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Why Yahoo and the like are a waste of money

By Adrian Calow
Posted Thursday, July 8, 2004

It must be some sort of status symbol. Why else would anyone pay the best part of $300 to get (a chance of being) listed?

I can here them now, sat somewhere in a wine bar. “Of course, one simply MUST be in Yahoo.” Everyone nodding in agreement. One poor guy shuffles his feet and stares at his shoes. “Please don’t ask me, please don’t ask me” he’s thinking to himself. “I couldn’t bare the humiliation.
I’ll lie, that’s it, and I’ll say we’re in!”

Now don’t get me wrong. If you are a large company then $300 is a drop in the ocean but for the average net entrepreneur it’s a waste of money.

Why? Because of the competition. Here’s an example.

Let’s do a search at Yahoo for submission services. 335 results are showing. The person wanting this type of service looks at the first. While he’s reading their pitch, in the back of his mind he knows full well he’s spoilt for choice!

He stops reading and gives it a quick skim over then heads for the bottom line. Then he’s hitting that back button and clicking on the second in the list. He does the same again and again and again!

Now I know that most people are not going to look at all 335 but when search engine experts tell you that you must be in the top 30 to get a hit. That’s exactly what they mean, a hit! They don’t mean a sale.

I would expect a reasonable service offered at a reasonable price and showing around the 20 to 30 mark is going to be much more likely to get the sale than the sites in the first 10.

By the time the person gets to the 20’s and because they are merely skimming the pages they have probably decided that once you’ve seen one submission services website, you’ve seen them all.

They will mentally decide the next one they come across that’s within their budget will do.

Net entrepreneurs rely on impulse buying but the search engines remove that from the buyer by giving them sometimes thousands of options.

As webmasters we are constantly told traffic is king. When I meet others the first question is nearly always “so how many hits are you getting?” followed by “how much are you making?”

Surely it should be the other way around. Some months ago I received one of my favourite newsletters. In it was a small 3-line advert for some software that created e-books and allowed people to customize the book with their own links.

“That’s got potential” I thought and clicked through. The web page looked like an 11 year old had built it. It had more fonts than a ransom note!
It was one long sales pitch with a click here to buy link at the bottom.

Guess what? I bought it and it’s a great piece of software. I didn’t want it until I saw the advert. I didn’t even know such a piece of software existed and even though I had my doubts when I saw the site, I acted on impulse.

Let’s say the guy who placed that add only got 100 click thru’s. All 100 were like me, excited about the product, wanting it to be what it said it was and most importantly, wanting to own it.

He may have made 20 sales from those 100 hits and if he’d have smartened his page up he might have made more! That’s a thousand dollars of business for the price of a small targeted add.

This was a real eye opener for me. Am I a Webmaster constantly striving for more hits or am I a net entrepreneur constantly striving to make money?

I decided on the latter. I stopped worrying about my rankings and I started concentrating on reaching my targeted audience with in your face, one-page sales pitches.

My audience happens to be webmasters looking to improve their traffic so instead of waiting for them to find me in the search engines I went to them.

Everyone seems to be using start page programs such as StartBlaze to get extra traffic. These work by setting a special url as your home page so that every time you open your browser you see a different site and someone, somewhere will see yours.

As the people using these programs are my targeted audience I joined in. I designed several different pages and experimented until I had one that got results.

I then devised a method that allowed me to sign up and use 4 more of these start page programs. I was soon earning enough page views that I used a rotator to add my sign-up pages to my sales letter. My down lines grew and so did my sales.

You won’t find my sales letter web page on any search engine and if you do it certainly will not have a good ranking. Yet it is now making many more sales than both of my main websites.

I went out and I found my audience; I offered them something they didn’t know they wanted until I told them different and they acted on impulse!

About the Author
Adrian Calow
Webmaster at ( and author of The Net Entrepreneurs Holy Grail. A free e-book showing you how to build a successful
traffic generating system that will target your audience.


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