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There are safeguards in place and unless your clickthoughs JUMP by an unreasonable amount, watching your logs and trying the balance your stats is just a waste of time - imho.
It is just a cost of doing business. Like a retail softgoods brick and mortar location with both theft and shrink. If the rate of return on investment is acceptable, you keep an eye on it but move on to build another location.
I hear you Mike, just a cost of doing business. Having said that it can be one of the most frustrating aspects of working the PPC engines. A close eye on ROI needs to be kept at all times, that is where the true cost of false clicks will show up, but you have to limit the time spent.
This is an area where I feel GoTo has missed a trick, they are in an ideal position to develop a custom webmasters tool for tracking visits,keywords used and resultant sales/actions from all the partners.
Now there is an interesting idea which GoTo [and others] might turn into an additional source of revenue thus assuring continued success in the market.
Of the 32,000+ paying advertisers what percentage would be willing to pay a monthly FEE for that service in addition to the cost of their paid introductions?
As we know, there are a bunch of $Billion brick & mortar firms who bid at GoTo. They pay someone to monitor their bids. I think they would be pleased to pay for added tracking data. We have clients who would be interested. 3Q revenue was $25.1 million or approximately $260 per month per advertiser [on average]. A 10% added fee for tracking would be a drop in the bucket for many firms. It could be an opt-in service so the little guys/gals could elect to pass.
This would help those that need the service while moving GoTo toward long term profitability which in the long run would help us all drive more targeted traffic to our sites.
any other ideas?
[ I have no affiliation with GoTo, other than a desire to see them survive financially. ]