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PPC Bid Management Software Showdown

By Kalena Jordan   17th January 2002 (Note - 26th January 2003 : Please note that this article is over a year old and some of the links and companies mentioned are no longer valid).

BidRank pay-per-click management software
If you’ve been reading our newsletter (The Search Light) regularly, you’ll know that Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a fast growing trend in the search engine industry. Nearly all of the major search engines and directories have now integrated one type of PPC or another into their search results. At the moment (formerly GoTo) is the clear leader in the PPC field, with an estimated 90% of the total PPC search market. But others such as FindWhat, Kanoodle and eSpotting are slowly catching on.

Overture currently has partnerships in place with Yahoo, AOL, AV, Lycos, Netscape, InfoSpace, MSN and Excite. People bid to 
purchase keywords from Overture and the top 2 or 3 bids (called Premium Listings) appear on their partner sites when searches are 
conducted for those keywords. Most of the time, Overture results appear above regular search results as “sponsored matches”, so 
you can see how effective this type of campaign can be when used to draw targeted traffic to a web site. Whenever a viewer clicks 
on a sponsored listing, they are taken to the advertiser’s site and the advertiser is charged for the click at the rate determined by 
their bid on Overture.
The main drawbacks to advertising on PPC engines to date have been:
a)       The quick exhaustion of funds due to large traffic volume
b)       The time consuming nature of bid rank analysis for multiple keywords
c)       The impact of bid gaps on cost-effectiveness (when your bid is more than it needs to be to maintain your target rank).
When you are managing PPC campaigns for hundreds of keyword sets for multiple client sites, these problems are compounded. 
Fortunately, software has sprung up to help people manage their PPC campaigns and automate the bidding process.

We have reviewed eight of these Bid Management Software programs in our effort to find the one right for our client campaigns 
and thought we’d share the results with you:










FREE DEMO (URL no longer valid) Yes No Standard 500

Professional 5,000

Enterprise 15,000




Every 5 minutes to
24 hrs (user controlled)
Overture UK


Yes (only simulates optimization process) (now merged with GoToast)

No (Internet based)


3001 +

$100 per mth
$130 per mth
$180 per mth
$220 per mth
$250 per mth
$300 per mth
$350 per mth
$400 per mth
$450 per mth
$500 per mth
$500 per mth + 0.10 for each keyword above 3000


Regular = every 24 hrs

Premium = every hr (extra 50c per k/w)

Hyper = every minute
(price on application)

Overture UK

No (only static online examples) (URL no longer valid)






Overture UK

Yes (not currently available because of updates to client) (now merged with GoToast) 

No (Internet based)





per mth


per mth

Standard = every 24 hrs

Pro =
every hr

Overture UK

Yes (free 7 day trial) (now merged with GoToast) 

No (Internet based)



Economy Mode = 10c per keyword ($10 min spend per domain per mth)

Standard Mode = 25c per keyword ($25 min spend per domain per mth)


Economy Mode = bid updates must be made manually

Standard Mode = every 24 hrs


Yes (live demo trial for 30 days)

Yes (lifetime subscription)

Yes (monthly subscription)







Every 1 minute to 24 hrs (user controlled)


Yes (free download trial 10 keywords for 10 days) 

No (Internet based)


16 kwds/ domains
64 kwds/ domains
256 kwds/ domains
1024 kwds/ domains
1024+ kwds /domains


$7.95 per mth

$16.95 per mth

$38.95 per mth

$57.95 per mth

$0.06c per kwd/domain

Every 24 hrs, but bid updates must be made by user manually

(gap reporting tool only)

Overture UK


Yes (free live analyzer) 



Standard 50
Professional 500
Enterprise 5000
Commerce 30000+



$1,999 (soon)

Every 1 minute to 24 hrs (user controlled)

Overture UK

Yes (free download trial 5 keywords for 15 days)


1.       Tangare’s Pay Per Click Maximiser 

The Pay Per Click Maximiser is a great product. A downloadable desktop program, no monthly fees, plenty of keywords and a 
good price for the Standard edition (USD $199 for 500 keywords). It supports FindWhat, Kanoodle and eSpotting in conjunction 
with Overture US & UK and allows the user to determine the bid update frequency. Other notable features include the ability 
to export reports to Excel, HTML and email.

My only real problem with this program is the Interface, which tends to be confusing, (all that grey on grey) and not very 
intuitive. There is a help menu, but on first launch, it is not clear where to start or how to launch a new project. The “manage 
search terms” tab is also a little user unfriendly, but once you study the help menu to determine how to set your rank targets 
and bid limits, you’re off and running. Their free trial download simulates the bid optimization process, but is otherwise fully 
functional. Score 8/10

2.       Click Patrol 

Click Patrol claim to be the largest provider of automated Pay-Per-Click bid management services, but I can’t see any 
redeeming features that differentiate the service from other providers. For starters, it is Internet based, so if you are security 
conscious, you may not like the idea of handing over your Overture account login details to a third party provider. Then there 
are the monthly fees, which are the most expensive of all programs reviewed, ranging from $100 to $500, with an extra fee per 
keyword if you want your bids checked more often than every 24 hours. See the Features Chart for details. They do support 
seven of the major PPC engines and I hear their “Auto Position” feature works well to close price gaps, but there is no free 
trial of their system that I could find, only case studies and a screen capture. Score 5/10

