Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Microsoft to Help Small Businesses Enter the PPC Market

Today Microsoft announced it's newest "feature" , they are going to offer PPC assistance inside of their Office Live Small Business edition. Personally, I think this is asking for trouble not only for them but for many small businesses who may not be ready for the challenges of adequately managing a PPC campaign. Doesn't this reek of conflict of interest to you? As a consumer I am definitely going to sign up to have my campaigns run by the company who owns the third largest search engine in the world, no questions asked. I am almost guaranteed a fantastic ROI (or so I would think) as it would be stupid of them not to give my campaign a healthy cost per click discount.

The press release says they are going to offer three classes at 19.95 to teach the essentials of SEM and SEO. Wow, I bet my boss would have loved a deal like that when he was spending thousands of dollars training us on SEO and SEM. The reality is that at best these businesses will get a crash course in Live Search, ROI, Adcenter and some basic information on what PPC is. My guess is there won't be real training that covers a/b testing, negative keywords, proper geo targeting by population, the importance of meta data, dynamic landing pages, effective ad copy writing, etc, etc, etc.

If 60 bucks was all it took to become an SEM/SEO expert then every campaign out there would have a fabulous ROI, a 25% conversion rate, and a CPC of under $3.00. The majority of these companies are going to set up their own SEM campaigns and then forget them, which is terrible for the industry as a whole. These businesses need to have a strong, well formed online marketing presence handled by a qualified professional who not only has the time but the skills necessary to coax these campaigns into success. The changes to search engine algorithms change regularly which often sends even the most seasoned SEM/SEO experts scurrying to regain lost conversions. Now imagine the effect one of these changes could have on "Jim the Plumber" who believes the hype that this solution is all he needs to secure his dream of retiring next year. It's Microsoft and they are the good guys... Right? When will Microsoft learn from it's own mistakes?


Anonymous said...

So is MSN basically going to tell you how their algo works? I don't know how ethical this is. "give us money and we'll show you how our engine works".

Noel said...

I don't believe Microsoft is foolish enough to try that after their Anti - Trust woes of late, but I could be wrong. Either way it will be very interesting to see how this all plays out with the automotive industry :)

Regina said...

Well said.