The PPC Guide
The Pay Per Click Guide is the beginning of a series of reviews about promotional tools on the Web.If you want to find out more about affordable advertising opportunities you have come to the right place.

In this guide:

    • What is a Pay Per Click (PPC) search engine
    • Why is it a smart way to promote yourself on the web
    • What advertisers need to be careful of
    • What to look for in a search engine, and
    • What PPC search engines are on offer?

What is a Pay Per Click search engine?

A Pay Per Click (also known as Pay Per Ranking, Pay Per Placement or Pay Per Position) search engine enables you to list your site at the top of the search engine results.

You pay only when a searcher or clicker (I use these terms interchangeably) clicks on your listing and connects to your site. You don’t pay to list, you only pay for clicks or click throughs.

You list your website by selecting keywords that refer to your product or service. For each keyword you determine how much you are willing to spend. The higher you bid the higher you will appear in the search results.

PPC search engines usually combine paid listings with unpaid listings to ensure any given search produces sufficient results. Typically, unpaid listings (also known in the industry as ‘fodder’) are provided by another search engine such as Inktomi, Google or the DMOZ project.

Most of the PPC search engines list the bid price in the results pages, but I believe it is more effective to keep bids off the results page. Listing bid amounts detracts from the perceived quality of the results and can unnecessarily bias a searcher’s behaviour.

It’s a smart idea.

An account with a PPC search engine is a great way to drive targeted traffic to your site because you only pay for actual clicks to your site. It is risk free and a cheaper alternative to listing with the bigger search engines. Search engines like AltaVista, Yahoo and Google get lots of traffic but they are expensive. For example, with Google it will cost you $1500 for keywords per month with a three month minimum, so that’s $4500 with no clicks guaranteed.

But be careful….?

Advertisers need to be wary of PPC search engines that offer clickers money or incentives to click through their results. My advice is to steer clear of these search engines as the clicks you pay for are probably not genuine.

 What to look for.

When choosing a PPC search engine consider its functionality as a search engine. Several of the PPC search engines reviewed fail to produce a useful search engine for a combination of reasons.They are either too slow, have distracting interfaces, poor navigational guides or just don’t have a set of results at all.

It is in your interests as an advertiser to sign up with a functional PPC search engine. Searchers won’t come back to a PPC if they can’t find what they are looking for. That’s why in my overview, I have commented on speed, search results, and usability of the site. If you would like to learn more about bid strategies and how to maximise your return on investment, I suggest you read Steve Harrison's insightful book Mastering the PPCs.

So let’s take a look at what’s on offer. If you know of any other PPC search engines please tell me. Since beginning this guide, some engines have already dropped out of the market. It appears Simple Search, 4MyNet and Zcoolweb have all bitten the dust. If you know of any others that have closed shop let me know. In addition please let me know your opinions on the PPC search engines and I will post them on the site. Let me know how they rate as a marketing tool and as a search engine. Also if you are the owner of a PPC search engine and you would like to advertise on this site, just drop me a line to discuss the opportunities.

Thanks,

 


Pay Per Click Guide

Gazabo

This new kid on the block promotes itself as the affordable PPC engine and offers up to 1000 free clicks when you join.

Price Minimum Account: No minimum starting amount. Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Good speed.
Results Bid amounts are displayed. Powered by: DMOZ Directory
Interface Shows up to 20 results per page. Easy to use.
Extras They offer $10.00 worth of free clicks just for signing up. If you put a link back to them they will offer you up to $25.00 worth of free clicks.

Gopile

Shame about the name, makes me think of a something a dog left behind. This one is just starting out. Looks like it might be connected with a pay to click program……paypile.com which pays people to listen to mp3 music.

Price Minimum Account: Accepts any amount Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Given that it doesn’t have many results to present it is pretty slow.
Results Bid amounts are not listed in the results. Powered by: Doesn’t seem to be any fodder as yet.
Interface Looks simple. Good to see no annoying banner ads.
Extras Can add a listing for free.


Turbo 10

This is my favourite. It is the first search engine I’ve seen that reduces browsing time. Using a search-o-meter, as they call it, you can instantly jump to anywhere in the search results. This is a powerful search engine that puts the user in control.

Price Minimum Account: 25 Minimum Bid: 0.03
Speed Fast. This search engine certainly gets through the results quickly.
Results Bid amounts are not listed in the results. Powered by: DMOZ – human edited listings and a variety of others.
Interface Very clean and easy to use. Good to see no annoying banner ads.
Extras You also get the added exposure from their results being displayed on Dogpile.co.uk. They have taken the scroll bar out of searching. Unique functional buttons to flick quickly through the results.

Metamission

It's your mission to check this one out. Enables you to advertise on a metasearch engine.

