In yesterday’s edition, we delved deep into the world of Now we’ve stumbled across a warm gun, if not a smoking one.

After Crikey had published, we managed to finally track down the man (yes, it was a man) who started the site. He’s posted an ” official response ” to our article:

Although I am flattered that an important news source such as Crikey regards my site as important and newsworthy, I would like to point out a few slight inaccuracies in the article. I would simply like to explain the intent and position of myself and this website; that is, to show Australia just how terrible life would be if Kevin Rudd was our next Prime Minister…

As owner/administrator of I must first press the point that I am not party affiliated any more than my own voting preferences…

Crikey … alleged that I was involved with a similar forum, the now defunct Mark Latham Sucks… Although I was quite an active poster on the first, my affiliations end there… With regards to the alleged p-rnography connection, I can assure you at no time was I aware of any such link.

In chatting with the site founder, whom we shall refer to as Phred, we gleaned some interesting information — and not just that Crikey is an important news source.

While Phred was considering paying for Google AdWords to lure readers to the site, he had not yet done this. He also stressed “I am gaining nothing financially from this website”.

But Crikey could see from monitoring the site over the past week that someone — a third party it would seem — had purchased the search terms “federal budget”, “Julia Gillard”, and “Kevin Rudd” to prompt a sponsored ad for (see the right-hand column of the screen grab below — scrunch eyes to read) .

So Phred started the site, mystery solved, but who is this enigmatic third party paying for the Google AdWords?

Crikey has no way of knowing. What we do know is that the AdWords have now been taken down. Further, they were taken down some time after Crikey had contacted the ALP and the Coalition for their comments and some time before we published our article yesterday.

We just hope the Google AdWords aren’t connected to a party in any way because s328A of The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918  is pretty clear.

A person commits an offence if:
(a) either: 
(i) the person publishes an electoral advertisement on the Internet; or
(ii) the person causes, permits or authorises an electoral advertisement to be published on the Internet; and
(b) the electoral advertisement is intended to affect voting in an election; and
(c) the electoral advertisement is paid for by the person or another person; and
(d) the name and address of the person who authorised the advertisement do not appear at the end of the advertisement.

Just saying.

Purchasing Google AdWords can be an expensive business, as Leigh Josey, Crikey’s marketing co-ordinator and AdWords guru, explains:

Search engine marketing (SEM), or pay per click advertising is the purchase of ads displayed along with search results on Google and other search engines, as well as on search and content sites in the search engines networks. You are only charged when your ad is clicked and it is designed to drive traffic to a site.

In this case, the SEM was specifically for Google, which uses its own system called Google AdWords and requires an account which is paid by credit card. You “bid” for a “keyword” or combination of “keywords” and the amount you pay for the keyword is determined by competition for that particular keyword, its display position and its relativity to your website.

The keyword “federal budget” had plenty of competition and had plenty of traffic for obvious reasons.

For example, the “cost per click” of “federal budget” for Google AdWords would be between 6 and 25 cents per click. If the ad was shown 100% of the time (which it looks like it was) it could receive a conservative estimate of 1,000 clicks a day to a high of 4,000. That is between $60 and $240 a day, which equates to between $420 and $1680 a week. If the cost per click was 25 cents and it received 4,000 clicks a day, the cost per week would be $1,000 per day or $7,000 per week.

And this is only for the search term “federal budget.” They were also undergoing SEM for the search terms “Kevin Rudd” and “Gillard” which would run at similar costs, albeit smaller traffic. It’s possible that there were other search terms — we just didn’t look for them before the AdWords were removed.