There is a firestorm of negative press looking LookSmart's recent marketing stumbles via numerous discussion groups, including two of the oldest and most influential, I-Search and I-Advertising Digests. Most of the critiques center on LookSmart's accessibility to develop viable programs for SMB / SME ("small to medium business or enterprise"), the difficulty in managing their new pay per click "Small Business Listings" advertising program, and their overall lack of customer service responsiveness.
Many of us in the agency / marketing services world relied upon LookSmart's directory in the early days; especially as an offset to Yahoo's "my way or the highway" attitude when they became the 200 pound gorilla in the marketplace So, it's sad to say, but LookSmart appears to be morphing to just another portal with little marketing awareness of how to work effectively with the tens of millions of SMB companies that have rapidly embroidered a web-centric business model. Their overall terms of services are geared for big companies and their SMB programs appear to be an afterthought at best!
One of the core issues that frustrates many small businesses is the difficulty in getting a listing that actually describes their company, products, and / or services accurately – to add insult to injury, you have to pay in some cases twice to have your listing upgraded . Similarly, LookSmart's editorial staff can not keep up with the demand, or is so pressured to maintain some internal quota their descriptions suffer accordingly.
LookSmart's new Small Business Listings program is simply not "small business friendly." It is a complex program with lots of important details buried in an FAQ and there are some "gotchas" in the small print – including being forced to wait up to 90 days for the return of the upfront deposit of $ 150. and paying a setup fee for a listing; but having it deactivated when you exceed the dollar amount of your "monthly click limit." I can understand their dropping the listing once you exceed your budget, but it does not seem equitable to charge $ 49. to setup the listing in the first place – your in essence subsidizing LookSmart's cost of doing business.
So, if your an SMB company what are your alternatives to working with LookSmart? We would recommend your assessing Google's new "AdWords Select" program which is geared more for business of all sizes; but, I must warn you there is some complexity in setting up this type of program as well. But, you certainly get much more coverage with Google – their rapidly becoming the dominant search engine du …