RedZee & IceRocket Reaching New Heights

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Tier Two Search engines such as Redzee and IceRocket make up millions of queries with only 2% of the search market.

It has definitely helped me to start growing my online business once again.

When most people talk about pay per click (PPC) search engine advertising, Google and Overture (Yahoo!) take center stage.

But in reality there are hundreds of smaller "Tier Two" search engines that offer compelling PPC opportunities such as the up and coming 3-1 Meta Search Engine Redzee.com, and IceRocket.com, which are both competing for 1 percent to 2 percent of the Search market which equates to millions of queries for each!

A special report from the Search Engine Strategies conference, San Jose, CA, shows that

Google's network currently holds about 53 percent of the paid listings distribution on the Web, said Peter Hershberg, Managing Partner of Reprise Media, while Overture's networks holds 45 percent. That leaves only a fractional remainder, which is split between hundreds of Tier Two providers.

"But," he said, "that 2 percent represents hundreds of millions of queries. And with click prices up 25 percent in the last three years, many advertisers are looking to the second tier for affordable traffic. For people who are priced out of the big engines, or are looking for additional incremental traffic volume, it's worth exploring."

One value proposition that Hershberg said he found with the smaller networks is that they provide hands-on customer service and lots of guidance for their customers. It's a welcome relief for many smaller advertisers who are segmented into self-service mode on Google and Overture.

Generally, he said, "there may be a lower conversion rate on these engines, but the cost is so much lower that it makes up for it."

Fellow panelist Chris Churchill, president of Fathom Online, agreed. The search marketing firm puts 18 percent of their media mix into Tier Two engines. Why? Better buys, he said.

Churchill said that in a recent data sample covering a six-month period across 218 campaigns and 6.8 million clicks, the highest conversion rate on the Tier One networks was 2.92 percent, and the lowest was 0.03 percent. The buys on the Tier Two networks yielded a smaller top conversion rate of 1.12 percent, but the lowest conversion was only 0.89 percent.

Frank Watson of FXCM, an online currency trading platform, said his company buys Tier Two placements for competitive reasons, to "protect their turf."

He said that competitors can shore up their budgets through cheaper buys on secondary engines then use their savings to kill you on Google and Overture.

"Prices are 1/10th or even 1/50th the amount you pay on the top networks," he said.

And, for international campaigns, alternative engines may actually have more volume than Overture and Google.

"I simply was priced out of the market for the keywords I needed on the major networks, and had to resort to finding smaller networks such as RedZee Search," states Steve Jarvis of Benefit House Insurance. "It has definitely helped me to start growing my online business once again."

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Laurie Smith

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