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Google Adwords destroyed my account
vphoner

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 1:50 am on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

A couple of days ago, I decided to update my adgroup ads in a campaign that I have run for many months. I had excellent ranking in all of them, some I was #1 and #2 in the blue area for many. I made a domain name change to all the ads in this campaign (about 30 adgroups). When I checked later to see how the ads looked and their position, I could not believe my eyes. Every single keyword that I had worked so hard and spent thousands to get in a great rank and reasonable prices was GONE! It was as if I had started over as a new member. The worst one was one where I was #2 in the blue and ended up as #38 on the fourth page!

Paniking, I called google and emailed them. The tech person that I talked to there said this is the worst he has ever seen of destruction of rank. Later on they said that part of the quality part of an ad is its domain name. Then they said the new ad had to get some quality thru I guess getting impressions and clicks. Well I told this gentleman, "how am I going to get quality in the 38th position?" I am getting the run around at google right now. They are not admitting that the system is flawed. There was no warning, nothing written in the literature that this kind of massive destruction of an account could happen.

Basically beware of making changes to your ads. Beware of making domain changes.

It makes no sense to test an ad in anything but the exact same position that the previous ad was in. For example, the keyword where I was ranked #2. The new ad should show there too. If it stinks, then my CTR will go down and I will lose my rank slowly and it will tell me to improve the ad. Not moving me to rank #38 without ANY chance of recovering. Basically I am screwed, but I am not going to stay that way.

Has anyone else experience such a disaster? What is our recourse? We need to get this changed as advertisers as its highly unfair.

Especially if they rank you on domain name. Since that can be manipulated, and some people may hog all the domains which puts us at a permanent disadvantage. Also some keywords in domains are restricted by trademark. And what if we just change the tracking ID on the domain name. We still are killed. Google must admit this is the wrong way to do this.

My campaign was giving me 1200 clicks a night. It went down to 100. I am back up to 200 by buying my way back in. However for those 200 I am paying 3 times what I was paying for the day before the disaster. Anyone hurt by this policy should contact Google Adwords. I have all the email addresses and phone numbers. They need to hear from all of us.

Any suggestions from anyone. I am losing money by the bucket. I was doing great until I made this minor change.
They wiped out all my history and I am paying up as if new.
Words that trickled up to the top because of good performance...all gone. Its a disaster. It could happen to you.

 

Sujan

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 10:31 am on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

It is "public knowledge" that a change to URL will get you to loose your history. The better way to go would have been to add a new ad with the new URL, then waiting until it gets the same CTR and position than the old one and then deactivating the old one. So you would have been able to test the new one and change back if it didn't work because of quality or something.

And what if we just change the tracking ID on the domain name. We still are killed.

Don't put tracking IDs in your Adwords ads. There you should put an URL where you can redirect to different tracking IDs.

Put something like this in your ad http://www.example.org/google123.htm. This google123.htm can redirect to index.php?tracking-id=557 or index.php?tracking-id=abc - problem solved.

Jan

cabowabo

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 11:37 am on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Exactly, tracking IDs should never be put into the host campaign, always on your side. You keep the control, never, never give it away.

Cheers,

CaboWabo

suzyvirtual

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 12:57 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

By upping your bids for a little while and reestablishing your relevancy, you should be able to recover your original positions. I think the url is factored into the relavancy score though, so if it used to be keyword1keyword2.com and now it isn't, you may not get the same positions with the new url. In my experience, it takes abot 2-3 weeks to recover.

inasisi

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 2:11 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

vphoner,

If your situation is real bad, you can try reinstating your old ads. If you use AdWords API, this is straight forward. Even otherwise Google would be able to help you on that. Once it is reinstated, I would suggest that you add the Ads for the new domain slowly over time.

