A pilot study on PPC schemes and their effect on search engine revenue.

Neethling, R. & Weideman, M.

Published Online

Neethling, R. & Weideman, M. 2006. A pilot study on PPC schemes and their effect on search engine revenue. ICT Research Forum No. 2, 407-423. Faculty of Informatics and Design, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town. ISBN: 978-0-620-40951-3.

The primary purpose of this project was to assess the popularity and problems associated with pay-per-click (PPC), also called paid placement schemes.

The method used is a literature survey of previous research on search engine marketing (SEM), and a pilot study on what the market offers in PPC.

A December 2004 survey indicates that three quarters of all participating advertisers do participate in paid placement, confirming its popularity among advertisers. It was also found that 83% of participating advertisers plan on increasing their spending on PPC, on average expecting to spend 45% more in 2005. This proves the increasing popularity of PPC. Only 13% of the participants were unhappy compared to 62% that were happy with their PPC program. It was concluded that users should be aware that most search results are influenced by PPC in some way or another. This however, is not necessarily a negative element, as PPC can have a positive impact on search results. Most importantly, they provide search engines with the revenue to supply users with a free service.

Research limitations.
This study was based on a literature review, followed by a pilot study to compare search engines offering paid placement. Other search engines not offering paid placement were also inspected to determine how they generate revenue.

Originality/value/research problem.
Many Web authors are aware of the multitude of ways they can use to increase their search engine ranking. The research problem is the existence of a negative perception around payment to better the ranking of a website, regardless of its contents (Weideman, 2004). A secondary problem is that no empirical evidence could be found to clarify this contentious issue, and no guidance was evident from the literature regarding available schemes.
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