Results can vary quite markedly from one engine to another depending on the keywords you bid on. It is prudent to try all the engines in order to ensure that you cover those that best suit your niche.
WARNING: Fraudulent clicks seem to on the increase at many pay per click search engines with the exception of Google Adwords and Overture. Check your server logs at least weekly and look for anything suspicious. Usually it is a new URL generating a lot of clicks that is the giveaway, so keep good records. Another warning sign is a URL with zero length visit times.
As an aid to help you determine the usefulness of each search engine I have included the latest Alexa stats. Alexa.com is a free web navigation service that also provides stats and info on each site you visit. Traffic data is based on "Visits" over the last 6 months, which is a count of the total number of page visits by Alexa Users to the site. Use the figures as a relative guide to the popularity of each engine.
Most PPC's other than Google Adwords have very poor advertiser bidding account interfaces although the situation is gradually improving. This is where a good bid management program comes into its own and makes life much easier for advertisers.
The following PPC search engines are supported by most bid monitoring and management programs.
Supported Pay Per Click Search Engines
Overture - The King, which means you pay a Kings ransom for popular keywords! The best strategy is to bid for lower rankings and go for hundreds of less popular keywords to get sufficient traffic. Many advertisers have found that they receive more targeted traffic at positions 3 to 8 than the top 2 positions.
Overture have begun to focus on relevancy issues for their listings in recent times. It is now much harder than it was previously to get keywords listed. Make sure you follow their instructions for titles, descriptions and URL's carefully before submitting or their editors will reject them.
The only automatic bidding programs that are approved for use on Overture are - BidRank, KeywordBid Maximizer, GoToast, PPC Bid Tracker, PPC Management and Sure Hits. They are limited to 24 automatic bid changes every 24 hours. There is no limit on manual changes.
If you use dial up Internet service you will find the Overture bid management interface is extremely slow to update, making it frustrating to use. Broadband users should be OK. Minimum bid is 10 cents per click.
Alexa - 805,447 visits.
FindWhat was No.2 to Overture with more reasonable prices but has slipped a notch since the advent of Google's PPC. However still has good traffic and good value for certain keywords. The advertiser interface has had a major facelift and additional functionality (AutoBid and CruiseControl) has been added to help advertisers manage their bids.
Has a simple account interface compared to most other PPC's. Well worth testing as traffic seems to convert a lot better than many of its competitors. The recent changes have made it even better. Put it on your short list for a trial.
If you are an Overture advertiser who has had keywords dropped you might want to open a FindWhat account. They are less restrictive and while traffic is not up to Overture levels, it is still quite strong.
Minimum bid 1 cent
Alexa - 105,932 visits.
7Search have some good partner sites that have helped to increase the amount of traffic that they are receiving. Depending on your products, you can pick up some good traffic. Good user interface.
One of the faster growing PPC Search Engines.
Minimum bid 1 cent
Alexa - 417,494 visits.
Xuppa (formerly Bay9)
Xuppa reckon they have boosted their traffic levels lately. If my experience is typical then the additional traffic is poor quality. Watch your account closely and avoid automatic replenishment unless you want to see your money disappear faster than water down a plughole. It only seems to affect certain keywords, so beware.
The new account interface can be very confusing for inexperienced bidders, but has more functionality than the previous version.
Xuppa (Bay9) are not real strong on customer relations. I had to complain numerous times about fraudulent clicks before they shut down a scammer. They never acknowledged there was a problem and never reimbursed me for my losses.
Minimum bid 1 cent
Alexa - 230,855 visits.
Sprinks - as of Friday, October 24th, 2003, Google became the exclusive provider of contextually targeted and search advertising across About.com, the Web's largest content site, and most of PRIMEDIA’S Consumer Media and Magazines Group ("CMMG") websites including SPRINKS.
Kanoodle traffic doesn't convert to sales very well for me but perhaps it is better with other keywords. Worthwhile as part of a larger advertising campaign, but hardly worth it on its own.
They are trying to develop partnerships with other sites to boost their traffic. If they can develop some decent traffic then results should improve. Like Google and Overture, Kanoodle have recently tightened their criteria for placing ads, so be sure to read their guidelines before writing or submitting ads.
Minimum bid was 1 cent. From August 1, 2002 new bids have a 5 cent minimum.
Alexa - 54,148 visits.
- We welcome corrections, updates and information on other pay per per click search engines that are supported by bid monitoring and management software.