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Does Amazon Want to be King of the PPC Jungle?

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Posted February 14, 2008 By Michelle Megna     Feedback

Amazon secretly launches limited test of pay-per-click plan that lets e-tailers drive customers back to their sites instead of having to buy through Amazon.

It appears Amazon may want to ultimately become king of the shopping search engine jungle as it recently launched a pay-per-click ad program linked to specific product searches. Called Product Ads, the new initiative allows any e-tailer to buy pay-per-click ads on Amazon linked to specific searches and allows the merchants to make the sale at their own sites. Right now, though, the program is in the development phase for just a few categories.

No formal announcement was made about Product Ads, other than an e-mail blast to product marketers, according to bloggers at TechCrunch and ComparisonEngines. A look at the Amazon site, however, shows this information at the advertising page stating, "With Product Ads, as a seller you can participate in this cost-per-click program that allows customers to see YOUR products and price offerings. Customers viewing your products can click over to your Web site where they can buy directly from you. We are currently running a limited test of this program."

Clearly, the move is eventually bound to have a significant impact on the way Amazon does business, as well as how marketing dollars are spent by e-tailers. Brian Smith of says, "With Amazon Product Ads, merchants can now list products on Amazon and drive consumers back to their sites as opposed to having to buy through Amazon. That's a BIG change."

Smith then posted the following excerpt from the e-mail blast: "Product Ads is an advertising program designed to give customers seamless access to products available on Web sites external to As a seller, you simply upload your catalog and set your cost-per-click bids. We will then display highly targeted ads for your items on select product and search pages.

"Customers can click over to your Web site and purchase the product directly from you. Product Ads uses a cost-per-click model, and there are no monthly fees. You only pay for clicks generated by your ads. You can manage how much you spend by setting a daily budget."

Currently, Product Ads is in place for the Electronics & Computers, Home & Garden, Tools, Toys, Kids & Baby categories.

Erick Schonfeld, of wrote, "Now Amazon is saying that any Web site that is selling something related to its product categories can buy an ad that will show up as a highly targeted product search result, along with all the items on Amazon and its merchant sites.

"What's more, Web sites won't need to pay Amazon an affiliate fee or register as a merchant. They won't even need to pay for the ad unless someone clicks on it. Each click might bring only pennies, but search is a volume game. For Amazon, it is all gravy that could help boost the company's overall margins if it takes off."

At press time, Amazon had not yet returned calls asking for comments on Product Ads.

Michelle Megna is managing editor of

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