Why Human-Powered Local Search is Better Than Pay Per Click

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Pay Per Click (PPC) may be on the way out as click fraud alarms grow and results continue to flounder. AskPoodle.com’s Luis Pereira, in an effort to pitch his new search engine, offers up an interpretation of why the problem exists and what can be done to fix the click fraud problem.

Pay Per Click (PPC) may be on the way out as click fraud alarms grow and results continue to flounder. AskPoodle.com’s Luis Pereira, in an effort to pitch his new search engine, offers up an interpretation of why the problem exists and what can be done to fix the click fraud problem.

Is Pay Per Click (PPC) a dead proposition? Unmeasurable results passing off as reliable ROI investment is being questioned more and more frequently, in technical online journals and blogs all over the internet and on news stories like those featured by CNN. With newer services like AskPoodle.com’s Pay Per Call and the more novel “Pay Per Chat” option, advertisers could more accurately assess ROI. The concept is oddly not that mind-blowing. Human agents take the calls from online web surfers doing a search. Chat sales agents handle chat sessions. Sales get made, creating reliable measurements of ROI. If a call is successful or not, results will be recorded and adjustments can then be made to current call or chat scripts, creating a more dynamic fine-tuning process for online advertisers. Many are now already taking advantage of PayPerCall advertising and the number of Pay Per Call and “Per Per Chat” sales are expected to rise as these advertising methods gradually become more familiar.

Luis Pereira, AskPoodle.com founder, a veteran IT consultant, entrepreneur and self-professed believer in the American Dream, says that his search engine company (Ask Poodle, Inc.) wants to start a trend in the way goods and services are bought and sold in America. “How will it be done?” you may well ask. By employing a largely local American workforce employed to handle sales for local area businesses. Outsourcing Small Town’s dollars to bigger or foreign cities could become a secondary option, boosting local American economies from both ends. The way to accomplish this, he believes, is to make it worth the advertisers while. He plans to do so by offering advertisers measurable ROI via PayPerCall and PayPerChat transcripts and electronic records that document who called when, and what, if anything, was actually sold. The customer service end is above standard also, says Pereira, who relates that many who are not comfortable with dealing with a programmed algorithm could easily handle doing business the old fashion way, by shopping local and talking to actual human beings.

On top of these considerations, however, is the troubling issue of click fraud, which speaks louder against PayPerClick’s actual value than probably anything else ever could. According to an insightful article written back in 2004 by Stefanie Olsen, a staff writer at CNET News.com (http://news.com.com/Exposing+click+fraud/2100-1024_3-5273078.html), as well as almost everyone in the know today, click fraud is not only eating up the small time advertisers, it’s eating up the big corporate advertisers, as well. It was a big problem back then, and it is still a bad sign for eCommerce’s number one racehorse (http://news.com.com/Click+fraud+roils+search+advertisers/2100-1024_3-5600300.html).

Many think that click fraud may just be a single individual or a small covert band of employees. The facts are disturbingly more thought-provoking, however, and big corporations are well aware of them. Large groups of offshore workers overseas are often employed to secretly sabotage a major competitor’s click ads, often creating click fraud wars that make Pay Per Click ROI an often-ridiculous proposition. What Google and the other search engine super powers will do to completely and effectively stop this and future click fraud tactics remains to be seen at this point, while Pay Per Click has, nevertheless, remained largely the staid method for the majority of online advertisers.

While click fraud statistics are often guarded by search engine companies, they are often being purchased from a new breed of data compilers by advertisers and others to find out just where the clicks are coming from. It is widely believed by action groups like those headed by 2004 presidential hopeful Ralph Nader, and by information sites like About.com (http://onlinebusiness.about.com/od/seo/a/clickfraud.htm) to be a big industry at this point in the life of Pay Per Click advertising, and a serious blight on resources for everyone in the long run. Pereira, AskPoodle.com’s founder, says that he anticipates Google will eventually be brought around to his way of thinking, as advertisers begin to try and realize the ROI value of PayPerCall and his own novel PayPerChat local search model.

Pereira offers a pitch for his own search engine model, AskPoodle.com: “We can’t expect PayPerClick or any automated to remain uncompromised indefinitely. It’s just common sense that some will try to tilt the machine. We may as well look at this from a guerilla-marketing point of view, as the click fraud perpetrators are doing. Machines often seem infallible and untamperable, when in reality people are probably easier to keep tabs on than any machine left ‘alone’ ever will be. As long as there are humans using machines, we need to keep a tighter reign on automated advertising. Why not use a team of managed humans who at least punch in and are verifiable, documented workers for the company in question? It’s ultimately easier than spending money for the ads and then spending extra money to make sure the clicks aren’t fraudulent. And humans can think, answer questions, and research for you; a machine never quite manages to do all of that. Human-powered local search advertising is infinitely more safe and offers more a promising ROI proposition.”

Pereira’s own search engine, AskPoodle.com (Ask Poodle. Inc.) is set to officially launch on January 1, 2006.

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Mark Brimm
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