Small- and mid-size online retailers are finding themselves priced out of the search ad market as larger stores like Best Buy shift more marketing dollars to Google and Yahoo. Price per click on ads that run alongside query results rose an average of 31 percent from a year ago in Q3, according to DoubleClick, prompting those retail websites to consider, oddly enough, using print ads and radio spots as an alternative. BusinessWeek notes that smaller e-commerce sites helped build search advertising and suggests that if those pioneers become completely disillusioned, search ads could lose their cache with the marketplace at large. However, at this point, the rush of ad dollars from big brands like General Motors and Wal-Mart into search is more than making up for any cutbacks by smaller outfits, which suggests that the online main streets of Google and Yahoo will resemble the physical main streets that have seen mom-and-pop shops replaced by the big boxes.
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