t do that too, but what we’re saying is that paid search engine advertising is a lot easier and currently is very effective.

Getting Started

Google is the largest of the regular search engines and Overture is the largest of the payperclicks, so we recommend that you start by setting up accounts with those two.

Determining Your Best Search Terms

One of the first things you will have to do is to select the key words or key phrases on which you will pay to have your ad appear. Here’s how we recommend you do this:

1. Try to adopt the viewpoint of a person who would be looking for your product or service. Think about what words or phrases they might type into a search engine in order to find your product or service. Start making a list.

2. Go to the web sites of one of the companies competing against you. From your browser select View | Source. This shows the HTML source code of that particular web page. Near the top you will see a paragraph like this:

This is called the metatag area of a web page, which is hidden when you view the page normally but is visible when you select View | Source. Metatags on a web site are important in order to achieve good rankings in the regular (nonpaid) search results of a search engine.

After where it says CONTENT=, and within the quotation marks, are search terms or phrases that that company thinks are significant for their product or service. Those are phrases where they hope to appear near the top of the regular listings when people type those phrases into a search engine.

For your competitors’ sites, you can figure that the phrases within the metatags area might be good search terms for you. Go to the web sites of at least 23 of your top competitors and make a list of the key phrases they use in the metatags area.

3. Test the terms for popularity. Go to this page on the Overture site:


This is the address for Overture’s search term suggestion tool. With this tool you can enter any word or phrase, and you will then see numbers showing how many people actually entered that search term or phrase, on Overture, within the last month. It will show search numbers for the exact term you entered, plus a number of similar terms. This is an incredibly valuable tool because it gives you a relative idea of how popular a search term is.

This tool doesn’t tell you, of course, how many people searched that term on the entire web. It only shows how many searched it on Overture. But for example, if you enter a search phrase and the tool shows that only 50 people searched for it on Overture within the last month, you know that’s not a very popular search phrase. But if you find that 75,000 searched for that phrase, then you know that it is a pretty popular search term. So it gives you a great idea of relative popularity.

Use the tool to check the popularity of each of the search phrases on your list. Since the tool shows search numbers for similar phrases as well, it will give you ideas for other terms you may not have thought of.

Ideally you want to find search phrases that have good numbers, but stay away from very general phrases or single words, like กgolf,ก or กcomputers,ก or กgames.ก Try to use multiple words to more exactly specify your product or services, like กgolf equipmentก or กgolf instructionก or กinstructional golf videosก. For one thing, the competition will be fierce for words like กgolfก and the bids will be very high (more about bids later). So try to get more specialized phrases that more exactly describe what you do. That way, you will not only have less competition for those key phrases, but you will not be wasting your ad on people who are not looking for exactly what you do.

Tips on Search Terms for a Local Business

One of the characteristics of the web is that it is worldwide. People looking for products and services via search engines could be coming from anywhere in the world. Now if you sell products or services to anyone, anywhere in the world, that’s a good thing.

But what if you sell products only to people in a specific geographical area? Like a local retail store, printing shop or real estate agency? Then it becomes a bad thing, because you could be dealing with leads and inquiries from Bangkok, Sydney, Paris or Moscow. For some businesses these กleadsก would essentially be a waste of time. And if you’re paying for them with paid search engine advertising, they’re a waste of money.

An excellent way to bypass this problem for businesses that can only service a small geographical area is to choose key phrases that include the name of the city or area in them. Like กgolf equipment burbank,ก กreal estate glendale,ก or กrestaurants santa monica.ก We have used this technique with good success. You won’t eliminate all people from outside your area, but it will definitely narrow down things to people who are looking for that type of product or service in your city.

We also recommend that you use specific smaller city or neighborhood names, rather than the name of the whole metro area – Glendale, Pasadena, or Burbank rather than Los Angeles. This is especially true if you only service that section of the metro area.

Bids and Bidding

For paid search engine advertising, during the process of setting up your account and your ads that are connected to specific key phrases, you will be asked how much money you want to bid for that key word. In other words, how much money you are willing to pay each time someone clicks on your ad and goes to your site.

