FindWhat’s (Wrong) Answer to AdSense

ClickZ’s Kevin Newcomb covers FindWhat’s launch of its version of Google’s AdSense and Overture’s Content Match offerings, pointing out the key difference:

– FindWhat takes a category approach vs. a contextual approach

An interesting approach on FindWhat’s part… While this may be great from a publisher’s perspective, allowing them to pick categories that yield high CPC’s, but are inconsistent with what their web visitors are looking at, is not so great from an advertiser’s perspective. The whole point behind contextual advertising, like search advertising, is to closely match the intent/interest of the user with that of the advertiser.

Would a publisher choose a category that doesn’t match his content in order to get better CPCs? Sure, provided they were of sufficiently general interest to generate clicks. But more importantly, he doesn’t have a choice; while his content is dynamic, the API call he uses to invoke FindWhat’s advertising on his page template will most likely be static… not a great receipe for advertisers.

Net-net? FindWhat is filling a gaping product hole with the wrong tool for the job. While contextual offerings are still fairly immature, they represent the right approach for content publishers. I expect FindWhat will reveal its own contextual offering when it builds or acquires the technology it lacks to make a serious run at the first tier players.

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