By Anne Holland, President
I'm out sick today. In fact, I've been sick on and off for about three weeks now, with varying crescendos as some new bug delights in my weakened state.
In between sleeping, sleeping and sleeping, I surf the Web. Aside from sites about presidential marketing, homemade birdfeeders and TV shows you can watch on your iPod, I've been watching the slow-but-steady impact of Jeffrey Rohrs' 'Sausage Manifesto,' which is not about food but about search marketing.
Jeffrey named the manifesto named after the famous saying, "People who enjoy eating sausage shouldn’t watch it being made."
To wit -- marketers who like buying search clicks should not ask where precisely all the clicks come from because it might upset you.
The fact is that heavy search marketers have known for years that in addition to true search clicks, some so-called search clicks were actually click fraud, clicks from cruddy content sites (especially splogs -- spam blogs) and typo URL landing page clicks.
And, the truth is that search engines have been notoriously slow about sorting this stuff out. Why bother? Marketers are flocking to buy clicks in droves, profits are up and Wall Street is pretty happy.
As MarketingSherpa's own research shows, marketers are more resigned to the situation than angry about it. 57% of marketers we questioned this fall who are monitoring click fraud likened it to email spam, but 23% said it's a non-issue or becoming a non-issue.
Should you care? If search is a big part of your budget, you should. Plus, if you have a brand that you want to market carefully (i.e., not have your brand name on crud sites) then you should.
So far, some industry biggies, including Andrew Goodman and the folks at Search Engine Watch have posted thoughtful comments to the Manifesto. Also worth noting, a Yahoo! search exec has posted favorably. To my knowledge, however, no one from Google, MSN or Ask.com has posted to the Manifesto yet, although they must all be aware of it. That's too bad.
My take? Every single area of media buying (which in the end is all that paid search is) has its snarls. For example, postal mail list rental has nixies. To pretend that search is oh-so-shocking because it's also imperfect is disingenuous at best.
However, to pretend search is perfect is dumb and annoying. Just as DM has no-fault tactics to handle nixies, PPC search networks should offer better tracking and make-goods.
Anything that raises the industry's awareness of problems and -- more importantly -- points to ongoing solutions is worth a read. Check it out today:
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