FindWhat Raises Bid Price

Paid listings company FindWhat.com announced Thursday that it would raise its minimum bid price for keywords from 1 cent to 5 cents, following the lead of industry leader Overture Services, which recently upped its own minimum bid.

The increase goes into effect Sept. 1. The Fort Myers, Fla.-based company introduced a so-called grandfather clause, allowing current advertisers to lock in 1 to 4 cents bids before that date. Advertisers will be able to change ad text, descriptions and links without penalty.

The move comes two months after Overture announced an increase to its minimum bid from 5 cents to 10 cents. Overture, like FindWhat, honored earlier bids in the 5 cents to 9 cents range. However, the company recently upped rates for longtime customers who had 1 cent to 4 cent bids grandfathered before the first minimum-bid increase in early 2002.

With the increase of the minimum bid at FindWhat, advertisers will have few places to turn for cut-rate keyword bids. Google’s AdWords minimum bid is 5 cent.Kanoodle and Sprinks also have a 5 cent minimum. Smaller networks, like Search123 and A-Ha, still offer keywords at 1 or 2 cents.

At Overture, the average keyword sold for 35 cents last quarter, up from 23 cents a year earlier. Google does not release figures for its keywords, but they’re considered to be in line with Overture’s.

FindWhat, which markets itself as a cost-effective alternative to Overture and Google, has not seen similar revenue growth in per click-through numbers. In the fourth quarter, FindWhat took in an average 18 cents per keyword, up only a penny from a year earlier.

The company has continued to show robust growth thanks to growing its advertiser base, which increased 60 percent to 22,400 over the same period. Earlier this week, FindWhat announced it would upgrade from a small-cap Nasdaq listing to the exchange’s national market.

FindWhat also announced it would bundle recent rollouts of keyword campaign management tools into a suite, dubbed CruiseControl. Tools included are: AdAnalyzer, an ROI calculator; AutoBid, an automated system for maximizing bid cost efficiency; CampaignScheduler and AutoReplenish, which alters paid listings on the fly. CruiseControl will be free for FindWhat advertisers.

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