10/18/2012 11:23 am ET

As Pay-Per-Click Ad Costs Rise, Small Businesses Search For Alternatives

When Tom Telford helped found a vacation rental management company, Blue Creek Cabins, in 2001, he wanted a quick and easy way to connect with people looking to rent the 20 cabins he and his partner managed in and around the mountains of picturesque Helen, Ga.

That is when he heard about a program called AdWords being offered by a new company, Google. Finding the system relatively easy to use, Mr. Telford selected a few keywords, like “Helen GA cabin rentals,” and agreed to pay Google 60 cents every time someone performed a search and clicked on his ad.

Before long, the calls and e-mails started pouring in. “The results were phenomenal,” said Mr. Telford, whose company is used by property owners to market their cabins. Encouraged, he invested more in his pay-per-click advertising efforts, which in time included similar programs offered by Bing and Yahoo.

Read more on The New York Times