15 February 2007

First it's gone, now it's come back again

A few weeks ago I made a post about the death of Overture but it continued to limp along, forecasts of its demise proving to be a little premature.

Yesterday I got a clear and unequivocal opinion from someone I respect that it had definitely gone, but today Overture seems to be offering responses from all the tools I have that can access it. Perhaps it is simply that the service is creaking and just runs out of capacity from time to time.

What this indicates is that relying on Overture for something as commercially important as keywords may backfire. It makes sense to take advantage of the service if it is up, but it is probably a good idea to have a series of fall-backs available for those times when you need that analysis in the next hour and Overture seems to have gone for a walk.

At root this is about risk management - and relying on a single source of key statistics can be regarded as higher risk than developing a series of sources. It is rarely the case that anyone needs to compare results from different sources, so the fact that they produce different absolute results is rarely going to be a problem. Keyword analysis is very often a snapshot in time and in a perfect world we want to know what people will be searching for next month, not what they were searching for last week.

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