Pay Per Click Party Over?

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First the good news. Pay per click, as it has been perfected by Google, is unarguably the Web’s highest business achievement to date. Google has become an international corporate icon worth more than some of the most famous name brands of our generation like Disney, McDonalds and Hertz.

Pay Per Click Party Over?
Pay Per Click Party Over?

Even more impressive is that pay per click has empowered literally hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs in their web businesses. Quite a few sites, which prior to pay per click would have trouble making money, are earning more than $10,000 per month. Large sites such as NY Times, CNN, BusinessWeek and ESPN are also using pay per click to supplement their ad revenue.

Pay per click seems to be booming … but is the party soon to be over?

Blogger Steve Rubel came up with five reasons (in bold) on why pay per click is in trouble.  I’ll  take a look at each one of his points below.

1) Clutter
Google didn’t invent text ads, it just pop
ularized them. Their Adsense program has made it simple for sites to add which has caused a glut of text ads everywhere you click. I see the "clutter" problem as an Adsense clutter problem that leads to a phenomenon all web publishers have dealt with … ad blindness.

When people get used to seeing a certain style of ad across the web, click rates go down…. and down and down! That’s why banners originally got up to 8 percent click rates when they were first introduced by Wired.com. Good click rates now are .25 – .75% for top banners. Clutter contributes to ad blindness which causes lower click rates which could mean the glory days are over for pay per click.

As for clutter in search results, I see this as a problem of an educated user base. When text ads first appeared in search results the average user didn’t identify them as ads, thus they had a great click rate. Now only the most casual users still doesn’t realize what is and isn’t an ad in search results, resulting in much lower click rates. This problem will only get worse over time.

What can search engines do to combat this "clutter effect"? The answer is to make the ads look less like ads. If 3 line text ads are obvious ads, how about 1 line ads integrated within the search results that might look like this:

>>> Read a review of all BMW’s and click for best prices here.

Google and the other engines need to find a way to make the ads blend better with search results and content. How far they can go with this strategy without alienating the searcher or site visitor is the question.

2) Declining Relevance of Traffic/Transition to Cost Per Action
People are still clicking in big numbers but evidence suggests they are not converting as much. My guess is that conversions of ads in search results are not as much of an issue as conversions from Adsense partner clicks. This has become a bigger problem as  the Adsense program has grown.

3) Rising Costs
Click costs have gone up substantially since the good old days of GoTo.com where you could buy clicks for as little as one cent. Marketers must justify their expenditures on advertising based on its impact on sales. Will the increasing cost of text ads for most key words cause cuts in search marketing budgets?

I actually don’t see prices falling any time soon. The world is competing for keywords and bidding them up as necessary. Some may look for other Internet marketing options but the world is a big marketplace and so far there is no shortage of bidders.

The rising cost has its biggest impact on small business where price matters more. When small businesses are cut out of buying popular key words they may eventually just give up on search marketing – not good in the long run for the search engines.

4) Marketers Spread the Ball Around
The Internet has changed since search engines began selling text ads. You now have social media like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. We have seen the rise of widgets where call to action ads will likely be integrated. Video is now mainstream with sites (like WebProNews) making video part of everyday content. The Internet is becoming accessible via many devices making it an accessory of life!

Marketers now have the ability to market products and services that are integrated into the user experience. Content can be ads and ads can be content. Marketers are becoming smarter in how they use the Internet. It is just a matter of time before a critical mass of advertisers see pay per click text ads as a tool past its prime.

5) Search Ads Are Viewed as Untrustworthy
As with anything that gets a lot of bad press (think click fraud) people start to wonder about its trustworthiness. I don’t think this is critical yet, but Google and the others must  find a better way to detect, deter and prevent click fraud.

Additionally, the engines must be more selective about their pay per click partner sites. There are many sites that exist solely to get "pay per click" clicks. This is bad for Google, Yahoo and Microsoft because it leads to a general uneasiness among ad buyers.

We would love to hear what you think. Is the pay per click party over or is it just getting started? Comment here

Pay Per Click Party Over?
Top Rated White Papers and Resources
  • http://www.bizyinc.com Sheryl Hamlin

    The advertising industry in general is ushering in a new era of communication. PPC is simply a branch in a technology-driven transformative industry. The comments made about PPC would also apply to print ads. But the good news is that technology provides the tools to refine and solve issues like relevance, trust and cost. Advertising, technology and the consumer will progress together.

    • Mark Hedtke

      Just go on believing that fairy tale and there is stock I’d like to sell you in most of the newspapers out there. For the truth of the matter, check out how much their subscriptions are down. Look at the balance sheets for almost any newspaper and that stark truth will hit you right in your pocketbook. Businesses are seeing their sales are off enough that they are looking to other places to get exposure, why do you think the PPC industry began in the first place? It’s a trial ballon that has a serious leak. Some traditional advertisers are still hanging onto each in the hopes of a turn around. It is needless to say, however it also is the economy. Mark my words, America’s boom is going south because the Dollar is being so heavily devalued with China and the Middle Eastern cartel. The artificially pumped up economy won’t be sustained. The average Joe will take the brundt of loss of business in the states. The good news, we still have our freedom!

