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Yahoo Search Marketing Pay Per Click Advertising Forum

Overture V Adwords

 4:26 pm on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've been using Adwords for quite some time with very good CTR and coversion rates. I also have an Overture account, but have never really utilised it properly - I find the user interface completely awful and (in the UK at least) the site is always sooo sloowwww.

Anyway, I can bid 10p for a 2/3 position in Adwords, yet in Overture, the same keyword costs 4! - Why is this? seems totally crazy!



 11:32 pm on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yes - Sloooow is the word

Be very careful what you bid!

If you come from an AdWords background be very careful!

Changes to your account take days!

They can bankurpt you in the meantime.

I will add the traffic is very good once you understand the system.

I will also add the system doesn't really work.:)

good luck



 8:55 am on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

All PPCs used to be simple to understand and use. But our Internet "advertising" world has grown more complicated, and we customers have placed more demands for feedback and reports and information on ROI on the PPCs. So, some, like Google and OV have responded.

The two systems' methods of bidding and displaying ads based on the bid and keyword, are so different, I have never really found a way to compare the two. Each system is good, each has its own "audience" that each serves, and each will show different keywords as popular. Use both, and learn how to use both. It takes some time.

But the complications of each seem to me to be based on the increasing demands of their customers for more refined searches and more refined feedback to us.

Still they both are now expensive as heck!


 5:41 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Overture was good for us for a while. We've tracked the ROI for 5 years when most of our competitors were bidding blindly. (They still are...)

During the first major change in Overture (called site match or something like that) we noticed the keywords that consistantly turned a profit suddenly stopped producing and were generating huge losses. No real change in position, competitors or bid price. Just more clicks and fewer sales. To this day, these keywords still burn money and provide little if any return.

The second change which I believe happend on or around Oct 15th of this year has taken the remainder of profitable keywords and turned them into useless terms. This time however, the clicks have declined and the sales have virtually dissapeared. I have spoken to several of my competitors and they report the same thing. The one thing that is different is the bid prices went through the roof. I guess people are thinking they need to raise their positions in order to get the sales that just aren't happening.

I have 5 years worth of tracking data to compare and the picture generated shows me that Overture is in some type of radical decline. Historically, the last 2 months of the year are slow but not in the proportions I am seeing now. Keywords for actual products that used to convert at 20% and are now at less than 1%.

As a test I kept the #2 slot no matter the price on a keyword that converted 18% of the time for the 4 past years. I spent roughly $2500 for 5,000 clicks . I sold two items from the 5,000 visitors. I watched the IP's, the reffering sites and everything else I could think of. About 15% were fraudulent clicks but the majority of them were not.

On the other hand, Google has steadily increased their traffic and now swamps Overture in exposures and sales. Google's traffic seems to be a far better quality than Overtures. On the same keyword above, I spent $3500 and recieved 6200 clicks and had 1200+ sales.

I know some of you might be thinking "that's his industry"... Well I sell books, Tapes, Software and Physical products across many industries. This seems to be an overall trend. Simply put, Overture has become a findwhat. Lots of clicks, no sales.

Years ago when Findwhat was a real competitor to Overture (GOTO), I'd spend $400 and get $1200 back. Then Findwhat changed and I was spending $1200 and getting $400 back. Overture is in the same downward spiral.

Hopefully, they'll do something about it.


 12:51 am on Dec 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Re johnw1234's comments: "The one thing ( with OV) that is different is the bid prices went through the roof. ...... Simply put, Overture has become a findwhat. Lots of clicks, no sales."

I would not go as far as john, but I agree OV has become quite expensive, and the ROI not what IT used to be. But Google is expensive too. Try OV's new budget setting feature and see if that works, and drop your ad position to #4 or below. It's worth staying on OV because they feed Yahoo and MSN. And those, along with Google are the search engines to be on.

Tropical Island

 11:44 pm on Dec 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Because I have never reached a level of trust with Overture that I have with AdWords I would never let Over run the bidding like Google does.

Everything that Over has done in the last few years reinforces my lack of confidence in their basic honesty.
Their bidding system is at least controlable.


 4:46 pm on Dec 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree with johnw1234, completely on the mark.

