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ppc nightmare
$20 daily budget - $450 in a few hours
mallinger

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 9:24 am on Jun 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Recently I started advertising my new mortgage lead affiliate site with overture. I did this for a week or so. This was only for testing and learning ppc and I had very little traffic 2-3 visits a/day. The traffic was very targeted and I had already 2 leads $30 each and spent only $10 or so. I was happy with this first experience because I was able to make my first sales and had a good ROI.

I was paying .99 per click, I had tried to bid higher for a few hours but noticed an increase questionable traffic from third parties. My maximum bid for my category was .99 My maximum daily budget was around $5 or so. Yesterday I wondered if i was not getting all traffic because my budget was so small. I decided to test a $20 budget/day for one day to see if I would get more traffic. I had already earned $60 and if something went wrong I would still have a ROI. My Max CPC was still .99

Yesterday late at night i checked my stats and saw a sudden increase in visits from third party engines. 5 visits, 10 visits, 15 visits... It didn't seem to stop. All traffic were from the small ppc doorwaypage domains like quicksearch, 411search... you know what i mean. I noticed that my ad was always displayed on top and it was always the same listing. I have 4000 listings but only this one was suddenly sending me traffic.

The strangest thing was that is was always the same listing. I have a screenshot were you can even see my listing on yahoo.com were it is displayed on top of all sites for a search term that i never entered.

Let me explain:

I NEVER bid on popular keywords like home equity loans directly. (I assume most of you don't) Instead i would bid on "home equity loans oregon" or "xy home equity loans" etc. But then I saw my ad(this is always the same listing) on yahoo.com in the top 3 for the keyword "loan consolidation" and "home equity loans" I have the screenshots to prove that.

I have a large keyword list and "loan consolidation" is not one of my keywords. Is this called advanced match or what? Btw: I always have content match turned off.

I made a few screenshots of my ads and then I decided to go to bed and check this the next day. If yahoo would bill me for that I would lose $20 max.

I THOUGHT THAT WOULD LOSE ONLY $20 MAX.

I morning i checked my web stats and saw 200 visits for the last day.
I had 5 visits/day before.

My overture account showed 100 visits - Average CPC 4.25$(!) Amount spent $450

Then I checked my inbox. I had 20 messages or so from yahoo search:

"Your account is offline. Please add money to your account to start receiving traffic again."

1 minute later: we have charged you $30(This was the amount that i specified) This repeats itself again and again minute after minute.... And no I hadn't turned my budget off.

I mean is this legal? I have set $20/day budget and they send me (low quality clicks) worth $450 in one night?

I thought the account will be taken offline I reach my daily budget?

My max CPC is .99 and they charge me 4.25 CPC?
i have e-mailed the support... Still waiting for a reply.

 

awardmasters

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 12:47 pm on Jun 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

I cannot help with the resolution of this particular problem instance, you will have to discuss that with yahoo.

However, there are some things you can do to prevent it from happening again. First, never, ever let yahoo automatically charge your account. Request that they set you up on manual billing so that when your actual funds are expired the account just goes offline until you refund it with the amount of your choice.

Setting the daily budget will not do what you think. If you have a daily budget of say $20, yahoo averages that for a monthly rate of say $600. Until you have spent the monthly total, they keep charging your card.

If you get them to switch you to manual payment, you can fund any amount. So if you put in $100, you can not spend more than the $100 unless you deposit more funds. This will allow you to set your own protection level.

As for broad match, if it is turned on you may very well get many unexpected matches. Broad match works fairly well for us, but most have problems with it. I would suggest using exact match initially and then test the waters with particular words or phrases using broad match.

AdminG23

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 8:20 pm on Jun 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

this is scary.. i was checking here

before re activating my overture account.. after not using it for years.

now i am thinking .. it might not be a good idea :(

awardmasters

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 12:56 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why? No problem if you get Yahoo to set up your account for manual funding.

crak_bot

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 9:41 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

When someone sets their daily budget at $20 they expect to pay no more than $20 for any given day.

To justify charging them $450 dollars in one day by saying the daily budget is an average of a monthly $600 spend is completely misleading.