Before making the bidding decision for Overture, you need to find out what other advertisers are already bidding for each search phrase. This is vital to know, because bidding determines where your ad appears in the results. If you bid higher than anyone else for that search phrase, your ad will appear as the #1 listing. So what you bid in relation to the other advertisers determines how high your results will appear, and have a major affect on how many people see your ad and therefore how many click on it and go to your site.

Go to the home page of the Overture site and enter the key phrase you want to set up an ad for. You will see the current sites that are advertising for that search phrase now. In the upper right hand corner you will see a link that says กView Advertisers’ Max Bids.ก Click on this. You will be asked to enter some letters and/or numbers in a box. Then you will see all the ads, along with the bids. For example, at the time this was written, if you entered กantivirus softwareก and clicked on the advertisers’ bids, you would see that the #1 advertiser bid $2.02, the #2 advertiser bid $2.01, the #3 advertiser bid $1.39, the #4 advertiser bid $1.38, the #5 advertiser bid $1.10, and so on.

In this case กantivirus softwareก is a fairly competitive key phrase, so the bids are fairly high.

If you wanted to set up an ad for the key phrase กantivirus software,ก you would then know how much you would have to bid in order to be at whatever position you wanted to be in. In the example above, you would need to bid at least $2.03 to be in the #1 position.

It is definitely not necessary to be in the #1 position in order to get people coming to your web site. In the example above, the company in the #10 position bid 92 cents, which is less than half of the bid for the #1 position.

How much you should bid for a given key word or phrase depends on several factors:

a. What is the price for your product or service and how much is the profit? For instance, if you deliver a service and the average cost of that service is $3,500, with a profit of $1,000 on each delivery of that service, then you can afford to bid some money. However, if you sell something for $12.99 and your profit on each item is $6.00, then you have to bid relatively low.

b. What is the conversion rate on your web site? In other words, of all the people that go to your web site or go to a specific page that sells a specific product, how many of them actually buy the product? Or for lead generation for higher ticket items, what percentage fill out the form sending you their contact information and thus become a lead?

The conversion rate is important, because not every person who clicks on your ad on Overture is going to do what you want them to do on your site. For example, you might bid $1.00 for a specific phrase on Overture. Then by monitoring how many people click on your ad, and then comparing that to how many actually become leads, you might find that 10% of the people who click through to your site actually fill out your form and become a lead. So each person who clicks through to your site will cost you $1.00, but since only 10% of them fill out your lead form, then each lead will cost you $10.00.

This relates to profitability and how much you can afford to spend per lead or sale.

c. How much do you want to spend? If you want to be aggressive and get a lot of people coming to your web site, bid higher. If you want to be careful and not spend a lot of money, bid lower.

In general we recommend bidding an amount that will cause your listing to be somewhere between the #10 and #1 positions. This will ensure in most cases (depending on how many people are entering that search term) that you get a decent amount of traffic. However, you can bid any amount.

You can also start by bidding a certain amount, monitor how many clickthroughs you’re getting each day, and also monitor how many conversions you’re getting each day. You can modify your bid amount for any given key phrase, after you see how the traffic, clickthroughs and conversions are going.

Currently, Overture will take the ads in the top three positions for each search phrase, and those ads will also appear on Yahoo, MSN and some other search engines as sponsored links. So that’s additional exposure, if you’re willing to bid high enough to get into the top three.

For Google you have to watch and see where your listings come out in the rankings, then modify your maximum bid if you want them to go higher.

Most of the regular search engines and payperclick search engines will allow you to set up a budget or limit on how much money you get charged in any given day. Let’s say you set your daily limit at $20.00. That means that each day, as people are seeing your ad and clicking through on it and going to your site, your account will get charged up to the limit of $20.00 for that day. When and if it hits that limit, your ads will be turned off for the rest of the day. You can set your limit for whatever you want. In this way you can control the expense.

