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The ptr, paid to read industry is thriving. It's large, it's memberbases are in the thousands, and it's for the most part 100% relient upon 'paid to search' ads as it's only income stream.
Since bid values have dropped so drastically this past year and a half, many of the more popular ptr sites have now turned toward the 'forced-search' model, wherein their members doing the bogus searches on your ppc bids do not get paid if they don't do the searches. Yes, they can track them now, and it's common practice at all of the better earning ptr sites now.
I don't know of a ppc company that is not affected by ptr. The two 'big players', with their contextual products, are for the most part hit via 'hidden' means now, the domain parking ads attempt at the ptr sites having met with a dismal ends when reported to the better of the parking companies, who basically shut them down, resulting in closure of the two biggest and most popular ptr sites during that phase about 6 to 9 months ago.
Now, what remains of it, or direct to the big two cpc players, is mostly done with hidden auto-click-scripts in 0-iframes, which is still very prominent at many ptr sites.
The vast majority of the remaining ppc players continue to be targetted for their traditional ppc search results listings, and this continues to be the backbone income stream sustaining the paid to read industry.
On this front, many of the small ppc search engines used as the 'vehicle' to connect the ptr clicker to the ppc advertisers submission at the higher level 'feed' are also becoming more apt, and are now commonly using simple 'domain-hopping' to display search results, so the dozens of engines running as paid ads at the ptr sites cannot be traced as the origen of the click showing in the ppc advertisers click logs, as the results hop to another domain from where the search term itself was clicked, virtually hiding the traffic origen.
In this light, I'm wondering how effectively you all are making out at countering this? The problem seems daunting:
-There is NO known way to 'verify' that the search performed from acme#*$! search engine was in fact performed by a person being payed to click search results all day. You can Document that acme#*$! or any other ptr-search engine is in fact running the ptr circuit, and likely has no other traffic stream, but it's not 'proof' that the click was bogus.
-Then there is the now common problem of acme#*$! engine being sent to the ptr clickers, but when they click on one of the keywords provided, they are hopped to acmeyyy where the results, (your bids and texts) appear, so it is the Second Engine, not running at the ptr sites that shows up in your click logs.
I'm also wondering if there is any interest out there from ppc advertisers to shut the ptr search thing down entirely, and what you all feel might be an effective way to go about doing it? Do you feel that a forum created toward this end, where ppc advertisers and persons inside of the ptr industry willing to help, (there are plenty), could 'compare notes' would be of benefit?
I've toyed with this problem for several years now, and remained convinced that the crux of the issue lie in too few ppc advertisers being aware that a major portion of the poor traffic originates from what amounts to a 'paid to search' 'industry' that thrives out there.
I believe that to date, most efforts to counter this have been on an individual basis, and cannot help but think this may be a case where a 'collective' approach might well yield better results?
Here's hoping that's all acceptable to the moderation team of the forum, and that there is some interest in this material.
And a disclaimer: There ARE a handful of paid-to-read sites out there, that do NOT permit ppc to be abused at their little sites. Sadly they are in a minority, but they do not deserve to be labeled with the sites I refer to above.