No reasonable person can be expected to interpret "daily budget" in this way.

awardmasters

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 2:58 am on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

I did not say that anyone should draw that conclusion. I agree it is at best misleading. I was only telling them how to avoid the problem. It is Yahoo's decision to make policy changes or not.

TerriGW

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 3:41 pm on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Advanced match was killing us, and we were appearing on all those irrelevant sites. I had turned it off and they still showed -- digging around I realized there are TWO places you have to turn it off. First under "manage sponsored search" and secondly I had to click on each of the keywords for a dialog box to turn advanced match off. Advanced match puts our Yahoo ads on these listings, which advertise on Google. So my Yahoo ads are listed on these $#@!% sites and are competing with my Google ads on Google. And yes, we also do not use automatic payment and make manual deposits because of all the junk coming from Yahoo.

bigjohnt

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 4:22 pm on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

I had the same problem, referenced elsewhere. 10 days of a minimum of 100% overspend cap. Some days as high as 267%.

Imagine- "Your car will cost $1,000 to repair."
"Okay, that is all I am willing to spend."

"WHOOPS, it cost $2,670. My bad. Gimme your money."

They said it took a month for the system to "learn" your bids and traffic patterns.
By that logic, it would also take me a month to learn that I was thousands of dollars over the clients budget. Not good.
I replied by cutting out content match immediately, as that is where the problem really is.

They could give me no estimated traffic, nor cap daily. Or even asure me that when i turn the account off, it is actually off. Add that to listings that I turn off being turned back on... I am not pleased. As an advertiser using and PROMOTING the system since GoTo bids were a penny, I feel badly for a good system gone bad.

I hate to say it, but they appear to be making "error" changes to makeup for the huge revenue shortfall of losing MSN.
I will not be donating to their "evolution."

LifeinAsia

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 4:30 pm on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

When someone sets their daily budget at $20 they expect to pay no more than $20 for any given day.

To justify charging them $450 dollars in one day by saying the daily budget is an average of a monthly $600 spend is completely misleading.

I completely agree. WIth their illogic, they could just as easily say your annual budgect was $7,300- oops, you just blew your entire budget in one day!

mallinger

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 5:30 pm on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

I agree. Why does a daily budget exist? They should call it monthly budget if they can send you traffic for one month in one day.

Unfortunately it seems that yahoo won't refund me the money and according to them their partner sites are (don't laugh) 'high quality'.

The sad thing is that if they would have sent me the crappy traffic over a longer period I would have never continued the campaign.

Immagine you set a $20 budget and then in the morning you wake up and see $500 charges and 0 sales.

If their partner sites are so great, why did I spend $3 on yahoo.com for 1 sale ... and then $500 on their partner sites and had ... 0 sales?

Here is what the support wrote:

"On a different note, you have reported clicks from "low quality ppc networks."
Yahoo Search Marketing does have a large number of partner sites that bring high quality traffic to your website. We carefully screen each of partners to make sure they meet our high standards for partnership. We do frequently review our partners to make sure they are in compliance with our standards."

I wonder how long they will be able to survive with their current ppc engine?

They said it took a month for the system to "learn" your bids and traffic patterns.

lol.. I say it takes the customer a month to "learn" that the traffic and billing patterns of the system are completely unpredictable :)

mallinger

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 6:02 pm on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

I wonder how many little $500 dollar mistakes my system will make before it has learned my traffic patterns.

No problem if you charge me 20 times my daily budget in 1 day... The system has to learn through trial and error. Next time it will be only 10 times my daily budget in 1 day. :(

wildbest

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 6:38 pm on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

5 visits, 10 visits, 15 visits... It didn't seem to stop. All traffic were from the small ppc doorwaypage domains like quicksearch, 411search... you know what i mean.

