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Sales still down since 4/6 & 4/7 updates

 3:14 am on Apr 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I can't put my finger on what has changed but since about 4/7 my daily sales are down to about 40% of what they have been for the last three months.

I know there were some adwords problems but supposedly they are fixed.

I don't know what they have changed but I do know my sales have fallen off.



 4:13 pm on Apr 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

the reason of your sales down can be in the problems on your merchant (billing)


 4:41 pm on Apr 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

What do you mean, can you explain further?


 4:58 pm on Apr 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

i don't know what goods you selling online, but i guess, that you accept payments via Credit Crads. so if you get payments via CCs you using own merchant account or third level merchant account, so this accounts sometimes can go down for 1-3 days.


 1:10 am on Apr 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

I still don't follow what you are trying to say. Are you saying it is problem with the credit card processor?

Are you saying the processing of the credit card is failing and customers are leaving?


 10:32 am on Apr 18, 2004 (gmt 0)



 3:17 pm on Apr 18, 2004 (gmt 0)


I'm experiencing the same thing. And nothing is wrong with my processor and no changes have been made to my website or to my ads. . .same position/text etc.


 6:57 pm on Apr 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am concerned that it has something to do with the changes google made to the adwords program. Based on all the troubles that people had on 4/6, 4/7, & 4/8, it is obvious they did something.

Plus my sales dollars took a noticable dive starting 4/7. I don't know what is different but something is. I have not changed my adwords ads.


 3:18 pm on Apr 19, 2004 (gmt 0)
This is a situation I've seen repeated several times now. 2 weeks before G changes something, my sales take a strong and lovely upturn (with me changing nothing). Then when G makes a change, the floor falls out and sales have dropped up to 60%.

Somewhere in here was a guy with 400 clients who had all just experienced the same thing as me, with the same timing. CPC really took-off north, while quality of site visitors plummeted and sales ground to a trickle.

Let's compare notes: I run only Search (not Content), only in the US and my KW are all exacts. What are you running?

And no my site has not been down, my cc processor has not had problems and I have not made any changes to my sites, my ads or my rankings. And BTW, my daily budgets are set astronomically high so it's not that either.


 4:04 pm on Apr 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have basically the same setup as you. I do have a few keywords with content turned on.

I get very few clicks from "content" being turned on so I don't think it's relevant in this case.

I haven't spent a lot of time examining my positions lately so I suppose it could have changed but I doubt it. I am in a niche market and for some keywords, I am the only one.

I agree with you, somewhere Adwords must have changed something. Mine was a large drop in sales right on 4/7 and yes there was a spike in sales just prior to this problem.

I am considering charting my Adwords sales by week and see if it too shows the huge drop on 4/7.

Marls, thanks for your post, at least I know I am not crazy. Any idea on how we can figure out what has changed?


 4:56 pm on Apr 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

They obviously changed something, because my sales haven't come back up yet.

Cgchris99 and Marls, in my role at AdWords one thing I do is keep my finger on the overall pulse of our email and phone traffic, not to mention posts here on WebmasterWorld - as a means to spot early indications of system issues.

I have to say that these posts from a very few members on WebmasterWorld are the only indication I have seen so far of an issue beginning on 4/7 and continuing to cause traffic to plummet.

And to the best of my knowledge (which tends to be very up-to-date, since this is my primary job), there were no 'changes' made to how the AdWords program operates on that date.

Therefore, I'd ask that you at least consider that what is happening in your accounts may be unique to your accounts, rather than an indicator that AdWords has "obviously changed something".

I am considering charting my Adwords sales by week and see if it too shows the huge drop on 4/7.

This is an excellent idea. I'd also include impressions and clicks. My best advice in any case would be that you contact AdWords support using the 'Contact Us' link within your account, with a detailed overview of what you are experiencing, and ask for that your particular account be reviewed for possible causes.



 5:25 pm on Apr 19, 2004 (gmt 0)


As I recall (although it might have been GG) you responded to the fellow with 400 clients who had the same problem. Can you tell us what his work-out was?

You've probably only seen "very few posts" on this as most of us have given-up hearing the same thing from G. In fact, that's why I didn't put my 2 cents in on the thread with the 400-client fellow.

And as to contacting standard customer support, its always the same run-around starting with denial that any problem exists. Which I suspect is why such info isn't shared among the customer support folks. AWA, I'm lucky enough to have a senior support person at G that I work with. This person is absolutely delightful and sincere. But even this person can only do so much.

There is a problem. It's not site specific. And IMHO such things will continue to happen until there are some real changes at G.

The reason I entered this thread was to see if anyone had nailed down what the issue was and had developed a work-around. It was not to bash G. So I trust you will be open-minded and encourage input/feedback on this issue.



 7:15 pm on Apr 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

...always the same run-around starting with denial that any problem exists. Which I suspect is why such info isn't shared among the customer support folks.

