Monday, April 6, 2009

Do you really want to advertise to stupid people?

This posting is not specifically about the book business. It concerns online advertising, which could apply to the book business.

My main business is AbleComm, Inc. -- a company that sells a wide variety of telecommunications equipment. We've been in business since 1977. We have lots of customers including the Federal government, Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, military bases, hospitals, homeowners and high school students. We sell to everybody.

Because we've been in business for so long and have so many customers, we attract the attention of competitors who want to capture actual and prospective customers.

We, and some of them, pay for "AdWords" on Google. AdWords are those tiny ads that appear when you do a search for a particular term. In our field, a typical search could be for "phone system," "wireless headset," "telephone tools," etc. Some of those searches would result in links to one or more of our approximately 40 websites.

Some of our less-creative competitors are actually paying for AdWords targeted at searches for our company name -- not the products we sell. One company's ad has the headline "Better than AbleComm." It states no reasons why it's bettter. Maybe that's because it's really not better.

Only an Internet idiot would do a search for "Ablecomm," rather than simply type ""

If my competitors want to waste money trolling for stupid people, it's fine with me.

In a keyword-based ad campaign for a book or a business, it's common and perfectly OK to include common misspellings in your keyword list to catch careless shoppers.

However, choose the search terms carefully so you don't end up paying money to attract the completely clueless, not just the careless or spelling-impaired.

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