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Are online advertisers trustworthy?

If you been following this blog, you’ve doubtless read my initial post about using SiteTruth, which employs real-world methods to investigate online advertisers. Perhaps you’ve also read about the GreaseMonkey script that allows you to see the ratings of contextual advertisers right on the Web page in your browser. But are you wondering how many advertisers pass muster? Check out the pie chart to your left and read on for more details.


According to SiteTruth’s blog, over 35% of all ads could not be validated as a trustworthy business (red on the chart above), while fewer than 14% were judged green (site ownership and business identity verified). You can check out the blog for more details, but what does this mean?
Many ads that we see every day do not have enough information about the sites and the companies for customers to be confident about buying from them. Now, understand, we probably buy from these companies quite frequently. But we are taking our chances. If we were to really check out the site and investigate the company, we might be more aware that it’s a leap of faith. SiteTruth is just automating that investigation for us.
If you’re a marketer who is running search and contextual ads, you might want to check out your SiteTruth score. If this technology or a similar one comes into widespread usage, you don’t want to have that red mark slapped on your ad. Customers may be too lazy to check these things out now, but when someone puts it in their face with no effort, see if your click rate plummets.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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