Clam up and Die or be Aggressive. How do you do Business?

Morning Folks!!

There is a lot of talk on the street about a number of companies in our
space going bye-bye. Even the ones that survive are much weaker than 1 year
ago. Layoffs, downsizing, consolidation will continue. Are any of
the companies you work with in trouble?

As companies get weaker they can not play the clam shell game and take
cover. Those companies will be wiped out. PPC companies are fighting reduced
traffic and reduced income. I see a couple holding their own and may even get
stronger, most of the rest are visibly weaker.

The good news is that payouts will hit bottom this summer and then begin to
recover in the fall. But during that time tens of thousands of the best domains
will be developed and leave the ranks of PPC. The companies that survive will
become much stronger because they are being forced to diversify. But even they
must be careful because sometimes too much diversification leads to

I wish PPC was in better shape, but it is not. However I do see some light.
One thing I have noticed during this downturn as compared to 2002. At that time
all dotcom commercials on TV virtually disappeared. This time it is quite the
opposite. Ad rates are so low that dotcom companies are advertising on TV more
than ever. New ones all the time. Most will fail, but it is still fun to see the

I am not smart enough to tell you which companies in our space will fold.
But many will. Many are weak. Many are hanging on to flawed business plans that
worked well during boom times but are no longer a working model. So it will be
interesting to see how this all plays out.

Our first glimpse may be between now and April 15th tax time. This is the
time of year that the rubber really meets the road. As these companies and also
individuals get weaker they won't be posting billboards so you may have to think
hard who has either left the scene or look for other hints of weakness. Some may
even get desperate. Survival makes you do things you never would. So pay close
attention in the upcoming months. This is the time to be aggressive. Those
companies pulling in their horns are making a fatal mistake. The fallout will
soon be visible.

Either way, turmoil among some companies is very serious. My big fear is
that we are a young industry that has really yet to be challenged. Not only is
the industry young, so are the players. They are very sharp and this era will
make a First Mate a Captain. Folks are feverishly looking for new solutions.
Some are promising, most will just eat your traffic. But just one new solution
could turn this industry on its' ear. That solution is getting closer. The people buying traffic are getting more sophisticated. I am seeing a shift in
things unlike anything I have seen in 14 years. When times are good everyone is
a genius. When times get bad we see what genius is really made of.

Have a GREAT Day!
Rick Schwartz