Writing Your Ad

The next important issue is the writing of your ad. The ad will consist of a headline, ad text, and an Internet address. On Google AdWords, you get a strict limit of number of characters per line for the headline, text and Internet address, because the ads are pretty small. On Overture, you can make them quite a bit longer.

Usually the headline will appear in bold. So you want to grab the person’s attention with your headline. It is usually a good idea to include the key phrase in the headline, though this is not a hard and fast rule.

In earlier chapters we talked about doing surveys on your target public, and thus getting an idea of what motivates them, what their problems are (that your product solves), and what benefits they feel your product or service will give them. In writing your ad, you want to utilize the survey results, especially the benefit and problem items.

One of the many advantages of paid search engine advertising is that you can write your ad copy, and put the ad up, and then see what the response is, and if it does poorly, it basically doesn’t cost you anything.

Bear in mind that these search engines expect you to get a certain level of response, so if your ads are doing poorly they may lower them in the rankings or even suspend your ads from certain key phrases. They are businesses of course, and have to make a buck too.

But the point is that you can experiment with different wording for your ad and your headline. Whenever you make a change, record that in a folder with the date, so that when your response goes up or down, you know what the change was that caused it and when that change was made.

Your Landing Page

When you set up your ad on Google, Overture or one of the other search engines, you will have to choose a กlanding pageก for the ad. That’s the page where the person lands when he clicks on your ad. A few tips on how to work your landing pages:

1. In most cases, it is best NOT to have the landing page be the home page of your site. We recommend in most cases to create a new page whose sole purpose is to be a landing page for that paid ad on one of the search engines.

2. Do not put links on the landing page to the rest of your site. Design the page so that the only thing they can do on that page is fill out the form you want them to fill out. This will always increase response, and giving them full navigational buttons to every other page under the sun on your site will always lower response. Giving them only one option controls the process to a much greater degree.

3. Design the landing page so that there is a bit of sales text on the top of the page, including any graphics as needed, and then there is a form on the lower part of the page. If possible, do not make them click through to yet another page to fill out the form or buy the product.

4. Create a separate landing page for each of your ad campaigns for each of the search engines. In other words, if you are advertising your widgets on Google and Overture, create a landing page for your ad on Google and a separate landing page for the Overture ad.

The reason for this is that when you create the form, there is a line in the HTML code where you can specify what the subject line of the email will be, when the person clicks กsubmitก and the form contents are emailed to you. We recommend giving 4digit codes to all promotions that you, so give one code to the Google ad and a different code to the Overture one. Then when the emails arrive, you’ll be able to tell how well your ads are doing on each search engine.

Managing and Measuring Your Campaign

On both Google and Overture, by logging into your account you can see various statistics on your account. You can also compare your results on your site with these statistics. Here are the most important things to look for in measuring how you’re doing:

a. Impressions: These are the number of people that saw your ad, meaning they entered that specific key word or phrase, and your ad appeared. You can see the total impressions by day, for the week, and you can break it out so you can see the impressions for specific key phrases.

High impressions means that you have selected key phrases that a lot of people are entering.

b. Clickthroughs: This means the number of people that, having seen your ad, clicked on it and arrived on your landing page. The search engines will show the clickthroughs as a raw number and also as a percentage compared to the impressions.

High clickthrough percentages means you have been successful in writing an ad that a good percentage of people were interested enough to click on, to go to your site.

c. Conversion Rate: This means the percentage of people that clicked through and went to your site, that actually did what you wanted them to do. If you are selling products right on the site, the conversion rate means what percentage of people that arrived there actually bought the product. If you are advertising to generate leads, the conversion rate is the percentage of people that clicked through that filled out the form and sent you their information.

The conversion rate is a measure of success of your landing page. If you are getting good conversion rates that means you have done a good job of writing and designing the landing page. If your conversion rate is poor, that means you need to look again at the landing page and figure out where you could change it to make it better, or at what points you might be losing people.

In our experience:

1. A good clickthrough percentage is anything over 0.5%. If you are getting 1.0% or better, that’s pretty good. If you are getting less than 0.5%, you should test some changes to your ad.

