An interesting discussion at Web Master World and SEO Roundtable mentions that large corporations are making AdWords unaffordable for the small business user. Do they do this on purpose or is it an accident? One contributor says that chances are these large corporations have fired their SEM firm and a large number of keywords are being bid on without the knowledge of the company. I am sure this happens in some instances...but my guess is that it is not the common practice. Another user mentions that ROI does not matter to these large companies...maybe that is true. I am sure that holds viable for some advertisers. "Just bring the traffic, it doesn't matter what it costs." Again, probably not the norm but it does happen.
Truth is large corporations have large marketing budgets. If they can afford to do it and don't have to answer to anyone regarding their ROI, then more power to them. At some point someone will ask where the money is being spent and if it is being spent wisely. If short-tail, broad terms are becoming too expensive for small budgets stay away from them as much as possible. Use longer-tail terms that will drive quality traffic not quantity traffic. Of course this is not the answer for everyone in every situation. Sometimes you have to just suck it up and purchase those expensive keywords, but that is the world we live in. Most things in the world are controlled by large corporations and SEM is no different. So, if they won't lower their bids...implement strategies that will create conversions without tons of traffic...or increase your marketing budget.