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Other than being a blatant cash grab (at least they stopped saying it was because of higher conversions) I, for one, don't think they deliver enough value to justify it.
This year I've got better numbers and several reasons why I'm going to just turn off my feeds.
1 - my margins from the CSEs are significantly worse than SE keyword marketing. they're definitely not profitable on their initial order.
2 - my market has forced me to comply with MSRP to keep amicable vendor relations. I think CSE shoppers are very price sensitive and not merchant loyal (they go for cheapest price) so I don't think I'm getting repeat customers.
3 - I don't get the sense that the CSEs have a loyal user base unto themselves. from what I see, they're just picking up the customers out of the same SE marketing we are. so we're basically encouraging them to compete with us.
Because of all of this, I'm just going to turn off my feeds and move my marketing $$ towards the SE keyword marketing.
Anyone else doing the same? Or have different experiences?
[edited by: lorax at 4:55 pm (utc) on Oct. 24, 2007]
[edit reason] snipped email quote [/edit]
I would advise reading the small print - one of them had a line at the bottom of the email saying that they would not automatically revert to the original rates after Christmas, it would be up to the merchant to change their bid manually!
To be fair, I should also mention that Shopzilla is the one CSE that we won't cut off completely. We'll simply reduce our feed to high margin, high converting products, probably less than 5% of our entire catalog. They have the best margin and we think we can salvage a bit. For the rest of them, I'm going to do some analysis during this period to determine whether or not to turn them back on afer the holiday season.
[edited by: lorax at 4:56 pm (utc) on Oct. 24, 2007]