Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Wars… Yahoo! vs. Google?

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising has been the most profitable revenue stream for search engines, with Google and Yahoo! generating multi-billions of dollars every single quarter… and growing!

For the quarter ended June 30, 2006, Google reported recorded revenues of $2.46 billion, an increase of 77% compared to the same time just one year ago!

In 2003 Google’s arch nemesis, Yahoo!, bought Overture, the pay-per-click service, in an attempt to capture a share of the huge advertising dollar spent on pay-per-click advertising every year.

Since its purchase, the Overture system remained unchanged for more than 3 years, until now…

The massive profits earned by Google has obviously made Yahoo! stand up and take notice… more importantly it has forced Yahoo! to take a serious look at their current PPC services, now re-branded as Yahoo! Search Marketing, and improve their service offering so they can compete on the same playing field as Google.

Some of the biggest benefits that Google had over Yahoo! Search Marketing were:

– Setting up and having an account online within minutes
– Split-testing PPC ads for maximum response
– Specifying where in the country you want your ads to be shown
– Scheduling the days of the week and the times of day you want your ads to be shown
– Automatic insertion of keywords into title and descriptions

Yahoo! Search Marketing is now releasing its new PPC platform, offering all the services that only Google previously offered.

They expect to fully rollout in the United States by early 2007. And although there is no mention of when it will rollout to the rest of the world, I’m sure it won’t be too far behind.

Is this the return of Yahoo!?

Alex Cleanthous

Alex Cleanthous

Chief Innovation Officer at Web Profits

Alex Cleanthous is Chief Innovation Officer at Web Profits. With more than 10 years experience in online marketing, Alex is always on the lookout for smarter, faster and more scalable ways to achieve maximum growth with minimum spend.

One comment

  1. David Walker says:


    I am a new business proprietor who has spent approximately $200 with Google, $120 with Yahoo and $50 with MSN. I am appalled at how bad Google’s Adwords program. Adwords provides inaccurate information encouraging you to bid much higher for keywords than necessary, tends to report clicks that appear to be fraudulent (based on my experience anyway) and provides overzealous censorship of Trademarked words (or even words that aren’t trademarked).

    Here are 3 observations based on my experience:

    1 – Google will report my ads are not showing because I failed to bid enough rendering the keywords inactive. If I wait 24 hours and check again my keywords are still listed as ‘inactive’ yet my ad will appear at position 4 or 5 out of a dozen ads. This seems to be a scam to extort non-professionals into paying exorbitant rates for clicks unnecessarily.
    2 – In the period of 10 minutes my ad was clicked on nearly a dozen times draining my account for the day. Of course there is no way to find out exactly where these clicks originated from nor force Google to investigate them.
    3 – In my ads I report that I am a Microsoft Certified SQL Server Admin. The words “Microsoft”, “SQL, “SQL SERVER” are all censored. No wonder searching for “sql server consultant” results in a bunch of “certified database administrator” ads. You are not allowed to advertise your products.

    I moved to Yahoo and the results are fantastic. Yahoo’s statistics are dead on 99% of the time, the click filtering works (along with stats on the number of clicks filtered) and my conversion rate is much higher (near 20%!). I will never use Google again.

    MSN’s interface is just terrible but I list some basic ads on their site with low bids just to get some exposure but I don’t maintain it.

    Hope this helps someone.

    November 26th, 2008 at 7:42 am