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What is so unique about the program is that it allows advertisers to block competitor IP's.
Competitor Blocking tool—competitors can be deterred from maliciously clicking on paid results as advertisers can enter a competitor’s IP address to automatically prevent paid listings from being displayed to that specific IP address
Traffic Source Selection technology—lets users control their listings on a site-by-site basis across the BlowSearch network
Hasn't Blowsearch previously been feeding traffic to other 2nd tier PPC's that haven't returned decent ROAS/CPA?
Shouldn't BS's system be recording the IP's of advertisers, and automatically filtering clicks from competitive advertisers?
Putting the onus on the advertiser to build the IP filter list, won't foster much good will to test their program...
Good luck on the PPC advertising route - clickfraud must be way more difficult to combat than just combatting IP addresses?
Surely the next step in PPC clickfraud is to monitor click behaviour when it reaches the advertisers site?
I do like the idea of being able to do self regulation on the IP list though. This is one for the pro's for sure as mom and pop wouldn't have a clue.
This is the first time I have ever seen anyone allow advertisers to have a say in what they pay for in PPC. I think it is a step in the right direction.
This has been the main objection by advertisers to opt in to both GAW Content Network, and Overture Content Match.
Going to set up a test campaign, just to play with the traffic source selection.
My conclusion was that blowsearch was junk and a bad source of traffic.
First up, Brett, thanks for the mention. We’re coming to WebmasterWorld New Orleans and as always I’m sure it’ll be a great experience. Out of all the shows I have attended yours is by far the most informative and fun. I get great feedback from webmasters every time I attend.
The Competitor IP blocking tool was implemented to allow advertisers to protect themselves from malicious clicks. For those that are proactive in researching where traffic is coming from, like myself (yes I am an advertiser and webmaster too), this is invaluable in my book. That's the reason we have it available.
BlowSearch does indeed carefully screen the quality of our search distribution partners on a real time basis. We can automatically detect and block proxies and other blatantly criminal abuses of our system.
On that note, I'll let everyone at WebmasterWorld in on a little secret. We're developing a product for advertisers that will change the industry completely. It will undergo testing over the next month. If we are successful in our attempts it will be absolutely HUGE news. Brett, I'll be getting you advance notice so you can let everyone know. This new feature will undergo extensive third party testing before we make an official announcement as to what exactly we have on the table. Keep your ears peeled. You’re really going to like this!
Now on to the issue of our traffic volume figures. BlowSearch’s own internet properties process over 30 million searches per month. This is accumulated between our own web sites and search based applications like the BlowSearch Secured Instant Messenger, the toolbar, etc. When added to the numbers from our network of distribution partners our search volume increases to over one billion search queries per month. We have grown exponentially over the last few months. We’re adding servers left and right around here to meet the demand for our search results.
We’re a little different than most other middle market engines. Most of the middle market engines don’t have any of their own users. We all know that no one goes to FindWhat.com, Enhance.com, or other mid tier engines to do actual searches. Those engines get their traffic from re-distribution of their XML feeds. BlowSearch actually attracts a lot of users with our web site. We have larger base of actual searchers and users than any other middle market engine, sans the Jeeves and InfoSpace properties.
Since the launch of our Instant Messenger product our user retention is hitting an all time high. We’re giving users a reason to use BlowSearch and retaining them. IM and other tools keep them coming back for more. We’re even looking at re-launching BlowSearch.com with a new look and feel. More in the direction of a search “vortal” with other free and subscription based services to bring in dedicated users.
Our search partner network consists of other middle market engines. This includes the network of InfoSpace properties. Our advertisers paid listings are not currently displayed by our search affiliates. They only appear on the partners of the AdOn network. We allow complete Traffic Source Selection over this network. We give you full and complete control to manage our traffic sources as you see fit. You can cherry pick your traffic sources from BlowSearch at will. FYI, the only traffic source which you cannot “opt out” of is the Infospace network. We believe that no advertiser would want to opt out of that traffic source. If I am wrong please say so and we'll consider adding it.
When you add traffic source selection to ROI tracking guess what happens? It becomes a powerful tool for increasing ROI. You can see exactly what partners on our network work for you and which ones don’t. ROI is different for every campaign so it must be customizable. Some web sites work better with some traffic sources than others will. Does allowing our advertisers to block traffic reduce our revenue? Absolutely, but we don’t care. Our only concern is that you get good ROI and stay on board with us as an advertiser. You might get less traffic as a result of blocking some sources but at least the ROI will be where you want it to be. That is the most important thing.
