Search Engines Join Flat-Fee Network

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More search engines are joining a flat-fee network for search advertising as an alternative to Google, Yahoo and other pay-per-click models.


Seventy engines are now members of the Independent Search Engine & Directory Network, formed three months ago by search engine ExactSeek Inc., part of the Jayde Online Network, Winnipeg, Manitoba.


The members of the international network, including MetaWebSearch.com, Koogle.com and WorldGolfDirectory.com, can provide advertisers an alternative to the current pay-per-click models, according to the network's founder.


"We wanted to introduce search engine advertising that is affordable and not prone to click fraud. We know companies that are paying $5,000, $10,000 a month or more to the major pay-per-click search engines," Mel Strocen, CEO of Jayde Online Network, told DM News.


Instead, the network's model is a flat fee -- $12 per listing for three months or $36 per listing for a year -- and keyword buys are limited. The network restricts the sale of each keyword term at 30 buys, so most companies are listed in the first or second page of listings.


A single listing includes a keyword term, a title, a description and a URL. Companies that pick keywords that "no one else has picked" likely will always appear in the first page of listings, Strocen said.


"The only drawback is that, if it becomes wildly popular, the demand might outstrip supply [limiting terms to 30]," he said.


The current pay-per-click ad model is flawed, he said, not only because of high prices but also because of its click-fraud rates.


"Most experts think that click fraud accounts for 20 to 25 percent of all clicks," he said. "My experience is that it's higher than that ... most search engines don't want to talk about it."


Results for advertisers using the flat-fee model "vary," Strocen said, but "the larger the network grows, the better the results."


Strocen expects about 100 members in the network by the end of the year.


"None of the members are large enough to have a major voice in search, but as a whole they can have an impact on the search engine industry," he said.


Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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