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Friday, September 05, 2003

Sign of the Times?

Fortune Small Business lists something called the "Ultimate Resource Guide" for small and growing businesses on their website. There are eight categories, and one of them is Sales and Marketing. Of a mere six resources listed in this category, one of them is Search Engine Watch. Isn't that something?

Posted by Andrew
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Thursday, September 04, 2003

Good News for SpamNet Beta Users

This might be old news, but users of the Cloudmark SpamNet beta needn't worry about paying the monthly subscription costs that many users felt blindsided by when Cloudmark announced a subscription model to coincide with the debut of SpamNet 1.0.

I certainly don't blame Cloudmark for trying to bring in the revenue to support their very effective spam filtering software, but so many of us beta users thought the Outlook plug-in would always be free, and that the company would make their money from their enterprise spam filtering software.

I suppose I should go ahead and start paying for the service, as I would be in serious trouble without it. Pricing for beta users is only $1.99 per month for the first year, and after that, I'm guessing that the price will jump up to their standard fee of $4.99 a month.

That monthly pricing structure is kind of odd, because taken over a year, that amounts to $60. It seems that Cloudmark is trying to lessen the "sticker shock" by offering the subscription service on a monthly fee, but the way it's positioned, it also makes it more convenient to cancel at any time if it's unsatisfactory. Then you're not out the bucks up front.

Anyway, with all the spam going around, SpamNet is worth the money, despite the initial controversy over its pricing model.

Posted by Cory
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Wednesday, September 03, 2003

FindWhat Diversifies

FindWhat has just acquired Miva Software, a company that provides sophisticated online shopping cart functionality. It's not clear what the strategy is here, although FindWhat's claim that it plans to "introduce Miva Merchant to its 25,000 advertisers" certainly has some merit as there is considerable overlap there.

More broadly it appears that FindWhat management has a plan to diversify its operations, perhaps realizing that its generous market valuation can't last forever, and that the third rung on the pay-per-click advertising ladder could prove shaky long term.

FindWhat's acquisition of European pay-per-click leader Espotting took us by surprise as well. But it won't surprise us in future if FindWhat gobbles up a few more low-priced private companies in the e-commerce field, perhaps even some with large customer lists that can be persuaded to become FindWhat advertisers (where the real money is).

A cynical view of the acquisitions might suggest that the Street likes them because they'll boost top line revenue next year, ensuring that FindWhat's rich valuation continues to seem plausible. For the next several quarters, the company should also continue to be profitable enough to maintain that plausibility with investors.

Posted by Andrew
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Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Court Says T-Online Must Remain With Overture

A German court has ruled that T-Online, which operates portals in several European countries, must honor its contract with Overture after originally dumping it for Google.

T-Online ditched Overture last month after Yahoo purchased the firm, claiming that Yahoo was a direct competitor but Google was not.

Look for this to become a recurring theme as portals re-think their strategies in light of recent search-related mergers and acquisitions. Yahoo, for example, has its own partner-related problems to worry about.

Posted by Adam
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New Traffick Article: Online Advertisers Say "Good Riddance" to August from Hell

If correspondence from Traffick readers, clients, and colleagues is any indication, paid search advertisers are happy to see the end of August.

Posted by Cory
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Monday, September 01, 2003

Pay-Per-Click Ads on eBay. Who Knew?

With the market for PPC advertising going supernova on the Web, it should come as no surprise that eBay would enter the fray with the plainly named Keywords on eBay program, powered by adMarketplace. I'm still learning how their program works, but it's title is blatantly misleading.

You do not actually purchase PPC text ads; you buy "keyword-based banner ads." Hmm, isn't that how most banner ad systems work? So, what you really have here is... the ability to purchase banner advertising that only appears under your desired user search terms.

That may not be such a bad thing, but it seems to defeat the purpose of PPC advertising and what makes it successful (hint: it's the text!)

Posted by Cory
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