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Ask Jeeves officially launches its advertising network

 12:30 pm on Aug 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

Following on from [webmasterworld.com...]

It is official [news.yahoo.com...]

[edited by: engine at 4:59 pm (utc) on Aug. 1, 2005]
[edit reason] Added previous discussion link [/edit]



 12:48 pm on Aug 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

More here:


The system is immediately available to existing Ask Jeeves advertisers, with general availability slated for August 15. Sponsored Listings on Ask.co.uk are expected to launch within the next 12 months.

The Branded Response units, text and graphics at the top of Ask.com results, are being withdrawn.


 10:04 pm on Aug 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

That they are withdrawing the branded results is a surprise to me. I have studied AJ for some time and I always thought that had potential. Here's hoping they are simply going to set that aside until the network that everyone understands (thanks to Google) is in place.

Re: Google-What is the latest numbers we have regarding traffic/clicks on ads via the search engine itself and from affiliates? I remember that this number came out during Google's public filing and I was floored at what a small percentage of the clicks came from outside Google's search. (And, yet, many here sing the praises of G's income from the ads they run on their pages. What a great business model--no wonder AJ is going to try a me-too.)


 10:37 pm on Aug 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

According to Google's most recent quarterly financial results:

Google-owned sites generated $737 million or 53% of total revenues. This represents an increase of 115% over the second quarter of 2004.

The Google Network -- Revenues generated on Google's partner sites, through AdSense programs, contributed $630 million, or 46% of total revenues, an 82% increase over the Network revenues generated in the same quarter last year.


 12:36 am on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks, e, that's much better than I first heard. Nice to know that those ads out there are selling something other than Google.


 3:19 am on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Does anyone have an opinion about the viability of a PPC campaign that sets out to bid above the top Google AdWords bid?


 6:55 am on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I can only say Good Move..... shake it up dude...make the powerhouses notice you....good payday coming


 6:56 am on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Does anyone have an opinion about the viability of a PPC campaign that sets out to bid above the top Google AdWords bid?

Ok that I haven't heard.... outbid Google? Why? Huh?


 7:27 am on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am interested in what the minimum bid will be. There will be some good opportunities for those getting into Ask PPC quickly, even though it does not drive much traffic to my sites.


 5:10 pm on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

sets out to bid above the top Google AdWords bid

Ask will only show their ad if the revenue potenial is higher than showing the Google Ad.

So they are 'ask'ing you to come to them and pay a premium for their clicks! That somehow theirs are worth more...

So minimum bids are kind of irrelevent as your ad will only show if you bid higher than the Google ads. And G has bids on ten billion keywords so good luck finding an obscure one that works. ( but fyi word on the street is 5 cents)

Now I am not 100% sure of the formula. There could be a way to make this work as an advertiser. Lets say ASK gets 80% of the revenue from their ads (yes as a premium partner the numbers are at least that high) so if I bid 81% of the GOOG cost will my ad show at the top? if so than this could work, but from what I have read this may not be the case, rather you MUST bid a premuim.

So sounds like good news for Barry Diller, another great place for the big boys to throw money around, but doubtful that Joe Blow eCommerce site owner will be able to get a positive ROI.

Guess we'll have to wait until the Aug.15th official launch to really see though.


 5:17 pm on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am interested in what the minimum bid will be
Ok that I haven't heard.... outbid Google? Why? Huh?

Ask Jeeves reserves the top three spots for showing any AJ ad that pays more than the top AdWords ad. So if you are going to bid on AJ, you have to bid higher than the top bid on AdWords, otherwise AJ will not show your AJ ad.

So I pose the question again:
Does anyone have an opinion about the viability of a PPC campaign that sets out to bid above the top Google AdWords bid?


 5:44 pm on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think these are the factors that would determine whether it would be profitable/viable to purchase one of the top 3 positions on Ask.

1. Whether your conversion rate will be higher for Ask's users than the average for Google's users. If, for example, Ask's customers tend to buy more, you could afford to bid more on Ask than you do on Google. The nice thing about this, is that you can experiment with it, and whatever you do has no impact on your regular ppc campaign on Google.

2. Whether Ask computes the "premium" relative to the amount advertisers pay to Google, or the amount Google sends to Ask. Using the 80% assumption mentioned in an earlier post, and assuming Ask demands a 10% "premium" but they compute this relative to the amount they receive from Google, then you might be able to bid as little as 10% LESS than the top bid on Google, and get the #1 position on Ask.

