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Second Tier Pay Per Click Search Engines

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Outside of the Top Ten Pay-Per-Click Search Engines there are a large number of PPC search engines that are generally classified as “second tier”.

The term is usually defined as small search engine sites that typically have a relatively small amount of traffic.

However, despite the smaller amounts of traffic to second-tier PPC search engines, they may be just what you are looking for.

The cost to mount an ad campaign is generally quite low, and some second-tier search engines have partnerships with websites that may be directly connected to the market you are interested in.

Sometimes the best place for a novice to start in pay-per-click advertising is with a second-tier search engine, where you can hone your skills at keyword bidding, etc., in an atmosphere that requires less personal attention because the traffic is lower.

If you investigate and find a second-tier search engine that looks as if it will fit your needs, and you decide to invest a small amount of money in a trial run, be prepared for the small amount of traffic you may receive and the fewer sales you will make.

Second-tier search engines provide a good opportunity for you to spread ad dollars across a few different search engines, while you might be limited by your budget to only one of the Top 10 if you took that route.

Therefore, they can be a great place to learn more about the process at a relatively low cost.

Keep in mind that “second tier” does not mean “second rate.” Some of the 200-plus search engines that currently fit into this category can perform quite well for you and the lower cost will increase your ROI when you do convert a visitor into a buyer.

Many second-tier engines have almost all the tools and features of the Top 10 and, over time, will unseat one of the top 10 if enough enhancements are made.

Quality of service and delivery of results may improve their situation online, so word of mouth may bring them increased traffic.

We are providing reviews of 12 second-tier PPC search engines to give you an idea of the kind of diversity available if you wish to experiment with a smaller property, especially if you are just beginning to investigate online advertising.

1. BrainFox
BrainFox is a directory-style PPC search engine officed in New York. Owned by eXact Advertising LLC, BrainFox has been in business since June of 2000 and has over 20,000 advertisers with approximately 300 million search requests each month.

Daily reach figures are relatively low, but were stable throughout 2004 and into 2005.
BrainFox has a different approach to expansion.

Instead of seeking out partnerships, they are developing their own network (the BrainFox Network), composed of distribution portals they develop.

The startup fee is $10 with a 1-cent minimum cost per click. They also offer a 25%, bonus on the first deposit into your account.

BrainFox does reserve the right to change the content of your PPC ad without notifying you first.

Features include image ads, auto bidding, IP tracking to help combat click fraud, and a tool called exactTrack, an ROI tracking system.

An account manager is assigned to each ad account to provide consistency in customer service (but no phone contact is available).

Alexa Ranking – 2,219 (as of 05/2005)

2.  Business.com
Business.com was founded in 1999 as a search engine for businesses only. Set up as a directory, its categories cover interests from Accounting and Transportation to Technology. Subcategories further refine the search.

Three products are offered: “Featured Listings” puts your ad at the top of search results. It is only available for U.S. businesses, but includes Google in its network.

Rates begin at a high 40 cents per click (and increase by increments of 10 cents per click), although there is no startup cost.

“Sponsored Listings” results show up to the right of the listings on a results page. There is a minimum $25 start-up fee and a minimum cost per click of 20 cents, and your self-crafted ad can be up in one business day.

“Standard Listings” advertisers receive all alphabetical listing within natural search results for $99.

Tools and reports are available to help you gauge how your PPC campaign is going, but they are not as robust as those on other search engines. Click fraud is of particular concern among users.

Alexa Ranking- 1,576 (as of 05/2005)

3. Clicksor
Clicksor is a Toronto, Canada-based division of Yeslp Ecommerce Solutions, Inc., originally founded in 1999.

Clicksor differs in concentrating on their product Content Marketing Technology (their focus is contextual ads).

The process of choosing keywords and bidding for placement is essentially the same, but the emphasis is on content.

Clicksor has 200+ million impressions per month because of partnerships with over 10,000 websites.

Clicksor offers two options for contextual PPC-keyword matching or channel matching. With Keyword Match, your keywords will be underlined in the ad and if a visitor hovers over it, a text banner appears that describes your product/service.

If the user clicks on the banner or keyword, they go to your site. Channel Match concentrates more on the context of your website.

Clicksor appears to be more concerned with their affiliate program than with pay per click and a large number of forum posts report low ROIs, so close tracking is necessary.

