Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Google Adwords with a private label / White label

In Norway, several search engines are trying to compete with Google. They're having two basic problems:
  • Relevance
  • Ad platform
In terms of relevance, sesam.no is doing a great jobb. They are incorpating Norway specific content like telephone listings, company information and Norwegian newspapers. Sesam is taking advantage of their location.

Sesam's main problem is the ad platform. They currently use Yahoo Search Marketing, which is far inferior to the Google Adwords platform(even after they upgrade to the new Panama platform in Europe).

So Sesam basically has three choices:
  1. Build their own ad platform(which I think they're trying to do)
  2. Use Microsoft Adcenter, Yahoo Search Marketing or Ask's ad platform
  3. Approach Google and get a private label version of Google Adwords
If they choose option on, they will most likely fail just like Microsoft and Yahoo have with their "new" platforms. They've spent million of dollars on development and they're still far behind Google Adwords.

If they choose option two, they have a better chance of succeeding since they benefit from the resources of the larger players.

The last option of private labeling Google Adwords is the most interesting one. This option has probably not even been considered, since it may not be possible. I think it would be interesting to explore. The advantage to Sesam is that they would get a user friendly and scalable ad solution that would be easy to fill up with advertisers(because advertisers already know how to use it). The advantage to Google would be that their platform would become the standard for internet advertising(it probably will anyway..) and at the same time assisting a smaller player generate more revenues. If Google's goal is to make Adwords the standard platform for all internet advertising, it would be a great move.

As Sesam continues to burn money, another Norwegian search player is way off. I recently blogged about how Kvasir is failing to understand (in Norwegian) the importance of an automated ad solution and they responded that they thought is was really important that their "talented" sales people took care of their advertisers communication. To me that seems very strange since the majority of Google's revenues comes from the Google Adwords platform.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Click revenues generated by bidding on brand names should go to the brand owner

Search engine marketers know that bidding on strong brand names is a great method to generate sales.

E-mail marketers know that a brand name in the e-mail subject line usually increases the open rate.

Online marketers know the power of branding in purchasing processes. Customers feel safer when shopping on well-known websites and the conversion rate on well-known sites will be higher(if all else is equal).

Brands are important. Large and small companies around the world are struggling to protect their brand names in all marketing channels.

Among the strictest are Nokia and Apple. If you are a mobile phone dealership and you would like to promote your product using Google Adwords, you have to ask Nokia and Apple for explicit permission to bid on terms that they own, i.e. Nokia and Apple iPod.

Instead of refusing advertisers to advertise on brand terms, Google should offer the brand owners a chance to make money when people bid on their brand names.

This is how it would work:
- An advertiser bids on the term NOKIA.
- An automatic e-mail is sent to NOKIA requesting permission to advertise.
- Click revenues generated by bidding on brand names should go to the brand owner
- Google should be paid a transaction fee for enabling the brand name rent

If this implemented the brand owner will always be able to spend more on protecting their brand in Google. The brand owner could pay more to affiliates and afford a higher cost per click. Google would avoid expensive lawsuits while enabling brand owners to spend more on keyword advertising.

Win - Win - Win.

Interesting statistics:
Hitwise Research shows that Internet users are increasingly searching by brand - 75 of the top 100 search terms across all categories in February 2006 contained brand names, an increase of 17% versus February 2005.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Microsoft Adcenter 0.1 - What were they thinking?

I continue to follow the different ad platforms from the major search engine companies. I'm still shocked that Yahoo and Microsoft were not able to launch a better ad platform after pooring milllions of dollars into development. Both companies understand usability, but it seems that they have ignored usability and speed in the new ad platforms.

Here's my top list of ad platforms:

1. Google Adwords - by far the best plaform. Improvements are made monthly and Google continue to impress me.
2. Ask Paid listings - I've only just logged into this. It looks good, but lacks quite a few features
3. Adbrite - interesting solution.
4. Text-link-ads - another interesting solution
5. Yahoo Search Marketing - Better than the old Overture platform, but it failed to reach my expectations.
6. Microsoft Adcenter - Microsoft - What were you thinking?

After reviewing these platforms, I'm confident that it will take a few years before the other players catch up to Google.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A potential description to Youtubes and Googles copyright problems

I believe somebody will come up with a solution to the copyright problem.

Here's one potential process:

  1. A copyright-owner goes to worldcopyrightassociation.com, uploads their content and activates the copyrights.
  2. The copyright association partners with major text, video, sound search engines and crawls all the content in the world.
  3. When the search engines find illegal content, an automatic e-mail is sent to the website owner and the hosting company.
  4. In the e-mail the website owner and the hosting company is introduced to a set of tools that enables them to automatically remove the content, identify the person who uploaded the content and temporarily blacklist the IP-address of the uploader. The system also provides the siteowner with tools to monitor the illegal uploader.
  5. The website owner can also implement a micropayment solution that's completely integrated with Paypal, Google Checkout and other payment systems. This way, all websites can offer copyrighted content, make some money on it and pay the content owner in a reversed affiliate program™.
Any comments?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

McDonalds with innovative blog initiative

Update! McDonalds actually follows this campaign up personally. This post did not qualify! Hurray for McDonalds. This might be an example of a successful blog marketing campaign!

I'm impressed. I used to go alot to McDonalds, but after the movie SuperSize me, I rarely go there. However I do love their milkshakes. I live in Stockholm, but I'm frequently in Oslo, Norway.

This picture is taken from McDonalds in Oslo, where I used to go alot.

So again, I'm not a fan of McDonalds food, but one positive aspect is the travelling aspect. Since I know McDonalds has really strict guidelines regarding their food, I always know that McDonalds serves the same food all over the world. So to me - McDonalds makes me feel safe when eating in foreign countries. Even though it's junkfood, I know that it's safe compared to those noname restaurants. You can read more about the McDonalds initiative here.(in Norwegian). An interesting part of this marketing campaign is that McDonalds is trying to stimulate the conversation by paying money to bloggers. That means that I make money for blogging about mcdonalds. They are walking on a thin line here. Bloggers might react with rage since McDonalds is trying to commecialize blogging.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Google replaces "I'm feeling lucky" with "shop" button

Consumer research released by Become.com last week showed that when tested head to head against Google, users preferred Become.com’s shopping search results by a 55% to 45% margin.

Some time ago, information about Google's "I'm feeling lucky" button leaked from Google, showing that almost noone uses the button.

If Google's goal is to give relevant information to the searchers, they would replace the "I'm feeling lucky" button with a button that says "Shop".

This could improve the search results for the people looking to shop. It would increase the conversion rates for online merchants and Google would make much more money on ads showing up when people hit the "shop" button.

On the otherhand, Google might confuse the users by changing a button. I think it would be a smart.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Google Analytics vs. nettracker and other web analytics packages

Alot of discussions about web analytics turns into arguments concerning page view, hits, unique visitors, visits, etc. The focus should be on the trends. I've taken stats from Nettracker and Google Analytics and compared the two different stats. Here are the results.
As you can see the trends for both statistics packages are the same. On average Google Analytics Visits number is only 58% of the values that Nettracker reports as visits.

It doesn't matter which one is correct as long as the trends are similar!