This NY Post story is a teaser to a new ISM audit report to be released in London this week which intimates that some forms of paid search could represent a big waste of money.
Yes we're in the middle of summer doldrums when it's easy to knock on paid-search because fewer are using it.. and yes this is in the NYPost, an old media player.. but the story still bears study.
I personally think the value proposition surrounding paid-search depends on how you apply your ad dollars. We've all watched eBay advertise for years, but rather than buying traffic under keywords like "bone china" and then plumbing that traffic to specific auctions or categories under "bone china", Ebay often sends those visitors directly to their front door. That's just not the best use of ad dollars.
The story analyzes Amazon's purchase of DPReview:
Quote: "It's quite interesting that Amazon.com didn't look to mount an Internet marketing campaign and purchase search ads to gain market share but rather bought a company few people [had] heard of but which produced excellent natural search results," Millo noted."
That thought process is similar to domaining.. Buy sites under a lot of scatter-shot topics to diversify your reach. The only difference of course is that sites like DPReview are far more expensive than domain names and have many more moving parts that you have to keep spinning to drive value.
I run a content site (my blog) and I run domain names. This past week my content site's traffic cut in half because i didn't regularly update the content, but my domain network did very well. In the final analyisis there is more ad inventory than there is distribution for it, so if you own high quality traffic, you should be just fine.
Related Post piece..ads color on what they see as paid search waste: http://www.nypost.com/seven/06242007/business/media_mavens_muff_business_richard_wilner.htm
I disagree with this point. If the "Wall Street Journal" or "New york Times" fail to bid for their keywords they will not get featured on the syndication channel, or worse, another competing bidder will. We all use Google sometimes, but we don't use Google all the time. By failing to be a top bidder under your brand too, you risk missing the syndication arm which reaches most of the visited Internet.