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Hmmmm. Bad for the searchers experience, bad for SEO and bad for search providers generally. So who's it good for, other than those who wish to PAY for exposure? No-one.
It could of course be a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to the bad AOL results recently announced.
How much can you monetize a page before readers click away and never come back?
google gets away with it because they only have premium links then nothing, though on the next change they may well be starting to push the envelope, but then again, if there is nothing with better info results and less adverts they have nothing to fear.
To AOL of course, there is a lot more advertising per page to wait for download and stumble through. I tend to agree with Napolean though i am sure he will probably agree that AOL will have to do much more than playing at the (page) edges to become a sustainable business proposition again.
Is there somewhere else they get their feeds from that I should be targeting as they are obscure sites that are not usually in the google /overture ppc wrestle.
Cheers from the Outback
Then we certainly disagree.
Google didn't emerge because it was full of adverts... quite the contrary. Ever wondered why the vast majority of folks click straight past the adverts to the actual returns? It doesn't look like the folks that count feel that PPC is as good, does it.
Chiyo calls it dead right.
It's gonna take a lot of clicks on that 4th AdWord listing to make a dent in that 99B blunder.
Any guesstimates as to how much AdWords is contributing to AOL's topline?
Lets see - Google's estimated revenues were $300 million according to an old post at WebmasterWorld out which an estimated 75% came through AdWords AND premium sponsorship ads.
75 percent of $300 million = $225 million.
Let us assume that AdWords contributed around $150 million to that.
Let us also assume that AOL generated $60 million sales through its 3 listings (the rest generated by Google and its partners).
Another assumption - AOL keeps 75% of what it generates = $45 million through three AdWords listings. Add the fourth listing, and it probably contributes another $5 to $10 million to their kitty.
hehehe.. Now that's a lot of assumptions ;)
I think its wishful thinking to say that no one clicks on them. The fact that paid listings have been around this long is a testement to the fact that yes, people click on them.
The paid listings ARE better for commercial words. You can't trick, spam or (in the right business mind) want to present a bad match because you are paying for that person to visit you. Yes, there are legitamate SEO people who present good results based on the algo, but for every 5 or so good results, there is probably one bad result. You won't find that for CPC ads, at least not for very long with the fail safes in place.
I don't think any SE should go fully CPC, but the free ride had to end sometime. Google, AOL and other SE provided thousands of companies with free advertising (whether you like it or not, SE listings are advertising.) They have to pay the bills somehow and obviously, in AOL's case, what they are doing currently is not doing it.
Think of the value to Google when I search! :)