  • http://www.raycreationsindia.com Amrit Ray

    I have stopped advertising with Google using AdWords as the CPC cost for the keywords have gone up way too high. I have a web design firm in India and used to advertise both outside and within India. The CPC for keywords targeting foreign markets has gone up more than $1 per click. Anything less than that and you will be lucky to find yourself on the last page of the sponsored ad list. And moreover you pay Google more than you earn now. This was definately not the case 4-5 months back. I got very good business both from within and outside India. However, this just isn’t the case any more. Even CPC within India itself has shot up drastically. My advertisements in the newspaper gives me a much higher ROI. I really doubt if Adwords is worth it anymore.

  • http://www.proworkflow.com Julian Stone

    I totally agree with the article. We did some research over the past 12 months proving that Adwords is no longer effective. Here’s two posts that are relevant and a good read for people…


    Great post – Julian Stone


  • http://timessquarevip.com timesQuare VIP

    Dear Mr. Ord,

    Very good article, however, I believe that Google is very much still at the forefront of the Adsense phenomenon. The eye is always hungry, and even though, their may be an overuse of such ads on sites, the wise Webmaster places such Adsense Ads relevantly. That’s the major difference in getting or not getting clicks.

    I hope Google continues it’s great work in meeting and anserwing the needs of the WEB.

    timesQuare VIP

    • http://house.starnet.md DASDavid

      Hi, very nice article, but i think PPC will never die, cause it a big industry within. You must keep silence and make our money :)

  • http://girlinshortshorts.blogspot.com/ Becky

    And Google should quit being so arbitrary in their concern about “offensive material” being displayed next to their adverts. They have no such compunction when the searches are on their search engine. They display adverts for some pretty disgusting stuff there.

    But they are quite strict with some blogs and web sites.

    I have a moderately popular blog–that is primarily political (libertarian oriented–which fits in with Google’s philosophy)), but sometimes naughty in a PG Wonkette or Playboy kind of way. I continually had trouble with them blanking out ads on particular post and putting up Public Service Announcements. Sometimes I would write a short piece talking about their nanny ways.

    And then last weekend for no particular reason they suddenly cut off all adverts. I have asked for an explanation, but so far have received nothing.

    I am really baffled why they decided to cut off the adverts at that time–the post was a music review of all things. But I do not know if I will ever find out.

    I replaced the ads with Bidvertiser–but that is not as lucrative as Google by any stretch. However, I would rather do that than kow tow to the arrogant Mountain View folks–especially since I really did not do anything wrong or offensive.

    I am sure I am not the only person who has had the experience. But though I am popular, I am not big enough to really matter to them.


    • Rich Ord

      Hi Becky,

      Could you please send me some contact information at richord @ ientry.com. This is a general topic we will be writing about in the future.


      Rich Ord CEO, iEntry, Inc. Publisher of WebProNews

    • http://www.nastynest.net Billsen


      I also was cut off from Adsense last week with no specific explanation, other than to get an email stating that somehow my site “violated the terms of service”. Great – can they maybe specify which one? I never clicked on the ads, never told my users to, and so I’m left to conclude that somehow they decided that my URL (nastynest.net) was some how “nasty”.

      For what it is worth, it is a fan site for the Atlanta Thrashers. Nasty Nest is a play on “Nastiness”. Since Thrashers are birds, and we tend to dislike other teams, Nasty Nest seemed like the perfect name.

      We don’t have any nekked photos or anything like that, but I do resist censorship so I’m totally okay with people using profanity on my message boards. Maybe that’s what set Google off?

      Another thought, and I don’t really want to believe this, is that by banning, and withholding payment, Google gets to keep the income they get from the ads, PLUS they don’t have to pay me at all – and there seems to be nothing I can do about it. If there is a customer service number for the adsense team, they have it buried under a rock someplace.

      I feel that Google is asking for a class-action lawsuit – they need to have a real and viable method to tell people specifically why they’ve been banned, and they also need a real and viable method for people to file an appeal. The Draconian methods they employ are simply not fair to their “partners”.

  • http://www.AutomaticDailyCash.com Jeff

    PPC seems to still be going pretty strong, but competition with Google is getting really heavy and it’s difficult for new guys to get in there in the top positions.

    You mentioned Pay Per Action…what exactly constitutes an “action”?

    And who does it?

    • Rich Ord

      Hi Jeff,

      Cost-Per-Action is a test program Google announced in June 2006 where you could opt to pay only for a particular action. Actions you could pay for include filling out a form, signing up for something, clicking a second link for more information, etc…. Actions do not include actual product purchases.

      We wrote about it at WebProNews here and here and here.

