LookSmart PPC Review

LookSmart started out as a PFI directory. For several years, they offered a one time fee of $299 to be included in their directory. Around April, 2002, LookSmart changed their business model suddenly to a PPC format. Because they did not honor their contract with existing customers (indeed, even customers who signed up within weeks of the switch), they have earned the mistrust, anger and boycotts of former clients.

LookSmart currently offers a PPC model where listings cost a flat fee for an account set-up and a flat rate per click (although they may be changing this now to only include a certain number of clicks per month with a higher per click pricing thereafter).

LookSmart offers the following benefits:

  • Spending Limits - You can control how much you are willing to spend with your LookSmart account.

However, there are some drawbacks to advertising with LookSmart:

  • Syndication - Lycos, CNET, Mamma.com and others. LookSmart's reach took a huge hit when MSN dropped them.
  • Appearance - LookSmart editors decide how your ad copy will read, not you. If you wish to experiment with different ad copy (and measure the conversions and ROI), it will cost you every time you submit a change request.
  • Control - LookSmart allows you to specify a list of keywords/keyphrases to target with your listing. However, they also display your ad for matches on text in the title and descriptions - which they control! You do not have much control over the targeting of your traffic. There are no options for targeting geographic regions.
  • Disclosure - LookSmart does not list all their syndication partners nor offer you options for excluding syndication of your ads to any part of their syndication network.
  • Untargeted Click-Throughs - Not all of LookSmart's syndication partners are search engines. Your ads may be displayed to passive interest surfers (who convert to sales at a lower rate) than active interest surfers (who are looking for your site and convert better).

Ever since MSN dropped Looksmart from their search results, the value of a Looksmart listing has diminished greatly.