Price Minimum Account: $50 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Average speed.
Results Bid amounts are listed in the results. Powered by: DirectHit, MSN, WebCrawler, Excite.
Interface Looks simple and easy to use. No flashing banner ads in the results set.
Extras When you sign up you will receive 1000% on top of your first credit, so if your first deposit is $50.00, you will get $500 worth of clicks free.


GoClick

It is easy to get going with this one with its helpful beginner's guide and reasonably priced first time sign-up fee.

Price Minimum Account: $10 to start, $25 after that. Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Fast
Results Bid amounts are listed in the results. Powered by: DMOZ and FindWhat
Interface Simplistic. Easy to navigate through the site.
Extras Offers a cool BidMaster(tm) bidding tool that intelligently raises or lowers your bids to the highest position possible, limited by a maximum bid amount you enter.

Splut

Sounds like a butterfly just met with a nasty accident. Search results are really lacking on this one. Doubt whether searchers will want to come back.

Price Minimum Account: 50 Minimum Bid: 0.01
Speed Needs more speed.
Results Bid amounts are listed in the results. Powered by: Looks like they are relying only on their own fodder. Limited results.
Interface Nice to see a banner free search results page.
Extras If you put a splut link on your site you will get a favourable listing towards the top of the search results.

Pointcom

This PPC engine points you in the direction of safe surfing...just follow the pointed finger.

Price Minimum Account: $25 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Good speed.
Results Bid amounts are not listed in the results. Powered by: Doesn't say.
Interface Very simplistic homepage interface. I like their fingerpointing logo.
Extras You can also sign up for targeted banner advertisements and affiliate search programs to gain additional revenue to your site.

Work at Home Search Engine

This is a good PPC engine especially if you are looking to promote 'work from home' related goods or services. When you sign up they give you $10 US worth of free clicks.

Price Minimum Account: No set minimum amount. Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Good speed.
Results Bid amounts are displayed in the results. Powered by: DMOZ - Open Directory Project.
Interface Lists up to 20 results per page.
Extras When you top up your account you also receive bonus credit. Also the top 10 featured sites are listed on the front page for extra exposure.

MyGeek

This a specialist shopping PPC engine which brings together buyers and sellers in a unique way.

Price Minimum Account: $20 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Good speed.
Results Bid amounts are listed on the site. Powered by: own listings
Interface Basic, easy to use design. Good to see no annoying banner ads.
Extras Cool feature - Shop-By-Request: Enables a shopper to submit a specific shopping request and sellers answer with personal replies.


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Brainfox

You definitely need a brain to figure out your bids with this one. Brainfox is positioning itself as one of the budget PPC search engines with bids starting at $0.001.

Price Minimum Account: $5 Minimum Bid: $0.001
Speed Good speed.
Results Bid amounts are not displayed. Powered by: DMOZ Directory
Interface Very plain. Easy enough to use.
Extras Offer free 500% top up on your initial deposit. Actively support missing children fund through their site.

Pageseeker

Claims to be the world’s first new media search engine. You can select the design of your site. I like the disco design and cool disco tune. But after the gimmick wears off and you want to get down to some serious searching it becomes very annoying. No Saturday Night Fever happening with this one.

Price Minimum Account: Couldn’t find it. Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Slow. It is really difficult to quickly scan the results.
Results Top 5 results are listed twice on the page for no good reason. Bid amounts are not listed on the site. Powered by: Doesn’t say
Interface Its design makes it an ineffective search engine. Visually toxic.
Extras Enables the user to tailor the look and feel of the site using skins.

Sabril

Don’t touch this one. Their slogan is: Search that pays. It pays alright but not for the advertiser. Sabril is one of those PPC search engines that pay searchers to click through their results. This site unashamedly states at the top of their results: Note: You must remain on each site for at least 20 seconds. You are allowed up to 15 visits per day.

Price Minimum Amount Account: $25 Minimum Bid: ?
Speed Slow
Results Bid amounts are not listed in results. Powered by: Sabril.com
Interface Extremely amateurish. Not easy to navigate through results. Paid results are not integrated within the rest of the results.
Extras Paid listings tell the searcher how many credits they will gain by clicking on the link.

Godado

It took me a moment to work out how to pronounce this one. Gives you the opportunity to personalise your search results by changing the font size and colours, more trouble than it’s worth.

