Among the attendees at last night's PhIMA event, were two very personable Ask.com Sponsored Listing reps. To clarify they are part of IAC Advertising Solutions, which focus on the Ask.com product. When I got to Lucky Strikes, my colleague Greg Meyers was already chatting with Michael Wesner, Director of Easter Sales Search Marketing, when introduced I got the "oh you wrote the blog post" smile and a handshake. Michael proceeded to apologize for the difficulties we encountered with Ask.com's sponsored listings program and ensured us we were now on their radar and were going to help us going forward.
I also got to meet our direct sales rep, the very delightful Lindsay Klein. She's now our contact within IAC Advertising that is going to help us to better manage our PPC campaigns across the Ask properties.
I had a great conversation with Michael, where the issue of how difficult it seems to be to work with a larger account on the Ask.com engine. It's not as easy as Google, Yahoo or MSN's programs although their program page leaves one to believe it is. If you are managing a smaller account - less than $5k a month spend - its easy as enter your credit card and go (just like the other three), but when you cross that $5k a month threshold, that's where things step into another realm.
My colleague (Greg Meyers) and I explained to Michael how we felt that Ask was making it so difficult to spend money with them. Greg in fact posted in detail of what a pain it was dealing with the process. Michael was great in listening to us, and then explaining why the process works the way it does.
Ask.com doesn't have near the inventory that Google does, and the IAC Advertising team wants to ensure that proper expectations can be met and actually set. That made my eyes go wide. In my past experience, Google does that to an extent with larger clients, forget about that with Yahoo and MSN is still trying to get a handle on this whole large client thing with their paid search.
I think IAC Advertising is definitely going in the right direction, once you understand WHY they take the approach they do. The whole issue is obtaining that understanding - if they could set that expectation somewhere on their Advertising/Sponsored Listings section, it would make the process so much more understandable - right now, most advertisers are going to be scratching their heads. I hope Michael will take the observations/experiences to the folks out in California because I'm sure we're not the only ones who are confused.
Thank you Michael & Lindsay for stepping up and helping us out in understanding IAC Advertising's process with dealing with larger clients!