Why do you use search on the internet?
If you’re like most of us, it’s to pinpoint specific information we’re after at any given time and digest it.
As such, when we punch something into a search engine we expect the most relevant of results and that, pretty much sums up what the entire search engine industry is about. Coupled with contextually relevant ads, and you’ve also pretty much got the business model for the industry too.
Of course both of those definitions are painted with the broadest of brushes but still accurately represent what search will and always will be about for the end-user.
Meanwhile for the search engines, being businesses it’s naturally all about the money. As an end-user though, when was the last time you searched for anything hoping to make a profit?
That, ladies and gentlemen, brings us to the dilemma of Viradyne. Apart from having name that sounds like something big phrama came up with for your vagina, Viradyne aims to bridge the commercial side of a search engine with the needs of the end users using it.
The problem inherently is that in doing so, since opening it’s doors to the general public, Viradyne appears to be suffering from a memberbase that largely consists of, as Viradyne CEO Paul Koury puts it, ‘low quality users‘.
Low quality of course not in the sense that the users themselves are of low quality, but rather in terms of metrics that measure the success, credibility of a search portal dependent on advertising, Viradyne’s current users are proving to be a headache for the company.
In a recent email fired off to Viradyne members, Koury explains that
Link180 pays ViraDyne a flat monthly fee for each active homepage user.
The minimum base pay only requires that each homepage user be “Active”. Link180 will pay higher flat rates as ViraDyne reaches certain performance goals.
There are three main factors that Link180 considers when determining which goals have been reached. These factors include:
· The number of “Active” homepage users ViraDyne Affiliates have referred.
· The average “Quality Score” of these users.
· The country where an “Active” homepage user is located.
The “Quality Score” is determined by the activities of the average ViraDyne homepage user compared to the activities of our competitors’ average user (i.e. Google, Yahoo, MSN, Bing, Ask.com, etc.).
The “Quality Score” of our average user is currently very low. It is obvious that most “Active” homepage users are not using Link180 as their primary search engine.
The stunning revelation that Viradyne and Koury have access to the ‘average user’s’ search habits from networks such as Google, Bing and Yahoo aside, honestly, did they seriously not see this coming?
My first impression of the Link180 search portal was that it offered a pretty sub-standard end-user experience that ‘bombarded (the user) with all sorts of advertising units’.
Furthermore, Link180 uses Google search results, meaning that the results are identical on google.com as they are in Link180. This then raises the question that, outside of the referral commissions offered by Viradyne for using Link180, why would anyone choose a sub-standard search engine experience?
The answer is they wouldn’t and as such Viradyne is now full of members who are ‘performing the same search repeatedly for no reason‘ and ‘clicking on every sponsored link, or clicking the same sponsored link over and over again‘ (otherwise known as clickfraud).
These actions by Viradyne members are both very obviously attempts by members to increase their ‘activity levels’ as required by Viradyne in order to get paid.
Unfortunately, due to the requirement of not being able to disclose what exactly being an active user explicitly refers to (at the risk of compromising the integrity of the advertising networks featured on Link180), Viradyne would appear to be perpetually stuck with this problem. And if it continues, will also most likely find themselves banned from the advertising networks they are currently using.
With the hamfisted ‘we’re gunna bombard you with ads’ approach of the 90s Viradyne has taken to internet search, unfortunately I don’t see a resolution to their problem anytime soon.
The end-user experience should be at the forefront of Viradyne’s considerations. After all, it’s not like they’re members aren’t searching. Koury concedes that
it is obvious that our Affiliates are only doing an average of about 20% of their total searches on their Link180 homepage search bar and are still using their old search engine(s) for the remaining 80%.
Hmm, I wonder why that is?
Instead of addressing this glaring issue of a compromised end-user search experience, without redefining the purpose of Link180 (that is, to bring something of value to its users), Koury instead insists that it is the members themselves using Link180 who need to change their habits.
replace your old homepage with Link180, use the search bar at the top of your Link180 homepage for all of your searches, don’t click on ads that are not of interest to you and never click on the same ad multiple times.
Just use the site as you normally used your previous homepage and search engine before.
Given the sub-standard end-user experience and complete lack of additional value over Google I get from using Link180, can anyone tell me why I’d want to?