Alexa Ranking – 2,238 (as of 05/2005)

4. Findology
Findology.com is a division of TrafficAds Media, Inc., located in Santa Monica, California and founded in 1998.

All listings all sponsored, but Findology states that its key advantage is its partnerships with websites that typically are not partnered with other search engines.

A portal version (with a browser and free email) was planned for release in November 2004, but has been delayed.

Four types of search are available. Results pages list related terms for further searches and end with the same group of MSN-related listings.

“Web” results, geared toward the shopping end, are usually under 10 pages. “Shopping” search listings show products in categories.

“Yellow-pages” search listings are similar to web search. “News” search has contextually relevant results, but with only one page of results.

Features include traffic reporting, keyword statistics, and an automatic bidding option. The minimum deposit is $25, and the minimum bid is only 1 cent.

User comments point to relatively low traffic but generally good ROI. Traffic was slow but steady through 2004, and has since risen.

Alexa Ranking 3,012 (as of 05/2005)

5. GenieKnows
Genieknows is a newly redesigned, directory-style search engine offering services like bid-for-position, PPC, and private label.

Its background as a content-related directory engine makes it a good choice for contextual advertising. A European expansion in 2004 is a plus.

The PPC, component includes an auto-bidding tool, clear emphasis on relevancy, a keyword selection tool, batch keyword submission, a keyword generator, contextual advertising, and local capabilities.

The company is working on a quasi-artificial intelligence application that will “learn” a particular user’s likes and dislikes and display results accordingly.

Their toolbar (SmartGenieTM) includes such as flights, images, and auctions. One tool checks the current Top 10 keyword bids, Secured via a code visible to humans, but not robots.

Partners include Yahoo (with their channels on the toolbar) and LookSmart Users comment they like the new look, customer service, intuitive interface and detailed reports.

Minimum bids are 1 cent with no minimum spend, but a somewhat large $50 minimum to open an account.

Alexa Ranking – 25,614 (as of 05/2005)

6. GoClick
GoClick has a category-style listing format with topics to click on to return search results. All results are sponsored and the engine is somewhat cluttered looking. They claim 23,000 business owners and over 7.2 billion targeted searches per year.

GoClick is an easy PPC search engine with which to open an account. The process is short and to the point, with bids starting at 1 cent and no minimums required.

Search results actually show the cost per click for each listing returned on a search, whether you are an advertiser or a user.

GoClick’s acquisition on July 30, 2004 by Marchex, was good news for the PPC search engine, but there is definitely some room for improvement in GoClick’s relevancy testing.

For example, a search for “beanie babies” has the third ranked site as “Cheapest Prices Search Engine” and various baby-related sites.

Alexa Ranking – 4,610 (as of 05/2005)

7. LookSmart
LookSmart is a directory-style site organized by category. Based in San Francisco, LookSmart created quite a controversy in 2002 when it switched to pay per click from a one-time placement fee.

In 2004, they added a number of partners, including Furl, BrainFox, Findology, GenieKnows and Vivisino (clustering should boost clickthroughs 30%-100%).

There are three categories of search-Directory, Web, and Articles. Results come from a combination of robot-indexed sites, listings that the editors have reviewed, and paid listings, with no wav to differentiate between them.

PPC listings are limited to four per page, based on an algorithm using “relevance, user popularity, and advertiser payment”

LookListings PPC includes TrueLead, which checks on the response of their partnered sites and identifies PPC fraud.

A handy tool allows you to look for little-used key-words that mar be bargain-priced in the marketplace.

Pricing of keyword listings is calculated using the maximum cost per click and the clickthrough rate, so account balances should be watched carefully.

Alexa Ranking – 1,535 (as of 05/2005)

8. Mamma
Mamma’s PPC advertising is based on a set price per click for inclusion in one of 18 directory categories. You are guaranteed placement in the top three search results on a rotating basis.

Current cost per clicks range from 15 cents (for Adult Content) to $1.00 (for Casinos). Most categories average about 25 cents. The sponsored links offered come from Google AdWords, not Mamma.

Mamma has many of the features of large search engines, including geo-targeting, click fraud detection, conversion rate and ROI tracking.

