Review: SearchFeed & RevenuePilot

Google Adsense is great, but its not the perfect program for publishers wishing to get in on some of the PPC action. The reason it isn't perfect is primarily the fact that Google cannot perfectly target ads to your visitors, only to your content. Your visitor's desires and your site's content do not always match perfectly.

There are other similar programs though, two of which are SearchFeed and RevenuePilot. These programs both allow you to specify the keywords that you wish to advertise or link to and thus you can achieve greater targeting than you can with Adsense. This of course assumes you know your visitors well enough to target ads to their desires.

Both programs offer basic banner-sized and text link creatives, though RevenuePilot by default offers more sizes. Both programs allow you to specify groups of words that are then listed in a list format in the creative which you place on your site. A user who clicks on the one of the links is transported to search results for that keyword. With SearchFeed those search results are hosted on your site and loaded with some Javascript and so you can quite handily integrate them into your site design, RevenuePilot can achieve this same feature with an XML feed - but it is more difficult to implement. With both programs though you do not actually make any money until a user clicks on a search result - so you make nothing for people simply searching, they need to click on a listing.

SearchFeed and RevenuePilot both allow you to simply link to the search results or to include a search form on your site. This allows you to do in context advertising - which is another thing Google cannot do. So instead of taking up valuable banner space with these ads, you can simply use text links within your content. For instance in an article about web hosting you could link the word "web hosting" to a result set. When implemented in this manner these programs are creating additional income. In other words you don't need to take up banner impressions from another program so any income gained from these programs can be in addition to what you already make.

In addition to the search result method of integration listed above (that allows you to simply place text links throughout your content), both programs also allow you to create creatives like Google Adsense where the ads are listed directly on one of your content pages without the user having to first click to a set of search results. Both integration methods have their benefits and they are best implemented in different ways.

SearchFeed starts out taking 70% commission, but you can negotiate down to 50% commission. RevenuePilot takes 40% commission. So in this area RevenuePilot is the winner. However, SearchFeed seems to have higher paying listings on the keywords I selected, and the ability to easily integrate results into my site's design. Of course, being dependent on Javascript, Searchfeed's results are necessarily less accessible. I have recieved payment from both programs; RevenuePilot's terms are "less than net 60" with a minimum payout of $50, and SearchFeed's are net 20 with a minimum payout of $25.

Both services have referral programs as well. SearchFeed grants you 2-5% revenue share for publishers you refer and 5-7% of the initial deposit for advertisers you refer. RevenuePilot offers a 10% referral fee for publishers. Though I should warn you that you should not expect to make large amounts of money with referral fees. Referral programs like this are great for additional small amounts of income, but most people who go into such programs hoping for huge gains usually end up disappointed.

All in all I have to recommend both RevenuePilot and SearchFeed. The programs are an excellent way to create new revenue streams for your site. You're not going to find the same CPC rates you enjoy with Adsense, and you will likely not make more than a hundred dollars a month unless you have traffic numbers in the high six figures atleast. However, since these revenue streams can be in addition to whatever you make now, there is very little reason to not implement them. As for which program to use, well you should check CPC rates for your keywords at both programs. You can check SearchFeed's from their homepage, but you'll need to sign up with RevenuePilot to check theirs. Then, go with whichever one is going to make you more money. You might also be able to integrate both programs by combining their XML feeds into one search result that ranks the highest paying listing first, regardless of which company it is from.