I routinely drop my positions far down lately as the top clicks are just no converions/very poor... ie. waste of money.

in fact our average bid in our industry is down about 2-300%. what used to average about 1.00 - 1.50 for top spots on the 'money phrase' is now averaging about .25 cents.

I think overture and in general all of yahoo are falling as far as search and performance goes.


 6:51 pm on Dec 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

I would agree with the majority posted. I have been using both G and O for the past few years and I have always had a much better ROI with O. Although O is much more work for me. I have to constantly keep an eye on the account. I have been averaging about 30% of fradulent clicks. I think if I was running multiple campaigns, I would give up on O and stick with G. But I have found my presistance pays off.


 1:17 am on Dec 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

>I would agree with the majority posted. I have been using both G and O for the past few years and I have always had a much better ROI with O.<

I'm confused, I thought the majority were saying G was better for O, and that O had fallen to a level it was like FindWhat for ROI?

Please help. Is O that good for you compared to Google AdWords?


 4:59 pm on Dec 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hello everyone,

I seemed to have stirred a few reply's in this post, so I thought I would share some more numbers with what I am seeing at Overture.

Below are a few results on a grouping of similar keywords for a week in Sept and last week. The ad campaign is running in Overture and Google. Both have the same landing page, the same competitors, same ad, roughly the same click-thru rate and basically the same positions:

December 6-13
1,028 clicks 12,359 impressions 42 sales
.040 conversion

415 clicks 6597 impressions 11 sales
.026 conversion

Sept 6-13th
930 clicks 10,685 impressions 35 sales
.037 conversion

247 clicks 4195 impressions 38 sales
.15 conversion

As you can see, September numbers were stellar. 15% conversion in Overture. This was typical for 5 years on this group. By December, Overture is a total dud when you factor in the click cost is about tripple when compared to Google. In fact the profits from google are now supporting the loses in Overture on these keywords.

Interestingly, after I wrote my post last week I got a call from Overture. I asked them what happend in October that produced a downward shift in conversions since it wasn't like this before mid October.

First they wanted all sorts of details on what I was seeing in Google. The woman got nervous as I gave her some comparisons, almost as if she either had information and wasn't allowed to say or she had heard a similar story recently. In the end she didn't have an answer and recomended more keywords... Yeah right... That might work with a newbie but I already have all the related keywords.

The only change I can see is that Overture seems to be drawing traffic from several domain squatter companies.

The traffic from this domain and half a dozen sister sites is complete garbage. Another "partner" is something called dotzup with a few dozen domains optimized for spiders. Places like these did not appear in my log files prior to October.

I also track the reffering urls to each sale and I've never seen a sale from these domains. From what I can tell, the domains make up about 17% of Overtures clicks for me. Hundreds of paid clicks and no sales. In case you are wondering, I don't have the content match on. These sites appear to be on the same exposure level as msn and yahoo.

Years ago when I spotted Findwhats' decline I was able to cut my loses faster than my competitors because I track everything. If you're advertising in Overture and not tracking, buy a program quickly something has definately been changed there. What you'll see will most certainly shock you.

Personally, I really wish they would fix this. I made alot of money for years in Overture and now all it's doing is costing money. Another month or so of this and Overture will be out of my ad budget. As it stands right now, it's pointless to advertsie in Overture.

[edited by: rogerd at 2:16 pm (utc) on Dec. 16, 2004]
[edit reason] No links/URLs, please... [/edit]


 7:05 pm on Dec 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

>I would agree with the majority posted. I have been using both G and O for the past few years and I have always had a much better ROI with O.<

I apologize for the mistyping. I meant to disagree with the majority. I have had a much higher ROI with O. Although the support I get is far better with G.


 8:27 pm on Dec 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

<The traffic from this domain and half a dozen sister sites is complete garbage >

it goes under various other names, but all have the same "look" to the webpage. All they are are paid listings from OV. I complained about that once to OV, when I noticed that virtually all my traffic for one keyword came from this type place (various URLs, but they all looked the same). OV replied these were 'aggregators' who had bought some generic domain names like dog mall, computer mall, etc, and their traffic was valid. I say OV is full of baloney on that.