They plan to offer online keyword tools in the future. They have a free toolbar and an “Explorer” tool that allows you to save URLs for later viewing.

Free help is available with ad creation. Relevancy is part of the terms of service. Mamma’s “Rsort” program checks for duplicate results and displays the one with the most duplicates, reducing search engine spam.

You can select onier hay per click or have a fixed monthly spend plan, with no monthly spend minimum or limit on the number of keywords. Only credit cards are accepted, with no refunds for balances under $10.

Alexa Ranking 1,583 (as of 05/2005)

9. Mirago
The U.K.-based Mirago search engine is aimed primarily at the European market, but also competes with some North American search engines.

Through 2004, Mirago concentrated on adding partners, including some high-traffic regional/national sources in Scandinavia and northern Europe. Mirago claims more that 300 million clicks per month.

Mirago offers typical PPC products, with the usual number of auto bid, notification, and reporting tools, and the customer pays only on a CPC basis. Geo-targeting by country is available.

“Henry, the Mirago Robot” determines placement based on PPC indicators, plus the service/product you offer, and how often your website is changed, combined with algorithms and “software weight keywords and phrases according to perceived importance.”

The PPC program allows for negative keywords and phrase and broad keyword match.

Although Mirago has a strong base in the United Kingdom, it still has a fairly small distribution network. Still, users seem happy with their ROI, given that the costs for PPC ads are quite low.

Alexa Ranking – 9,512 (as of 05/2005)

10. myGeek
myGeek was founded in 1999 as a shopping site and then spent two years optimizing their search engine.

Based in phoenix, Arizona, myGeek is unique in providing PPC to marketing/advertising networks that take products directly to advertisers.

Their major networks include LookSmart, Netster, Infosonar, XAO Search, Ditto.coin, and SearchHippo.

Their main product, AdOn Direct, works by providing au ASP solution for advertisers who want to create and manage their own PPC keyword-based campaigns via a user-friendly yet robust system.

Advertisers call sign up for the AdOn Network program and connect with roughly 20 million advertisers whose ROIs are monitored by myGeck to ensure quality.

myGeek handles keyword-bidding management. Tools like Traffic Source Selection, Traffic Estimation, and Broad Match help advertisers find new traffic and track ad performance.

Advertisers must play an active role to get the best out of myGeek, even though the lowest cost per click is 5 cents and you can open an account for only $”20.

Alexa Ranking – (8,595 (as of 05/2005)

11. SearchGalore
SearchGalore is headquartered in Fullerton, California, with a European presence in the United Kingdom.

Owned by Elite Concepts, the goal of SearchGalore is stated as providing quality, relevant search results rather than quantity, as part of their terms of service.

Their major PPC product is called AdBox. Their editorial staff supposedly peruses each listing, yet a typographical error in the description of their “free listing” area calls into question the quality of this service.

Advantages include account assistance available 24/7 and the fact that your PPC ad can appear in less than 24 hours.

The required $25 deposit is matched 100%, but is nonrefundable if you cancel your account.

In addition, amounts in your account are nonrefundable after 90 days, so advertisers need to keep a close eye on their account level.

Alexa Ranking – 306,239 (as of 05/2005)

12. Xuppa
Xuppa (formerly Bay9.com) has the look and feel of a directory-based search engine, but with a lot more options, including auctions, contests, find a date, sending ecards, learning the latest news, taking various polls, getting your daily horoscope you name it, it looks as if Xuppa offers it.

Most of these alternative functions come with PPC ads on the pages, or by requiring that you click on an ad as a prerequisite of entering a lotto/contest.

All of the above makes it difficult to take Xuppa seriously in the PPC search engine business.

Xuppa seems to offer so many different things for its visitors to do and see that it is hard to realize that it has supposed to be a search engine.

A busy, disorganized homepage detracts from the appeal of Xuppa, despite its sign-up incentive of $50 if you deposit $50.

Through much of 2004, there were signs of rocky performance at Xuppa; first, an inability to contact anyone at the search engine, and later, user reports of acceptable traffic levels but lower ROIs, as compared to other PPC search engines with similar traffic.

Xuppa also offers different types of paid ad campaigns (banners and popups). They seem to be concentrating more on website design, hosting, SEO, and other options than on pay-per-click advertising.

Alcxa Ranking 4,811 (as of 05/2005)

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