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Overture no longer showing bids on the SERP's



12:00 pm on Nov 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member nffc is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Just seeing (sponsored listing) in place of the bid price.


12:06 pm on Nov 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I saw that too, but I thought it was just because I was searching the top kw's. They have been doing that on selected kw's for quite some time.

I wonder if this is a perm or just a temporary solution to thwart bots?


12:12 pm on Nov 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I see that it applies to all listings. Probably it is related to the new OV system; it should filter some "spam" clicks".


12:13 pm on Nov 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

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They say perm but in the world of SE's this can mean about a week:).

UK and other Overture sites not converted yet.

You can get actual bids on top right.


12:18 pm on Nov 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

It is pretty permanent - They have also forced you to enter a screen password to check the bid prices. That doesn't happen by accident:


I think that there were bits of software that were getting around Overture's licences that allow people to do bid management.



12:21 pm on Nov 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Who can blame them for wanting to stop the bots.

tip overture: you need a better gfx generator. 3 ocr routines walked right through it.


12:24 pm on Nov 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Brett agreed but why tell them unless you are in the pocket of the bid management boys ;)


12:52 pm on Nov 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

Uk.Overture now showing sponsored listings instead of max Bid :)



12:54 pm on Nov 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Shakil: Good news. I have always been against real time auctions who tell everyone what my max bid may be.

OK it can still be found but at least it is less obvoius.


2:00 pm on Nov 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

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What a joke.

The darn thing returns keyword%20kerword%20keyword
" Currently, there are no bidded listings on this term. Your site could be listed under this term for as little as $0.05 per click (subject to editorial relevance review)."

I have to strip out all the %20's OVER & OVER for every phrase I check.

Advertiser friendly enhancement?


2:15 pm on Nov 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I noticed that too Mike. I didn't know how to explain the problem to them on their support form, so figured that someone else could find the words.

The reason for this change is to stop un-approved software from slaughtering the system with their requests for 24/7 updates on keywords every 20 minutes on lists of 5000 or more.

Unfortunately, companies that may have used this software in a responsible way are being pigeon-holed in the same category.

I believe the ransom security code will happen every 100 searches or so for advertisers/prosepctive advertisers, but it will be a little bit of a pain having to manage the looking up of the keywords manually.

Commercially, there might have been alternatives available that could have brought the problem under control, i.e. charging for bandwidth, fixed IP access, accreditation but I guess the epidemic was causing so many headaches they felt it better to act first, consult second, or maybe consult doesn't come into it.

It's not dissimilar to the headaches that search engine rank checking software had/has. In the hands of responsible people it's fine, but if people abuse the system then it affects it for everyone.

How many more examples of this sort of stuff will there be!


2:52 pm on Nov 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

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It is a good thing that I have a 30 cancellation clause in my contracts.
I'm raising rates to cover the cost associated with this new enhancement to the Overture DTC.


4:28 pm on Nov 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I think its a bad move on their part. From my standpoint, if I have bots hitting me...they must be doing some research.

Ok, "how can we make it harder on the guys spending money with us..."

It is...what it is. Albeit a power-play...this is not going to go anywhere towards making a happy webmaster and he'll take his money elsewhere...as I will do.


4:50 pm on Nov 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I can't understand for the life of me, why would anyone use bots on the bid tool - other than to research BIDS to place/sell to clients at OV? This is the silliest thing they've ever done IMHO. AM I missing something?

They are certainly making it harder to sell OV to my clients. If their goal is to lower new account signups, they are going about it the right way - making it impossible for the middleman to sell FOR them.

In addition, as I mentioned in another post, if we cannot automate bid checking, so we can make accurate estimates and bids, we may as well submit thousands of terms, bid them all at 5 cents and let OV editors sort them ALL out.
They are going to shift the burden of work from the bid tool servers to the editors. Nice job.

There is no longer an easy way to sort out and eliminate terms that are beyond reasonable bid range. I can no longer recommend OV without a considerably larger front end labor cost. Lets see how many new clients want to pay me for that - checking bids one at a time, whether using the bid tool or the regular search interface. A process that was taking me an average of 30 minutes will now take approximately 4 - 6 hours (the way I used to do it) just to make a PROPOSAL to USE OV.

PS. Yes, I DID read the OV Terms and especially the line that says

You agree that you will not use the OVBT or any content therein for any other purpose, including but not limited to, establishing, in whole or in part, the price of any third party product or service and that you will not republish, disseminate or distribute any of this information.

Meaning: if I prepare a report for a client, outlining their estimated monthly costs, using the bid tool for baseline bids, I am in violation.
BAH! Anytime OV does not want my clients' advertising money, they should let me know directly, rather than making it more difficult for me to sell their service.

As far as the "performance issues" I was under the impression that the bid tool was somehow separated from the regular SERPS. If not, it should be.
Yet another "enhancement". Watch your stocks folks.