Price Minimum Account: 50 Euro Minimum Bid: 0.02 Euro
Speed Could be quicker.
Results Bid amounts are listed in the results. Powered by: Mamma.com
Interface There is a large distance between the search field and the search results which detracts from the results. This is quite annoying.
Extras Ability to list in Italy and France. Soon to come Spain and Germany. This PPC search also enables you to search on MP3 and includes a thesaurus.



espotting

These guys have developed a good network of partners in the UK, including Yahoo, Lycos, and UKPlus

Price Minimum Account: Minimum starting package at 99 Minimum Bid: 0.05
Speed Fairly Slow
Results Bid amounts are listed in the results. Powered by: Inktomi
Interface Looks good.
Extras Offer a sign-up service for 100. They will create your keywords and descriptions.


FindWhat

This PPC engine has been one of the first and is worth a look at.

Price Minimum Account: $25 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Good speed.
Results Bid amounts are listed in results. Powered by: DirectHit
Interface Very clean interface. Easy to navigate. The back end account is very easy to use.
Extras Offers banner advertising on their site.

Sprinks

I like the look of this one. It is easy to use.

Price Minimum Account: $100 Minimum Bid: $0.05
Speed Good.
Results Bid amounts are listed in the results. Powered by: Inktomi
Interface Clean, simplistic design. Easy to navigate. Offers a related searches section for every search.
Extras Offers advertisers the ability to get listed on About.com.

Search Cactus

Search Cactus is certainly no desert for clickers using this search engine. Unfortunately, this one pays searchers to click through their results. Not only do they pay for clickers they also pay $2.00 for signing up with them.

Price Minimum Account: $25.00 Minimum Bid: $0.02
Speed Good.
Results Bid amounts not listed. Powered by: Google
Interface Easy to search.
Extras Also allows advertisers to send targeted direct e-mails to their paid members.

3Apes

This pay per click search engine is in beta-testing.

Price Minimum Account: $0 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Slow
Results Not well integrated. Paid results are listed as Partner sites, unpaid listings are headed by a topics box. Not listed in consistent numeric sequence. Powered by: Looks like DMOZ
Interface Cute Ape but where are the other two? Looks like it is still under construction.
Extras It would appear no up front account fee is required, instead you have to link 3apes.com to your site. They will pay you $0.25 per click for traffic from your site. This goes towards your 3apes credit.

CleanSearch

As the name suggests, CleanSearch focuses on providing porn free results. This is a family oriented site.

Price Minimum Account: $25 Minimum Bid: $0.05
Speed Average
Results Bid amounts listed in the results. Powered by: Inktomi
Interface Straightforward to use.
Extras I like the scrub brush idea, which allows a searcher to click on a scrub brush icon next to a listing and have it reviewed for not being a ‘clean’ result.

Ah-ha

With this one you can also include a small graphical banner logo next to your text listing. This is free but only for the first 10 days. After 10 days it costs $10.00 - $19.95 a month after that.

Price Minimum Account: $25 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Good, but not easy to navigate through the results. No list numbering or page numbers.
Results Bid amounts are not listed in the results. Powered by: Fast
Interface Clean and easy to use.
Extras Money can be refunded within a 30 day trial period.

Search Galore

Search Galore offer Quality vs Quantity Searching, not much quality here. Doubt whether searchers would come back to this site.

Price Minimum Account: $25 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Quite slow
Results Bid amounts listed. Result sets not integrated. Powered by: Yahoo.
Interface Lacks professionalism.
Extras Offers pay per click banner advertisements as well.

Searchhound

This PPC search engine is just sniffing for advertiser’s money. I can’t see why this one is so expensive with accounts starting at $100.

Price Minimum Account: $100 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Average
Results Bid amounts are listed in the results. Results ranked by: Neural Network Intelligence.
Interface The page is divided up into 5 paid results and then 5 unpaid results, rather than listing all the paid results first.
Extras Each results page has a save function that enables you record the results.

Overture

Originally called Goto, this one offers shopping and auction sites. You’ll need money to get in the top rankings. Bid prices have skyrocketed on this one. Also you need to spend a minimum of $20 per month in click throughs to keep your account.

Price Minimum Account: 25 Minimum Bid: $0.05
Speed Good
Results Bids amounts are listed in the results. Powered by: Inktomi
Interface Results page is clean. Easy to navigate.
Extras Has links with America Online.

Win4Win

Offer a chance to be included in a TV commercial but this offer was made months ago. They haven’t updated their website lately.

Price Minimum Account: $25 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed OK.
Results Bid amounts are listed in the results. Powered by: It was once powered by Google but not sure now. Looks like their fodder is from another PPC.
Interface Smart. Looks busy.
Extras Express sign-up service offered for $100 and will help to select your key words. When you sign up you get a free $5 worth of credit.

Kanoodle

This is a very busy site. As well as PPC search engine it is also a portal site for music groups, personals, ecards, love and advice columns, and horoscopes.

