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LookSmart is not Small Business Friendly
by Lee Traupel
There is a firestorm of negative press regarding LookSmart's
marketing stumbles via numerous discussion groups, including
the oldest and most influential, I-Search and I-Advertising
Most of the critiques center on LookSmart's inability to develop
programs that are well matched for SMB/SME ("small to
or enterprise" with revenue in the $5-50M range), their
customer responsiveness and the difficulty in managing their
per click" traffic generating program.
Many of us in the agency/marketing services world relied upon
LookSmart's directory in the early days; especially as an
Yahoo's "my way or the highway" attitude when they
became the 200
pound gorilla in the marketplace So, it's sad to say, but
appears to be morphing to just another portal with little
awareness of how to work effectively with the tens of millions
companies that have rapidly embraced a web-centric business
One of the core issues that frustrates many small businesses
difficulty in getting a listing that actually describes their
company, products, services accurately Ð to add insult to
have to pay in some cases twice to have your listing upgraded.
Apparently, LookSmart's editorial staff can't keep up with
demand, or is so pressured to maintain some internal quote
descriptions suffer accordingly.
LookSmart's new "pay per click" "Small Business
Listings" program is
simply not "small business friendly". It is a complex
lots of important details buried in an FAQ that has to be
carefully as there are some "gotchas" in the small
print - including
being forced to wait up to 90 days for the return of the upfront
deposit of $150. and paying a setup fee for a listing; but
deactivated when you exceed the dollar amount of your "monthly
limit." I can understand their dropping the listing once
your budget, but it does not seem equitable to charge $49.
the listing in the first place Ð your in essence subsidizing
LookSmart's cost of doing business.
We've found inconsistencies in LookSmart's stated Privacy
versus inbound e-mail traffic we've received from them over
3-6 months. We've unsubscribed 3-4 times and still keep getting
promotional marketing materials which are not of any value,
than promoting LookSmart's business. They are clearly not
have not been addressed via their customer service department.
So, if you're an SMB company what are your alternatives to
with LookSmart? We would recommend your assessing Google's
Select" program which is geared more for business
sizes; but, I must warn you there is some complexity in setting
this type of program as well. But, you certainly get much
coverage with Google Ð they're rapidly becoming the dominant
engine du jour with approximately 40% market share of all
Inktomi's "Search Submit" program should also be
assessed as an
alternative to working with LookSmart and as an adjunct to
existing Search Engine or Marketing program. They have partnered
some of the same companies that LookSmart is working with,
MSN, AOL, iWon, and many others. They offer very good value
cost, charging a nominal fee $39. for the first URL and $25.
additional URLs to have your web site "crawled"
(assessed or indexed)
on a regular basis for one year and sharing this information
most heavily used search engines on the web.
Finally, you may want to consider utilizing standard pay per
("PPC") search engines to drive qualified traffic
to your web site
and/or looking at competitive PPC programs offered by LookSmart's
competitors including Yahoo, AOL, Alta Vista and others. Overture
(formerly GoTo) is the dominant market leader in the pure
that can deliver a great deal of traffic. But, there are
approximately 150 second tier pay per click search engines
at present and you should be able to leverage your marketing
carefully analyzing your "keyword costs" via some
of these PPC search
engines including Kanoodle, FindWhat, Sprinks and many others.
Lee Traupel has 20 plus years of business development and
experience - he is the founder of Intelective Communications,
a marketing services and software company
which provides strategic and tactical marketing services exclusively
to small to medium sized companies. He can be reached at Lee@intelective.com