I've tried out: Yahoo, Google, Clicksor, MSN, and Kanoodle.
YahooI first tried Yahoo Search Marketing a few months ago (when it was still 'Overture'), and I hated it. Their web service was slow, their keyword pickyness was ridiculous (they'd flattly deny you advertising on certain keywords so that they could optimise their revenue from other advertisors), and they charged a monthly fee regardless of the hits you got.
The really annoying thing is that I unknowingly joined up for the 'UK version' (being in the UK). The 'UK version' only displays ads in 'the UK'. Unfortunately, when I visit yahoo.com, it doesn't seem to think I'm in the UK! I'd specifically have to go to yahoo.co.uk, and very few people do that. Result: very few people ever saw the ads, resulting in a handful of clicks, and my budget was very quickly eaten up by huge monthly fees.
Clicksor, and KanoodleBoth Clicksor and Kanoodle are very similar. Not having their own top search engines to run off, they run on what I'd call the 'seedier areas of the Internet' - where people don't really have the same kind of understanding of the best websites to go to, and probably end up spending a lot of time looking at ad-filled websites with very little quality.
Result: Clicksor and Kanoodle give out loads of cheap hits, but 95% of them don't result in a single followup click on our website. Put simply, I think Clicksor and Kanoodle visitors don't, in general, even know why they got to ocPortal.com, and they quickly find that as we don't sell Jewellery, quickly leave.
MSNI'd love to give a review of MSN click quality, but I haven't got any clicks yet. This is because when I put an ad in it was disapproved for containing the '+' symbol. I think I have fixed that and I'm in an approval queue, but the interface is confusing and the server keeps timing out. Oh, and it malfunctions when using Firefox.
ConclusionIf you don't want to suffer:
- upfront fees
- poor quality hits
- slow administration interfaces
- bureaucratic incompetance