2. A good conversion rate is anything from 10% to 50%. The highest conversion rate we have ever gotten on a web site is 50%. If you are getting 10% or less, you should test some changes to your landing page and try to improve it.

Remember that a poor clickthrough percentage is a reflection of your search engine ad, not your landing page. So make changes to your ad, not your landing page, when trying to improve it.

And likewise remember that a poor conversion rate is a reflection of your landing page, so make any needed changes there.


In the constantly changing landscape of the Internet and Internet marketing, paid search engine advertising is currently a very successful tool. We recommend you try it sooner rather than later.

About The Author

© Copyright 2005 by John Eberhard and realWebMarketing.net. All Rights Reserved.

John Eberhard is a marketing consultant in the Los Angeles area, is President of RealWebMarketing.net, and has been involved in marketing in a variety of industries for the past 16 years. He can be reached at: http://www.realwebmarketing.net/contact.html.


This article was posted on February 16, 2005

by John Eberhard

Overcoming the most Frustrating Situation on eBay

Overcoming the most Frustrating Situation on eBay

by: Carolyn Schweitzer

Itกs happened to the best of us.

Youกve been watching the auction all week, and finally you’re about to claim your prizea rare bronze statue from the Shang Dy dynasty. Or something just as tantalizing. You log on a few minutes before the auction closes, and confirm that you’re still the top bidder no one has challenged you in several days. You’re already picturing กyourก statue prominently displayed on the living room mantelpiece, your friends green with envy as you tell them about the great deal you got on eBay. You refresh the page a few times, to make sure you’re still #1. You even up your bid a little just to make sure no body tries to outbid you at the last minute.

50 seconds to go…30…10…the auction has ended and the statue is yours!! You refresh the page for the last time so you can see your eBay ID announced as the winning bidder. And thatกs when your heart drops to your toes. Itกs not your eBay ID at all, but some joker who calls themselves กspeedyfingers147ก.

How could this have happened? You were the winning bidder with only 10 seconds to go!! Speedy or not, it just doesn’t seem humanly possible.

Well, you’re right. No one is that fast. Speedyfingers (I made that one up, so if itกs your actual eBay ID, please don’t sue me!) won the auction in the final 4 seconds. It isn’t humanly possible because กspeedyก didn’t actually place the bid. The bid was place on his or her behalf, from a remote server, using something called Bidding Software.

The act of placing a bid during the final seconds of an online auction is called กSnipingก and itกs perfectly legal on eBay. Bidding wars and sniping are an eBay sellers dream and a buyerกs nightmare. Why, you’re asking yourself, don’t these people just use eBayกs trusty proxy bidding process? Why not just discreetly enter the maximum they’re willing to pay at the beginning of the auction, then let the cards fall where they may? Well, for a couple of reasons. First, itกs not human nature. If all you have to do is outbid the next guy by fifty cents or even five dollars to win, wouldn’t you?

Second, it doesn’t make economic or strategic sense to place a bid anytime before the last five minutes of an auction.

Think about it. EBay encourages bidders to use the proxy system and place bids early. What this means is that an inexperienced bidder who wants an item will to want to be the highest bidder right away, and will keep upping their bid to hold that winning position. Theyกll only stop when the bidding exceeds their budget. Then the next guy comes along and continues the process. If this starts at the beginning of a seven or ten day auction, and ends with a bidding war in the last 10 minutes, the final price for the item can spiral out of control. Many items sell for far more than fair market value because people get caught up in กbidding feverก all they want is to WIN, they’re not even thinking about whether the price is realistic.

A better strategy would be for everyone to กwatchก the auction until the very end. Again, thereกs two good reasons. One, the price doesn’t spiral up as just illustrated. Two, the auction has zero bids, so it attracts fewer bidders less competition. Itกs a fact that once an auction has at least 1 bid , it becomes a magnet for additional bidders. Shoppers scanning an auction page tend to jump to the ones with bids, figuring there must be something that attracted other bidders. The more bids, the more interesting the item looks.

