Marketing in the Face of Change

By: , September 18, 2007 | Marketing & Design Articles

Article explains search engine news in early 2003: Overture News, Google News, Inktomi News, Altavista News

By Cyndalie for AdultChamber.com | © Cynthia Fanshaw/Online Technologies | Reprint by permission only.

The landscape of Internet marketing is changing and evolving almost daily. So why are adult webmasters still using outdated and blind marketing techniques to promote their sites? As the mainstream market weights in, places for adult site owners to advertise and do business with are disappearing. Traffic is a commodity worthy of the title ‘virtual gold’; everybody wants and needs more traffic. But as the Internet traffic becomes more compressed into corporate networks, traffic will only become harder to find in the coming years.

We all know marketing in the search engines takes a certain level of skill and a lot of research and experimentation. With portals gobbling each other up over the past few months, how are webmasters to know if the work they do today will be worth the effort 3 months from now with so many engines going paid inclusion, pay per click, and making “powered by” changes. Even more important is what will happen if you DON’T do anything now. You see, marketers should be busier than ever creating and submitting optimized pages before tangible changes take place in the portals! By waiting “after the fact” you could be missing out on your last chance to get into the index for free.

Knowing who is powering whom (where search engines pull their data) and who could be facing a decision to make a change is some of the hardest news to follow for search engine marketers. For those of you who would like to ready my monthly Search Engine Update reports covering the search engine headlines from Oct 2002 to present, they can be viewed at TheAdultWebmaster.com and AdultChamber.com.

A New York Times article commented on the changes taking place within the search engine arena to say that “Currently the search business is a three-headed monster. Google powers Yahoo!'s search engine, but Overture serves the pay-per-click ads.” To each his own, and owning the Golden Triangle consisting of the search engine/crawler (free results), the paid inclusion directory, and the pay-per-click model is a recipe for success.

Yahoo Makes the First Move
A few months ago Yahoo bought Inktomi for about $240 million. The reason: to acquire search technology capable of crawling and indexing the web and ranking pages based on its own scoring algorithm. Yahoo is currently powered by the Yahoo Directory and Google. Sponsored (pay per click) listings are provided by Overture and many investors feel that this partnership, created in November of 2001, is the key to Yahoo’s current success revenue-wise. Yahoo is learning that pay-per-click pays and they know how much more they can make with their own technology especially without Overture in the picture. On March 3rd Yahoo’s stock reached a 52-week high of $20.85/share.

Yahoo will not replace Google with Inktomi until it has had a chance to analyze what the impact on their user base will be. I find it highly unlikely that Yahoo will drop Google completely within the next year. An integration of Inktomi’s technology to the current Yahoo search engine will create a new algorithm and prioritization of powered by listings. But with the current success of “the way things are now”, I doubt change will come before they’ve had time to beta test and think it through. For the meantime, Yahoo is positioned to be a solid competitor for the coming years and investing time and effort into ranking in this engine will most likely pay off. Did you know that you can submit to Inktomi for free? Try submitting your pages to MSN before it’s too late!

Much Ado About Overture
Why buy one, when you can have two? Fighting back, Overture thumbed its nose at MSN and snatched up both AltaVista and Fast Search (Alltheweb.com) in one month for a total $240 million. For those of you who think Overture is the Microsoft of the search engine industry, you’ll be pleased to know their stocks fell 21% shortly after the announcement of the AltaVista acquisition.

There is a lot of speculation going on about what Overture’s move means. To adult webmasters it means just another money-hungry portal holding our traffic hostage! Well, in the context of this article it means that Overture is the most well positioned member of the three leaders to build the Golden Pyramid. With some nice patents protecting their keyword-based ad serving technology, they’ve got the market in the corner with the acquisition of new beta test land AltaVista (plus 50 patents) and the incredible crawling and indexing technology provided by Fast Search.

With over 2 billion indexed pages, relevant results, and an adult content filter automatically turned ON (yuk!), Fast is a nice clean addition to Overture’s ménage a trios. If you want to get in on the action before you have to pay, keep submitting your optimized pages to AlltheWeb.com.

