Archive for December, 2007

One-Click PPC Refund Service and Click Fraud

December 17th, 2007 by Richard Zwicky

In my earlier post over the weekend, I used an analogy to explain what PPC Assurance is. Today, I’d like to expand on that thought and explain some of the extras included in (what we think is) our revolutionary paid-search advertising product. One of our user’s favorite features is the one click refund service for PPC (pay per click) advertisers.

PPC Assurance is more than the next step in the evolution of advertising verification services. Unlike the click fraud companies which garner lots of attention by selling fear, PPC Assurance provides you with resolution.

The product name “PPC Assurance” explains a major aspect of our service: Assurance; know what’s happening, and what you can do about it.

Present click fraud services are not assurance services. They attempt to discern whether or not the pattern of behavior of a visitor “seemed” normal. Some of them let you define the parameters of fraud. This is a poor methodology, because it allows for lots of “false positives.” These false positives are a big issue, because you’re essentially making false claims. They are a disservice to you, and to your ad network.

PPC Assurance does not use any subjective measurement techniques. In fact, we’ve ascertained that most of the real fraud that does occur arrives at your site without triggering JavaScript loggers and is thus invisible to most of the click fraud companies out there.

Realizing this, we consulted with the ad networks themselves and figured out a means to coordinate resolving this issue. Expect a major announcement on that front in January.

Here’s how PPC Assurance works. PPC Assurance examines your account configuration, and compares it to the actual traffic you’ve received. Using a simple and easy to understand graphical report, we identify what was good and what wasn’t, (charges for undesired / not good traffic). We also offer you a one-click refund claim submission for the errant clicks.

Many click fraud prevention companies count mistakes in campaign execution as click fraud. I’ve heard innumerable people say, “If my ad runs in China, and I only wanted traffic from Chicago, it must be fraud.” In reality, it’s not fraud. It’s a mistake. But it’s one you should not pay for, and we help ensure you won’t ever have to pay for such mistake clicks again. We’re the only company which provides this one click refund service.

As a search marketer, or even an independent businessperson who is running a PPC campaign, you don’t want to spend time monitoring and verifying every single click that you receive. You would like to know that you’re only paying for the traffic you wanted, and not for the traffic you didn’t. You don’t have time to manage this process but proper business practices require that you do so. PPC Assurance is designed for you.

Small business owners can’t afford to spend the time to verify your traffic. Until now, they have trusted the networks blindly, and wondering why their ROI is fluctuating. Articles in Businessweek, Forbes, Fortune and a myriad of other news sources discuss the impact of click fraud, making small business owners wonder about their own exposure. Unfortunately, “mistakes” - such as an ad targeting New York appearing in Delhi is really not click fraud, although it’s been classified as such. Now, you can minimize your exposure, and get your money back, without having to spend valuable work time monitoring the problem.

Search marketers are pressed for time with multiple accounts all needing support, advice, management, updates and reporting. The reporting tools used up until now cannot answer the simple questions relating to invalid click activity.

“I see traffic coming in from China, but my campaign was supposed to be in California: how did this happen, and did I pay for it??”

Now you’ll know, AND you’ll know if you paid for it or not. If you did end up paying for clicks you hadn’t asked for, press the “submit claim” button, and get the ad network to refund you for those clicks.

Having taken a unique approach to click-stream analysis, we are proud of our PPC Assurance product because it is the only PPC click protection service out there that fully strives to understand your traffic stream from a search technologists’ perspective. It is also the only product with an instant refund reporting option. It’s that simple.

SES Chicago Notes

December 17th, 2007 by Richard Zwicky

Alright, I’m way behind. The Search Engine Strategies conference in Chicago ended ten days ago, and I haven’t yet posted anything.

One of the things I wanted to comment on was SES Chicago. SES Chicago is the smallest of the big 3 SES shows of the year. Each SES has its own flavor. SES NY in March seems to lead attendance, and there’s heavy participation from ad agencies and advertisers. SES San Jose in August draws heavily on the SEO and SEM practitioner crowd. Chicago seems to be drawing a more corporate crowd, and is the only one which seems to draw almost exclusively from the Midwest. The other two draw a more national crowd. All three shows are extremely worthwhile.The conference itself seemed to be enjoying about the same attendance as the previous year. I was told that registrations were off by less than 1% over the previous year. A lot of us were concerned that with WebMasterWorld running in Vegas at the same time as SES, there would be a significant drop in attendance. After all, only a few people would choose snowy Chicago over sunny Vegas, or so the thinking went. I actually like Chicago and snow! This year I accidentally stumbled into a German style Christmas market at the corner of Dearborn and Washington. It’s worth checking out.

In fact, when I spoke to people who had been to Vegas (I flew into Vegas Thursday afternoon right after the SES show, and just in time for the MSN party at Ghost Bar), I was surprised to hear that they were disappointed in attendance. Others told me attendance was on par with previous years, and they were happy. The crowd for this show would be more akin to an SMX Advanced conference. The emphasis is on practitioners. Many of the opinion makers in the search industry appeared in Vegas, and will appear at SMX Advanced. Almost all the other ones who weren’t there were in Chicago.

As to the sessions, I spoke on two panels. Search Marketers on Click Fraud, and User Behavior, Personalization & Universal Search. Having done the latter panel in San Jose in August, the second time around was a lot easier. What made it challenging was that presentation time was reduced to 5 minutes, with a longer Q&A session. While the shorter presentation time made presenters get more to the point, there was a lot to discuss. Each presentation was unique, and I believe a lot of useful information was shared.