      Rich Ord CEO, iEntry, Inc. Publisher of WebProNews

      • http://prestige-online-website.com rick wee

        hi there, was wondering you could help me out, my application for google adsense was rejected, reason; “page type”. thanks

  • http://www.flashrangers.com Frank

    I think that if Pay-Per-Click is going to be over, so will also be the Cost-Per-Action. The answer is simple: In order for people to get to the intended website and register, they first need to click on an ad of some sort. If they don’t click, they will not reach the site, and thus will not register or buy the product.

    Maybe there should be more CPM (Cost-Per-Mil) programs. It causes companies a fixed cost, and at least publishers are getting something for displaying the ads (thus reducing fraud rate – you either get visits, or don’t). Of course, engines would have to filter out publisher websites who would sign up for CPM with the sole purpose of spam, but this is also true for every other ad type.

  • http://www.PainReliefDiet.com Dr. Ouellette

    As a small business owner I have a need to get traffic that converts to sales. It becomes a simple dollars and sense ROI decision. If pay per click will bring me business then I will go with that until some other method comes along that offers a higher ROI (Return On Investment).

  • http://www.commercemaven.com Pam Love

    I don’t think the pay per click party is over at all. I do, however, think that google is fixing to introduce something new and get out of the click biz as they have been.

    If you’re a publisher, lately your clicks seem to magically disappear from the report daily. Check one day and you have 150, later that day it is 130. Why? Nobody knows. I think they are skimming from publishers and that is why their profits went up.

    This would be shooting themselves in the foot. If publishers no longer want them they have no place to put the ads. Why would they do this? Google is not known for mistakes and being stupid. They’d do it because they have something new up their sleeve ready to launch and are going to dump the click stuff as it is now.

    Just a theory of mine… Time will tell.

  • http://www.chicagocreativedesign.com/ Rodger Kurth

    [QUOTE]There are many sites that exist solely to get “pay per click” clicks.[QUOTE]

    These types of sites are, indeed, an unfortunate off-shoot of Google’s ‘generosity’ in making the Adsense program available to web publishers. Nowadays, you can buy pre-built websites with pages of republishable articles pertinent to a popular keyword, search/replace your publisher ID, and, according to the sellers, become a millionaire in one year (actual results may vary, of course)! There are also scripts and programs for sale that claim to get articles from article suppositories and post them to WordPress blogs automatically. I marvel that these types of things still work. It’s basically the web 2.0 version of “Black-Hat” SEO. But, whenever I am searching for something, it seems at least one “made for Adsense” website comes up in the first three pages of search results. I don’t know if there are viable statistics on this, but I doubt it does good by the advertisers.

    I can only advise publishers that if you are publishing for anything other than promoting your own business directly, address a topic you have some passion for, as that is what will keep you going when you discover Adsense might only make you $50.00 per month! Strive to make a site that is useful to users who would have an interest in the topic of your site. A popular site and returning visitors are your best value. This would eventually give you the opportunity to sell your own advertising on the site, if what you really want is to make money from it. Google Adsense might be a way to help offset some hosting costs, but I don’t see it as the Gravy Train some make it out to be. And the more “built for Adsense” sites that keep popping up, the less effective they will become.

  • http://www.quotebuster.net George McGonigal

    As a small one man band internet based marketer I rely on PPC for my livelyhood. Click costs in the UK Insurance market are huge thanks to all the big boys.

    My savior was Overture until Panama came along. Prior to panama standard match was placed above advanced match in the ppc results meaning that pople bidding on niche phrases like “car insurance northern ireland” (around 20p) came above those who bid advanced match “car insurance” at several £’s per click.
    This meant that the PPC results were very relevant to the query.

    In Panama on subtle but not so well publicised change occured that instantly fattened the wallets of Yahoo. Standard match no longer got precedence over advanced match so overnight niches phrases were obliterated with PPC ads from top dollar bidders who where prepared to pay for “car insurance +anything”.

    Relevancey in ppc adswent out the window as Yahoo raked in more clicks on higher paying ads.

    This was a bitter pill for small nieche marketers like me as at the same time Yahoo bleated on about Panamas ranking alogorithm improving the quality and relevancy of PPC for the surfer.

    In my given example very few UK car insurers can quote for N iRELAND, so its a nieche market which I served well. Now my PPC is on page 4 not page 1 and I would have to pay over 10 times the bid price I had the day before. The user is now presented with ppc results that dont serve the N Ireland market but pay better for Yahoo.

    Sorry to rant, but the continual propaganda about paid search releveancy from Yahoo rings hollow when you see them ignore relevancy for profit, hit small business hard in the process.

    OOh if only Miva traffic converted better !!!

    Thaks for listening.

  • http://www.schubiec.com/connie4.htm Connie Schubert

    I completely agree. I also want to expound
    a little.

    I believe most forms of advertising on the internet have lost their luster.Conversion rates in this business suck! What happened to the good ol days? You know, the ones where you could halfway rely on the people you were doing business with?