Wouldn’t it be great if a seller started a two carat diamond ring at $0.99 and no one bid until the last five minutes, and they all bid in fifty cent increments? Someone might win the ring for just a few bucks!! Of course, that never happens, but it would be the ideal situation for a buyer and it would put eBay out of business in a hurry. EBay encourages early bidding and smiles upon the snipers of the world. EBay makes their profits on listing fees and กfinal valueก fees. The more the item sells for the higher the กfinal valueก. This makes eBay very happy. Thatกs why youกll never find any tutorials anywhere on eBay telling you to wait until the end of an auction to bid.

OK, so now that we all understand the benefits of sniping, lets get back to our friend กspeedyfingers147ก. Speedy probably started out in life just like I did. She learned everything she knew about eBay from eBay and never realized there was such a thing as bidding software. Never knew a computer could do your sniping automatically, bid on your behalf in the last 2 to 8 seconds of an auction, and do it while you’re asleep. With sniping software, you tell the software program which auctions you’re interested in and how much you’re willing to pay. EBay never knows youกve seen the auction until your friendly sniping service swoops in and places your bid with only seconds to spare. Neither does your competition. They never see you coming. The only way you can lose is if someone else uses the same program sets their maximum bid higher than yours.

Yes, my friend, you can still lose. There is no guarantee of winning an auction no matter what system you use, if someone else is willing to pay more. If you set your maximum bid at a million dollars for a hunk of Elvisก belly button lint and some nut is willing to pay a million ten, you’re still going to lose!

But, thereกs something about losing thatกs good for the soul. Itกs the satisfaction of knowing that you didn’t lose your head and spend more than you could afford!! Trust me, Iกve been there, done that, and come to regret it. With sniping programs, you can กset it and forget itก and walk away knowing that if you don’t win, you couldn’t have afforded it anyway.

Whatกs that I hear you saying? กBut I could have had it if Iกd just upped my bid by another fifty cents!ก Hey, did you listen to anything I just said? Do you want to drive yourself nuts? Itกs only stuff, after all. You can’t take it with you, and there will always be more. The beauty of eBay is that there will probably be another just like it, or at least something just as fabulous.

Speaking of which, thereกs another big advantage to using bidding software. Two things, actually. (again). First, on eBay, itกs a huge nono to retract a bid. You can only do this under the most dire of circumstances and if you do it too many times youกll be politely asked to leave. Permanently. Second, sniping programs allow you to do something called กcontingency biddingก. Suppose you’re interested in several very similar items and you want to win at least one of them but not all. Provided they’re not all ending at the same time, you can create a contingency plan telling the bidding software to cancel your bids on the other items as soon as you win one of them.

In all cases, you can change your mind about an item you’re bidding on at any time (except in approximately the last 15 minutes) because eBay doesn’t register your bid until the Sniping program enters it for you, at the very end of the auction. Isn’t that nice? No more กwatchingก an auction you’re unsure about, and then forgetting to bid on it. No more finding out youกve read the description wrong and you’re bidding on an item you don’t want. No more finding something you like better after youกve already committed yourself to another item, and having to pass on it. Or worse, spending way too much on both!

There are several sniping programs out there. My personal favorite is PowerSnipe, at www.PowerSnipe.com?af=netbrainer , because their กAuto Searchก feature makes the bidding process even easier by allowing you to browse auctions through the program’s built in web browser. You can check out competitors with a simple search in Google.

Take a norisk tour through the Power Sniping program with their trial version. Believe me, the first time you snatch an item away from Speedyfingers147or anyone else for that matteryouกll be hooked.

About The Author

© 2004 NetBrainer LLC. An eBay PowerSeller and rabid eBay shopper, Carolyn Schweitzer is the owner and editor of www.NetBrainer.com, a site dedicated to improving the performance of buyers and sellers on eBay, and teaching eBay as a business. Carolyn provides weekly recorded tips on eBay for Third Mind USA SmallBiz radio at http://thirdmindusa.com/.


This article was posted on October 28, 2004

by Carolyn Schweitzer