Based on questions asked, and comments I received afterwards, I believe the audience got a lot of value from both the presentations and the discussion. Greg Jarboe of SEO-PR did an excellent job moderating. Knowing that each presenter brought something different to the table, he ensured that questions were answered by everyone, so that the audience got a well rounded perspective on issues. He also posed a couple of questions to presenters, which assisted everyone in highlighting points of interest.

The second session I presented at was on Click Fraud. This became a two part session for the conference. I the past there was one panel, with click fraud specialists, marketers and the engines themselves on the same panel. I strongly prefer the new format. Tom Cuthbert from Click Forensics apparently does not, as he actively complained from the stage that he preferred to sit on the panel with the engines. I disagree. The “discussions which occurred when the engines and the click fraud specialists were on the same panel were often not overly productive.

Marketers want solutions. They know they are trying to deal with serious issues, and want to learn information and strategies for dealing with the problems. By splitting the click fraud sessions into two parts, SES is doing something very positive for attendees. The search engine’s / ad networks session allowed marketers to learn about what the engines are doing to attempt to combat the problem, and to ask them specific questions about specific issues. The engines also provided tips as to how they suggest you as a marketer can help combat click fraud.

Immediately after the search engines on click fraud session came search marketers on click fraud. I believe that all presenters attended both sessions, so really, all SES did was allow for twice as much time, and gave marketers an opportunity to focus on the issue from distinct perspectives. The session was moderated by Jeff Rohrs, and each presenter attempted to focus on different issues around click fraud. In my case I focused on campaign issues which often get labeled as click fraud, but really are cases of the ad networks serving out ads improperly.

As you spread your ads out across the content networks, the incidence of mistakes increases. Detecting and providing you a means to recover the costs associated to these undesired clicks are what PPC Assurance focuses on. Click through traffic which does not match the terms and conditions of your contract is undesired traffic. Auditing and verifying your PPC traffic is what we do, and resolving campaign issues through our unique one click refund claim submission is what sets us apart.

I attended a few other sessions in Chicago. The quality was excellent.

Anyone involved search marketing who attends an SES conference will receive tremendous value for the experience. Even after all these years, every time I show up I learn more. It’s not just a great environment for people who know what they are doing to gather and exchange tidbits. There’s opportunities for anyone at every level to get educated. If you’re a decisionmaker, and want to understand the marketplace, there’s sessions which are right for you. If you are the practitioner who deals with the nuts and bolts, then there are sessions for you as well. It doesn’t matter what level you are at, there’s always something for you at an SES Conference.

Page 2 Search Engine Optimization

December 15th, 2007 by Richard Zwicky

Yes the title is right. Have you ever thought about Page 2 SEO?

Having been an SEO, I know everyone focuses on Page 1. But have you thought about focusing on page 2 listings, or page 3, 4, 5? Ludicruous you say? Nope, hear me out.

Three different people in the last two weeks have told me they are using Enquisite’s free analytics reports for this very purpose. The first who mentioned it was Eric Enge from Stone Temple. He mentioned it to me at SES Chicago, where we were both speaking. I have to admit it, but I’d never thought about it the way Eric and two others since have suggested. I’d looked at it from a different perspective, but never as actively as Eric has.

Enquisite allows you to see which web pages are getting traffic from whch pages within the search results. If a page is getting relevant traffic from page 1, you probably don’t want to mess with it, even if it’s not your primary phrase. But how to choose which pages to work with?

Using Enquisite you can identify web pages that get traffic from page 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. Focus your optimization work on those pages. These are the pages which can give you the biggest upside in any campaign.

The reason is simple. Over 90% of search engine referral traffic comes from page 1 in the search results. The web pages found on page 2+ of the search results are almost good enough for page 1. Almost. They’re not seen as being quite as relevant enough to be found on page 1. But imagine you focus your optimization work on those pages. They will move up. Do it right, and all your pages move up, as the overall site authority increases.

Get more pages on page 1, and your traffic skyrockets. How? Implement page 2 SEO strategies.

What is PPC Assurance?

December 15th, 2007 by Richard Zwicky

We released PPC Assurance a little while ago. People still ask me the question “what is PPC Assurance?” Here’s how I’ve taken to explaining it lately, using comparison as the best analogy.

When radio arrived, and people started advertising on stations around the country, they needed a way to verify did my ads run where I wanted, on the station I wanted, at the time I wanted, and not anywhere else? A company called Arbitron emerged which verified that ads ran when, where and how the advertiser commissioned them. Not too many years ago I walked into an office which was filled with people listening to the radio; They were performing the ad verification service.

When Television arrived, advertising took another leap forward. Nielsen emerged, and one of their services was as a advertising verification service. Did ads run where, when, and how they were commissioned.

PPC Assurance is the next step in the evolution of advertising verification services.

Unlike the past however, it’s no longer just about where or when your ads appeared, but more about whether or not you paid for that display. You only pay for ad displays when your ad network provider actually bills you for a clickthrough. So PPC Assurance focuses on analyzing if the ads you paid for matched the terms and conditions of your agreement with your ad network provider (Google / Yahoo today, MSN soon…).

Unlike click fraud companies which attempt to discern whether or not the pattern of behavior of a visitor seemed normal, we don’t use any subjective measurement techniques. In fact, we’ve ascertained that most of the real fraud that does occur arrives at your site without triggering JavaScript loggers, and thus is invisible to most of the click fraud companies out there. But I’ll examine this issue in a later post.

We examine your account configuration, and compare it to the actual traffic you’ve received. We identify through a simple and easy to understand graphical report what was good, and what wasn’t (you paid for undesired / not good traffic). Plus, we offer you a one-click refund claim submission for the errant clicks.

We’re the only company which provides this one click refund service. You’ll love it.