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Pay for Play in Europe #1 [locked]

Getting a fix on the latest trend.

     
7:06 pm on Nov 17, 2000 (gmt 0)

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The purpose of this discussion is to try to collect the facts about the Pay-for-Play situation in Europe. Pay-for-Play means the new money making schemes from leading search engines, under which you have to pay them to get indexed or to attain a high ranking. There have been new announcements about this every week this autumn and the other forums here at WebmasterWorld are filled with cries of outrage.

But how much of all this concerns Europe and how much is just for USA? Here's what I have found so far:

Yahoo
Yahoo charges $199 for listings in their commercial categories, not the regional "World" category where European sites would have to go. The European Yahoo sites do not mention anything about payment. But if you have a dot-com address and want into the commercial part of their main index at Yahoo.com, then you have to pay. The requirement for a business based in an English speaking country has been lifted, but there is a bug in their payment program; When your credit card is reviewed, the program will not accept cards with a non-US billing address.

Altavista
Altavista has selected GoTo as their "exclusive Pay-For-Performance Search Provider". (Nov 16, 2000) GoTo will provide AV with "premium listings on select search results pages, beginning in November." There are "no plans" for Altavista's European subsidiaries, but "there may be a test in the UK".

Altavista will also use the LookSmart directory as their only one. LookSmart is free for non-profit organizations. Everybody else has to pay. See below.

Inktomi [inktomi.com]
Inktomi has just started charging money for indexing, with PositionTech [inktomi.com] as their general agent. The cost is $20/year for the first page, $10 ea/year for the following 100 and $6 ea/year for pages above 100. Inktomi has several offices in Europe already and is planning to open in Italy, Scandinavia, Spain, Switzerland and The Netherlands. Inktomi powers MSN Search, AOL and many other search engines [inktomi.com]

Lycos
Terra Lycos has announced that they will use GoTo in the same way as Altavista. It is unclear if this applies to Lycos Europe, in which Terra Lycos is but one of several owners.

GoTo [goto.com]
Goto charges per click in search results and site owners have to put in a bid for the search terms they are interested in. They are then ranked in the order of how much they paid. The smallest bid is $0.01 and there are lots of keywords left, even in the English language, where one cent will get you first page placement. GoTo provides "premium listings" for Altavista, AOL, Terra Lycos,Netscape, InfoSpace/Go2Net among others.

LookSmart [submit.looksmart.com]
LookSmart is a directory. They charge $199 for guaranteed review within 48 hours (but no guarantee that you will be listed.) For $79 they will review the site within 8 weeks, but still no guarantee. LookSmart provides the directory for Altavista, MSN, Excite and CNN.

That's how much I have found out so far. Looks as if Google and Fast are the only remaining no cost worldwide engines and this time. If you know more or have experience from this that you would like to share, please post a reply right here. Or just ask a question.

Edited by: rencke

10:43 pm on Nov 19, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Regarding yahoo. They only accept paid listings from entities with a U.S. address. yahoo.fr does not have any paid system whatsoever, nor does any other directory/se in France, barring indexa.fr which has recently instituted a "pay for quick listing" setup.
8:07 am on Nov 20, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Bon Jour 'louponne' et bienvenue ā WebmasterWorld. I hope you will like this forum. (As you can see, I assume you are French from the nickname you have chosen)

>They only accept paid listings from entities with a U.S. address
You mean .com-addresses? They are very popular where I come from. Almost half of all Swedish sites are registered in the com-domain, rather than .se Do you know what the siutation is in France?

It seems that we have missed Indexa.fr - it is not on our list of French Search Engines and Directories [webmasterworld.com] Do you know anything about it?

7:01 am on Nov 21, 2000 (gmt 0)

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This link has been posted in the new Pay-Per-Click forum. It leads to a site that keeps a long list of PPS search engines - 51 at this time. I will be very surprised if we don't see many European search engines going PPC 2001. It seems to be the new trend.
[payperclicksearchengines.com...]
7:53 am on Nov 21, 2000 (gmt 0)

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<It seems that we have missed Indexa.fr >

indexa.fr is a French directory of businesses. Started small, now seems pretty main-stream, and doing well, at least from the looks of it. Sorry, I don't have any stats for you.

