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Looksmart - Dead Directory Walking?

 1:23 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Is it time to pull discussion support for Looksmart?

- 99% of the previous LS traffic is gone or residual that I can see. Most sites I've seen get more traffic now from freebie directories. In fact, there is one FFA that has generated more traffic today, than 8 LS listings have in the last year.
- The previous back door connection with Ink is now all but dried up.
- Even MSN ls listings are bascially dead on page.
- LS has lost most of the ISP associations it once had.
- After 500,000 page views from Wisenut the last year, there have been 12 referrals. Have not seen a Wisenut referral in 4 months.

There is a time to bring up growing engines like we did with AllTheWeb and later Teoma. There is also a time to pack it in when one goes so far off the radar (ala Infoseek) - I think we are there.


jeremy goodrich

 1:47 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'll bite.

LookSmart can drive traffic - I've got a hobby site that gets perhaps 5 clicks a day derived from MSN / Zeal / LS / and all their distribution combined. Good placement, as well.

There are other sites I know of that did very, very well with LookSmart...from what I remember more than a year ago, the traffic was a lot better back then. A new deal could change the score completely...

Is the question then when to lose hope they'll 'turn it around' or is the question are they dead already and somebody forgot to mention it?


 2:19 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have excellent placement in the LookSmart serps yet receive zero traffic. I used to get quite respectable traffic from them and was one of the first to pay for inclusion.

It is sad how easily poor management decisions can completely destroy what once was a very useable resource. They pulled one too many direction changes without bothering to notify their customer base. In fact, I am still waiting to be notified that the PFI model is no longer in effect and that I have to sign up for the PPC programme if I want to continue to receive resonable traffic. Great customer service!

I agree Brett, pull the plug. I hate to watch lingering deaths!


 3:09 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Leaving personal anecdotes aside, analysts seem happy with LS. It's stock has remained steady. The feeling is that LS will continue it's cozy relations with MSN.

In light of recent developments with Overture and Ink, LookSmart's position and stability have only grown stronger. This is important because 68% of LS revenue comes from MSN.

Overture stocks have been in a freefall from $16 to $10 a share because, among many many things, the perception that Google is running away with their ball.

At the moment, if anybody is facing a dark future it's Overture.


 3:13 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Are you talking about free traffic?

MSN is still up and kicking. A good placement on MSN is still a good thing....i think


 4:02 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

>that gets perhaps 5 clicks a day derived

Like a penny, I wouldn't stoop down in the street to pick up 5 clicks a day.


 5:30 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Gee brett Iam not sure where your coming from, my traffic levels from LOOKSMART are pleasing.Seems my case is one of many judging from other posts.


 5:36 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have to admit I have been a supporter for looksmart and since the switch I have had some great pockets of market specific traffic.

Unfortunately it is getting worse instead of what you would think would slowly increase as people became less offended at their foolish unheralded switch. Have to admit that I have been rudely forced from their side.

They have good customer service but the best CS doesn't sell a seemingly dwindling product.


 5:47 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Martinibuster,Iam not clued up on stock prices but one must ask if Ls'S PFI network is as useless as some on this forum portray why have Overture spent $200 mill to replicate it.Googles contract with AOL is at its end and in my opinion there is a good chance a switch to Looksmart could occur.Aol like Yahoo have now realized it is bad business to support your competition.

jeremy goodrich

 6:16 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

charge, personally, I'm thrilled that for what I got for my time from LookSmart perhaps could work out...if the traffic level holds steady for a few hundred years. :)

There are some people I know that claim better ROI from LookSmart - however, that is a bit problematic, because I KNOW they aren't tracking their conversion rates by keyword / search engine / etc.

Perhaps somebody that uses Go Toast or similar can comment on the quality of LookSmart & the quantity to get a better idea of their 'worth'...

Regarding that site I mention - 5 clicks a day. hm.

I get more than 10 times that from all my other sources, for the same site, with 0 promotional effort..

For the time I spent on getting that site into the LS db, I learned a far more valuable thing for my sites: don't waste my time on LS.

Like I said, though - perhaps there are those out there - that aren't posting? - chuckling over their fabulous ROI + traffic?

