Be Cautious With Looksmart PPC.

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Apparently a situation exists with Looksmart PPC that can result in a high
volume of worthless clicks (that you pay for)

Looksmart PPC includes a feature called "inclusion". This feature means that
every word in your ad's Title or Description is treated as a keyword. This
means your ad gets shown in response to a large number of irrelevant
searches. For example, my ad's Description includes the phrase "Easy To Use
Project Management Software" but a search for "easy way to bake a cake" or
"The Alan Parsons Project" may get my ad shown.

One would expect that such displays would not result in people clicking the
ad, but apparently a high number do. My monthly budget was exhausted in
about one day, with more clicks than I get in several days of (entirely
valid) Google PPC traffic. Analysis of my weblog showed that virtually every
such click from Looksmart was a "1-clicker" to my entry page but no further.
(More than 50% of my other visitors visit multiple pages)  In short, these
are worthless clicks from Looksmart PPC.

I have discussed this with Looksmart. They acknowledge the over-broadness of
this 'inclusion'. They also say they've seen a lot of people with this
problem, that the problem has been growing since last fall, and that when
someone contacts them about this they advise them to disable the inclusion
feature. They are unable to explain why ads, which are so irrelevant to the
search, are clicked.  They are taking no steps to advise people of this
situation or to correct this broadness problem.

If you review your account and discover such a situation, they will not
refund charges for it.

I got rid of the inclusion feature and found that Looksmart traffic dropped
to near zero, and the click-thru performance (i.e. past the entry page) was
still terrible compared to Google. Consequently I have terminated my
Looksmart account.

So, if you're using Looksmart, check your ad setup carefully, and review
your weblog to see if you're getting valid traffic.

Bob Kochem

MinuteMan Systems

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