    I believe advertising anything in anyway needs to do a complete 180 and get back to the one fundamental truth. Establishing good solid relationships through personal contact as opposed to raw numbers should be priority one.

    If there was a way to exploit that and gain trust back in this vast platform of marketing then I believe the results would be astonishing!

    Maybe I’m an idealist hoping for the impossible. But it’s the impossible the revolutionized this world.

  • jeff harvey

    A well written article and it does illustrate the challenges that marketers are faced with in providing a strong ROI for web based traffic and PPC initiatives. PPC Fraud is a significant risk for everyone and not necessarily in Googles interest to fix as it takes away from their short term revenue while challenging their long term business model. Marketers will need to become better at monetizing the qualified eyes that do view their site.

    For anyone that is looking to have a greater impact on visitors, I would recommend http://www.HookSell.com and their HookTour services.

    They have filled the gap between visitors and leads rather nicely with a direct sales approach to buying behaviors.

    Check out their 3 minute tour:


    Services of this type will continue to grow in an effort to further simplfy the education process for pay per click visitors that are qualified. Perhaps Google will eventually adopt a pay for performance model along the lines of a HookSell product for at least a higher quality PPC service with perhaps a premium added.

    If anyone has any other suggestions about how to better convert my PPC visitors I look forward to hearing their suggestions.

  • Papadoc

    Oh, well here they go – just the latest salvo in the “Google is almost dead” (or AdSense in this case). Been hearing this for what – 5 or 6 years now?

    The reality is that both Google and AdSense have never been stronger. No, I don’t have an inside track, but I do own stock that has never been trading higher and, purchase ads that are just as competitive, and use AdSense that is paying as much as it ever has. Click-throughs – amazing so long as you have a viable topic, know how to place the ads, and make your site a place that people frequent for relevant information.

    Sure, there are twits in and out of the business that screw things up and probably hold things back a bit. A few knucklheads with worthless sites bomb their site with popups, banners and max out the AdSense ads on every page – and it doesn’t work.

    Google could be a bit more cautious with who they allow into the AdSense program and what sites are allowed to carry the format. Junk sites don’t do anything for the overall image and probably don’t help their revenue all that much. Tweedledee and Tweedledum sites would disappear or never get launched if it wasn’t for the lure that they could make a fortune by making yet another mega-click (e.g. meso) website and $50 per click. Lots of disgruntled naysayers coming out of that group.

    The model does work or Yahoo and MSN wouldn’t have gone to it… and they’ve been around in the business now that any affects that would have been felt would have surfaced by now.

    Is it perfect? No way – and I don’t think Google things so either or they wouldn’t be in a constant state of launching new parts to it. But going away? Call me when when you have more than speculation, and your thoughts are backed up by actual numbers, not wishful thinking.

  • http://www.australianwomenonline.com Deborah Robinson

    Thank you for writing this piece about pay per click. I don’t use pay per click advertising on my website for exactly the reasons you described. I prefer to stick with affiliate marketing for now because at least it’s easier to control what ads are placed on my website, than Adsense. As you said, Google has had a lot of success with them. But I wonder what they will come up with next when Adsense starts to decline in popularity?

  • http://www.abogada.com Geoffrey Gonzalez

    Hello Rich,

    PPC is not over. Until every advetiser “PERFECTS” his/her web engine… PPC format will disappear.

    There are many site that refuse to enter the PPC format, yet their web sites have a multitude of problems.


  • http://www.radiorepairguy.com John A. OBrien

    Nothing is as damning as numbers. I have been involved in Internet Marketing since 1996. I have been an advertiser on Google, Yahoo and MSN for well over two years. The stats say it all –

    Two years ago click thru or conversion rates were running about 12% with the ads that I ran – organic results produced about 3%.

    Today click thru or conversion rates for paid ads (anywhere) are running <1%. – organic results produces 4.5%.

    The public has become blind to these ads.

  • http://www.golfpackageusa.com Irksum

    Thanks, I just bought payperclickisdead.com etal and autoclickisdead.com etal

  • http://www.quik-find.com Vasilis Pasparas

    we have been on the ppc market ourself and we can say that the business owners globally are not full aware of the potential quality ppc engines/networks can give them to their business.

    for sure we will see many new ways on showing ppc ads in the near future

  • http://www.shangrilaguesthouse.co.uk Maggie Longton

    What do you mean when you say per click is over.I have never used Pay per click but know many people that do. What is there fate?

  • http://www.letsrentmarbella.com Bryan

    I spent quite some time and a lot of money last year with Google Ads and Yahoo Search, at a monetary cost of around $10,000 but a personal time cost of much more than that – I obviously got immediate results, but these lasted seconds as soon as I cut back on the program. This year I revamped my sites, invested my time heavily in good SEO improvements, converted to CSS (very time consuming) but the results have been outstanding and much more permanent. PPC is a great way to get noticed quickly, but my experience tells me that real results come from hard work and solid page redevelopment, with a good SEO understanding. I think PPC gives results that are an illusion which disappear very quickly as soon as you cut back. It’s a fantastic money earner for Google et al, but web site owners like me do not receive lasting benefits. I assume that in different markets, the results will vary.