Price Minimum Account: $25 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Quite slow to show results.
Results Bid amounts are listed in the results. Some listings appear twice in the results. Powered by: Looks like fodder from other PPC search engines.
Interface Too much is happening on the site. Visually toxic.
Extras Offers an $85 express sign-up and will help you select your keywords. You also get free banner impression if your search term is within the top 3 bids of the search results page.

efind

You’ll find no genuine clicks here. efind has a slot machine spin on every search results page. By clicking on the paid listings (with a jackpot icon), searchers can search and win up to 20 times daily.

Price Minimum Account: Not sure. Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Good
Results Bid amounts are listed in the results. Powered by: Inktomi
Interface Too much is going on. The slot machine detracts from the search experience.
Extras Jackpot pull symbol is placed next to the top three paid listings, as if this is an enticement to have to pay for non-genuine clicks.

theinfodepot

This PPC search engine has a heart. They donate a penny to Unicef every time a person searches.

Price Minimum Account: $25 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed A bit slow going through the site.
Results Bid amounts are listed in the results. Powered by: DMOZ
Interface A lot is going on. Easy to use back end account.
Extras Join now and get 50% added on to your initial deposit.

businessnation

Difficult to get searching with this one.

Price Minimum Account: $25 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Slow
Results Poor search capability. Bid amounts are listed in the results. Powered by: DMOZ
Interface Confusing front page.
Extras Is also a small business resource centre.

searchbidder

I am a little worried about this one. There is a section under construction: Earn $$$ Fast....could they be planning to pay people to click through the results? I hope not!

Price Minimum Account: $25 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Good
Results Bid amounts are listed in the results. Powered by: Doesn't say.
Interface Clean interface and easy to navigate. Easy to use back end account.
Extras You can open an account and receive $25 free.


ultimateresourcesite

Nothing really ultimate about this one.

Price Minimum Account: $25 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Good
Results Bid amounts are not listed in the results. Powered by: Not a search engine
Interface Difficult to navigate. Difficult to open an account. Appears messy and has a poor layout.
Extras Good way of targeting consumers interested in technology resources.

Hotways

This looks like it is just starting out.

Price Minimum Account: $25 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Good speed.
Results Bid amounts are listed. Paid listings are not integrated with other search results. Powered by: Doesn’t say.
Interface Very basic. Easy to navigate.
Extras You can select a search category e.g. pictures, discussion groups, videos.

Netflip

Flip over this one. Netflip is another PPC search engine paying searchers to click through their results.

Price Minimum Account: $25 Minimum Bid: $0.02
Speed Slow moving through results.
Results Bid amounts are listed. Powered by: Not sure. It looks like the unpaid results are from another PPC search engine – goto
Interface No cues to navigate through results.
Extras Offers a Cash-Back Shopping Solution allows you to reward consumers with cash back for purchasing products and services from your site.

7search

This PPC search engine also allows you to submit your site for free.

Price Minimum Account: $25 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Slow moving through the results.
Results Bid amounts are listed in the results. Powered by: their own listings and DirectHit.
Interface A lot is happening on the home page.
Extras They currently have over 1.5 million unique visitors and 400 million searches. Also offers a 7search metasearch capability.

Bliznetwork

This one is just starting out.

Price Minimum Account:$10 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Seems to be fairly fast.
Results Bid amounts are listed in the results. Powered by: Raging.com.
Interface Average looking site.
Extras MP3 and Auction search. Advertisers get an extra 200% credit when making a first time deposit.

Bigwhat

A big what? It is supposed to be a map-based search engine, no maps come on any of my global searches. This will be good when it develops.

Price Minimum Account: $25 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Good Speed.
Results Bid amounts are listed in the results. Powered by: Doesn’t seem to be any fodder as yet.
Interface Nice colours, but the banner ads are really annoying in the results.
Extras Can add a listing for free.

Bay9

Bay9 is an extremely messy site. The home page is a collection of featured links dumped together, raising the bid prices in the process. This site has a lotto program rewarding searchers for clicking on some paid listings.

Price Minimum Account: $25 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Pretty good.
Results Bid amounts are listed in the results. Powered by: Can’t tell. Difficult to navigate the results with no numbering or page numbers.
Interface A really annoying looking site. Banners flashing, information packed in, it is too much.
Extras Offer pay per click banner advertisements.

Onesearch

Overall this is a fairly standard looking PPC search engine.

Price Minimum Account: $25 Minimum Bid: $0.01
Speed Needs to supply results faster.
Results Bid amounts are listed under Featured Sites. The unpaid listings are not integrated with advertised site. Powered by: Fast
Interface Average looking site. Home page is too busy.
Extras Offers free email. A user can search on MP3, Web, News and Usenet.





If you would like a second opinion on PPC search engines take a look at Troy's Payperclickanalyst.com.