Shaq and others specifically asked me for Traffic Source Selection at the Orlando and London WebmasterWorld shows. I was at Kanoodle at that point but the idea stuck with me and I heard you. Expect more of that from BlowSearch going forward. We can’t make 100% of the people happy 100% of the time but we do hear you.
If we can give you the tools you have asked for as a community then I’m proud of what we are doing here. The smaller engines can cater to users better. It’s one of the reasons I decided to work for BlowSearch. I had talks with majors in the industry after leaving Kanoodle. I chose BlowSearch solely based on the commitment they showed to the user experience and the advertisers ultimate satisfaction. I’ve seen enough in this industry to know the lowdown. I made a personal choice to make PPC advertising better by going somewhere I could have an impact to do so. I’m a webmaster and site owner first and a search engine executive second. Anyone who reads my blog will find that to be readily apparent. I tell it like it is and I don’t fear becoming a “Mark Jen”. I know enough about this industry and I have enough contacts that I could launch a brand new engine tomorrow. I have no fear and the team at BlowSearch knows it. That’s why they wanted me on board.
Most of you guys are very experienced web marketers that don’t like B.S. from the engines you work with. We’ve opened the door for you to check us out now. Taking our PPC program out of BETA is the first step. We have a lot of very happy advertisers right now and I’ve got plenty of testimonials that tell me so. We’re doing the right thing in this space and we’ll continue to do so. There is a lot more ahead for BlowSearch.
Put us through the paces and get me your feedback. My door is always open for constructive critics of what we’re doing here at BlowSearch.
Lastly I’d like to clear up the misunderstanding on our search results themselves. We are an InfoSpace partner and we do display their listings on BlowSearch. However we incorporate result from over 24 different engines in our results. We do not simply return InfoSpace listings. We have our own technology and algorithm that processes our data and does things like remove dupes, re-scores relevancy, and more. See for yourself:
The listings don’t match. There’s a reason for that. We do indeed have our own backend meta technology.
Hope I’ve helped to clear up a few things and thanks for bearing with me on the length of my post. I wanted to make sure I addressed everything that has been brought up so far and added my own personal thoughts to the mix.
SVP of Marketing
As an established SEO firm I must say your information is of great value. Thank you.
I think it is very important that Google and Overture implement this fraud protection as you all appear to be doing. It is of a great disservice that this is not a priority at the larger PPC engines.
I know for sure I will not add PPC terms such as SEO as I am sure my competitors will click my ads. I would like to know who may be abusing my advertising as I am paying for it and the PPC engines receive my revenue from this fraud. I would surly add more PPC terms to these engines if they had a solution to this and I wish Googleguy would come in here and address this. I hear nothing about this (Freud analysis tools) from either Google or Yahoo! I do not trust they are doing it right unless I can see the statistics on my own end.
I'll share my latest experience with blowsearch (through Kanoodle/Looksmart listings). These were the numbers over 90 days back when had listing there (through Kanoodle).
Clicks - 2,887
Cost - $173.00
Conversions - 1
Revenue - 10.19
Contrast that with Google Adwords numbers... I won't give you total traffic that google has sent over the same time period, but I'll break out the last 2,887 clicks...
I always like to look at numbers and let the numbers do the talking. Blowsearch's traffic just doesn't stack up. Your "search partners" deliver so much "phantom traffic" it's just hard to believe that this traffic is generated by humans... and if it's generated by humans, it's hard to believe that the humans actually know what they are clicking on when they click.
I've got ip tracking enabled and numbers there too. I don't even want to go down that road in this thread, but I definately could.
Joe... I don't know how you solve a problem like the one you've got on your hands, but it's going to take A LOT more than just giving advertisers the opportunity to block ips. A Lot Lot more.
Still, it is nice to see you guys taking some steps that the bigger engines should have done a long time ago.
Your results from Kanoodle's listing bear no relevence on our Advertising network. There's one major reason why:
BlowSearch advertisers do not appear on our own affiliate search box and XML feeds. Our advertisers listings are distributed to InfoSpace, the AdOn Netowrk, and BlowSearch owned properties only. There is your difference. Kanoodle is not a part of this network.