3:54 pm on Nov 21, 2000 (gmt 0)

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rencke

hi from a very wet uk (still) I'm wondering if you could pass some of your wisdom onto a confused Uk web designer.

Goto.co.uk, it's my understanding that so far freeserve is the only UK search engine showing their results (but I maybe wrong), which by the way have just completely kicked my paid rankings onto the second page ;(

How do you bid for a keyword ?

Goto.com, has most of the US search engines now eating out of it's hands, thank god for google (please hold out). most people in the uk use .com search engines.

Is it correct that the .com deal is a better deal ?

Would you recommend at this stage holding off and waiting for the dust to settle ?

Should we be looking to submit to .com rather than .co.uk ?

Any help or assistance, perhaps we should be looking to set up another Do's & Don'ts for goto

4:31 pm on Nov 21, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Just talked to Altavista Nordic on the phone. The GoTo deal is for USA only. There is a possiblity that AV may test this in the UK sometime in the future, but there are no plans for any other European country.

Tigger: Lots of questions. Not sure I can answer all of them.

Bidding in the US here:
[goto.com...]
But check out the Goto price interrgotator at SearchEngineWorld first:
[searchengineworld.com...] bottom of page.

Dot-coms: There is real concern that major US engines are shoving "foreign" domains into their international indexes to make room for more dot-coms in the main index. This could become a real problem if you want to reach an audience outside of your own country. I am recommending my customers to go for dot-com rather than dot-se.

Recommendations: Let's get Mike Mackin in here. He is the house expert on pay per click stuff. I am just a blue eyed newbie who thought everything was free until my rude awakening a couple of weeks ago.

4:35 pm on Nov 21, 2000 (gmt 0)

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At www.uk.goto.com our Average Daily Click Charges = Ģ0.32
At goto.com it is A LOT MORE

$0.01 vs Ģ0.05 is a minimum bid

>How do you bid for a keyword ?
You sign up
Choose a Title and Descrition and bid Ģ0.05
Takes anout 3 to 5 days for an editor to approve it.
Then you can change the bid on the fly.

They have put very little ad $ into this as of now so traffic is lIGHT.

>Would you recommend at this stage holding off and waiting for the dust to settle ?
If you currently bid in goto.com and you ADD uk.goto.com you average down.
The sooner you get in the lower the average click will cost.

imho the does/don't will not vary from the USA version.
I have noticed soon differences in terminology which you UK folks will have an advantage in knowing about UNTIL the USA guys/gals figure it out.

4:59 pm on Nov 26, 2000 (gmt 0)

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1. I have updated the first entry above with info on Yahoo that Mike_Mackin has dug up today. See above.

2. Mike: There is a reason why the word "swede" has a double meaning in English, so you will have to speak slowly, using two-syllable words - to me at least.

>"At goto.com it is A LOT MORE"
Is that because the competition is stiffer, so that bids are pushed upwards? Particularly for the 3 top spots, which find their way into all kinds of search engines (click here [webmasterworld.com] - to see which.)

But almost any non-English keyword can be had for $0.01 at Goto.com with no competition at all, and in addition I imagine that a lot of searches in English for Euro-things might be easily available at the same price, due to lack of competition.) Are you saying that GoTo doesn't pass the 1 cent results on to their partners? If so, what about the Ģ0.05 bids for the .co.uk domain?

6:18 pm on Nov 26, 2000 (gmt 0)

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>the competition is stiffer
Supply & Demand

>Are you saying that GoTo doesn't pass the 1 cent results on to their partners?
Do a search on [dogpile.com...] for used golf ball

6:56 pm on Nov 26, 2000 (gmt 0)

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OK. Thanks, Mike.

