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Overture's new MatchDriver: new way to raise bids?

Well, just received the MatchDriver newsletter...

   
6:28 am on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Well, just received the MatchDriver newsletter with the link to the FAQ [overture.com] where I can read: "Match Driver is a tool that takes search term misspellings, singular/plural combinations and other variations, and maps them to a primary term" and "we take your highest max bid on any form of that search term"!

Yikes! That means all our lower bids for variations and our main search terms will be AUTOMATICALLY raised to our highest max bids of the most competitive variations, the "primary term".

And there goes the grandfathered $.01 misspellings, I presume? Somebody, tell me I am reading this wrong!

Also: "...match your listings to searches where we believe the intent of the user is to find your product" meaning our listing will be offered on search terms that the MatchDriver algo will decide that our highest bid should be shown. Without our control???

I am always amazed by the new tricks they pull out of the hat. Grrr...

7:08 pm on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

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



One of our search terms is "Playa El Agua" which for those of you who do not speak Spanish (as obviously the Over matching software does not) means El Agua beach. It is where we are located. In today's click report they show the terms "el agua" (the water) and "el satelite" (the satelite) as searched terms. Gimme a break! This is just the first day however this is really screwed up.
7:14 pm on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Mundonet - i guess you missed the part where they said it would "increase your number of qualified leads." ;)

From Overture:

*Note: The Match Driver tool is applicable to all advertisers, it is not an application that the advertiser needs to turn on and off.

In other words, we've got it, whether we like it or not...

7:15 pm on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

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



MSN has been playing linguistics with Overture matches for a while. They did it last year, and then again for the last two months or so. At first I was unhappy, but tracking showed me a slighlty better conversion on those MSN hits.

Wonder if the MSN experience is partly driving this new "feature"?

7:21 pm on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

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



Since posting my previous message I've gone back and had another look at the click report. The two terms show the bid cost as .05 as there are no advertisers under these headings however my original term is at .06 so I really don't understand their FAQ explanation - according to that the click cost should have been .06.

Does this mean that if I receive a click where my max bid is .40 however in fact I'm only paying .15 because of "autobid" that they would charge me .40. Seems reallllly strange. Why not just allow us to list under mispellings like Google does with AdWords. I really don't like this.

7:36 pm on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I have trouble believing that this will actually benefit me. I think this is simply a stategy to make more money for Overture, not the PPC buyer. After all, if I wanted to bid on misspelled words or different keyword combinations, I would have already done it! I don't want to do it! Now I have to pay for things I don't want, regardless.

This is the same type of contorted logic we saw coming from LookSmart before they started their downward spiral.

There are always consequences to Greed!

I was already backing off on my spending when the 'max bid' tool was introduced. Now I'm convinced. No more money from me for a while.

8:42 pm on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

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



Yep, it's a new way for them to increase their earnings per click :) And as an advertiser, you don't necessarily want this - it raises your cost.

But it helps them monetize their inventory, raising the average earnings per click - and if you look through their statements about how much they spend of their earnings per click, every quarter you see that increase.

So they have to do something - because as they expand, their services are mostly human based - and their costs will increase as well. Thus the technological innovation - remap the 'cheap keyword here' to the 'expensive keyword here' and then there you go - instant revenue once it's implemented.

The way their rep pitched the 'new and wonderful tool for advertisers' to me earlier this week was that it would help me

......of course, he should have said, it would help me by saving me the trouble of looking for more targeted keywords that convert better - those lousy converting ones will conveniently replace the better ones at the higher cost.

10:51 pm on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

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



I can't believe there is no opt-out on this!?
10:59 pm on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

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



Brett, did you see in the 2nd quarter their price per click (pay out, effectively their cost for the revenue) was 60% versus 54% in the quarter before that?

Six percent inflation in the cost of doing business, combined with the loss of Ask to Google, right on the heels of AOL, has got to hurt.

Imagine if every quarter their cost of doing business went up by such a margin.

It's survival, basically - they must charge more, and since they now have serious competition, they can't afford to raise the minimum per click cost to advertisers - a lot of clicks make a lot less sense at .10 cents than they do at .05 cents.

11:02 pm on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

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



Yes, it makes careful bidding knocked out by your highest bidded term in many cases from what i see. It is Overture increasing their own PPC! Watch to see your ROI decrease.. Sneaky move. There goes many of my low priced bids, and yet again over time, it will lead to less diverse OV results, reducing their attractiveness to clickers and their partners. Lower bids on targeted specific terms was one of Ov's main advantage over Adwords. Now that is gone to a large extent. And many advertisers will be forced to spend valuable times revieing their click inventory. They may well decide to try other options at the same time.
11:07 pm on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

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



Interesting point Jeremy. But I hope they have got their strategy right. Efefctively increasing your price in the face of new competition is generally not a good idea unless you are branding yourself as the premium service based on effectiveness.