And Brett, we can just use the name I have now. The only other one I could see using is AGoToGuy which is the name of my own personal web site.
[edited by: seth_wilde at 6:24 pm (utc) on Mar. 24, 2005]
You're asking me to discuss something that would violate confidentiality agreements and I will not do so. I'll be an active participant in conversation relating ro BlowSearch advertising, our products and features for advertisers and search users, or any other part of our company. However I will not discuss the specifics of agreements we have with our search box and XML affiliate partners.
In genreral, when we redistribute other engine's listings it is the responsibility of the affiliate to manage their traffic quality. When we recieve a request from them to discontinue any source of traffic on our search box and XML affiliate feed we do so IMMEDIATELY.
Again, BlowSearch advertisers do not appear on the sites you are questioning. They only appear on InfoSpace properties, BlowSearch owned properties, and the AdOn Network. To see a complete list of our network partners where your listings will appear create an advertiser account and look for the "Traffic Source Selection" page. It's all there clear as day and we give you control over where you want to appear.
I assure you that you will see a much different quality of traffic should your campaign be optimized over the first few runs in working with us. Nothing is perfect off the bat and our reps can work with you to tweak your campaigns to your heart's delight.
Your results with any other engine's PPC program have no bearing on the quality of traffic BlowSearch's own advertisers recieve. Our PPC advertisers are on a premium network where even BlowSearch's own affiliates are not allowed to participate.
It is a requirement of AdOn Network participants that their own affiliate network's are not allowed to participate and we agree with it because it can greatly increase the traffic quality for an advertiser.
This traffic (and the numbers I quoted earlier) is directly attributed back to blowsearch.com's search engine. Blow search is, without a doubt, the referral source and the engine providing the link is either kanoodle or looksmart. We have a very sophisticated tracking program and we know exactly where each clicker comes from and what PPC they are attributed to.
The numbers quoted above a correct. A user searches on Blowsearch.com and gets a list of results from all kinds of sources. They click on a link (actually from looksmart or kanoodle) and come to our site. We track it and we know that they came from blowsearch.com and that we paid looksmart or kanoodle for the traffic.
1 out of almost 3,000 visitors buys something when they come from blowsearch.com. I'm not talking about people who come from kanoodle.com, looksmart.com or any of their other "search partners." I'm talking specifically about traffic generated from the blowsearch.com domain.
Contrast that with users who search at Google.com and come to our site through an adwords ad.
42 out of 3,000 visitors buys something.
You are correct that I did not purchased the advertising DIRECTLY from blowsearch, but that shouldn't make any difference. If I buy from you or Kanoodle, it's still on blowsearch.com's results. And why would I want to buy advertising from you when the traffic you are sending me from blowsearch.com (through links from kanoodle and looksmart) doesn't convert?
I'm actually willing to try it if you think that my results will be comprable to other engines out there.
Is there going to be a marked difference with the traffic I get from blowsearch (through kanoodle listings) and the traffic I get through direct blowsearch traffic?
I'm really not trying to be difficult... I'm just sharing my experience with users here.
What you are doing by limiting Ip's is wonderful, but it's only the beginning. Perhaps there are other reasons why traffic from blowsearch.com isn't converting and I'm sure that you guys are concerned with that too.
What I'm saying is that IP blocking is just the beginning because something else is definately going on (at least for us) with the traffic sent from blowsearch.com.
I know this will sound bad but, what part of "BlowSearch advertisers do not appear on our affiliate and XML partner network", don't you understand? This is my 4th time repeating that statement.
Our affiliate network is a separate and disticnt product which our advertisers do not appear on.
As well your listings through any other search engine are being displayed on BlowSearch's affiliate feed. Not on the blowSearch.com web site.
This means your listings do not show on BlowSearch directly and only on our affiliates domains. Again, we are not responsible for anyone else's traffic filtering. As I stated before. If we get a request to remove someone from BlowSearch's affiliate feed we honor it. Any traffic issues you have with another engine are not BlowSearch's responsibility and are not even the focus of this thread.
If you just don't understand the difference between an affiliate feed and an advertiser feed contact me privately and I will give you my cell number so I can explain it to you.
No matter how hard a Blowsearch.com spin-doctor tries to avoid kanetrain's very well argued assertion, Blowsearch are 100% responsible for the quality of traffic sent by their site (or their 'affiliate'/partner sites) and that traffic, thusfar, has been near-worthless to us and countless others.
