AdzZoo: Savior or Sham for Small Business SEO

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A client of mine recently notified me that they were expecting a pretty good jump in traffic from an online ad campaign they were conducting with AdzZoo. Curious, I looked them up and analyzed their approach.

The Concept
For a pre-defined contract term, a small business purchases a local search marketing campaign. Fees range from approximately $230 USD/per month to $675/month based on search radius. Setup fees range from $200-$50 based on contract length. Complete contractual and pricing is available online. The company then purchases search-based 'buying' keywords to implement sponsored text-based advertising that is linked to AdzZoo-sponsored, client-branded landing pages. Additional add-on services are also available, such as local 'push' advertising (AdSense) and other BS.

The Geo-Targeting Technology Myth

Here is what AdzZoo posts on their website about what they do: AdzZoo is dedicated to helping local businesses reconnect with their local markets. They promote that they accomplish this through the process of 'geo-targeting' searches. The Hook: Geo-targeting utilizes existing free services offered by major search engines like Google through their Google Places service. The Rub: Geo-targeting is not new, as search engines like Google rely soley on regionalized data centers to return their results. Other search engine operators employ similar strategies. Localization is determined based on a users unique IP address. Google has many data centers that return regional-specific result sets. AdzZoo appears to co-opt this existing practice and combine it with other a search engine's keyword targeting mechanism to offer 'geo-targeting technology.'

Glorified and Up-charged 'Pay-Per-Click' (PPC)

According to company-sponsored literature, 'AdzZoo guarantees that our customers will be seen on the first page of Google. AdzZoo monitors each client’s campaign 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. By monitoring the quality score, ad impressions and click-through-rates, AdzZoo ensures that each client receives maximum exposure.' The company appears to be simply re-selling PPC adwords available for purchase on Google and major search engines. The company appears also to be purchasing keywords that are seldom searched-for or are non-competitive regarding bidding, to sell the concept that customers '...will be seen on the first page of Google.' with accuracy. The Hook: Adzzoo refers to 'Buying Keywords and Shopping Keywords'. Competitive and visit-productive keywords (shopping keywords) are expensive. Generally, actual pricing is determined through a competitive bidding process. 'Buying Keywords' on the other hand, are inexpensive because they are seldom queried by users. The numbers of queries of each type are freely available through each major search engine. The Rub: Because AdzZoo charges a flat monthly fee, they understand that they're cost exposure is limited, with very few click-throughs on low-valued, niche 'buying' keywords. And since a flat monthly fee is charged, each customer essentially pays for clicks/exposure they may or may not receive, and regardless of effectiveness. In true pay-per-click (PPC), a company only pays for each click-through it receives and only those.

Optimized Landing Page - The REAL CLAW

Adzzoo is offering 'Optimized Landing Pages - Designed specifically for maximum online exposure, and optimized for your locale and market.' This is consistent with LocalAdLink, and while not employed exclusively, may serve to seed a future proprietary search directory. From AdzZoo's 'Campaign Guarantee,' the company states that 'geo-targeted ads with links to your AdzZoo Web Page will begin to appear on Google.' Considered together, this concept serves to establish AdzZoo as the permanent middle man for each client landing page and provides them ongoing leverage with each client, similar to what exists with an ISP and a customer's email address.

Local Push Campaign Quackery

AdzZoo promotes the extension of geo-targeting ads on major media websites like CNN, YouTube, Facebook and others. Again, these are simple text-based Google AdSense ads that are free to implement. AdzZoo mostlikely uses the The Google Display Network to implement this.

The Principals

Through online research, it has been determined that AdzZoo is owned principally by Bill Anderton, Kevin Anderton, and Scott Anderton. It appears that the Andertons have been principals in several other multi-level related ventures, often utilizing questionable business practices. A highly critical profile of their early business history has been posted online here. They previously ran another localized-search MLM search marketing concept known that has been highly criticized.

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