Marketing Pilgrim's "Search Marketing" Channel

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Google Ready to Abandon Ad-Subsidized Model?

It appears that Google might be ready to concede that not all of its products can be supported by the careful placement of AdWords ads. According to Business Week, Google plans to introduce a subscription fee for their Google Apps for Your Domain office suite.

In coming weeks, Google Apps will turn into a real business as Google begins charging corporations a subscription fee amounting to a few dollars per person per month.

With tens of thousands of businesses already using Google Apps, Google has made an impressive challenge to Microsoft’s dominance in the office suite arena, but it’s clear that businesses are not going to tolerate offers for free ring tones or mortgage refinancing alongside an email from the CFO.

The Last Word on Link Buying

V7N’s Contextual Links offering received a lot of online coverage and comments, first here on Marketing Pilgrim, then at Search Engine Journal and Matt Cutts’s blog.

The debate may rage on over the “ethical” nature of paid links. A more important subtext to that debate is the overall effectiveness of link buying as a strategy to improve search engine rankings. But now the ultimate link authority, Eric Ward, has spoken.

Eric has written a short-but-sweet article in today’s Web Marketing Today called “The Pros and Cons of Buying Links.” Eric warns against buying links to improve search rank, whether they’re “undetectable” or not. He offers three basic rules for link buying:

Google Willing to Share Just a Little More Link Data

There’s a reason for search marketers to smile today – Google has added backlink details to Webmaster Central.

Now, before everyone runs off and pops the top off a bottle of champagne, Matt Cutts would like you to know about a certain caveat to the new tool.

Do not assume just because you see a backlink that it’s carrying weight. I’m going to say that again: Do not assume just because you see a backlink that it’s carrying weight. Sometime in the next year, someone will say “But I saw an insert-link-fad-here backlink show up in Google’s backlink tool, so it must count. Right?” And then I’ll point them back here, where I say do not assume just because you see a backlink that it’s carrying weight.

Online Fastest Growing Advertising Medium

Outsell, Inc. has released a report that seems to indicate that we are reaching the end of an era: they project broadcast and print ad spending will decrease in 2007. Key findings of their survey of 1010 advertising professionals include:

  • Online spending growing the fastest: companies plan to increase online spending by 18% this year as online advertising’s market share increases to 20% of advertising spend.
  • Advertisers perceive online advertising as “very effective” for branding, a reversal of their “conventional wisdom.”
  • Search marketing is the fastest growing online medium: advertisers plan to increase search engine advertising spend by 39% (though Outsell didn’t indicate whether this was SEO, PPC or both in its press release).
  • PPC ads’ market share will actually decrease 1% this year; other online media will grow (CPA ads: 8%; “online sponsorships” 12%).

FAST, the Comeback Kid?

Remember the days when you actually checked your web site’s rankings on AllTheWeb.com? [cue flashback]

Well, the company that originally brought us AllTheWeb, FAST Search & Transfer, is back, and this time they want to help site owners offer their own paid search platform without the need to involve those pesky Google or Yahoo kids.

FAST will today unveil their new AdMomentum platform, designed to be a one-stop solution for publishers and networks looking to cut out the middle-men of search.

“It’s like a digital marketplace in a box,” said Sue Feldman, an IDC Research vice president who reviewed early versions of AdMomentum. “This gives Web sites an opportunity to become more independent and take more control over their revenue stream.”

Yahoo Switching to Panama Platform Today

Monday February 5th, 2007, will be a day that goes down in search engine history. At 3pm PST today, Yahoo will bring together 30 to 40 engineers and start migrating the old Overture pay-per-click platform over to the new “Panama” model. Its future success or failure will depend on how well the new platform is received.

Thousands of advertisers, and billions of dollars in ad spending, will be watched closely, as Yahoo finally moves from the pure “highest bidder wins” model, to the “bid plus quality” model. By making this switch, Yahoo hopes to increase the average revenue per click from 2.5/3 cents to something closer to Google’s 4.5/5 cents.

As successful switch could mean the difference between Yahoo’s road to a comeback, or instead, further languishing behind Google – and facing a strong challenge from Microsoft’s adCenter.

Google Planning PowerPoint Clone?

TechCrunch loves to post rumors and speculation. To their credit, they’re right at least half of the time – perhaps someone could do an actual study – so whenever they post a new rumor, you should at least take note.

The latest speculation suggests that Google may be preparing an online presentation tool – similar to Microsoft’s PowerPoint – named “Presently”.

It certainly makes sense when you consider the company already has a word and spreadsheet offering.