[edited by: rogerd at 2:17 pm (utc) on Dec. 16, 2004]
[edit reason] No links/URLs, please... [/edit]

Tropical Island

 8:59 pm on Dec 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

What I said in post 6:
Everything that Over has done in the last few years reinforces my lack of confidence in their basic honesty.

The last few posts just confirms my distrust.


 11:55 pm on Dec 14, 2004 (gmt 0)


That domain is one of hundreds if not 1000's that look like that. Generally speaking that site pops up on expired domains.

Funny thing, I looked to see what the dogmall domain looked like in the past and they took the trouble of blocking the IA archiver bot:


Makes you wonder...


 12:13 am on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi all ,
I am not that savvy in my use of ppc but have had reasonable ROI on adwords , and thought I would try O as a test
same keywords similar landing page and my own experience left me with a feeling of being burned
I suspect if I was to spend some major investment in time and understanding it could have been better but truthfully even as a newbie and not very savvy i spotted a lot of fraudulent / poor quality clicks and decided that the effort although MAY have given me a ROI i was not willing to invest , so have dropped O
some others i have spoken to have had similar experiences so its not just that i am not ppc savvy


 12:37 am on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree with the general sense expressed here that OV is not doing all it can to prevent/reimburse for flick fraud. Neither does Google, frankly.

But, it's amazing to me that all the "big time" major corporate competitors I have, still advertise so heavily on OV. If small mom and pops like me face click fraud and have to go and hide at lower cost positions, or just disappear from time to time, how do those guys stay on positions 1 - 3 all year long? Surely someone is dinging them like they ding me? Or maybe they play that game too? I find that hard to believe they would engage in that because they have major brand/reputations to protect.

(I am talking national name companies with major brand names, major reputations to uphold -- seems to me if they were ever caught and exposed the publicity -- because they are national companies - would be nationwide, maybe would not ruin them, but would sure hurt them).


 2:58 am on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think we aren't the only people questioning Overtures traffic sources. If you go to the support section there are several new designations on their department drop down box as of yesterday....

Once of them is called "Click Protection" and another is called "Traffic Sources".

They must be getting calls all day wondering what happened.... I guess this also means they aren't going to reverse whatever did occur. It's going to be a long winter with one broken PPC.


 7:26 pm on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

i dont know about you john, but i've purposely turned down the clicks on the #1 big "money phrase" on overture for my particular market.

Meaning I am not even interested in #1,2,3,4,5, even in the top 10, the clicks have converted so poorly, that its basically flushing dollars. (not always the case either, the same term that would easily go for 1 - 1.50 a click a year ago, now hovers at 20-30 cents for the top spot) Meaning alot of advertisers have taken notice.

i think your expired domain theory is related.


 7:44 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have seen a drop in bids over the past few days with a few exceptions. When I click on the links that haven't moved much, I can see they aren't tracking sales. The people who are tracking seem to be hiding in 5-10th positions.


 7:31 pm on Dec 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

John 1234 How can you tell for certain if the site you visit is tracking sales?


 3:10 pm on Dec 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

The best bet to determine if a competitor is tracking the sale is to look at the url. If nothing is obvious, look at the source code and check for a cookie. If nothing leaps out then they're probably bidding blindly. There are a few hidden methods in asp and php but for the most part most sites don't go through the trouble of hiding their tracking.

Anyone notice the Overture note yesterday? "Are Bad Keywords Blowing Your Budget?"

They basically point out the value of tracking. The stats however reveal more valuable info. The 2 word keywords seem to dominate searches. Which would make the average advertiser think, gee that's where the money is... But, If you look at some of the lame "partners" out there you'll find a visitor doesn't need to actually search to get 2 keyword results. They merely need to type in a wrong url or get to an expired url and the 2 word results are already loaded with a selection of more "2 word" ppc searches running down the right side.

Which kinda makes you conclude that unless Overture bans this type of preloaded result, ROI won't recover too much by having everyone tracking. In fact it will probably result in lower bids all around for a poor traffic stream.

We need a way to shut off results from specific partners who don't convert or preload results.

Or Overture needs to turn off it's match driver since a preload can only be based on 1 set of words and not plurals or common spelling errors.

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