Sunday, December 17, 2006

Electronic Trading comes to SEM, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft?

This week I attended a dinner that the friendly folks over at Webtrends had invited me to. It took place at Public down in Nolita and I highly recommend the lentil salad if you get a chance to go. My seat was right next to Greg Drew, the CEO of Webtrends and we had a very fun and interesting dinner conversation. One of our topics was their recent acquisition of Clickshift. Clickshift offers a seemingly nifty solution to all the manual work involved in today's PPC advertising world: thousands of keywords, manual optimization across several engines, ever-changing prices and thinly stretched resources, both on the company and the agency level. Clickshift's software supposedly does all the bidding and optimization for you once you've entered your goal for the campaign timeframe. It will even optimize across engines and manage all those keywords for you through the engine APIs. I haven't yet seen it in action but I'm certainly looking forward to it. Skepticism is warranted, of course.

The most interesting thought is the comparison you can draw with the advent of program trading on Wall Street in the 70ies and 80ies. Blamed by many for the stock market crash in 1987, this leads to an entertaining question:

Could further automation of PPC campaign management lead to a similar "Black Monday" in the SEM world? Imagine a day on which several programs either outbid each other and lead to a $1bn profit day for Google or - a collapse of prices across thousands of keywords....

Comments appreciated!

Christian Busch


My Personal DNA

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