Truly sorry if you've had this feeling Marls. What I see from this end is a pretty darn effective feedback loop in which all customer service folks, either on email or phones, are fully empowered to alert tech teams at the first hint of an issue. And also a system in which the tech teams give the support folks up-to-the-minute updates immediately as new information is available.

So I trust you will be open-minded and encourage input/feedback on this issue.

Absolutely. That is a big part of the reason that I'm here on WebmasterWorld in the first place.

As I recall (although it might have been GG) you responded to the fellow with 400 clients who had the same problem. Can you tell us what his work-out was?

There is really no way for me to know details of that member's situation, or how it evolved. I'd guess you could locate that thread, though, and sticky for follow-up details.

Thanks for your post Marls.



 7:16 pm on Apr 19, 2004 (gmt 0)


I suspect we'll find more commonalities than not -- Can you give me some more specifics?

1. Where are your ads shown geographically?
2. Has your CPC gone up or down?
3. Have your impressions gone up or down?
4. Has your CTR gone up or down?
5. Have you made any changes to your site/ads during this time?
6. And does your daily budget have plenty of room?



 7:08 am on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have been having the same exact problems you have been discussing. I have haven't changed anything on my account, actually, I did increase budget and CPC since these problems have been happening and still haven't seen an improvement.

Another interesting note, I did a search on aolsearch.com for a few keywords in my account. The strange thing is that the search results displayed ONLY my competitor sites EVENTHOUGH when doing the same search on google for the same keyword, I was #1...its very strange.

Also noticed a huge drop in the number of times my ads actually displayed in the "premium spot" versus the right hand "adword" spot (which seems to be the case most of the time now)

So just to let you know that YOUR NOT ALONE.


 2:41 pm on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)


You could well be on to something! Adwords going spotty in AOL would certainly explain the drop in sales. And as I look back on this month's sales, very few were from AOL which is very unusual. I'll start monitoring AOL and get back to you. My Search is turned-on as always, just thought I'd check to make sure yours was too.

Also, could you share the following:
1. Do you use Exacts,
2. Where do your ads show geographically,
3. Have your impressions gone up or down and
4. Has your CTR gone up or down?

Thanks a bunch! While this may not be the entire answer, it may well be a step in the right direction and the more data we can cobble together the better.


 3:35 pm on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

No problem here. Sales are up, even though web traffic is somewhat lower.

AWA has already stated that nothing changed in their system on the dates you mentioned, so your trouble lies elsewhere.

None of you are mentioning your overall web traffic (up/down) and comparing those trends to your adword impression numbers. Are your impression numbers flat, up or down? These are things to consider before pointing fingers at Google.

Likely disturbances this month

  • Holy week (April 4-10): Entire nations take the week off.
  • Good Friday (April 9): Many people take the day off, many businesses and government offices closed.
  • Passover holiday (Monday April 5 sundown): Many people don't go to work on the Thursday and Friday preceding the holiday, too.
  • Easter Sunday (April 11): Do you realize how many people go away for this weekend? Some may take Friday April 9th off to get a start on travel.
  • April is when people are busy with their taxes in the US
  • April 15 Tax Deadline
  • Disturbing world events may also cause people to not shop


 3:51 pm on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)


General malaise could not be the cause of increased CPC needed to hold the same position. Indeed if general malaise were the issue CPC in theory would hold steady. The fellow with the 400 clients, who unfortunately I haven't been able to find in old posts, reported that his clients' CPC went from .05 to .20 overnight. Further, general malaise could not explain Adwords going spotty in AOL.

Something else is afoot here. And as to my own Adwords impressions and CTR, both are down.


 4:25 pm on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

...Adwords going spotty in AOL

I am guessing that most everyone is aware of this by now, but perhaps it is worth saying again.

The most common reason for ads to 'go spotty on AOL' is that a change (even a very minor one) has been made to the ad copy and/or URLs.

This will cause the ads to no longer run on all partner sites, including AOL - until they have been reviewed/approved.

BTW, not appearing partner sites can easily explain a substantial drop in impressions and clicks. It can amount to the difference between showing on one site (Google), or showing on Google plus (potentially) thousands of partner sites.



 4:40 pm on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Neither cgchris99, Julius or I have changed anything in regards to ad text, URLs or our sites (please read earlier posts). Hence if Adwords is going spotty in AOL, none of the above is the reason.

And nothing I have read here explains the spike in CPC, my own have nearly doubled during this latest exercise. And please keep in mind that I am not in Content, and have not been in Content since 2003. Also nothing here explains the temporary spike in sales we have seen just before one of these disasters strike.

For all we know this could be a malfunction of some type. But this much is certain, until the existence of a problem is acknowledge, no resolution will be found.

So once again I ask that those posting keep an open mind and encourage feedback/input.



 5:43 pm on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

General malaise could not be the cause of increased CPC needed to hold the same position.

Yes it can. Less people buying equals more competition for a smaller pool of buyers. More competition for less traffic leads to higher cpc. You aren't bidding in a vacuum.

Additionally, if you've been able to skate by on five cents per click for this long it means that you had found a good niche, but your party may be over as others may be discovering your area.

