Search marketing costs and relationships were a hot topic at WIT for those operating in the predominantly SE Asian markets where Yahoo and Google are strong (North Asia has its own search engines). According to one senior exec, the secretive Google travel team has been claiming that the average Cost Per Click had gone down this year across the region but rates were heading up again. A big meta-search provider said they are finding Yahoo better value in terms of ROI because they had to spend too much to gain position on Google.
Richard Noon from Webjet said his company still uses Google but “have dropped the spend quite materially (and) it’s surprising to see what still comes in”. Ram Badrinathan from PhoCusWright claimed Google spent nothing on marketing yet made billions from other businesses doing exactly that. Also said in open forum but later regretted by the speaker, who later requested anonimity, was: “We like Google, but we don’t trust them.” Why? Because Google may one day become a direct competitor.