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Stay Away: Earthlink Traffic Builder

Posted on 9.06.2007

You may recall last week that Earthlink announced it would be slashing its workforce. Now that they have officially conceded defeat in the ISP arena, they are wasting no time getting back on the road to profitability and are deploying an alternate revenue generating solution based on their existing relationships that is worthy of note.

EarthLink Business Solutions unveiled a new subscription service this week for online advertisers and marketers that promises a certain number of visitors to advertiser/users Web sites. Dubbed Traffic Builder, the service promises clients as many as 4,800 clicks (visitors) per year to their website. These users will need to be spending over $750 per month for the privilege of letting them manage your account. Pricing does start at $66.95 per month but at that rate you're only getting 360 clicks per year. There are no setup fees but as you can see below the cost per click is in my opinion exorbitant.

Traffic Builder Pricing Structure:
360 Clicks - $66.95/mo. = $2.23 per click
600 Clicks - $111.95/mo. = $2.23 per click
1200 Clicks - $199.95/mo. = $1.99 per click
2400 Clicks - $399.95/mo. = $1.99 per click
3600 Clicks - $584.95/mo. = $1.94 per click
4800 Clicks - $759.95/mo. = $1.89 per click

Is EarthLink TrafficBuilder a good deal? No, it's not a good deal - it's actually a very, very bad deal for advertisers. It may actually be the worst deal in search marketing history. Why? The cost alone should be reason enough to stay away. They are obviously marking up the cost per click considerably - in my estimates several hundred percent above the norm - you can always tell when an accountant gets involved with business planning, can't you?

While it's true that Earthlink will choose keywords and write ad copy on your behalf (which may save you some time and let you manage your business), outsourcing as something as important as CPC marketing to a company that has failed so miserably at its past endeavors is a simply ridiculous proposition for those serious about their business. The reason is because those seeking success with SEM campaigns require consistent oversight available only from a qualified SEM agency or an internal staff dedicated to these efforts, not a defunct dial-up ISP marking up CPC several hundred percent for no other reason than to fulfill contractual obligations or make a buck.

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