Interent gambling ban expensive for US search engines

Steve Baldwin, writing for WebProNews this week conducted an interesting financial exercise to assess the cost to major US search engines of the ban on Internet gambling paid search ads.

Using a list of 200 keywords generated by Google’s keyword suggestion tool, which lists approximate monthly keyword volume and average CPCs, Baldwin created a minimum benchmark for what the search engines left on the table during the month of April 2009, working to the conservative assumption that paid clicks would constitute a 15 percent CTR rate for each gambling oriented SERP.

Baldwin's conclusions indicate that even taking a conservative view the amount of lost revenue is $9 632 382 and change per month, or about $115 million a year in possible revenues lost to the ban.

Extrapolating this to Yahoo! and Microsoft's Bing engines, using comScore’s search query rankings for the same period (April 2009) the numbers grow further.

Baldwin explains: "According to comScore, Google’s share was 64.2 percent, Yahoo’s at 20.4, and Microsoft at 8.2, which would put Yahoo’s monthly loss at $3 060 756 and change, and Microsoft’s at $1 230 304," he reveals.

"Ask, with a 3.8 share, is out $570 378 and AOL, with a 3.4 share, is out $510 378.

"Collectively, then, the money that all the search engines are leaving on the table each month is $15 004 198, or about $180 million a year."

The actual amounts could be considerably higher, bearing in mind Baldwin's cautious and conservative approach to his assessments.

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