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Overture to Remove Low Performance Listings



1:48 am on Jul 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I just got my Overture News newsletter, and buried under the "New Quality Assurance Measures" heading is this interesting little announcement:

"The Click Index analyzes listing performance based on user input and removes low performing listings to ensure user expectations are being met."

No mention of when this goes into effect or how it will work.


4:13 am on Jul 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

That's too bad, I just love that trickle of grandfathered $.01 clicks!


4:51 am on Jul 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I recently noticed that some search terms I have bidded on have cut off at 3 when they used to be many! I put my number 3 bid down to 5c because all the lower bids had gone! It's a similar scenario for a few other of my search terms.

Funny thing is that they seem to have eliminated some bids higher than 5c!


8:00 am on Jul 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

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

I guess it makes business sense as it is probably not worth the time administering terms with few clicks. But in a broader way and competitively Im not sure how sensible this strategy is.

1. Overture listings are already becoming less targeted and relevant from what im seeing on 2 to 3 word phrases. This will compound the perception.

2. Its one of the competitive advantages over Adwords. Adwords willr emove listings automatically that dont receive a certain click though. With overture you could maintain at least branding, for much longer.

I cant really see the advantage to users (as distingushed from advertisers) for doing this. The only advantage i see is hort term for AV, in reducing low value customers/accounts/terms - but not for the long term, expecially with Google mounting a strong initial challenge for market leadership in the PPC area.


1:07 pm on Jul 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

As usual Overlord has the right to do what it wants. But the bottom line is if they follow through on this and my avg cost per click jumps dramtically, I have the right to stop using them.

Many of us who have been using "GoTo" since the beginning and made them what they are today find that those low performing terms are the most productive leading to a sale or bonfide sales lead.

I really wonder whether they will unoficially grandfather old timers? I suspect they will.


2:35 am on Jul 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have no idea what the cutoff number will be, but I know that many of the relatively low clickthrus some of my keywords generate have extraordinarily high ROI/conversion rates since they tend to be very highly targeted, and the sheer volume of those terms collectively, as part of my overall OV strategy, comprises a significant contribution to my clients' bottom lines. I would be equally extraordinarily unhappy if OV's shortsightedness were to cut into my current yields.


2:51 am on Jul 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

But the bottom line is if they follow through on this and my avg cost per click jumps dramtically, I have the right to stop using them.

Sure you do - but where will you go? AdWords Select? They've been doing the same thing since inception - with a fraction of the traffic at a multiple of the cost of Overture. It's a business decision - and probably a wise one - by Overture (I wish they weren't doing it just like you). But don't get too emotional about it and cut off a good referral source. :)


3:39 pm on Jul 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

You know this conversation about what they overture can do and won't do brings me back to an old thought. If I decide to advertise a 1920 widget in my local newspaper ... they could care less who I am, what I'm advertising, how I describe it (No vulgarity and breaking of laws), how many I have for sale, how many people will call me or even look at the ad. NO ... what they care about is one thing. To run blah blah blah ad it will cost you $10 per week.

Overture should get smart and say to us old timers ..we are going to remove all your low performing ads unless you pay us $40.00 per click or whatever cost it is to make a return on hosting that keyword. I thought I read once that clicks that payed them .15 or more made them a profit.

So the question really becomes are you willing to pay what it truly cost to advertise and display a high performing key word that has little click through activity?

I would ... I'd prefer to leave things as they are but ... I'll pay if I have too ... just don't take my source of income from me.


7:36 pm on Jul 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I believe that Overtures reasoning will be sound on this.

If they drop listings that have poor clickthrough rates, all the lower competition will move up one place.

Example: The listing in the number one position for a keyphrase may have a very poor text description and users may ignore it, the same with position two and three. Now that means that most users will click on position 4, because it has a really good description and it makes you want to click. But hold on a moment: How many third party sites actually show position four? So many users will be looking at backup results if they don't like the look of positions 1,2 or 3. This means better stats for engines such as Inktomi.

But if Overture drop just one of positions 1,2 or 3 because users begin to ignore them, users will click on the listing that was position 4 and is now position 3 because it appears in third party sites. Position 4 may have bidded $1 while 1,2 and 3 may all be bidding more than $2 each. However, it is better for Overture to get $1 than $0.

It makes a lot of sense to me. However, the practice may be different, we will have to wait and see.


9:19 pm on Jul 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My take on this is different. I'm assuming dropped listings will be via keywords that aren't generating sufficient clickthrus... and with many, if not most of these, there will generally be no more than 1 to 3 bidders. And even if that's not the procedure, with most of my higher targeted, less popular search terms, I'm getting anywhere from 25% to 100% click rate. And I doubt that there are many terms where the bids are in the $1 range will be touched.