3.       Gapster 

With the release of their freeware bid optimization tool Gapster, Did-it had an opportunity to win hearts and capitalize on a 
thankful market. It sure sounded promising: free automatic bid monitoring & updating for 200 keywords on Overture US & UK, 
FindWhat and Kanoodle. Unfortunately, they chose to abuse the privacy of their customers and win enemies for their trouble. 
As reported by Danny Sullivan in his latest Search Engine Update newsletter, beta users of Gapster had their Overture account 
login details published on the Internet last month, care of one of Did-it’s own servers. The security breach was quickly corrected, 
but the damage to Did-It’s reputation was already done. Mindful of this first impression clouding my judgement, I tried to 
download the beta version to verify the product itself and give them the benefit of the doubt. But at time of writing the 
download was unavailable due to the software undergoing an update. Let’s hope their updating their security protocols. 
Score 0/10

4.       Save Per Click 

Another Internet based program, Save Per Click supports more PPC engines than any of the other products we reviewed, 
Nine in total, including some I’ve never heard of. They offer a free 7day trial, but you need to have an account already in 
place at one of the supported PPC engines. This is a fairly straightforward program, but my major gripe is price and the 
inability to pre-determine bid update frequency, although you CAN choose time of day. The monthly fee ranges from $19.95 
to $89.95 for the Standard edition (updates once a day) and $59.95 to $199.95 for the Pro edition (updates once an hour). 
Price range is determined by number of keywords. See the Features Showdown Chart for details. Score 6/10

5.       Auto Pilot 

Probably the pick of the Internet based programs, Manage Bid’s Auto Pilot software was the only one reviewed that 
provided unlimited keywords. The hitch is that each keyword will cost you 0.25 USD a month to monitor, with a minimum 
spend of $25 per domain, per month. Bid updates are done every 24 hours and the program provides support for eight 
PPC engines (some obscure). There is also an Economy Mode for the penny pinchers, at 0.10 USD per keyword, with a 
minimum spend of $10 per domain, per month. But economizers must update their bids manually – see the Features Chart 
for details. Score 7/10

6.       PPC Professional

Now this one has real potential. You have the choice of purchasing a lifetime version or a monthly subscription and you 
also have the flexibility of determining how often your bids are checked and updated. Keywords supported range from 50 to 
5,000+ with costs staggered from $89 or $12 per month for 50 keywords to $999 or $100 per month for 5000+ keywords 
(see the Features Chart for detailed pricing). With a “Smart Bid” feature to ensure your bids are cost-effective and the 
ability to import keywords straight from Overture, this new product has many features the bigger names don’t. You can 
print reports or email them directly to customers and the developers claim to keep your login and account info secure. 
It also supports unlimited Overture accounts for those of you with multiple clients. Currently the software only supports, but a new release planned shortly will support other engines and include new features. The 10 day, 10 
keyword trial version has a few bugs to be ironed out and the interface isn’t as intuitive as others, but definitely one to 
watch. Score 7/10

7.       Position Guardian

Not the most feature-packed product, Position Guardian (Premium) is an Internet based bid monitoring and gap analysis 
tool that automates the process of checking your bids on Overture and sends you daily notification of bid gaps. Unlike 
the other products reviewed, Position Guardian does not include automated bid updating, you have to manually change 
the bids yourself by logging in to your Overture account. Sure it’s cheaper than some, with prices ranging from $7.95 to 
$57.95 per month depending on keyword numbers, but it still seems like a lot to pay for less than half the work (see the 
Features Chart for detailed pricing). In their defense, they do provide a free online version that allows you to manually 
check for bid gaps one keyword at a time – handy if you’re worried about that all important keyword. Score 4/10

8.       BidRank (previously called BidRight)

We have a winner! BidRank was very hard to fault. A downloadable desktop program, no monthly fees, generous keyword 
limits and a very competitive price for their new release Pro edition (USD $199 for 500 keywords).  See the Features Chart 
for more pricing. Version 2 supports FindWhat, Kanoodle and eSpotting in conjunction with Overture US & UK and allows the 
user to determine the bid update frequency from every 60 seconds to every 24 hours. Their interface follows the WYSISYG 
principle and it was the easiest of all the software to install and start using.

Particularly impressive is the “Gap Surfing” tool that finds the most cost-effective position from a range of ranks that you 
predetermine. So if you wanted to remain in the top 5 positions, you choose #1 as your target rank and enable gap surfing 
with a range of 4. BidRank will find the largest price gap in the top 5 and slot your bid in there automatically whenever it is 
scheduled to update, preventing you from overbidding and saving you lots of money in the process. Other new features 
include the ability to export reports in CSV format, a drop back rank feature when maximum bid has been reached. Combine 
all this with the ability to customize the update frequency for your most important keywords and you have a very powerful 
tool that becomes a must for managing any PPC campaign. You can download a fully functioning 15 day demo, with the only 
disadvantage a five keyword limit. Score 9/10

Well BidRank was the ultimate winner of our Showdown and I was so impressed with the product that I immediately signed up 
to become an affiliate! If you would like to buy BidRank you may like to use our affiliate link: Click Here to Buy BidRank
Be sure to mention Coupon Code WR007 to obtain a 5% discount

If you are in the market for any kind of Bid Management Software, you may want to keep an eye on current talk about the 
implications of such software on server load at Overture. Apparently Overture are considering restricting access to their 
servers from persons using bid management software because the server load is becoming too great. They may block access 
from certain IP addresses that abuse the system or they may restrict access by software. To reduce the impact on search 
engine servers, you should use your bid management software responsibly, restricting bid checking to every few hours rather 
than every few minutes. However Overture decide to handle this issue, we’ll keep you updated with developments.



  BidRank pay-per-click management software

BidRank Pay Per Click PPC Bid Management Software
Reference Coupon Code
WR007 for 5% off of your purchase!

The above article may be re-published as long as the content remains unchanged and the following paragraph is included at the end of the article, including the URL links:

Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia and New Zealand, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running her own SEO business Web Rank, Kalena manages Search Engine College, an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing subjects.



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