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E-Marketing Performance Blog

Aren’t Dogpiles Supposed to Stink?

Back in the dark ages, long before Google entered the search market (and I used AOL shhhh, don’t tell), I found Dogpile.com and it instantly became my favorite engine. When Google entered the scene, I was horribly reluctant to leave my old friend Dogpile and the mascot Arfie. When teaching computer training classes to newbies, one of my favorite parts of teaching the “Introduction to the Internet” was introducing everyone to the meta search results that Dogpile returned.

As I said, I was reluctant to move on, but working in the IT industry it was pretty much mandatory, and I did eventually make the move. After some initial adjustment, I never went back. That is until recently. On Wednesday the AdWords Addict posted AdWords on Dogpile – Can You Spot Them? and I had to go check it out.

I did a quick search for a keyword in one of my best performing campaigns (shame on me for not using the AdWords Preview Tool, but it doesn’t show me Dogpile results!) and found my ad to be listed at #4 … and the sponsored ad did indeed look pretty much like the organic search results. The difference is that the display URL is listed as Sponsored by: and at the end of the display URL it indicates which provider had the ad.

Another quick search, for another keyword, for another client, finds them in the #1 spot A little further down the page was the client’s natural listings. I initially found it curious that neither of my search results indicate the ad was found on Google, Yahoo and MSN (as some of the other ads displayed), because both of these clients perform tremendously well on all three networks. It didn’t take me a lot of thinking though, to realize that the results wouldn’t be identical because I have different ad creatives for each network.

Just for fun, I tried another keyword and found one of my Yahoo ads. In our industry, we’re going to notice things like the display URL pretty quick, but I’m quite certain that people like my mom (and maybe yours?) aren’t going to see that difference, particularly if your ad creative reads like a sales pitch and is written in sentence case rather than initial caps … This just further supports reason to write good ad copy and make sure the landing pages relevant to what the visitor is looking for! In doing so, you’re going to be able to capture more traffic from the Search Networks.

So Dogpile … I still love ya, even though I left ya. Kind of like an old boyfriend I had once …

Max Speed

If the Pole Position Marketing team had a muse—and it does—it would be Max Speed. We love Max’s occasionally off-color, usually amusing and always pointed “Maxisms.” (Maybe “Maxims” would be a better word.) Max gives voice to some of the things we think but, bound by professional decorum, aren’t permitted to say. At least, not out loud.

5 Responses to Aren’t Dogpiles Supposed to Stink?

  1. Angela says:

    I loved Dogpile back in the day.. but I never got into AOL. 😉 What you’ve pointed out is really interesting, and I agree that good copy always ‘sells’. I think it’s great that Dogpile has done this actually.

  2. Thanks for the comment Angela. I agree, I like what Dogpile has done, if the advertiser isn’t happy about having their ad inline with natural results because they’re afraid they’re going to get irrelevant clicks, then I think they’re forgetting what they’re doing – advertising!

    Ad copy should flow smoothly and invite interest for learning more or purchasing that product – CLICK. Truth, meta descriptions should be doing the same thing, they are advertising.

    (As for AOL, well, I can only say it was 1996, and a very long time ago forgive me? ;))

  3. Tummblr says:

    Most advertisers would probably love to be buried amongst organic listings. But isn’t this a pretty blatant way of trying to deceive non-sophisticated users? It’s just like sites that make the shade of the sponsored links box extremely similar to the rest of the page’s background (*cough* AOL *cough*). Users should never be fooled into clicking an ad because it looks just like an organic link.

  4. Hey Tummblr –

    You’re right about advertisers wanting to be buried in organic results, that users shouldn’t be fooled and a good point about non-sophisticated users being tricked. These are all reasons why the major Engines have taken to displaying sponsored links as sponsored.

    It could be argued that meta engines like Dogpile aren’t held to the same constraints that the major search engines are, although Dogpile does label the results as sponsored (subtle tho it may be).

    Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  5. Its wierd I am sure some vp at dogpile was like "I have great way to increase revenue". What they dont realize I guess is how they are going to drive visitors away. I had a friend that used dogpile once they realized them ads in the organic they quit.