Pay per click engines are not a total buzz kill. The catch is, not all people search the same way for the same keyword phrase. Some people type in words related to their search as they come to mind while others may ask the engine a question. This overflow of search traffic has to be fed by some source; a “nothing found” result is never good. This reservoir of traffic can sustain sales until you can make a marketing strategy adjustment.

Half the battle of this strategy is to know what keywords and phrases will drive your site sales/conversions. Check your logs or invest in a nice stats reporting software package to find out what is driving you quality traffic now. Educated decisions are what will make you money if you decide to pay to play. Unfortunately, Overture’s .10c minimum bid price is not the best place to test things out. Try smaller engines like Kanoodle or FindWhat and find the keyword phrase matches that both drive sales and are not $10.00 a click. The better you know what converts for you, the more you will be able to predict a return on your investment.

Google is Grrrreat!
Small, modest, and mean as hell, Goggle’s pure technology makes it the champion of the search industry. No frills, no greed, no STOCKHOLDERS to please, Google has stayed focused on giving searchers relevant results and tickling marketers all the way to the bank. Google is the sanctuary of Internet users who know how to search AND know how to use their computer. Go figure.

It is my feeling that Google has made every person who has used the engine smarter in some way. For those of us who don’t like ads flashing in our face, who don’t want to be told where to click, or who is paying the most for the #1 spot, Google is about skill and has made optimization into an art. It is simply not that hard to get a page ranking in Google! Put a page online and Google will find IT! What more can you ask for?

What’s great about Google is that they are always pushing the search technology bar to range outside of just search engine results. After 9/11/01 the public demanded faster news search capabilities and Google immediately responded. Want to use Google to shop? Froogle is there. Need to search newsgroups? Google Groups has taken over the job of Deja News. Interested in Blogging? Google has it on the way. If you are not using Google in one way or another to drive traffic to your site, than you might as well not play at all. With total domination of search traffic, regardless of what changes take place Google will remain a valid (and hopefully free) marketing strategy all in its own. Google powers Yahoo!, AOL, Netscape, Safari (Mac OSX Browser), Earthlink, Sympatico.ca, and AT&T WorldNet, just to name a few.

MSN & AOL: A sob story
MSN was caught sleeping on the job again. Although considering AltaVista and Fast Search, MSN dropped the ball and allowed them both to go to Overture. Last year Wisenut was acquired by Looksmart and Teoma went to Ask Jeeves the second they appeared to be a possible Google competitor. Now they seem to be MSN’s only options to create their own search technology. Analysts are predicting both Looksmart and Askjeeves will go to MSN in the coming months, as it doesn’t appear likely that AOL is in a position to buy anything at the moment. Since Looksmart says it does not accept adult sites and AskJeeves rarely appears in anyone’s web logs, MSN (who currently is powered by Inktomi and Looksmart) may not really affect adult webmasters all too much. As for AOL, Google is the only glue holding things together over there, I don’t anticipate a change any time soon. Time will tell for these two tokers.

Where Else Can We Go?
When supply decreases as demand increases, the problem solving human mind can come up with some pretty creative and innovative solutions. Ideas that first borne the adult TGP, pic post, and banner exchange has now evolved into exit window exchanges, picture rating portals, and the TGP2.

There is not a doubt in my mind that webmasters will branch out into blogging, create adult shopping engines and engines with their own indexing technology, as well as use technology to uncover more ways to market to the adult mainstream without becoming invasive but by becoming more readily available and appearing more regulated.

I am surprised that there are not any highly promoted reality based porn sites updated with “weekly episodes” in response to the addictive reality craze currently consuming American audiences. We have the models and the venue, let’s play “I Wanna be a Pornstar!” There’s something to be said for showing users our softer “more acceptable” side of our industry and building them up to more provocative content down the line. Oh, they will find it! It’s human nature.

Not everything on the adult Internet is extreme and I feel we should be pushing to work more with mainstream television and radio networks to bring the softer side of adult entertainment online to adult audiences. Why let search engines owned by vanilla corporations predict your success? Take initiative to create your own traffic streams and work with other webmasters to build something that will stand the test of time.

I wish you all much luck and success. Go submit to those free engines now! Here’s a tool. Until next time, Happy Promoting!

“For every popup you add to your site, you kill an adult webmaster” :)

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