So they do pass 1 cent bids on. But do you know if this applies even if the 1 cent bid would happen to be among the first three, the ones used by major league search engines? Or rather, will the big SE:s accept GoTo listings where the advertiser has paid as little as 1 cent?

Because if so, I could see a mad rush among European dot-coms for top positions in lots of engines for keywords where the competition is low at present. In fact, that could be an extremely cost-effective no-brains way to attain high rankings where it matters.

10:04 pm on Nov 26, 2000 (gmt 0)

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<Yahoo
The requirement for a business based in an English speaking country has been lifted>

Since when?

I asked them about that about a month ago, and got the following "personalized" response:

- - - quoted yahoo e-mail - - -
Thanks for your email to Yahoo! Business Express Support.

Unfortunately, the Yahoo! Business Express Program is only available to companies based in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, or the United Kingdom. If the business is based outside one of these countries it would not qualify for the Business Express Program.

You are welcome, however, to submit your site using the standard "Suggest a Site" form.

- - - end of quote - - -

Have they changed that policy very recently??

10:23 pm on Nov 26, 2000 (gmt 0)

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>Have they changed that policy very recently??

Hi louponne,

Take a look here [webmasterworld.com], spotted by Mr Mackin.

Compare the Old [google.com] with the New [docs.yahoo.com] [Paragraph 2.1].

4:44 pm on Nov 27, 2000 (gmt 0)

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>But do you know if this applies even if the 1 cent bid would happen to be
>among the first three, the ones used by major league search engines?
>Or rather, will the big SE:s accept GoTo listings where the advertiser has
>paid as little as 1 cent?

Yes, it does applie even if you are the only one with a bid! And your results will be showed on partners sites.

>In fact, that could be an extremely cost-effective no-brains way to attain
>high rankings where it matters

I agree.

5:30 pm on Nov 27, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for setting me straight, oLeon.
I guess every SEO-person in Europe reading this, is now researching 1 cent bids for frequent keywords in European languages. And at GoTo they are probably rubbing their hands together in anticipation of the forthcoming gold-rush when Europeans start overbidding each other. One cent today may be one dollar next year.
We live in exciting times. This will be interesting to follow.
8:53 pm on Nov 27, 2000 (gmt 0)

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>And at GoTo they are probably rubbing their hands
>together in anticipation of the forthcoming gold-rush

Yes they do! Because they know: only the first two (Netscape) or three (AOL, Altavista etc) results appear on partnersites, and so the competitors have to overbid each other to be under the first two / three results...

Unfortunately does it not mean that the traffic is better, it could be that the quality is worse than before due to the many internet-newbie who search on aol- or netscape-homepage.
More expensive, less quality! But GoTo gets more money - thatīs buisness!

10:07 pm on Nov 27, 2000 (gmt 0)

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<Yahoo
The requirement for a business based in an English speaking country has been lifted>

This does indeed seem to be the case, although they haven't updated their payment form yet - it just has the 7 or so English speaking countries in the drop-down of countries for billing!
I just submitted a site via that form, and didn't change the country to mine, since, well, I couldn't. - - I'll bet they'll charge me anyway! (any takers? ;-)

11:15 pm on Nov 27, 2000 (gmt 0)

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louponne: Sorry, no bet. There is probably a real-time check against card company billing address, so if you made it through the process, I guess the bug will not prevent you from being billed. Keep us posted, will you? I'd like to update the initial entry with your findings.

oLeon: I have a simple standard test that I use all the time, because I know by heart what sites should be on the first page if everything is OK. It is simply "Sweden". On a wide search like that, people who do it would expect all sorts of big official sites, the Lonely Planet guide, the CIA fact sheet, and other general info sites to be on the first page.

GoTo has bidders up to #25 for that keyword and there might be one, perhaps two of these that are relevant to the likely intention of the average surfer. All the rest are pushed way back. GoTo's money might be great from the point of view of search engines. But they are walking a tightrope. The more relevant search replies they are pushing onto page 2, the greater is their danger of loosing visitors to Google and Fast.