Anybody else think that there is perhaps the reason for the decline right under our noses?

As LS might have trouble getting clients at .15 cents a click, perhaps they are digging deeping into their CJ relationship to drive extra revenue...but that would mean competing more with US webmasters.

It's mighty hard to have it both ways....


 6:32 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I admit it seems hard to quantify.If you read this forum people bitch about google overture inktomi and looksmart.All I can say is bring on COMSCORE and lets get some accurate figures.


 6:57 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Here in the UK Looksmart is providing better traffic than ever (they aren't PPC over here though, just a directory)


 7:13 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

While I am no great fan of Looksmart, I think that while they have the MSN relationship, they are still a player. If a smaller PPC engine managed to get the MSN contract we would be heavily discussing the implications.

Just because Looksmart isn't what it used to be does not mean that it isn't still a useful tool for some webmasters.

If and when MSN drops it, then we can say goodbye to Looksmart.


 7:24 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Using LookSmart is essential to be placed above the Ink results in MSN. In competitive areas, if you want a good rank on MSN you need to use LookSmart.


 7:52 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hard to quantify - well that was always a Looksmart problem, even before The Big Switcheroo.

But I was always willing to work with that problem back then. Until LookSmart treated me the same way a scam artist treats their mark.

No, a lack of quantifiable success is far from the main reason there's so much bile directed at LS. LookSmart simply lost trust -- my trust and the trust of many, many others.

LookSmart didn't just make a little social gaff with their Switcheroo. What they did felt like an archetypal sting, a cyber-game of Three Card Monte, attempted on such a massive scale that the sense of betrayal is immense.

And, if I remember correctly, we read all kinds of gloating among the investors - talking about how they had really nailed the formula now and they were all going to be rich within a year.

So it looked very much like LookSmart didn't care about their customers, but only wanted their money. And to make things worse, LookSmart actually thought we would swallow their transparent spin and their awkward attempts at damage control.

At that point I recommended to every one of my clients that they not invest any more money at LookSmart.

So now, to get any of my business back, LookSmart has to prove to me -- QUANTIFY and PROVE -- that they didn't just build a one way street. That they have a clue about how to relate to clients honestly. And after they do that, they still need to prove that any money I throw their way will show a return. Their pathetic little monthly "freebie" certainly didn't.

I still don't think it was a case of poorly handle PR. I think it was a case of the REAL brand becoming clearly and quickly visible. The web will do that to you. You can't spin a brand for nearly as long as you used to. Your brand rapidly reflects exactly who you are.

Bottom line for me, I don't do business with people when I think they are only out to exploit me. I have plenty of ways to generate traffic - yes, even MSN traffic - that I trust at least a little bit.


 7:59 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes tedster the net is no more a free ride.Reality is a scary thing.
regards charge!


 8:15 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thinking about this some more, I think that we may well see the demise of Looksmart when the 15 months of "free" clicks run out. How many webmaster have refused to pay any money to LS since the switch?

I have half a dozen sites in Looksmart that paid to be in the directory, and I have no intention of paying for any of them to be in Looksmart once the "free" clicks run out. I would imagine that there will be many others who feel the same.

So what will we be left with? A much reduced $0.15 PPC directory. Will this be the worst directory in existence?

I think that they should consider taking the risk and completely switching to pure bidding PPC before they die, and while they still have some customers.


 4:20 pm on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Brett, please don't pull down the LS discussion support. I don't like them any more than the next guy, but our free and paid listings are actually doing us some good, and just the other day I learned something about LS.

A problem is that too many posters make emotional statements about LS that have nothing to do with the original question, and so people don't bother to post their LS questions because they know the kind of animosity it will start.

As someone else said, LS could turn on a dime with 1 deal. Look at all the other changes we've seen this year.

You could argue that they're worth talking about just because of how much they own the Australian market (with Google of course). I had to do some Australian research recently and this site was my first stop.


 6:13 pm on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

How many webmaster have refused to pay any money to LS since the switch?

I know of one for sure! ;)

A directory which accepts money for PFI then ditches the so called directory and switches to PPC/PFP without bothering to notify me is not going to get any more of my money anytime soon ... if ever.

