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Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
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Friday, June 13, 2014

What's a Word Worth?

Once Curio City's bread and butter, Panther Vision caps went stale sometime last year. There are too many competitors selling them now, including Walmart and Lowes. I obviously can't touch their prices, although I do trounce their selection. Keywords have been bid up to the $1 range and beyond -- way too rich for me. I top out at $0.65 for most products and try to stay under $0.50...preferably way under, whenever possible. Caps sold nicely last Christmas, and I hope they'll do it again this year, but I no longer expect any action from them outside of November and December. 

Why, then, did I sell four on Monday? Did a competitor drop out and boost my pay-per-click positions? Was it one of those random Google blips where my keywords organically bob to the top for a few hours? One customer answered "How did you find us?" with "Searching for something on Google", another declined to answer, another said "Referred by a friend," and the last said "You were linked in an online article or blog." OK, no pattern there. Two customers were in California, one in Maryland, and one in New Jersey -- again, no pattern. AdWords didn't take credit for any conversions (and Bing is worthless, as usual*). Yet, I sold a fifth cap on Wednesday.  

Incidentally, speaking of overpriced keywords...I can't advertise bicycle accessories at all because the relevant keywords sell for up to $4.25 per click. If you convert 2% of your clicks at the most common $2.25 price point then each sale costs $112.50. That's obviously just plain nuts.

*...so worthless is Bing, in fact, that I finally pulled the plug on it this week. In the past 30 days I spent $71.64 on 250 clicks that led, by Bing's own reckoning, to 0 conversions. Statistically, 250 clicks should have brought five to 10 sales. How on earth can they assign a quality score of 3/10 to a keyword like "lighted caps" or 2/10 to "Jackite kites"? I shouldn't have to spam keywords everywhere when I clearly have the relevant products at the proper URLs. Screw you, Microsoft. I'm done trying to game your algorithm. 

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