Web hosting has become very difficult and competitive business especially in its shared segment. That’s why many providers look to add various services to their hosting plans. Some of them are very different from producing web hosting. Two of those are “Website Traffic” or “Online Ads”.
I’ve seen today that Earthlinks has become the recent ISP and web host that offers visitors to website owners. The company has developed a service called “Traffic Builder”. It is web site marketing plan that offers to anyone to outsource their site marketing to Earthlink.
Site owner can choose among 6 different “traffic plans”. The cheapest one cost $66,95/month and brings 360 unique visitors to customer’s pages. That means that the cost of average visitor is 18.5 cents. Earthlink does the ad copy for customer and places ads accross its own network, in Google, Yahoo and MSN.
Fishing or Real Service?
The service is based on assumption that many site owners who don’t have even basic knowledge on web marketing would decide that the $0.18 price is low enough to sign-up for the plan. It may worth the money for some of them if the company provides tools that offer detailed information about visitors’ IP adress, domain referal, cost per click, and other important data that advertisers can use to get more information about their visitors.
Company’s TOS says that if Earthlink did not deliver the number of “clicks” (They use clicks, not unique visitors) within a period of 12 months they have 90 days more to “to fulfill the Order and provide the guaranteed Clicks”. A “Money back guarantee” is applicapable for non-delivered clicks.
There is also something not welcomed by anyone in business that offer “Money Back Guarantee” for alomost anything! It sounds like that: “Any Service purchased on an annual basis and paid one-twelfth (1/12) monthly may be cancelled at any time, but will incur a one-time cancellation fee of one hundred dollars ($100).”
I’m very sceptical about any service that offers Internet based small businesses to outsource their marketing to corporations. the truth is that most SMB owners can not afford to spend money without having good ROI. If anyone wants to get sales from online ads however requires a certain level of knowledge. It can not be achieved by outsourcing the marketing job to corporations.
If someone still wants to do this it is better to make sure that the service provider gives them various data about the visitors and their behavious. Otherwise it does not worth the money.