Everything I Know about Marketing I learned from Google

Can you spell SEM CPA?

September 2, 2010 by Aaron Goldman

MediaPost Online Media Daily

Shared a few sound-bytes with Laurie Sullivan at MediaPost for her article, “Search Engine CPA Patent Goes Up For Sale.”

Here’s the POV I provided…

Well, I’m no intellectual property expert but I wonder if this concept is even patentable [Clarification: meant to say, "I wonder if this patent is even enforceable."] It’s not like Bill Gross was able to patent CPC on search engines.

That said, the closest thing we’ve seen to CPA search results to date was Microsoft’s failed experiment with Cashback. The idea was advertisers would essentially pay a CPA for actual conversions and a portion of that fee would be passed along as incentive to the searcher. Microsoft never got the advertiser adoption it needed to scale Cashback and, without a lot of offers, it wasn’t able to provide a great user experience.

One of the biggest challenges in a pure CPA search model would be getting advertisers comfortable with implementing new tracking code on their websites to allow the search engine(s) to track actions. Fortune 500 companies and leading internet retailers are already leery of letting the fox into the henhouse.


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