5:59 pm on Nov 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

An "option" for us is to investigate the approved tools providers.

On the basis that it's nice to take them for a spin round the block, I signed up for two accounts, with different approved providers, and neither of them can show the bids of the competition automatically.

So I guess this move has caught EVERYBODY on the hop, including the approved providers.

I think one of the problems with the bots was that in the same way that WPG might be a good tool in the right persons hands, the software that has probably caused the problems has fallen into the hands of idiots who set it up to go 24/7 every 20 minutes regardless of whether they are going to do any bidding or not.

I suppose a good analogy is to give someone a baseball bat. Some will go out in the back yard and hit baseballs, others will take it down the shops and use it as a weapon. You can't blame Overture for wanting to protect their bandwidth, but to knee jerk and implement something that is bound to be unpopular in an industry that may generate a big chunk of their revenues for them (SEO/PPC management), seems a bit extreme.

Still, L$ seems to have come out of their brush with notoriety quite unscathed, and Overture are likely to do the same. Timing is good though, sign up MSN for a long stretch first....


8:40 pm on Nov 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

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As an Overture approved partner, we were aware the change was coming, about 3 weeks ago.

Biz dev had told us they were going to remove the "actual" bid amounts from the SERP's, in the future, but I wasn't aware this was going to occur at the same time the security code was being integrated into the "Get Current Bid" function.


2:59 am on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Mike_Mackin has actually raised a whole new issue.....

How can we ever hope to professionally resell this 'rubber stuff' from the SE's, to OUR clients, on any kind of ongoing long term relationship?

First - it was Look$mart - who decided to change their 'definition' (and price) of what they were selling - and - if you hadn't carefully worded your own customer contract - you could have been left holding "the directory which turned into a PPC bag".

This Overture change is pretty much the same. It took minutes - now it will take hours. Clients outsource stuff like this to us - because they are interested in the 'final score' - we make all their strategy and decisions regarding the hard yards to give them that final result. But when the rules keep changing - how do you guys cope?

I suppose I'm looking for any kind of ideas/consensus on how you guys charge for your SEO work. Do you:

- Use the client's own credit card to book the space (to avert the next 'look$mart' type change in T&Cs)?
- Charge a 'retainer' for specified base hours, plus an incremental charge per page/term extra work (to overcome the next Overture change)?
- do your own 'CPC charging arrangement' whereby you charge the client per click - with a tracking URL - and you then take the risk/reward - and it doesn't matter how you get the punters there - just deliver the 'final score'?

I'd be curious to know what otherbusiness models are out there to cope with the 'everflux' of this industry (and I'm not just the google index!) :)


4:57 pm on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This is going to be an interesting new twist. If we are no longer able to run queries to determine cost it will definitely change the overall approach of getting people involved in Overture. It seems to me there are 3 options.

Say, for example, your client has 50 phrases they like. At that point you can place each phrase individually in the 'View Bids' program and then copy and paste the results in a spreadsheet. You probably wouldn't want to do more than the top 5 for each phrase. This would be beneficial because you would be able to see if a phrase draws enough traffic that they would allow you to bid on the phrase. And, obviously, you would be able to see if the phrase is in your client's budget.

Another option would be to simply take all the phrases and blindly put them into the account and then see how they come out. Then, if the top 3 or 4 spots are too expensive you would just cap the bid amount you are willing to spend even though you aren't getting all the traffic from the Partners.

Finally, you could use Overture's 'Full Serve' or 'Full Service Advantage' plans. Using these would give you prequalified listings and their costs. For $200, the Full Service Advantage plan would find 100 phrases for your client.

When considering what is best for the client, I think the third option is the way to go. For me to cut and paste results in a spreadsheet, it probably would cost more than $200. And that doesn't guarantee Overture would allow the listings anyway.

While I'm happy to see that Internet properties are onto plans that makes them money, it's a bit sad to see the end of the 'level playing field' the Internet once was. More and more, only people with pretty healthy web marketing budgets are able to participate.


3:05 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Let me get this straight. Are we saying that bid management software is completely useless now?


6:04 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


Hardly.. Bid management software isn't affected at all by the changes.

The approved partners, have a secure URL, that is able to view the same information that was previously available in the "Get Current Bid" function.

The changes simply diminish the number of unauthorized accesses to Overture.


8:40 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

You're right, redzone. I just had that confirmed by one of the support guys from a well known bid management tool. Overture approved third party tools are unaffected :-)


8:53 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Hope so, we're one of the 3rd party partners :)


3:26 pm on Nov 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

I wonder how many partners there are?


4:43 am on Nov 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The last I knew there were 7 "3rd party" partners with Overture. Some offer commercial software for retail sale/subscription fees and others offer complete bid management services while not reselling their software or its use.

Overture has long been saying that it would be denying access to rogue bots through software or legal means. Looks like they are closing in on that promise.


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