Friday, November 28, 2008
Searching for a definition for the word "sluice," I naturally turned to my trusty friend, Google.
A not unfamiliar sight appeared in the right rail: one of those irrelevant AdWords ads that just shows up out of the blue because I've typed a word that appears in a dictionary.
Sale on Sluice!
Compare Sluice prices.
Sounds yummy. And we know why the ads appear. Either it is pure arbitrage, in that the comparison shopping engine shows ads on their site or expects to otherwise induce enough revenue-generating clicks from each such ad, that it is a net gain on average if they can get those clicks below x cents on AdWords;...
or it is seen as a nice little brand booster -- dirt cheap clicks.
That's less feasible in the States, where Quality Scores are tuned to price those kinds of low quality ads higher, even in empty keyword categories. But in other markets the arbitrage (or cheap branding) game is still playable.
But it makes me wonder. If it's about building the brand, isn't it really doing the opposite?
At trade shows and in professional industry publications, the differentiators among all these comparison shopping tools are explored in detail. One has a better catalog; the other shuns ads; etc.
But all the consumer sees, over a several year period, is all these stupid annoying ads for Donkey, Angst, Holocaust, Sluice, Rhinoceros, and Mausoleum. Instead of being portrayed as rational shopping engines, these companies come across as used car salesman or trinket hawkers (or perhaps more accurately, robot trinket hawkers from a bad sci-fi movie, where we haven't trained the robots to be either respectful, contextually relevant, or persuasive), something search engine users came to Google to avoid.
Have years of these silly ads actually been a negative for the brands of eBay and Shopping.com and the like? There's no question in my mind. Instead of describing a benefit offered by these sites, they spew nonsense and do more harm than good. Unless pure arbitrage (milking what's left of these sites' equity) really is the goal.
Labels: click arbitrage
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Andrew's book, Winning Results With Google AdWords, (McGraw-Hill, 2nd ed.), is still helping tens of thousands of advertisers cut through the noise and set a solid course for campaign ROI.
And for a glowing review of the pioneering 1st ed. of the book, check out this review, by none other than Google's Matt Cutts.
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