If you’re looking for an extra outlet, a little more bang for your buck, maybe you should look into third tier search engines.  Although they don’t get as much traffic as the big three (soon-to-be two), they may be more targeted toward your audience and are notorious for converting at a lower cost.  That being said, not all search engines are created equal so it’s important to do your research before expanding into uncharted territory.

For exactly that reason, I’ve broken down a few popular third tier engines.  Hopefully this will help narrow down your search, no pun intended. . . okay, pun intended.


7search.com advertisers will show up with search results as well as partner networks. With over one billion searches per month, 7search claims to have a better ROI than any other PPC network.

Advertisers have campaigns and keywords, but not ad groups.  Keywords have three match types: broad, phrase, and exact.  The minimum budget is $5 and the budget is considered a guideline; advertisers may receive 5-10% more clicks than the budget allows.


  • Geo Targeting
  • Conversion tracking
  • Offers “Smartbid” to show your ranking in search and throughout the content network
  • You can use their keyword tool to see the search volume and current bids before opening an account.


  • There is only one ad per campaign
  • You pay what you bid


Business.com connects B2B advertisers looking for products or services, boasting 8 million business “buyers” a month.  PPC ads, called featured listings, run on the Business.com site and partner sites.  Instead of creating campaigns, users select categories that they would like to appear for and then add keywords to narrow down their targeted audience.


  • Conversion tracking
  • You can view the top five CPC’s and bids


  • You pay exactly what you bid
  • Bidding starts at $.40 and increases by increments of ten cents


Users are able to bid whatever they’d like for each keyword.  Ads will show up in search engines, content networks, and also in-text.  Like Business.com, Looksmart also allows users to narrow their search by category but advertisers also have campaigns, ad groups, and keywords.  Keywords are either broad or smart match – similar to Google’s broad and exact.


  • Optimal bidding (CPC depends on traffic type and volume)
  • Conversion tracking
  • Dayparting/Ad Scheduling
  • Can import existing Google accounts
  • Geotargeting


  • The only payment type is automatic prepay


As the fourth largest search engine, Ask.com reaches 73 million unique users.  Ask also claims to give advertisers more for their money, boasting that bids average 30% less than Google, Yahoo, and MSN.   Accounts are very similar to that of Google and ads show on search on content networks.


  • Conversion tracking
  • Monthly forecasting estimates expenses for each campaign
  • Optimal Bidding
  • Provides its own analytics (but also works with Google Analytics)


eZanga is a metasearch engine that covers about 98% of searches, compiling results from 20 major search engines including Google, Yahoo, Ask, and AOL.  If you so choose, their SEM will implement and optimize your campaign across all the major search engines, including the big three.


  • Good mix of large and mid-sized channel sources
  • Geo Targeting
  • Dayparting
  • Can see the bids for top positions
  • Conversion Tracking


  • Only 3 ads show, so you have to bid high enough
  • Largest age segment is 18-24 year-olds with ~$25k annual income


AdKnowledge targets users based on category and demographics.   Advertisers choose content categories, which become their campaigns and ad groups.  It will specify a minimum bid for the category; from there, the advertiser can set budget limits.  There are three networks from which advertisers can choose:

Premium: Ads appear across email to opted in customers and top-tier search engines.

Standard: Ads appear across multiple search engines, user-to-user emails, social networking alerts. No KW bid management- bids set at category level, uses predictive targeting to deliver ads across search properties and optimize ROI

Social: Ads appear on social networks and websites (Facebook, MySpace, Bebo).


  • Wide variety of options and audiences
  • Geo targeting
  • CPA Bidding
  • Conversion tracking


AdBrite allows advertisers to target audiences based on content categories, demographics, and keywords.  The text ads will show across their partner network with a position based on bid and click-through-rate.


  • Geo Targeting
  • Conversion Tracking
  • Day Parting


  • Limited to 100 ads
Optimal Bidding Conversion Tracking Day Parting Geo Targeting View Top 5 Bids
7search.com X X
Ask.com X X X X
Business.com X X
Looksmart.com X X X X
eZanga.com X X X X
AdKnowledge X X X
AdBrite X X X

Hopefully, this has helped shed light on your path.  If you’ve used any of these search engines in the past, I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Pictures courtesy of pixdaus.com.