Also is there any evidence that people are bidding less? Im seeing it casually and with our very limited terms. Maybe as a result of the SEC transparency regulations kicking in as advertisers (especially high bidding ones) start to drop out. Perhaps this is forcing them with this move.

IId be watching very carefully how quickly our money is being used up on OV.

11:35 pm on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

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



"After all, if I wanted to bid on misspelled words or different keyword combinations, I would have already done it!" - dvduval

One of the big differences between Over & Google is that in AdWords you can choose mispellings whereas with Over they usually revert to the main word. I would love to pick and choose the mispellings that I want.

12:06 am on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Yep, it's a new way for them to increase their earnings per click

First, my commentary:
This program really bites.

Second, my observation:
Won't the bidding just auto-correct over a short period of time, anyway? I'm going to stop bidding so highly for "widgets" if they're going to combine it with "free" and "green" and "cheap" ... I'll factor in more bogus clicks. Isn't this what everyone will do, and in the end, Overture ends up making the same $$ as they did before this weirdo change?

1:16 am on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>I can't believe there is no opt-out on this!?

There is for me where it doesn't work for me!

3:54 am on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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No opt-out and the real rip off: no negative keywords like Google's Adwords. So you HAVE to bid on irrelevant search term combinations that produce irrelevant clicks. It also pools bidders from different search terms with their highest maxbids, increasing competition and cost. Can't type the words that comes to mind!
5:15 am on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I'm sure match driver has been in effect for at least a year.
5:36 am on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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



From memory, OV went though a similar exercise a year or so back, but without the fancy name (that non-branding approach may have been better this time as well, given the touchiness of the whole SE, advertising arena) Basically they required advertisers to merge their bid terms which were plurals (or very similar?) Maybe the result is fairly similar?

gsx

8:50 am on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Match driver has been around for over a year. It was there when I signed uo, about a year ago. I could not bid on singular and plurals seperately, nor mis-spellings.

Why would you need negative keywords in Oveture when it matches the search term, correcting mis-spellings and pluralisations?

9:14 am on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)



>> Efefctively increasing your price in the face of new competition is generally not a good idea <<

And that in my opinion is the moot point Chiyo.

In effect this reduces the granularization of their product: reduces its quality and increases its cost. In a market the benefits of this can only me short term. When the market adjusts, the vendor is almost invariably in a worse position than previously. Simple economics really.

But of course in this industry we have seen it before - often. A sort of 'grab some money today and forget tomorrow' philosophy.

They will pay the price for this of course, as they deserve to.

>> I can't believe there is no opt-out on this!? <<

Indeed. This would have mitigated the above, but of course reduced the size of the heist.

Then of course there is the question of ethics... but I won't get on to that as it easiy provokes me!

9:17 am on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Am I right in thinking that MatchDriver hasn't been implemented on Overture UK? (yet..)
2:27 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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dantheman, gsx - yes, MatchDriver has existed for some time now as far as misspellings and plurals were concerned , but this part - "...match your listings to searches where we believe the intent of the user is to find your product" is new, and IMO will reduce relevancy and ROI by far...
2:33 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator skibum is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Won't the bidding just auto-correct over a short period of time, anyway?

It may to some extent, but in some senses Overture has a monopoly on their syndication properties. You want a top search placement on YAHOO!, MSN or other partner and haven't been able to get it with a regular listing, who ya gonna call? Overture or bust.

If they had both Overture and FindWhat appearing on YAHOO!, then there would be a choice and things would even out more quickly over time. Ultimately I think it will drive prices up.

This is a way to collect a check for virtually every query. For the advertiser it could be a good thing if you get clicks on terms that are more specific and relevant than that on which you bid.

They'll now be able to collect on all the terms with less than 25 queries/month or whatever the minimum threshold is. Anyone have any idea what percentage of searches that is? Probably pretty high.

It blows a hole in tracking systems like DART because you no longer know specifically how people are finding your site or what specific terms are converting. Will the keyword tool now group "solitaire engagement ring", "solitaire diamond ring", "engagement ring diamond solitaire" together? How will the PPC tracking companies handle it? Do their systems track the keyword based on what the advertiser puts in or will it extract the actual search term from Overture. There's probably gonna be some funky results for a while when the software is not able to correctly determine the intent of the searcher.

Welcome to the word of PPC where we charge you more, give you less, but dumb it down enough so if you have a big budget you don't need to understand anything.

[edited by: skibum at 4:36 pm (utc) on Aug. 22, 2002]

2:50 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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"Welcome to the word of PPC where we charge you more, give you less, but dumb it down enough so if you have a big budget you don't need to understand anything. "

hehe, i printed that out and pinned it up in muh cubicle.