>More expensive, less quality!
I couldn't have put it better myself.

6:19 am on Nov 28, 2000 (gmt 0)

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My mail to Yahoo:
I have tried to submit the site in question to Business Express, but your charge page, in the billing address portion, only has the 7 or so
English-speaking countries listed before as those from which business express submissions were allowed.

Yahoo's response (they are really very good at responding personally to Business Express questions! ;-)
We are aware of and currently investigating this problem and should have a solution shortly. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for
writing in to let us know.

9:13 am on Nov 28, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Hah! So they do want your money after all. Perhaps it is the old case of the marketing dept. not telling the controller's dept. what they are up to....
1:23 pm on Nov 28, 2000 (gmt 0)

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>..."Sweden".
>On a wide search like that, people who do it would
>expect all sorts of big official sites,...

I donīt know whether you are right or not - I am afraid, not! Because, newbies think about their sweden-vacation and start to search with the term "sweden". They donīt expect this wide range of results, they do not know what can happen by searching in SEs, so their results become very unspecificly. And after clicking on a lot of links they may recognize that searching is a special-doing - and has something to do with reading the description of the results...;-)

I donīt think that I am very negative - I heard that that is the case: since goto-results were listed on AOL and Netscape the quality of traffic is worse than before. I just tried to understand why it happened like that.

>...the greater is their danger of loosing visitors
>to Google and Fast...

yes, of course - we as webmaster and SEOs will in the near future ignore goto due to its terrible traffic, and we will only fight in battles in the old good searchengines with rankings and so on...;-)
I mean itīs about whether a webmaster can find the right and most relevant term related to his own site. We all know much traffic is not the same as much selling.

4:04 pm on Nov 28, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Well.... Hmmmmm.... All sorts of people make a wide search like that for for a great variety of reasons, where vacation travel might in fact be the one of the smaller. Like school kids doing a paper and so on. Newbies is only one group here. If the big general info sites don't make it to the first pages because of paid listings, I would say the SE has a really BIG problem.

Nathan Power

11:32 am on Dec 14, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Hi rencke,

It will be interesting to see what European based pay per click search engines start appearing as a results of GoTos move into the UK market, or at least from now on.

Godado has made localized searching and advertising available in France and Italy if your site is available in these languages.

I would like to hear what anyone has to say about the UK based pay per click search engines currently available.

As well as Godado, there is:
UKSprite.com [uksprite.com]
Splut.com [Splut.com] and
eSpotting.com [espotting.com]

Thanks.

10:12 pm on Dec 15, 2000 (gmt 0)

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G'day Nathan and welcome to the European forum. Thanks for joining us. We sure need people who know about these things and by the looks of it, we will be knee deep in pay for play next year. This stuff is so new to us, that I don't even know what or who Godado is. But I will visit your site and read up on it, so I won't look like a complete moron. Keep as posted will you and

EVERYBODY ELSE: Nathan wants to hear about your experience with UK pay per click engines!

3:22 am on Dec 16, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Hi all,

I'd just like to say that I think Nathan is being too modest in not mentioning [payperclicksearchengines.com...] which is *the* site to visit to keep up to date on the ppc situation. Whether they admit it not not, I think most pay per clicks have one eye on that site. Good on ya! I gain much info from there and I think others will too.

And Rencke, hello to you too, I help operate a pay per click so I hope that won't rule me out of any further discussions. I'm trying to promote the pay per click situation without posting blatant ads for my own service. I hope I can post some constructive comments without sounding like a commerical for my site. And maybe I can answer some ppc questions as well.

Simon

10:44 am on Dec 16, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Hello Simon and welcome to the European forum.
Nathan doesn't need to tout his own horn, WmW's moderators will be happy to do that for him. (And members too, I notice). I was just practising the art of being subtle, so as not to embarass Nathan. ("Jeez, the moderator says he'll read the guy's site in order not to look like a moron! Who *IS* this Nathan character?" Click profile, click home page.) I guess you just saved everybody a click, Simon. ;)
8:51 pm on Dec 17, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Hi Nathan welcome,

I'm afraid we are rather conservative in the UK when it comes to PPC, there needs to be a compelling reason for it to even be considered, that means traffic. Until the PPC engines are able to deliver that traffic it is not cost effective for an SEO to spend the time on managing those listings. In short it is up to the engines themselves to effectively promote there services and cover the first 10.

