Thought I'd start this discussion to get peoples views!
Is Espotting about to fade away?
We all know that espotting used to have major search partners such as Yahoo, lycos, and altavista but where are they now? The only engine I can find that partners them now is infospace and who really uses that?
What I can't understand is why aren't our click-throughs dropping off even though its loosing its market share?
No way will they fade away, I think they will get bigger and a lot of second-third tier engines will get bigger with them.
The only thing I don't like are the 10 result Espotting cobrands that spring up all over the web, in particular on Mirago and in Adwords. An Espotting relationship is a good thing but at least give your site some original content of its own. Affiliates should be a portfolio and reflect that in their quality.
Having said that though the same thing happens with other ppcs, people try and get clicks anyway they can and SEO is an industry all of its own. SEO cobrands are not necessarily a bad thing as long as the serps don't get too similar.
The thing with a lot of big name brands is that they are all name and no clicks. Yahoo had a lot of traffic, but others such as Kelkoo will not have accounted for a great deal of the Espotting traffic. Lycos UK is a dead duck in the search world.
New partners such as Search Mole have boosted the number of clicks, and Espotting has always had a large affiliate network (up to 2000 sites IIRC) to prevent problems from losing major names.
It is also worth remembering that Yahoo probably cost Espotting money, but they wanted the big name to attract advertisers. Financially, I imagine the loss of Yahoo had little impact either way.
It will be interesting to see what impact the Yahoo switch to Inktomi will have; a number of Espotting affiliates are very dependent on strong Google listings.