Shopping Portals – Online marketing that’s worth the effort?

By Herb

Question: I’m already using shopping portals like Shopping.com, Froogle, Bizrate and NexTag for my online marketing. Does it make sense to consider “second tier” sites like Kanoodle, FindWhat, Enhance, BrainFox, and GoClick?

Answer: From my personal experience the second tier pay per click venues like Kanoodle, FindWhat, etc, will probably never offer a highly scaleable source of profitable sales. Google and Overture control over 90% of online searches by most estimates. That said, some of them do have more value than others:

– FindWhat I’ve been increasingly impressed with FindWhat lately. For some clients it has produced decent sales over the past 6 months. The performance is sporadic, but may be worth testing.

– Enhance and Kanoodle I haven’t seen anything on either of these venues that have really impressed me (related to client success), but they do have decent distribution, and may be worth testing at some point.

– BrainFox and GoClick I really don’t have a lot of experience with these engines. I would put them into the “third” tier, as opposed to calling them “second tier,” which exclusively includes FindWhat, Enhance, Kanoodle, and arguably Lycos’ ad program (which is done through FindWhat). Lycos is dieing quickly, so it may be too much of a stretch to include them in the second tier. My concern with third tier pay per click engines is that I just don’t trust them to be as vigilant in fighting Pay per Click fraud as the second tier (larger, public companies with something to lose).

If you are willing to play with a small monthly budget for FindWhat, setting up a test would probably not be a bad idea. FindWhat is hit or miss, but as I said before, they have impressed me lately.

As for the shopping portals, the ones you mention are the “major” players. The only one missing from that list that may be valuable (despite recently losing a major distribution deal) is PriceGrabber.com.

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