  • http://www.grupocreative.com Kevin Stolz

    Pay Per Click Advertising or CPC is a savior for the small, midsize, and even big guys websites that are just coming online. Since normally it can take 30 to 90 days to get listed and indexed in some search engines (we have gotten clients listed in Google in 7 days but is the exception) the pricing has gotten out of control at least for our client base.

    We are a Mexican Company providing optimized web design and search engine optimization and marketing for businesses in Mexico and some in the US and other countries as well. We are small and most of our clients (90%) are small as well and when we do optimization and marketing for a client we offer the CPC as an option to boost their unique visitors, it is not a replacement to good search engine optimization, good website planning, and good copy writting, but it is a plus.

    We have had some clients for years now over the past 6 months we have seen cost per click on some keywords and key phrases reach more than $5.00 just to be at the bottom. For most small businesses that are beginning on the web and particularly in Mexico that puts the cost of those keywords out of their reach and even for a client like one that we run a $2500 per month ad budget divided between Google, Yahoo, and MSN we had to drop those keywords since small numbers of visitors were consuming the daily budget.

    Where do we go from here? Once google is in the position to collect $5.00, $10, or even $20 US dollars for a click only the big guys will be advertising and google budgets will be like TV Ad and Radio Ad Budgets.

    We are looking at different marketing options and hopefully Pay Per Action will bump CPC or maybe the market will level off. Whatever the case, we are along for the ride and every turn with google is a lesson that every SEO or SEM needs to learn.


  • http://affiliatecashnet.com/MakeMoney Jan

    Yes the party is over. It is still sucking up millions of dollars from the victims
    of unscrupulous Google advertising prices politix.
    It is close to impossible to make money thru PPC even after applying all the rules right.
    And its not because of congestion on net. It is because of Google advertising prices politix.

  • R Seabrook

    When it costs $55 in PPC for a $60 product then the party is over.

  • http://www.glaspak.com Bob Lieberman

    I agree with the comment that smaller companies are leaving – but think click fraud is also a major reason – we were #1 on free search – relevant – then we added PPC and found our “free” listing went down almost 10 pages – so we increased our PPC – Did I say relevant by the way? – now click my key words (we no longer go near google) and you get everything but the right product… and to boot – we proved that click fraud buried guys like us … we used to spend $1000 per month with google – now we spend -0- and we are not the only small business I know who gave up.

    Since the beginning we made a customer click for prices – we saw our “request” for pricing go from 98% down to less than 5% – if this is not click fraud – what is?… but our funds were “expended” to the max every day – early!!!!! So then we added prices – same conversion rate – down from 98% (phenomenal) to less than 5% … enough said????

    Goodbye google – etc … we are back to phones – email campaigns and trade shows.. and we were among the first to go with PPC in our field.

    Bob Lieberman, Managing Director
    Glass Packaging Solutions LLC

  • http://www.militaryflagdisplaycase.com Richard blodgett

    I would like to address the issue of click fraud.

    I feel that we pay way too much for PPC, in order to get on the first page of any SERP’s. Then to have one of your competitor’s click away on your site, just out of spite, really ticks me off.

    If I want to visit a competitor’s site, I have the decency to type in their URL. Not just click on the sponsored add.

    If I do find out that any competitor commit’s click fraud on me, I will break him. Revengeful? You Betcha! But I will not start it.

    Yahoo! Search Marketing has an “Click Protection System that automatically filters out invalid clicks. I don’t know much about it now, but plan on looking in to it.

    Something must be done.

    The people that committ “Click Fraud” are just Grown Up Children, jelious of the product that their competitor’s have, that they wish, they did.

    If the “CF’rs” had a product “really” worth selling, they would’nt have to be costing other people money.

    Thanks for letting me have my say so.

  • http://www.ecommtips.com Dan

    I really don’t see PPC going away anytime soon. I would assume that changes will continue to be made, but the overall program will not leave. If PPC is done right, it can still be an effective means. I think plenty of people abuse AdSense, so it could be interesting to see what happens there.

  • http://www.myscribeweb.com Katarina Jellinek

    As A webmaster of several sites running adds for Google I have a suggestion, to enhance revenue from PPC for all parties concerned.

    About a year ago I reduced the amount of add space for PPC on my site’s pages by 50%.
    The result was a 20% higher click through rate from the same amount of impressions.

    I also restricted competing video and image adds from appearing on my pages.
    Google wrote to me and advised me that I would increase my revenue from PPC if I lifted the restrictions.

    I firmly believe that if Google restricted the amount of advertising going to every page,instead of soliciting webmasters to place more adds on their sites, the adds would get more favourable exposure.

    Personally if I have to sift past adds to get to the content on a site, I will leave the site and never return.