There are other games in town and they deal (for the most part) on the up and up. Trust is everything in any business ... and I simply don't trust LS. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice ... shame on me. They won't be given the opportunity!

I am very surprised that some of you seem to still hold out hope for LS. I wrote them off long ago and hadn't bothered to check the SERPS in the past 9 or 10 months until Brett started this thread.

Just goes to show the varied and diverse opinions/interests of those in these fora. :)



 6:32 pm on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

If MSN drop LookSmart then they are sunk.

If I am right LookSmart are showing a profit at the moment.


 6:38 pm on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>Googles contract with AOL is at its end and in my opinion there is a good chance a switch to LOOKSMART could occur

I don't think AOL would make that decision. They may add LS, but dropping a SE for a directory would be ludicrous. LS is tied to MSN. I don't see them getting any real big game. If MSN drops them it is over.


 7:03 pm on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

For me, Tedster calls it dead right: "Bottom line for me, I don't do business with people when I think they are only out to exploit me".

What they failed to realize was that the people they were treading upon were the same ones that had budget or direct influence over budget. Big mistake, even if you ignore the ethics of the situation.

I know I WANT to think their days are numbered, but I actually think they are. MSN won't prop them up forever, when there are clearly much better propositions out there. And from what I can establish, all the figures are stacking up against them as well.

Even post the great rip-off, I have seen the value of my directory listings fall steadily. This pattern seems to be common, and the rate of decline seems to be increasing.

Yes.... they are too small to worry about now.... I'd replace them with something with potential for the future.


 7:05 pm on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)


LookSmart are history.



 7:41 pm on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Fortunately for me, before I could start using Looksmart, they made their big mistake in the marketplace. When I saw how they handled the switch, I took 3 big steps back from them, and I haven't ever questioned it.
It's funny because I was in the middle of reviewing all their pricing when the big change took place. It will be interesting to see what happens when/if MSN decides that other real SE's are the way to go.


 5:38 am on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

I doubt MSN would drop Looksmart guys.I am sure I read looksmart contributed $40MILL TO MSN coffers last year.With no other competitive PFI to replace Looksmart no change will be coming.Interesting thread saying people are hesitant to post looksmart questions for fear of getting jumped on. Sounds like I am no lone voice. If nothing else Brett at least my posts have got the blood flowing on webmasters.
cheers charge.


 6:10 am on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes tedster the net is no more a free ride

I don't see how that follows from what I wrote. Just to clarify, I was using paid ads for my clients long before LS made their big change. I was doing PPC with GoTo soon after they set up shop. Inktomi PFI? From the first week. Yahoo banner ads, ads on smaller targeted sites - you name it.

It was clear that LookSmart needed to do something about their cash situation, and I was ready for it. Obviously either money or sweat equity is a requirement for any endeavor, online or off, and real employees need real money.

Yes, I agree with you, that is reality. Anyone dreaming about Money for Nothin' is a sucker waiting to be fleeced by the get rich quick boys. Spending money to make money was never the issue for me.

But the details of what LookSmart did and how they did it -- that was the problem.


 6:32 am on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Tedster,Thornley told me the reason for the abrupt change was due to 90% of looksmarts clients going broke in 1 month following the DAQ diving.The way they did it was just plain rude,but I think they did panic.My point is everyone stuffs up now and then and if you live life looking backwards you do not see whats upfront.To forgive is divine.


 10:45 pm on May 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Tom what was it you learned about Looksmart last week.Sounded like you stumbled across something.I had heard that they were to be included in AOL as PFI.But rumours abound in this industry.
cheers charge!

jeremy goodrich

 10:50 pm on May 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

I heard that starting in June, if you read LookSmart's SEC filings, MSN is set to give them a 0 search allocation. :)

Cheers, Charge. lol.

And, that Google has just signed a multi year, exclusive contract with AOL. he he he.


 11:09 pm on May 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Jeremy once again you are giving out false info.Googles deal is non exclusive and what the hell are you reading LOOKSMART sec files for?

This 41 message thread spans 2 pages: 41 ( [1] 2 > >
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