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A Visit with CEO, Craig Pisaris-Henderson: Part 1

By: Robin Nobles

Robin Nobles, Director of Training, Academy of Web Specialists, ( has trained several thousand people in her online search engine marketing courses ( and is the content provider for (GRSeo) Search Engine Optimizer software ( She also teaches 3-day hands on search engine marketing workshops in locations across the globe with Search Engine Workshops (

The Chairman and CEO of (, Craig Pisaris-Henderson, recently attended a chat session and visited with Academy students regarding the performance-based advertising network.

This enlightening chat shed light on one of the leading pay-for-performance advertising providers (providing keyword-targeted text ads to search engines and other large portals) and offered tips for achieving better results when purchasing keywords.

Craig began by giving some background information on
" is a leading performance-based marketing company that introduces buyers and sellers online. We allow advertisers to bid on keywords, and then we distribute those keywords to over 200 distribution partners. We serve approximately 1 billion searches per month and handle well over 700,000 transactions per day. We have 20,000 plus advertisers from all over the world."
Craig is one of the founders of, and as a result of his strong dedication to developing, he was recently chosen as one of the nominees for the 2002 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Craig answered the following questions from Academy students.

One billion is a very large number. How much of that comes from the US?
We concentrate on the US marketplace at this point, so to put a percentage on it, I would say 95+% comes from the US.

What is your vision for What are we going to experience in 2003?

I've been hinting around on several earnings calls that we were looking at both international initiatives and diversifying our primary traffic (distribution partners). I would say both are strong possibilities for 2003.

Are there any major partners (in North America) that you could hint about?

We recently announced a new relationship with Terra Lycos. We are providing a turnkey keyword advertising service to both Lycos and HotBot Web properties. They brand and sell the service, and we provide our complete private label product comprised of the keyword-targeted pay-for-performance ad service, account manager interface, and customer service.

My company just opened an account with you. Is there any way to automate our system for bidding purposes?

We do offer several automated functions but have not focused on automating the bidding process for several reasons. For example, if you have multiple bidders with a high "cap" and the system automatically increases bids, then you would have artificial increases that give an unfair advantage to larger companies since they have larger budgets. This has recently been seen in other systems that have introduced such functions.

There are many other reasons, but the important thing to understand about is that we are focused on keeping a "fair playing field" for all advertisers. We feel there are many different ways to market a product online. But to date, there has not been a "fair" way for thousands and thousands of advertisers to participate. Again, we are focused on helping advertisers of all sizes rather than the ones with the largest budgets.

We feel that in the long run, this will build a larger and stronger company.

What are your recommendations for a beginner pay-per-click client at For example, strategy, budget, etc.?

Concentrate on your keywords and descriptions. Give our reps a call. As I mentioned earlier, we serve over 1 billion searches per month, so if you want to get traffic, you need to be identified by the user as a site that has the product they are looking for.

When bidding on your keywords, does have an auto bid function to help reduce bid gaps between the #1 and #2 position?

We implemented several functions that help eliminate the gaps you are mentioning. But if you really want to keep tabs on it, we suggest you log in frequently or contract a bid management company.

We do have a BidOptimizer feature, which will allow you to choose the position you wish your keywords to obtain (positions 1 through 5) within the results. This feature also allows you to put in a maximum bid price. If, for example, the keyword you wished to have the number one position had a current bid price of $1.00, the BidOptimizer would put your bid to $1.01, unless you had a max bid price of less than a dollar. In that case, it would put your bid at one penny over the next possible bid position, within your cap limit.

(Continued in Part 2. Click here.)

© Copyright 2003 Robin Nobles. All rights reserved.

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