Taking the engines you mentioned here are my thoughts:

www.godado.co.uk:
Seem to have done an reasonable job in covering some KW, taking "loans" as an example they have the first 9 paid for. They look to have done a good sales job on some corporate's in filling those spots. They are not a name on everyone's lips and I for one have seen no traffic from the non-paid searches, only when they show in the logs will they catch the eye. The bad news is their minimum sign up is Ģ50 [per site?], I've a feeling that will take a very long time to be used. Minimum bid looks to be 2p. Uses Mamma for <cough> unpaid results. Privacy policy.

www.uksprite.com:
On the standard loans search none of the results are paid for so some work to do yet. Again no traffic from unpaid listings and they will struggle to show in many peoples logs with non-UK filtered ODP as the back up dB and then further results from a US based meta search with all the usual paid for listings. Minimum sign up is Ģ10, bids from 1p. Privacy policy of a fashion.
Interestingly they have a Search Spy [uksprite.com] which may help attract the interest of UK webmasters if this was presented in the GoTo format. I hope Simon won't be too offended if I mention that the interface could do with some work and the focus needs to be on the UK.

www.Splut.com:
Only one paid for place on the loans search, with the rest from their own dB and then UK filtered ODP. Minimum sign up of Ģ50 although they will refund any un-used clicks for a Ģ5 charge, minimum bid 1p. They are a regular referrer and this coupled with some SE rankings should put them on the webmasters radar screen. They have also done some advertising in the UK Internet magazines and rather cleverly got their customers to pay for it. They are certainly one to watch but at the risk of sounding like a moaning old biddy I am not happy with the email sent out to confirm a listing for the free submit. Do not use the clients email address under any circumstances. They also lack a privacy policy.

www.espotting.com:
The first 13 results for loans are PPC with some well known high street names amongst them. The sales team have done a good job there. Back up results UK filtered Ink. Yet to say hello to the logs. As for the minimum sign up who knows? Couldn't quite work that one out. Bids look to be from 2p. They have privacy policy but it does say this "espotting will share your information with carefully selected and screened third parties", suffice to say they won't be sharing any of mine! Rather worryingly the have a program whereby they pay people [espotters] to click on the listings, I've probably over simplified it but it don't sound that good from an advertisers point of view.

Disclaimer. Some of these engines may have a higher profile in the South, for all I know some of them could be being heavily promoted in that region.

balthus

10:16 am on Dec 18, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the critique, NFFC

Just a note on espotting, I understand they are upping their minimum to 5p, and - more importantly - reckon to have done a deal with askjeeves. Does anyone know any more about this second development?

11:24 am on Dec 18, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for posting your experiences, NFFC.

Regarding your point about UKSprite and non-filtered ODP listings. We'd like to stay with ODP data for supplemental listings for the time being. We would also like to keep the full ODP data due to the relevancy of many non-UK sites to searches.

The compromise we are working on is for supplemental results to display UK ODP sites first followed by a selection of non-UK sites. This should improve the relevancy of results while still allowing access to a wider range of sites.

There's just one point in your post that confused me: you said "In short it is up to the engines themselves to effectively promote there services and cover the first 10." - I wasn't sure what you meant by the first 10.

Also, you made an interesting point about the search spy. I will have a look at making it a more useful tool for clients.

Thanks.

Simon.

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Welcome to WebmasterWorld, balthus. I hope you will like this place and as you can see, there is an enormous amount of classy info to read all over the place.

I haven't got a clue as to your question, and will leave that to my learned friends. Just wanted to greet you welcome.

This 58 message thread spans 2 pages: 58