All "search-find-seek-ask--the-last-one-to-close-the-door" name combos are created for only one purpose! To steal your money through artificial or incentivized traffic to your PPC ads. It is shame on Yahoo they accept these fraudsters in their distribution network. Obviously, they are too financially dependant now on such fraudulent networks to effectively fight click fraud!

mallinger

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 7:46 pm on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Does anybody know if yahoo you also charges for visits from the "view bids" tool? I had a few referrers from this, and it could be that you pay also for that. That would be disgusting.

ccam96

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 12:58 am on Jun 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

mallinger

you must hound their customer service rep to get your money back. It may take several calls to finally get it accomplished, but eventually they will give you an advertising credit.

By the way, did you have content match on? I've found that this is where most of the fraud takes place. It's also rediculous that Yahoo defaults their max CPC's to the #1 position. There should be a class action suit against these guys for fraud with this setup.

I've had this exact same experience, except I blew through over $800. Keep on them and you will get it back.

Also, COMPLETELY IGNORE your max CPC for categories that you set. This is ignored by the system and your bids are not adjusted for all keywords in the category. I found this out the hard way. You must change them individually in your category and make certain you press the "save" button for each page of keywords after you adjust them or they will default back to your old value.

Sticky me if you have any questions.

mallinger

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 9:25 am on Jun 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

one of the first things I did when I started with overture was to turn off content match. I did this to avoid low quality traffic :(

Now i turned off advanced match too. I think it helped.

TerriGW

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 5:25 pm on Jun 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yea, when I started my campaigns I immediately killed content thinking it would eliminate the b.s. impressions and clicks. Then when I was getting hundreds of them still, I realized it was the advance match setting, and I turned it off. Then it was still happening, and I realized I had to turn it off in two places. JUNK!

AdminG23

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 2:26 pm on Jun 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

hmm.. i got some keywords from the old days that are still in the 5c .. thing is i don't think i will reactivate the account.. with all this stuff i am reading.

does someone have stats with % of US traffic that actually comes from Overture US?

I heard their is a huge % of traffic from India and Africa .. anyone have stats?

jkung

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 12:57 pm on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

i have e-mailed the support... Still waiting for a reply.

Something like this happened to me too, and after going back and forth with them, they did credit my account so just keep on them.

Unfortunately, now my account is always offline even when i try to turn it back online. They said it was because of "budget smoothing" so the account turns off during the day to help control the budget, but it NEVER gets clicks now and is ALWAYS turned off.

ember

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 1:29 pm on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Same thing happened to us years ago. As others have said, stay on top of them and demand your money back. You can try calling your credit card company, too, and telling that you did not authorize such a charge, that it should not have been more than $20.

We are set up on manual billing, too. It's a pain sometimes to have to keep adding money, but at least Yahoo can't just take money out of our account.

bigjohnt

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 2:01 pm on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Manual billing? I do not even see that as an option for new accounts. Am I missing something, or is this an old account?

TerriGW

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 2:40 pm on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I had to contact support to request it. They set my account up differently to enable that.

ember

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 2:51 pm on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

We've had our Overture/Yahoo ppc account since it was GoTo (if I remember correctly) back in 1999/2000. It's been on manual billing practically since day one. Maybe new accounts don't have that option? I hate that AdWords doesn't offer it.

ccam96

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 3:55 am on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think if you just ignore the budgeting option when you open a new account, then you'll default to manual billing. This is a much better option in my opinion.

RhinoFish

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 2:57 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Content Match and Advanced Match are a hideous joke. There's HUGE risk in both. Together, they often spell disaster.

On Content, if you're crazy and use it anyhow, be extra careful with your bids. The difference between 3rd and 4th position is like the difference between my rain gutters and the Grand Canyon. If one of their partners runs a national story, your account can get swept away.

beren

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 4:26 pm on Jun 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think if you just ignore the budgeting option when you open a new account, then you'll default to manual billing. This is a much better option in my opinion.

I agree it is a better option, but I think new accounts default to auto-charge on the credit card. I've had to phone them and request to be put on manual billing.

bears5122

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2894 posted 8:59 am on Jul 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

That does sound like a nightmare. I haven't had any budget problems like that with YSM. However, I've also seen the "trusted" search partners bring in a lot of fraudulent traffic. Unfortunately, it's something you have to budget into your spend. They have never been concerned with the integrity of their search partners.

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