Kanoodle Adds Relevance to Contextual Rankings

  |  March 22, 2004   |  Comments

The paid listings company, which formerly ranked its content-targeted links strictly according to bid price, is adding relevance to the equation.

Paid search listings provider Kanoodle.com will be ranking its content-targeted links according to how many clicks they get as well as how much advertisers bid for them, starting Tuesday.

The company's new proprietary system, ClickFactor, has an approach similar to Google's in that ads move higher or lower on the list based on how many users click on them. However, it's different in that advertisers can learn their rank, the factored index and the bid needed to get the desired placement, according to Lance Podell, Kanoodle's president.

Kanoodle has operated on a cost-per-click basis since its inception in 1999. The company launched its content-targeted sponsored links program, ContextTarget, in January. As in Google's or Overture's contextual advertising systems, ads appear on partners' Web pages based on the context or topic of the page. On MarketWatch's site, for example, Kanoodle's ads appear at the bottom of a given page, headed, "Sponsored Links." On Kanoodle, advertisers bid according to category, not keywords.

Speaking of the ClickFactor launch, Fredrick Marckini, CEO and founder of iProspect, said, "I feel very positive about this. We can only hope that other providers of contextual advertising follow and allow advertisers more control. The more control you give the advertiser, the more successful he can become. This is a virtuous cycle that will cause people to invest in it."

ClickFactor calculates the number of clicks an ad gets against the number of page views and moves the ads up or down depending on their popularity. Podell emphasized that the system is advertiser-friendly.

Podell said Kanoodle has explained to advertisers how the system works. Advertisers will get a report in their account telling them whether they're doing above or below the average in click-throughs for their space.

Kanoodle will tell advertisers what they will need to bid to get the top slot given the ClickFactor they have rated, Podell said.

"So, it's a good feedback loop to know what bid garners what position," Podell said. Once an advertiser tweaks the ad, they will go back into the system, "and you'll have a fair shot at visibility again," Podell said.

"It's a cool move," said Kevin Lee of Did-It.com. "In the end, I think the whole industry has to move in that direction. There's different ways of ensuring relevance; you can have a human being look at it and say 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down.' But in the end, nothing is a predictor of relevance but the searcher. The searcher votes with their thumb -- or index finger, as the case may be.

"If it's not getting clicked on, it's not relevant," Lee said.

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