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Pay Per Click

(May 19, 2006)  Let's start by setting the record straight. In the Job Board Business, pay per click advertising is not something new. TopUSAJobs,com, one of the top 30 job boards, has been offering pay per click services for over three years. (See the details in their "Post Jobs" section.) It's a standard revenue source and Don Firth, CEO, has been making meaningful money and delivering meaningful results this way for a long time.

The way that press releases work is fascinating. Long term readers of the Interbiznet Bugler know that we summarize press releases in our Reveille and Hyperbole section at the top of the daily Bugler. We use the word hyperbole advisedly. The Wikipedia says:

A hyperbole, largely synonymous with exaggeration and overconsulting, is a figure of speech in which statements are exaggerated or extravagant. It may be used due to strong feelings or is used to create a strong impression and is not meant to be taken literally. (Wikipedia)

Most press releases are built on hyperbole. The title of the section in the Bugler is designed as a warning: Take what you read there with a grain of salt.

The recent press release from indeed, claiming to be the first to offer pay per click advertising, is a perfect example of the kind of exaggeration we're talking about. Indeed is the first in that arena in the same way that every company sending out press releases is the "leading" company in their specialty. The language is used because press releases are a one sided and optimistic presentation of the facts. Press releases are like a host for the hyperbole virus.

Most publicists (the fancy word for PR flack), ooze with delight when their words are transmitted as fact. Imagine the glee in the offices of RLM PR when their hyperbole bled into the information stream of our industry. Key figures like Manaster, Cheezman and Goldberg are repeating indeed's claims as if they were fact. Nice move for the PR firm, bad move for the key figures.

In our culture, repeating the story makes it truth. This reality, as neatly demonstrated by Messers Manaster, Cheezman and Goldberg, is why pay per click  is only one form of advertising. Pay per click, as interesting as it might be, is not always appropriate or productive. It's just one tool in the shed.

(Pay per click job ads work well for some purposes. TopUSAJobs, the first player in the business, has extensive experience with pay per click. Don Firth imagines the service as a way to reroute and focus traffic.  We'll describe their approach in an upcoming article)

Pay per click advertising is the impulse buying tool of online merchants. Just like the candy bars, periodicals and overpriced gizmos in the grocery store checkout line, pay per click ads address immediate indications of desire. As Cheezman points out:

The beauty of search marketing is that it gets an advertiser in front of customers, based on intent, at any particular moment and typically at a great price to the advertiser. "Damn, I tore my jeans, I need to go online and search for new ones." Someone has an immediate need; search is there to fill it.

In the jobs market,  arrangements made based on an urgent need are likely to fail. This is the wisdom behind the passive candidate myth. Urgency, on either side of the equation, makes for short bad marriages. If you took the work/job/employment concepts away from the argument and substituted marriage/love the fallacies would be obvious. Quick decisions, in love or employment have perilous consequences.

Longer term advertising (a benefit gained by Google's top advertisers) allows for the development of brand awareness. While some classified advertising is a sort of impulse buy, there are a myriad of other reasons to advertise.

It looks like we've started another series. See Monday's article for the next increment.

 John Sumser . - .  Permalink . - . Today's Bugler

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