Ping: These Battle Lines Are Drawn in Yellow (NYT)

JASON COWIE, the owner of Kingpinz Skateboard and Snowboard Shop in Houston, has done a pretty good job of getting his business noticed on the Web. Just type “skateboards in Houston” on a search engine, and his store will be among the first listed.

Jason Cowie used to spend four figures on Google ads for his skateboard shop.

Now, for $25 a month, Google highlights his shop in search results.

But one of his sure-fire ways to drive Web visitors and foot traffic — buying search ads on Google — got to be pretty expensive. Mr. Cowie, whose shop is just 1,000 square feet, found himself bidding for placement against deep-pocketed national chains, and having to spend $1,500 to $2,000 a month just to keep up.

Now Mr. Cowie is trying something new: for a flat fee of $25 a month, he is making his listings on Google stand out. Whenever his shop comes up in a search page or on a Google map, it is adorned with a bright yellow tag. The tag links to the Kingpinz Web site, but these enhanced listings, as the ads are called, can also link to a coupon, store directions, a photograph or a video of a business, or, in the case of a restaurant, a menu or reservations page.

Read the full article today in TECHNOLOGY http://www.nytimes.com

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