In my b2b niche I'm finding increased amounts of competitors. Compared to last year, I have six new competitors for my major keyword phrase, which means that the number of people bidding went from four to ten.

Again, check your impression levels and see if they're taking a dive.


 6:03 pm on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)


Please re-read the posts. I was not referring to my CPC as being .05. In fact, mine are relatively high. And I have already stated my Adwords impression levels.

Further, I am not in a b2b market but in a b2c market.

Also, your suggestion does not answer the other aspects of this situation (again, please re-read posts), nor does it address why 400+ paying Adwords customers appear to be experiencing the same thing. . .

And frankly to be candid, it appears that some folks would like to kill this thread rather than get to the bottom of the issue where a resolution might be found. I say this due to the apparent lack of post-reading going on.

If that's the case then have it guys. However with this many people trying to figure-out what's going on, the thread will most likely appear again.

And I for one would like to get this resolved sooner than later.


 6:43 pm on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

However with this many people trying to figure-out what's going on, the thread will most likely appear again.

Very unlikely.

Not counting myself and AWA, there are only four of you talking amongst yourselves for the last four days.

If this were a widespread phenomenom we would see much more participation in this thread, especially from some of the more recognized members of WW.

If you're going to raise a point, you must expect someone else to raise a counterpoint, it's how the truth is found. However you seem intent on blaming Google, even after AWA stated that nothing significant has changed. That kind of discussion veers into baseless speculation.

A more productive avenue would be to look into other factors that may be influencing your cpc, etc.


 11:43 pm on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Since I don't have any aol account. And the "adwords spotty on aol" may be possible. How do I know if my ads have been approved to be displayed on aol?

Is there any documentation to this aol change? Did this go into effect on 4/6 or 4/7? AWA, can you answer this?

This could be where the problem is. As I stated in my post, it was a very abrupt change and hasn't returned to normal yet.

I'm sure anyone else that takes online orders would notice a 60% drop in business.


 2:09 am on Apr 21, 2004 (gmt 0)


Take a look at this. It may be part of the problem:


So far only Julius has noted the AOL problem. I've been watching today and all seems fine there. However I only started watching AOL so I'm not aware of any specific issue with them prior to Julius' post.

To get into AOL enter www.aolsearch.com into your browser. That should do it.


 3:23 am on Apr 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I put in one of my keywords in the aol search and didn't show up in the sponsored links. But I do show up for the same keyword in google.

Checked another keyword.. in google I show up #3, in aolsearch, not showing at all.

Another keyword, I am #1 in google and not showing in aolsearch

Another keyword phrase, I am #2 in google and not showing in aolsearch. This one is really strange because it doesn't show any sponsored ads on aolsearch

We might be onto something here.


 3:32 am on Apr 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

The AOL glitch was something that was reported and repaired two weeks ago.

I hate to be a spoiler but I just entered my keyword phrase and not only is my AdWords ad displayed, but I'm also in positions one and two of the organic serps (heh-heh :)Y).


 5:16 am on Apr 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

OK, here's a theory for everyone to bash....

My Adwords impressions, and especially my CTR dropped at about the same time as everyone elses that has been complaining. I think there could have been some holiday effects, but my daily traffic to my site never dropped off.

I have been watching my Adwords account, and I have noticed that the billing is suddenly very accurate. What I mean by that is that I usually only run my ads on weekends, and I have a low daily budget. What would happen is that my ads would be off for 5 days and I would turn them on on the 6th day. Because I have a daily budget set, Adwords would take off on that first day and spend up to where I would be if my ads had been running for all 6 days, so instead of one day's budget on that first day, it would crank out 6, and then normalize for the other 2 days of the weekend and add one times my daily budget each day. The next weekend when I turned the ads back on it would do the same thing - take up the slack and then normalize. At the end of the month I may have actually ran my ads on 12 days. For math purposes let's say my budget is $5 a day. At then end of the month, I would be charged for 12 days = $60. I had actually ran up a bill of closer to $90 in my adwords account, and I would receive a $30 credit for excess clicks (the days it hurried to make up that I never had the ads turned on). It has not been doing that this month. So far I have not been charged one dime over my daily budget on any day I have been running the ads, and I suspect at the end of the month I won't be seeing any credit for excessive clicks (that I was basically getting for free). I think this is why my impressions and clicks took a big dumper. I have been running Adwords for almost 18 months and I have gotten a credit every month until now.

I suspect they have corrected the algorithm for charging for clicks based on days of use to try to eliminate all those credits (free advertising) at the end of the month. If you keep track of this data as I do, maybe you will notice a difference as well.


 7:56 am on Apr 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am guessing that you may be right don.

One of my accounts is about 30% down on the allocated budget, so I expect that there will be a rush of click towards the end of the month. Who knows?

Also, why does the account estimate the need for a 50% budget increase when it can't spend the daily limit as it is?


 8:17 am on Apr 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

don, that is an interesting theory.

AWA, care to comment?

This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32 ( [1] 2 > >
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