Search Engine Script

Pay Per Click Search Engine

The domain I’ve owned the longest (over a decade) is a search engine for a specific creative niche and the very first iteration of it was the pay per click model. I wish I could remember where I obtained the script, but whatever it was, I’m sure I found it searching the pages of Hot Scripts. I used to love searching that site for a suitable piece of software when I’d come up with a new website idea.

The more I became comfortable with WordPress, the less I wanted to deal with the one off commercial software scripts. I eventually moved this site to the open source WordPress software, so my new Hot Scripts is the Envato network; Codecanyon 1 for the plugins and Themeforest 2 for the themes. Plugins and themes are a lot easier to handle compared to posting ads on the old Scriptlance site (acquired by looking for customizations.

The pay per click script was pretty plain out of the box. It had all the functionality and almost no design, so I had to add my own finishing touches with some rather archaic html I learned screwing around on a WebTV (remember WebTV?) back in the late 90’s. It had separate advertiser and publisher logins, and a step by step wizard to create and pay for ads too. At this point in my life I had never spent this much time and effort on any other project. I was really proud of this one.

Once I had it looking half way decent, I was ready to launch. I hooked it up to a couple of other search engines so the search results wouldn’t be a barren wasteland. I was also an affiliate of those search engines, so if users clicked on certain results I’d also get a small kick back. I set up my own accounts at larger search engines to advertise, and I also starting reaching out to a handful of the larger sites in my niche to inquire about procuring some monthly banner advertising slots.

I really put a lot into this site, so when it wasn’t producing after quite awhile, it was a bitter pill to swallow. I decided to try and expand the sites foot print by adding something to attract more users. Article directories were very popular at the time, so I created one for just this niche. It worked pretty well to get more people to the site, but the pay per click idea was just a bust.

I don’t know if it was the wrong market for such an idea, or if it was another situation where I had all the ambition in the world and no business sense, but I threw in the towel on the pay per click idea after a couple of years. I ended up finding a search engine script called Sphider and rebuilt the entire site. (Sphider up front with everything else WordPress) This software even came with its own crawler so I could pick only the sites I wanted to index. My little search engine became highly specialized.

I like it better with more content control anyway, but there’s no revenue generation on the site other than a few Adsense ads, so it’s hard to stay motivated and keep up with it. Websites change too, and I constantly have to re-index them so the search results don’t become obsolete. This isn’t a site I’m willing to give up on just yet, but the pay per click thing was another failure for me.

  1. Codecanyon affiliate link
  2. Themeforest affiliate link

Search Network Free Search Engine

Update – 7/28/2012: Apparently the now forwards to the MySEOTool website.

Search Network has figured out a pretty good angle on the whole free software thing. They have built a search engine script that is completely free to download so you’re able to either add search functionality to your site or (I’m assuming) you can run it as a stand alone search engine as well, customizing it however you choose.

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This is how I understand their operation from the rather skimpy documentation on the site. You download and install their free software to run your own search engine on your domain. Your search results (no idea if your results are urls added by you or if its a feed) display ads that Search Network has sold and if any sales are made through your site, you earn 20% of the sale. I’m not sure if you can sell your own advertising in addition to theirs, but something tells me you cannot.

This affiliate program sounds like it definitely benefits Search Network a lot more than the person running the individual search engine. By giving away this software, they are creating a massive sales force to display all the ads they sell for a monthly fee starting at $59 a month. On top of the monthly income, I’d have to surmise they receive a portion of the affiliate profits as well.

It might be ideal for someone wanting to add a search to his site and maybe make a few bucks in the process, but for someone serious about creating his own search engine and earning money from advertising, I believe it would be much better to go with a platform where you have more control over the ads.

There’s a tons of commercial search engines out there to choose from and a few free ones as well. By going with another script, you won’t have that network of built in advertisers that the Search Network has created for you, but you will definitely have more control over your ads. This translates to higher earnings down the road when you are able to obtain your own site advertisers.

Perhaps there’s a lot more to it that I’m missing, but if that’s the case, there really should be some additional documentation on the website to explain how everything works in detail. The way it looks from where I’m sitting, it looks like a pass, but I’ve also been spoiled by both free and easy with Sphider.

Smarter Scripts Search Engine Software

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After doing a half assed search for a pay per click search engine script back in 2004, I settled on one called Smarter Search from a site called I did not even know how to install and configure scripts at the time so I hired someone to do the install and some basic customizing over at Scriptlance. I actually heard that this freelancer site was run by the same people that owned Smarter Scripts, and it was launched using the freelancer script they sold on that site.

Anyway, the script was a complete bare bones job. It was able to incorporate feeds from other search engines as well as have people submit their own sites, but unfortunately people were required to sign up first. They could still have a free listing by setting their pay per click bid amounts for keywords to zero, but nobody wanted to bother and I can’t blame them. So it was basically a feed engine, and one with a pretty ugly back end too.

The administration area was 99% text, so if people did sign up, it was really dull and unprofessional looking. This was not the right script to buy not knowing much about coding or designing. I was able to learn on the go using that script by sprucing things up with a little color and alignment here and there. If I had to do it all over again, I would not choose this script for my search engine.

Their customer support was pretty bad too. They had a forum that was never posted to by support and if you got an email back after contacting support, it sounded like a fifteen year old wrote it. I heard similar (and worse) support stories from the sister site Scriptlance.

I had gone back to Smarter Scripts recently just to see what was still there and it looked like had purchased them. However, as of this posting, the website is no longer. It goes nowhere, not even a forward to another site. I guess they changed their mind about their acquisition.

I have since moved on to the Sphider search software and am much happier with it. Although the software is just as stripped down, I’m more knowledgeable today than I was then, and I also knew what I was getting into with Sphider, but not with Smarter Search. If you’re going to download a script that is not very well designed or developed, learn from my mistakes and don’t pay for it. Go open source.