About 3 years ago (a lifetime in Internet Marketing) I did an experiment testing 13 PPC sources. So much has changed since then. Many of the services have dropped away, while new sources of social display ads like Facebook have exploded on to the scene. The big 3, Google, Yahoo, and Bing have all streamlined their systems and become much easier to use. But there is still a need for smaller traffic sources in certain cases.
Do any of the smaller 2nd tier PPC networks still work in 2010? Yes, but only a select few will actually produce positive ROIs in our testing. These are the 3 that I am still using to this day for certain campaigns, both network CPA stuff and local. The traffic volume is lower so these will never be a primary traffic source for a campaign, but if the traffic is good, every little bit helps with the bottom line.
7search traffic converts very well in my experience. The volume is low, but on a ROI basis, I actually see a better return on 7 search traffic than Google Adwords or even Bing. Setup is simple and there are no quality score concerns. Targeting is country based, not down to the city level, so its not suitable for local campaigns. I’ve had 7 search campaigns running continuously for years now.
Miva can generate a decent volume of clicks and their network has a large reach. The interface is good and conversions are solid for some niches. You can get an account rep that will take care of a lot of the setup for you and even let you do “run of the network” campaigns.
Ask has almost all the features that Yahoo or Bing have including bulk uploads, conversion tracking, dayparting, and local targeting down to the zip code. The traffic is relatively cheap and does convert for certain niches. Geo-targeting is effective and can be used for national or local lead gen campaigns.
That’s about it, those are the only 2nd tier PPC services that I can recommend these days. If you have others that are currently working well, please let me know!