Future Of SEM

Dec 7, 2005 - 6:15 pm 1 by
Filed Under SES Chicago 2005

Moderator: Danny Sullivan, Editor, SearchEngineWatch.com Speakers: Greg Boser, President, WebGuerrilla LLC Martin Laetsch, Manager, Worldwide Search, Intel Corporation Misty Locke, President & Co-Founder, Range Online Media Fredrick Marckini, CEO, iProspect Dana Todd, President, SEMPO Jill Whalen, Owner, High Rankings Chris Zaharias, Vice President of Sales, Efficient Frontier

Danny introduces each person on the panel. Dana has been speaking at SES since the first SES. Martin Laetsch from Intel, he controls search for Intel to represent the in house perspective. Fredrick Marckini from iProspect is also on stage, the poster child for SEM company success, he knows him from 1997. Greg Boser from WebGuerrilla to talk about the black hat side, but not only that - he had the first FTC complaint, he will speak his mind fairly. Chris Zaharias from Efficient Frontier, they run client campaigns for really big companies with huge budgets, he has been involved in search since Netscape (industrial strength paid listings). Jill Whalen from HighRankings, newsletter, forums, etc. she has a lot of small and midsize marketers. Misty Locke from Range Online Media who started her own firm, she has seen the good and the bad.

Q: Major trends that will drive the future of SEM? Greg said "not local" its the biggest thing that will not take off. Personalization is an other thing SEs wont make great gains in. Dana said 65% said 100% of search budget will be brought in house. We as a specialty group will go away as a niche and be integrated into marketing teams. Martin said you will see the integration of traditional campaigns into search campaigns. Fedrick adds that what Martin hit on was what we will see in 2006, the offline with the online. You will see questions being asked at the cash register like, did you search online before buying this? Misty adds its beyond that, but more about mobile, when you are away from your desktop. Chris said Versign is trying to become the global registrar for RFID codes, as soon as you get that, you can now track offline impressions.

Q: How the SEM firms relationship with SEs evolve and what about conflict of interests? Chris said you will eventually see the SEs moving to revenue share models. Greg said that you all (you!!!) will be giving them the data (Google Analytics, etc.). Dana said from the publisher perspective, they wouldn't do this on their own. She said that we are making 3% what people are making then the print counterpart, so stop complaining. Martin said it can really go either way. If we say its ok to give the SEs my data, in exchange for something more from the SEs. If we take the view of not giving them the data, then we have to do the work and analysis. Fredrick said its not just keywords we are buying, we will be buying other media online. Misty adds that these guys become the SEs customers and not ours.

Q: Back to the SEM and SE relationships.. Fredrick said there is a huge improvement. Jill adds that she believes the SEs still prefer that the SEOs do not exist. They prefer (the SEOs only) we go away. Greg adds a nice little line in there, he said they do steal clients. There is a long history of unfriendly behavior between the two, but yet we hang out together and get along. Dana joked that the SEs do not give commissions, instead they give out iPods, but I (dana) only cares about increasing client ROIs. Misty said she was just in a panel with the retailers. She is usually upset with SEs stealing her clients. But she was listening and realized that we are also a major part of the problem. A lot of SEMs do poor work and its bad. So the clients go directly to the vendors (SEs), we are doing this to ourselves!

Q: How is the market share going to evolve? Google, MSN, Yahoo! etc.... Dana said the end users perceive the engines differently. Each user is loyal to their engine. As a society we embrace choice. Yahoo is more of a portal. Google is about technology and fast access. MSN needs to find its value. Martin said as a society we do like choices but how often do you say, hmm what am I going to buy? Normally you know what you want. Dana added that is the difference between men and women. Jill said people have yahoo has their homepage, but when they search, they use Google. Chris said Google got their market share through its technology (and monetization methods), it will only grow, he thinks. Greg said its great for us, because you don't have all your eggs in one basket. Fredrick said you have to pay attention shifts in market share. He said Google is not a search engine, its the largest grid computer out there. Google is the only player that has both hardware and software expertise. Yahoo! doesn't, MSN is only a software company.

Q: You can track so much with search marketing. Will that fuel the stealing of budgets from other media and ads? Who is the big loser in this? Fredrick said we see a lot of money coming from TV budgets. He said he had a client put up a radio ad and then the bidding agents adjusted the bids because people were clicking more on the ads. They all work together, they are not individual silos. Misty adds that she told people not to kill their other ad methods. Dana added that it still blows her mind that people spend so much on TV without being able to track it. .,......,..,.,.,.,.,.,.,,..,.......,.,.,.,.........,,,.,.,.,....,.,.,.

Don't ask what the line above means. :)

Q: Spam Questions.... Fredrick said Greg had the quote of the day, "anyone is a spammer" "if you are below me, you suck." Greg nods and says it again; the hat thing to him, is just silly. He said he provides solutions to clients, he gives them all options and explains the risks. Don't sit there with blindfolds on. "Dont bring a sword to a gun fight" quote from Tim Mayer is used once again. Jill says there is a frustration from folks, that when they do see "spammy sites" above their sites, and reporting doesn't help. If you see others doing it (spam) and it's working for them and you ask me should you do it too, I can't really tell you not to, when it's obviously working for others. Dana said she loves it when the big white hats snuggle up to a black hat at the bar and ask them questions. Misty said that "we" named black-hats and white-hats (as an industry). She realized its about explaining what you will do with the site to the client. You must be upfront with the client. Fredrick said some companies will go that route and some won't. Martin adds Intel would never go that route because it can hurt the brand. Dana said that for SEO work in the contract they have a legal binder to go by all the SEs guidelines. Fredrick said, did you ever hear of a "black hat print ad agency"? Greg said the majority of aggressive stuff is seo people doing their own seo work. TrafficPower cases, he said, are happening less and less. But SEOs doing it for themselves is the bulk of the aggressive stuff.

Q: Most important vertical? Fredrick said vertical search is cool when its paired with other devices (i.e. iTunes). Dana said a bunch of tightly nichy things, mobile is too locked in legislation. Jill said she doesnt know what a vertical is (she was joking) Chris said its more about search and not vertical Fredrick disagrees with Greg's local search and explained a case study he did for his dad.

Q: Are we in a search bubble? Will it bust? Dana there wont be a bust. Misty said no, but clean up and continued expansion. Martin agrees Jill SEO will go up Fredrick No Greg No Chris said YES because there is too much VC money out there.


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