  • http://www.wesonline.net Don Meares

    Rich Ord is right! CPC costs for small businesses our going to drive them out of the market unless they are selling unique items with 1000’s of percent margains.

    We are a small business selling products for the food service industry. Our CPC bids requirements have doubled and for some keywords have more tripled in the last two months. I don’t know what the search engines(i.e. “G”) are doing if anything, but we cannot double and triple our ad budgets every other month.

    Google is introducing Cost Per Action. I thought it might offer us some benefit since we could set it up to pay only when we actually made a sale. Trouble with that is we sell some items for $1.00 and some for over $10,000. A fixed CPA bid would be fine if all our sales were for the same amount. What Google needs to offer is a CPA bid process based on a % of the sale amount. Anyone should be able to deal with that, although Google would surely be concerned about “sale amount fraud”.

  • http://www.discountcraftcloset.com Mark Glasgow

    I have a small online business and spend 10% of my gross receipts on pay per click advertising- 75% google, 25% yahoo. Yahoo is essentially worthless, I just figure that whatever little money I make off them is gravy. Google is profitable, but at least 30% of my clicks come from sites that have never resulted in a sale. They allow you to opt out of receiving clicks from certain websites, but every month I receive 300 to 400 worthless clicks from the websites I have put on the excluded sites list. I emailed them about the problem and received a psyco-babble reply that in no way addressed the issue, but pretty much assured me that my worthless clicks were just a cost of doing business with google. The only problem is that google is the only way for me to get my message out. I just have to accept the 30% screwing because there is nowhere else to go.

  • http://www.dgphotography.com Dianne Gregg

    I beleive that google ads are heading for a downturn because I see so many affiliate marketers all selling the same thing and the market is getting saturated. Personally, I hate getting emails from various folks all copying each other.

  • http://www.starlingbooks.net L.L.

    When it comes to all the clutter over the internet, I completely agree with you. There’s got to be an alternate way of balancing both information and advertising without trying to combine them all at one time. There have been so many sites that I’ve visited due to the description of the site, only to find that it was riddled with banners and google ads. It’s hard to find the true essence of websites anymore. I’m starting to feel swindled by this bombardment of advertising!
    For about 2 years now, I’ve been doing everything I can, without giving myself out financially, to promote my site www.starlingbooks.net, but it seems that these large advertising gurus, who really don’t have that much to offer a prospective customer anyway, are diverting my clientele before I even get a chance to guide them into my site. The only way, it seems, for me to market is to pay a substantial amount to a marketing corporation or to “clutter” my site with alternate advertising… Too bad.
    I’m still tempted to travel the narrow road and see if I could guide more people to my site. I feel that it is unique, and still has alot to offer in terms of self-discovery and visual appeal without those flashing banners.


  • http://www.vegasrooms.com Ed Young

    Unfortunately, cut-your-own-throat PPC will never die. Google, Yahoo, etc., rank-place-and-discount ads that favor big-box spenders only. There is no reason to think that symbiotic relationship will not endure for the life of Internet marketing; at the detrament of small business and disadvantaged buyers everywhere.

  • http://www.sensibleweddings.com Howard Fox

    Until search results become more relevant people will be clicking on SensibleWeddings.com for great prices on wedding accessories, bridesmaid jewelry and garters.

  • http://barperfect.com Steve Liosi

    There is too much fraud out there in the form of competitors clicking on a competitor’s Google Ads. This I know from experience. Did a test of my own. Ran Google Ads for a full week. 124 clicks, not a single phone call. No more Google Ads for me.

  • http://www.cdadc.com Donald Urquhart

    I run a number of web sites, they all use to carry pay per click ads which were originally used to cover web site costs.

    The one on Down Syndrome still carries one ad per page, but only because I cant figure out what to market.

    One of the biggest killers to pay per click, are the websites that exist solely to make low bids on keywords, like “the Down Syndrome”, then have visitors click through to their site, which often only have a few words or links about Down Syndrome and masses of pay per click ads on Down Syndrome, which they get paid more for when most click on them out of frustration.

    What the pay per click groups like Google need to realise, is that:

    1.. Allowing these scavengers to function through their networks means that genuine content web sites like mine, have owners who get really frustrated with very low payouts, like 1 or 2 or 9 cents a click and look for alternatives to pay per click as a source of revenue. This in turn means these rich content sites, that tend to do well in search engines rankings, stop running ads – no ads, no clicks, profits aren’t as good as they could be.

    2… Visitors get fed up with clicking adds that promise solutions and don’t deliver – probably a component in ad blindness; why click on an ad if mostly they don’t have what you want?

    Is Pay per action better? Don’t think so from a content web site perspective – although it gets rid of the low kew-word bidder problem, it appears way less profitable for a content website owner, as generally speaking, you are lucky to achieve a 4% action result from those that do click through – and that’s from people that are motivated to buy!

    Yes, that could yield a nice bit of money, but I have been surprised over and over again by the difficulty in finding the products that people want to find and buy online.

