Search Site Pitches to Failing Dot-Coms

Share this content:
To show the power of performance-based advertising, is waiving its fees for a handful of suffering Internet companies.

The idea is that when these cash-strapped companies turn their businesses around, through their prime positioning on the search engine, it will serve as a testament to the site's effectiveness as an advertising vehicle.

Normally, allows companies to bid on search words or phrases to be positioned at or near the top of the search results. Client companies pay only when a consumer clicks through.

Under its Two-Minute Warning program, Web sites that have less than $1 million in funding, have not raised any capital since their last round of funding, and have one or more publicly announced rounds of layoffs will not have to pay for click throughs.

"The fourth quarter is the most important quarter for many Internet companies, especially e-commerce sites," said Courtney Jones, co-founder and chairman of, New York. "This year a lot of companies have shaken out, both in the media and on Wall Street. We're soliciting these companies and offering to help turn them around by bringing people to their Web sites. We're going to help them get on their feet in hopes of making them lifelong customers."

At least one analyst thinks this is somewhat of a useless endeavor.

Giving away free advertising space isn't the newest trick in the book, said Harry Wolhandler, vice president of research at ActivMedia Research, Peterborough, NH. "If they help them out of a hole, they'll be a loyal customer. If they have free ad space to give away they have nothing to lose, but it isn't the healthiest space to go after."

In the first quarter, Jones hopes to have a winning case study to use as a sales tool.

Search engine placement alone is not likely to save anyone, according to Wolhandler. "Companies that have it together will already have taken care of that. That's only one piece of the whole thing. It doesn't sound that powerful. If they were a true turnaround consultant that said, 'Give me a piece of the company and we'll make it fly,' then maybe it would work."

So far, 50 companies have applied for the program. will select fewer than a dozen companies to participate, although an exact number has not been pinned down. "We're not just giving away free advertising. They have to meet our criteria," Jones said. The company would not reveal which sites have applied for the program.

Wolhandler does not believe there are "all that many failing dot-coms out there," he said. "Eighty percent of Web businesses out there are traditional companies with an online presence." completes 10 million searches a day. Winning bids for search terms range from 1 cent to $4. The average cost per click through is 21 cents.

Next Article in Data/Analytics

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Since 1985, Melissa has helped thousands of companies clean, correct and complete contact data to better target and communicate with their customers. We offer a full spectrum of data quality solutions, including global address, phone, email, and name validation, identify verification - available for batch or real-time processes, in the Cloud or on-premise. Our service bureau provides dedupe, email/phone append and geographic/demographic append services for better targeting and insight. For direct mailers, Melissa offers easy-to-use address management/postal software, list hygiene services and 100s of specialty mailing lists - all with competitive pricing and excellent customer service.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above