1:32 am on Jul 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Overture is not removing low priced bids. They are removing listings that are not receiving adequate click thrus based on the number of searches for the target keyword and the bid position of that target keyword.

Overture is saying that if a search listing is not receiving adequate click thrus it is either irrelevant or its Title and/or descrip is flawed.

BUT, there's another reason why click thru rates may be low on a listing. Some of us write our titles and descriptions to weed out unneccasary and costly click thrus. Writing a title and descrip that lures potential buyers, but dissuades non-buying, costly click thrus is an artform that Overture intends to make extinct.

Also, in response to dannybye, Overture and PPC listings are not comparable to newspaper advertising. You have to think of PPC Engines and Search Engines like the phone book yellow pages. If you look up "golf carts" in the yellow pages, you find listings associated and relevant to golf carts. You obviously don't open a newspaper (not talking classifieds) to look for "golf carts". Although you may randomly run across a "golf cart" ad from time to time. Basically a newspaper does not need to serve relevant ads to keep users (subscribers). We, as users, use yellow pages because they are relevant and we can find things. If we looked up "golf carts" and found something not so relevant, we'd no longer use that company's yellow pages.

That's also why we , as users, use PPC Engines and Search Engines. To find things quickly and efficiently. There is a heck of a lot of competition at PPCs and SEs. We , as users, will use the PPC and/or SE that brings us the most relevant results.

Bringing relevant results is a huge focus @ OVerture, Google, etc. They will not and cannot compromise their results for something deemed irrelevant. Overture will not compromise their relevancy for $$. They'd be cutting their own throats if they did so. You'd see the MSN's and Yahoo's leaving and using a more relevant PPC (Google, etc).

The real question is whether or not Overture has set the relevancy bar correctly. That's really not something we can answer. We can only complain when we have listings denied/removed. The answer as to relevancy will come from Overture's partners based on the input of the partners' users.


2:35 am on Jul 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

How are they going to deal with seasonal terms? Do Christmas gift terms get lots of clicks in June? How about Winter sports terms in July/ Mothers day/etc. You get my drift.

So, If I understand this correctly, it's more about title and description than cost. If the description attracts the click, regardless of its relevance, it stays. And if the description is not well written OR EXTREMELY WELL WRITTEN to filter "maybe" clicks, it is dropped.

Example: Lets say an advertiser is allowed to bid on "blue widget" and has a great title and description, and gets clicks. However, he only sells "blue-green widgets" Due to fantastic copywriting, his bid stays, his relevance is null.

The site that actually SELLS "blue widgets" but has a PPC administrator that can't write a decent title and description, and does not follow guidelines well, gets no clicks. Their bid on "blue widget" gets dropped, although they pay more, and there relevance is 100%.

It may improve copywriting of descriptions, and it definitely cleans out server space at OV, and may or may not improve revenue. I am not so sure about absolute relevance.

However it does mean that for low searched terms with poor click through, the list at the top gets shorter, and backup database pages rise, for example at MSN, ink pages move up a notch for little used terms.

This is going to be interesting. It's definitely a page out of Google's "Let the Users Decide" playbook. I can't wait to see where they set the bar. AND if they factor in impressions versus CTR, or just go for total clicks.

Will it be: term was searched 12 times this month, and the advertiser got one click, so it stays, or term was only searched 12 times, so it goes. (Despite passing muster for minimum search traffic when the term was added.)

I don't remember there being a minimum monthly search required before the 5 cent minimum went into effect. If that is so, they can just recalculate search traffic on a LOT of terms, and drop a huge bunch of under 5 cent terms, or merely say "Surprise! Grandfather clause on under 5 cent terms has ended..." and instead of jumping them to 5 cents, drop them.

Personally, if the terms are not getting traffic, or clicks, who needs em. A stray penny click here and there doesn't hurt, but I 'm not going to lose any sleep over it. For most of my clients, those terms are already in a category by themselves that gets no monitoring.

Chiyo is right regarding a bit of branding, but IMHO, if a term is only searched a few times a month, that bit of branding is very, very small - even if added up.

Writing a title and descrip that lures potential buyers, but dissuades non-buying, costly click thrus is an artform that Overture intends to make extinct.

THIS is the crux of the situation, IMHO, good call PPC_BT. Overture apparently does not see that this type of description actually HELPS relevance at those partners that display the dsecriptions. It hurts those that don't.

I see OV making a lot of bad moves lately, and think this is one of the big ones. I am sure they are under pressure from the partners that don't use or truncate the descriptions. Besides, who actually rolls over the link to read the dsecription?

Its great to be a consultant in an industry that changes so often. Phone time is BILLABLE in my world!


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