    Even though the ad may seem a perfect fit between the web site content and the product for sale, there are so many unknown factors for a content web site owner to deal with, that the actual action result may be part of a single percent! Completely unprofitable for the content website owner and normally too time consuming to try and deal with.

    What’s good for the seller, not completely sure. Things to consider though:

    a.. Obviously if they only payout when someone buys, then that looks good.

    b.. If their ads are no longer carried on the content rich web sites, then the number of people seeing their ads declines substantially, which means far less sales.

    c.. Advertisers need to seriously look at what they advertise in the ads and how much they want for their product. The more expensive a product is in comparison to the supermarket down the road, the lower the sales are going to be.

    Personally, if pay per click could get its act together, it would be still on my sites.

    Disguising ads to look more and more like page content is a sure way to erode confidence in web sites, build an atmosphere of untrustworthiness. Ads need to be seen as ads.

    Any way, that’s been my experience from being a web master for over 7 or 8 years.

  • http://www.colliermerchandise.com Thomas Collier

    While trying ways to optimise my web site I came accross this website advertised in click bank (#1 on the list for things to buy). http://www.getgoogleadsfree.com I read the article you wrote about google ads are becoming the old tricks of yesterday and are doomed. What do you think this marketing secret will do for it?
    Do you have any feed back from anyone who has used it? I cant afford it right now and when I can afford it, it would be nice to read someones reveiw besides the guy selling the product.
    Thank You
    Tom Collier

  • Don

    There has to be a better way?And a more cost effective means to locate potential customers for web retaileers. For my small retail spot on the web Google Adwords is my single BIGGEST EXPENSES, after purchasing product. Eating up 10% to 15% of my TOTAL revenue. That is before I even turn on a light bulb. The whole racket of CPC is like Las Vegas “the House always WINS” and Google is the House. But Yahoo and MSN are also in the game. Then to add insult to injuiry, if you add Google Anayltics and see how many surfers have landed on your site. The number of visitors never add up to the number of clicks you have been charged for. What is up with that?????

  • http://jaysanz.blogspot.com Jesus Sanchez

    I personally believe the PPC game is just beginning. The number of businesses that would kill to create an online presence is rising every day, and the ones that are already here are starting to utilize the video ads more and more each day, and as social networking becomes commonplace, we’re probably witnessing the dawn of a whole new era in advertising to the masses. Everything and everyone is moving online, so why would PPC be dead?

  • webky

    PPC party is over for blogger that is for sure. Most ppl I know who runs a blog are complaining getting no click or have very very low CTR from visitors.
    But for real webmaster PPC is doing very well! Website with well research contents. Website for photo, art and images related site, and site that provides software download are doing very very well with PPC.
    Why? I don’t know but that is happening. So you either junk your blog or PPC.
    The PPC party is over for blogger either remove the ads from your blog or try something else.

  • http://www.francealacarte.com Simon Oliver

    It’s true that small businesses just can’t keep up with spiralling PPC prices. I run a small travel agency in France and used to run a very successful PPC campaign on Google for 100 dollars a month, paying between 5 and 10 cents a keyword. Two years later, those same keywords cost between 40 and 50 cents to get the same position … and click-through rates are down. I’m sticking to my 100 dollar ceiling but looking for other less onerous methods of marketing my products.

  • http://www.sixthsense-esp.co.uk Rob

    PPC use is only going to grow, and why shouldn’t it, it’s cost effective and easily measurable.

    Eventually it will be the same as advertising in a magazine, just not an option for small businesses.

    Problem is, will Google et al care? As long as they get money, why should they care about the small businesses?

    The only work around i see off the top of my head is the application of a better algorithm and stricter acceptance rules for individual keyword phrases. There is a lot of clutter within PPC results where sites aren’t always related to the search term. Google should do more to promote ads which have the most relevant content within the website related to the keyword phrase entered.

  • http://www.mvpvisuals.com Mary

    I agree about the PPC. I just cut my PPC program because they are looking for over $5 a click! I’d rather spend my money on a vertical search engine like ThomasNet.com where I can get some info about who is searching before I invest. B2B has good vertical options and B2C has social marketing. Of course the ideal situation is SEO but the situation is always that same there too. There are thousands of sites looking to be ranked in the top listings in Google so how realistic is it that you’ll be picked to be in the top even if you do perfect SEO!