BlowSearch has 2 different feeds for our results. There are:
1. An affiliate feed that redestributes other search engines PPC listings.
2. Our own advertiser feed which does not contain any other engines or affiliates except for those of the InfoSpace network, the AdOn Network, and BlowSearch owned properties.
So we have an advertiser and an affiliate feed. We've established that like 4 times already I think.
The traffic you are questioning comes from our affiliate feed. Your tracking software should be reporting the URL of traffic coming from BlowSearch WITH AN AFFILIATE ID. That ID indicates to BlowSearch who that source of traffic is on our affiliate network. If any ID's are questionable to you report them to the PPC engine you were working through and have them work with us to eliminate those sources. I will not discuss those relationships here. I cannot do so.
If your software does not contain that afffiliate ID that means it is stripping it out and your software is not as good as you think it is. Contact your provider to have them correct the problem. The traffic is being re-routed through BlowSearch. It is not coming from the BlowSearch SITE. You are only getting access to our search box and affiliate XML feed.
Our advertiser feed is a wholly separate and completely different feed. Your Kanoodle, LookSmart, or other listings will not be shown on it. We only display our own advertisers on it and we do not allow our affiliate feed to access it.
Do you see the separation here or do I just sound like I am talking in circles? I don't know how esle to explain this to you. The traffic you are talking about is coming from our affilite feed. Not our advertiser feed.
Contact the engine you are having the problem with and I assure you that we will address it - if they ask us to do so. We don't know unless they tell us about it. It's their responsibility to filter their traffic.
We all know that each network is different. It's easy to throw blame when conversions don't happen. First place to look is traffic sources. How many actually look to developing different landing pages, title text, descriptions, or other targeting for that traffic source? Very few.
How many advertisers place the same listings for their Google AdWords campaign into their PPC search campaign? Do you know that most of the keyword lists we get directly from advertisers are from a Google campaign? Google is contextual, not search. If you put a contextal ad into a search listing it's typically not going to do very well. Yet most advertisers still think it will.
Look, every network is different and requires different targeting methods. We all know that I hope. If it's just not working we'll work with you to fix it but like anything else it requires work on everyone's part. We're committed to doing that work and hopefully doing it better than anyone else in the business.
I came here to open up some communication between our engine and the community we serve. We cannot control another engine's network. No amount of complaining to me will change that. The question then becomes what can we do together to make the situation better? Don't gripe without offering a solution to solve the problem. Like I said constructive critics I'll listen to. I can only explain the same thing so many times in the same words before it sounds rediculous.
(That's readily apparent huh?)
Nevertheless I'll stand by what I have said and frankly if the other PPC engines don't want to participate in working with webmasters that's their problem. We're not Google, Yahoo!, MSN, or anyone else. We're a small engine making a break into a market dominated by companies that don't care about you or you advertising's performance. Over the coming weeks you are all about to find out exactly how much BlowSearch really DOES care.
If you have a problem with BlowSearch, our traffic, or anything else call me (the phone number is on the site), email me joe at blowsearch.com, or stop by the office if your in Brooklyn. I'll take the time to figure out how we can make anything better or you.
There has to be a change in the PPC market and the way engines handle their business. BlowSearch will change the way business is getting done in PPC. Let the rest of them follow because we are going to lead through innovation and communication.
So you have a problem with BlowSearch's affiliate feed. I hear you loud and clear. However let me make clear this does not effect our own advertisers because they are not exposed to that feed.
If you're reading my blog next week you'll know where I am headed on this front and you will be suprised. You might even feel bad for going after me when you see how committed and upset BlowSearch really is about the state of the PPC market.
It's okay to complain. I have thick skin. I can take it. However offer a solution. I'd prefer you contact me in private with your complaints and then you can report on how it was resolved to the community as a whole. Whether it worked out in your favor or not.
We can work together or I can vanish and market our PPC services without your support. We'll still sign on advertisers either way and build a successful product out. I am not here because I HAVE to be. I am here because I want to be.
Now let's play nice and work together. All I ask is that if you are going to complain to me offer a solution and hit me with it in private first before you go making public announcements. If you can show me that much respect I will definitely go the extra mile for you. If it dosen't get resolved then make it public - because then it will be my own damn fault for letting it happen at that point, right?
What does that say about their traffic? If it was good... why would they not give it to their own advertiser?