Tainted pet food may seem like an odd subject for a search engine blog but it's an opportunity to talk about seasonaliy, habituation and patterns in search. It is also, oddly enough, an opportunity to talk about Google's new cost per action in action.

When it comes to patterns in search, I know of no one more informed on the subject than Bill Tancer, General Manager, Global Research at Hitwise.

With the tainted pet food crisis of recent weeks, I was curious to see how it could be tracked online. A Google search for tainted pet food as of today , March 23, 2007, shows some interesting results. Not the least of which is the organic results which list no fewer than six media outlets in the Top 10. Very current for organic.

Perhaps more interesting, is that the time of this writing, there is absolutely no paid advertising. Not to be morbid, but there is an opportunity here that is being missed. In short, "pet insurance".

I would bet that paid placement costs have risen for "pet insurance".

Intersestingly enough, Google trends shows a dramatic increase on media surrounding "pet insurance". As do searches in Google News.

Moving to the cost per action model, insurance already works on a cost per action so I'm guessing Commission Junction or some other affiliate program may take advantage of the opportunity.

Also interesting is that pet insurance has been slow to catch on in North America but is common place in the United Kingdom. I, for one, will be curious to see the search patterns in coming months.

Here's hoping Bill Tancer can provide some insight.

Have a good weekend.

~ The (SEP) Guy