    Mary Dykas

    • http://coolpics.110mb.com cibertrix

      I have been banned from Adsense for one of my video sites which Google stated (after many loud emails) was “inappropriate for minors” (my website was not designed for minors) – what is strange and funny about this is that all my videos were from YouTube – and YouTube continues to serve those same videos for which I was banned, and several other BIG NAME websites show the same videos but Google has done nothing against them – Google and Adsense are so addicted to $$$ that they do not play fair at all – while Google is earning $$$ even from sites that break their TOS they will not do anything – but if you are a small itty bitty website and you put one word wrong you get dismissed from Adsense…

      The general public are not dumb – they get to read all these forums and comments and the general public knows what Google and Adsense represents – Adsense can work but it must stop being so two faced…. and as someone correctly pointed out in this forum, a good hefty class action law suit against Google Adsense should wake them up from their “grab it $$$ while you can” attitude…

  • http://www.villageloop.com Steven Alig

    In regards to the first comment about clutter and trying to “fool” the search user into clicking a pay per click ad unknowingly. I believe google and society as a whole will benefit more from a relevant cpc ad.
    Your site may be more relevant than the higher ranked listings which are showing organically. For one reason or another, your site is just not getting the page rank that it needs to be number one. But it is still a relevant site for the search term and you have the ability to find it with CPC.
    I think this is much more important than trying to fool the user.
    Make the ad obvious and relevant and it will benefit the user to use CPC ads knowingly.

  • http://gatewaytosuccess.blogspot.com Orikinla Osinachi

    I have Google AdSense on 24 of my 27 blogs and on 6 of my 7 websites, because I feel indebted to Google for giving me free subdomains and free hosting on Blogger, therefore I want to let Google earn some income from my sites as my appreciation. Otherwise, I do not like Pay Per Click adverts.

    I have received prepaid adverts from private companies. They paid more than Google AdSense.

    I prefer to charge for pageviews, because like in newspapers and on television, advertisers pay for viewers.
    So, advertisers online should pay for pageviews.

    I have seen hundreds of adverts online for setting up Google AdSense websites and to me that is sheer fraud.
    Why should someone set up a Google AdSense website to generate more income from Pay Per Click?
    How would they feel if people set up schemes to scam them by making them pay more for useless clicks on their Adword text links?

    I have seen people sending mails to ask their hundreds of online buddies to click on the Google AdSense adverts on their blogs and websites.

    The more you look, the less you see on PPC adverts.

    Amazon pays for profitable clicks.
    And that is quite reasonable.

    Once my site is reaching millions of people monthly, I would be charging like mainstream news media and TV channels.
    By pageviews and not by clicks.

    It is time re-evaluate PPC and let advertisers pay for pageviews.

    Any site with less than 500 pageviews monthly does not derserve the patronage of advertisers.

    Cheers and God bless.

  • http://www.fraudulent-clicks.com Neil Matthews

    I would like to take up on your point about trustworthiness with regards to click fraud.

    The search engines are not transparent enough on individual click fraud attempts, they either mark the click as invalid and don’t charge the advertiser or an invalid click report is lodged and a credit is issued. The engines never tell us which click was fraudulent or why.

    I have been advocating opening up the invalid click process to annual auditing where third parties can confirm that the measures in place are valid or not. Only then can we regain our trust in these companies.

  • http://www.godsmessageontheweb.com/ Greg McAbee


    I wanted to comment on your article on Pay Per Click. I run a couple of web sites to spread God’s Message (Podcasts on Christianity). I don’t think you could take a site like mine seriously with ads splattered all over it. And I want people to stay on the site and read, download, listen, whatever. Pay per clicks in what I am doing might send people to links where the Message being sent is different and not consistent with my beliefs.

    Just my opinion. But I am not looking to make Money.

  • http://www.caseandtote.com Ken Reinstrom

    I have an up-start business and am finding PPC advertising to be way to costly. Instead I am finding blogs to comment on and redirecting trafic from my own blogs. This seems to get me some front page google listings. Thank goodness this is only a part time job. I sure would be open to ideas on how to grow this business without throwing out $1000’s a month on google ads. Ken

  • http://www.way2hope.org Glen Williams

    Being a publisher and not an advertiser, I’m obviously biased, But PPC (pay per click)or PPI (impression) are far superior to PPA (action)advertising formats for the following reasons:
    1. Easily tracked so advertisers and publishers can see what the money is going for.
    2. More like traditional advertising, where advertisers are buying visibility, but superior because they can see where the business is coming from.
    3. Publishers are paid based on their own performance, rather than the effectiveness (or lack) of the advertisers. I’ve published all types, but you won’t see PPA on my sites. I’d rather personally sell ad space on a monthly fee basis. The income is more reliable. btw advertisers, how well does PPA work if most of us won’t publish your ads?
    4. The click-fraud issue: Obviously, these folks shoud be investigated and punished, but the advertiser’s main concern shouldn’t be the 2-15% (depending on who is estimating) fraudulent clicks. The valid clicks should show PPC is the most effective advertising model ever developed, for both the advertiser and the publisher. If not, why is PPC still the fastest-growing method, even beginning to take market share from tried and true traditional methods?

  • D Gordon

    What I find annoying from both an employer and a searcher is the relevancy of the ads –that is to say the NON-relevancy… the campaigns act as if there is relevant content to my search query but when I click on the PPC ads, I find little relevancy to my topic. Hence, I think the words associated with the search for many corporations are not relevant to what is being marketed — certainly true for me from an employment perspective.

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