Article Archive by Author

November 16 2007

Ask.com Steps Up

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Last week IAC made big news when CEO Barry Diller announced that the company would be splitting up into five separate entities. The five companies are IAC, Home Shopping Network, LendingTree, Interval, and Ticketmaster. The split will have some big implications for internet marketers. The new IAC will operate entirely as an internet media company. IAC is comprised of over 30 media and advertising brands which include Ask.com, Evite, Citysearch, and Match.com. These recent changes will most likely increase the quality and amount of traffic generated through Ask.com.

Ask.com has been the 4th ranked engine after Google, Yahoo, and MSN for some time now and IAC has some big hopes to increase that share. Anyone who has watched TV recently is sure to notice the significant amount of advertising that Ask.com has been doing to promote their engine and new features. One of the features that Ask.com has been promoting is called Ask3D. This feature creates a new layout for search results and displays a wide variety of content on a single page. With new features and more advertising, Ask.com is slowing gaining market share. In October, search queries on Ask.com increased 4% from September. Ask.com’s market share is up to nearly 4% now. This has been the second straight month of gains.

One of the biggest perks now for marketers who use Ask.com is the ability to advertise on the many different sites that make up IAC. We recently received an email from Ask.com explaining how we now have access to placing ads on popular sites like Evite, Citysearch, and Match.com. They are even working on bringing more ads to the mobile market. IAC is definitely setting itself up to become a big player in online advertising. As the ever-evolving story of internet marketing continues, it seems safe to say that only those who adapt with it will survive. It will be interesting to see what the future will hold for Ask.com and the IAC.

October 31 2007

To bid or not to bid (on Branding)

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When it comes to pay per click advertising, it is important to ensure that you are being seen for your own name. Seems like a no brainer, right? Surprisingly, one of the most common misconceptions I hear (almost daily) is when clients’ tell me they already show up in the organic search results under their own name; thus there is no need to spend additional advertising dollars. This could not be any further from the truth. Here are just a few reasons why it’s extraordinarily beneficial to bid on your own name.

  • Showing up under both the organic and paid results in a search engine will reinforce your brand, as well as add credibility to your company.
  • Not all searchers are the same, and therefore search behavior will be unique across the board. Some will only click on paid ads, while others only organic ads. You ought to appear in both areas so as not to lose potential eyes to your site!
  • It is perfectly legitimate and quite prevalent in the world of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) for your competition to bid on your name. Google and Yahoo are 2 of the main players today and also hold the largest online market share; according to a recent article which revealed Google at 69 % and Yahoo at 19%. Both engines permit this activity, which means that a competitor can snatch away your searcher without doing anything illegal; provided they do not use your actual name in their ad copy.
  • As many as three paid listings can appear above a natural result, which will allow any company the chance to lure your prospective customer away. Keep in mind: this is a customer who was initially looking for YOU!

Online Advertising has become increasingly competitive. If you want to make a name for yourself, it is essential to stay ahead with your competition! How does that old saying go? If I had a nickel for every time people told me it was not necessary to bid on their company name…

October 26 2007

Microsoft buys Equity Stake in Facebook

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Microsoft has won the battle with Google and Yahoo to invest in Facebook. The two companies announced on October 24th that Microsoft will invest $240 million for a 1.6% equity stake in Facebook, a price that values the social networking site at $15 billion. Last year, Microsoft started supplying banner ads for Facebook in the United States through 2011. The new deal secures Microsoft as Facebook’s primary advertising partner and expands its reach to Facebook’s international users, while splitting the revenue.

Marketers are expected to spend about $1.2 billion worldwide on social-networking this year and this number could grow to $3.6 billion by 2011. With 50 million active users, Facebook remains second behind MySpace with over 110 million active users, but Facebook’s audience has been growing at a far more rapid clip during the past year. This is in part due to Facebook’s technology, which has enabled it to distinguish itself from rival social networks like MySpace. In May of this year, it began inviting other companies and outside developers to create tools for the site and share in advertising revenues. Thousands of applications have been developed since, which enable users to personalize pages in various ways. It is also believed that the company is building an operating system that exists on the web instead of on hard drives or personal computers.

Social Networking sites allow internet users to connect with friends and share information such as photos, videos and music. Microsoft plans to tap information on Facebook’s users and will have the ability to offer more targeted ads. Social networking provides the advertising world with something beyond basic demographics. It shows how people interact. Facebook is favored by some over MySpace because it is based on who you really are and who your friends really are. Myspace is not based on authentic identities. Marketers want to reach the real you and not the “fantasy you” that lives onMySpace and uses a photo of a model.

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