3. What's going on with respect to CTR and its influence on Ask's analysis. We know that Google considers CTR in deciding where to place specific ads. Even if Ask attempts to do something similar, it may not do it in the exact same way, or perhaps the CTRs of specific ads will differ for Ask relative to Google, due to differences in the users frequenting the two sites.

Bottom line: I don't think we know enough to predict whether it will be profitable, but it might be worth some trial and error testing.

There could well be some profitable opportunities created by this new environment, for those who have the time, patience, and incentive to experiment.


 5:50 pm on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

if I bid 81% of the GOOG cost will my ad show at the top?

This seems like the key question. If you must bid MORE than adwords actual high bid to appear at AJ, why would anybody bother bidding both systems?

New note after reading Econman's post - good points.....


 6:00 pm on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

What's going on with respect to CTR and its influence on Ask's analysis.

There is no mention in the press release of an analysis. The only criteria it mentioned was that the PPC ads had to be higher than those on AdWords.

People, we really need to look at the fine print with a critical eye whenever any company releases a press release.

For instance, in April of this year, Berkowitz stated (and all the bloggers uncritically applauded):

Berkowitz said that, in a bid to improve the user experience with the search engine, the company began to implement a program in early April to reduce by 31% the number of ads it shows at the top of its results pages. The company's tests show that a smaller number of ads boosts the frequency with which people use the site and aids user retention. As such, Jeeves expects the change to help lift query volumes and ad revenue later in the year.

But that appears to be either a publicity stunt, or a way to miscategorize removing the top three Google ads to make space for AJ ads.

Or does it mean they're going to eliminate a total of six AdWords ads whenever they show three AJ ads?


 7:18 pm on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I haven't studied their press release, and haven't the foggiest idea what they actually plan to do (which may not match what their PR agency claims in the press release).

But, I suspect there will be opportunities for what is called "arbitrage" in financial markets. But, those opportunities will be limited to websites/clients who do enough volume that it is worth their while to figure out what Ask is doing, and how it impact's their specific situation.

There is every reason to suspect that conversion rates, and CTRs, will vary between Google and Ask. If you place an ad on Ask via Google, your position will be controlled by the nominal bid amount, combined with the Google's CTR algorithms. If you instead place that ad via Ask, some unknown combination of factors will control what happens. If that combination of factors allows you to shoot to the top, for a relatively small premium, you might want to do that if (and only if) the conversion rate on Ask's traffic exceeds the average conversion rate for Google's overall mix of traffic.

This choice might be somewhat similar to the decision you have to make with respect to whether or not you want your ad to run on Google's "content network" -- if the resulting traffic is low quality with lower conversion, you are probably not going to turn it on. In this case, you can choose to buy direct.

Similarly, you might be willing to bid extra if Ask's users give you a better conversion rate.

Assuming the conversion rates are about the same, the decision will boil down to subtleties in the way Ask evaluate's your direct bid relative to Google's bids.

I don't know how much information Google is providing to Ask concering bids on individual words, but I would be surprised if it were comprehensive and detailed. Most likely, Ask is going to be doing a lot of estimating, because Google won't tell them very much. In that case, arbitrage opportunities might arise.


 8:39 pm on Aug 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

John Battelle scoops who's ad platform they will use in part to run the program. LookSmart's tech will be used under a license. Interesting.


 8:46 pm on Aug 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

WSJ is reporting that MSN will announce their self styled ad program, MSN Keywords, next week.


Import Export

 6:40 am on Aug 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

I received notice that I can begin showing my ads tomorrow :o)


 9:43 pm on Aug 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Aw... Minimum page impressions per month to be accepted as a publisher is half a million, and we're only looking at about 300,000 or so this month.

Of course, that they only run their ads on sites with half a million pageviews a month or more may be a good thing in the long run even for little guys like me who may take a few more months to qualify. I can't articulate why I think so at the moment--perhaps it's the old, "if I have to work to meet the standards it must be good," thing.

Given Google Adsense's recent penchant for dropping and refusing to pay small publishers without explanation or appeal (they did this to us and to several other webcomic authors recently who adhered perfectly to our agreements with them, citing "invalid clicks" and refusing to give further explanation--although we have reason to believe we were hit by linkbots), though, I'm be pretty excited to see a few reputable companies getting ready to go toe-to-toe with them.

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