OceanDoctor

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 2:14 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

It does seem like Vphoner's case is rather extreme. I can't say I've ever experienced such a dramatic drop. Could this be a new behavior of AdWords as a result of the new Quality Score algorithms? Vphoner's posting has me a bit paranoid...has Google provided any meaningful documentation on the new changes (other than the 1 or 2 screens of very general info I've come across)?

vphoner

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 3:31 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the input. Lets keep this alive for others that have experienced this. It was a total destruction of my account in just a few minutes. WITH NO WARNING. I hold google completely responsible for this as they have provided no warnings, no suggestions on how to use the new system WITHOUT the horrible thing that happened to me. I have let them know that on the phone and emails and I will continue to pursue this with them till I am restored or compenstated. This is their problem not mine, since they provided no documentation on what to expect. Its like someone working on your elevator and the door opens, you walk in and fall down the shaft. They needed to put a warning sign up so we did not do what I did.

Any suggestions on how to deal with google and get them to admit that they are wrong. Not only on not warning us, but this new system is totally illogical. You cannot test one ad against another anymore. If one ad is at #1 and the other at #38, your original will always win, so why EVER change an ad!? Am I right logically?

Sujan

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 3:44 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is their problem not mine

lol, they aren't whining here - so I would say it is your problem :)

You changed the ad, it's your problem if you didn't inform you what will happen. It's in their FAQ, it's here in the forum, so it's definitely not their problem. It's they way the system works and always worked, so they surely won't do anything. (Perhaps they will kick you out if you keep stressing them too hard, better think twice before you scream at your rep on the phone...)

So try our suggestion:
Try to restore your old ad using the Adwords API. Perhaps this will help, perhaps not. Not Google's problem - but yours.

Jan

vphoner

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 4:20 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Jan, I can't restore my ad, because the old URL is being transferred. Its not an option at this point. The system is bad, and I certainly don't agree with you about it being my fault. I read the FAQ and saw no mention of how someone can go from #2 to #38 and lose your entire history in a snap. This is very dangerous stuff and everyone should have been sent an email as well for such a serious change. I was not a member of this conference till yesterday, so I could not take tips from anyone. I am not screaming at the rep, but have been very civil. The system does not work well and they needed to know that from someone that was destroyed by it. I have changed URLs before and tons of ad text. This was a total meltdown of my account.

Sujan

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 4:28 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

What do you mean with "the old URL is being transferred"?

In my opinion it isn't necessary to mention it in the FAQ (but I'm sure it is, remember reading about adding new ads for not loosing history or something...) because it's clear: history is data for one ad. change the ad, no matter if adcopy, targeturl or displayurl, loose the history. it's another ad now, so it would be unlogical to keep the history of the old one.

you made your old ad to appear #2, #3 - so I'm sure you will be able to get there with your new ad, too. you will need some money to get there in the first place, but you will be able to lower your bids with time when you built a small history with a strong CTR.

Jan

humblebeginnings

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 4:44 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi Vphoner,

Unfortunately I am not able to give you advice because I don't know the Adwords system as well as some of the other folks here. All I can say that this definitely doesn't sound like it your mistake. It is rather ridiculous that Adwords doesn't give a warning that changing the URL can destroy your campaign. AWA, don't know if you're with us but this is something you folks at G should really look at!
Vphoner thanks very much for your post because this is a very important warning to all of us! Keep in touch with us and all the best for you and your business!

vphoner

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 4:48 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Jan, what this does is discourage someone from EVER changing their ad text. Why would I change my Ad at all if it reset my rankings in my keywords? You cannot compare one ad to another unless they run exactly at the same ranking. In other words, suppose I have ad number one at #2 and then add another ad, hoping it will do better. I would expect ad number 2 to run in the same slot #2 as the first ad. That way everything being equal you would be able to tell which one is performing better from a CTR standpoint. If one ad is at #2 and the second one is put at position #6 for instance, #2 will always outperform a #6 position. You never would have the data you need to know really how an ad is doing. In the past, my second ad always ran exactly in the same position as the first. Now this has dramatically changed and there is no way to compare ads anymore since they don't run under similar conditions.

In other words its not a controlled experiment. The conditions are different for the both ads. This discourages you to test the best ad. Its a huge mistake by google adwords in my opinion.

whoisgregg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whoisgregg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 5:08 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld, vphoner!

While it must be incredibly frustrating that this happened to you, realize that your ads that had earned such a high adrank will most likely regain their position over time. (Unless the domain name was a huge part of why people clicked it.)

If you had ad copy that earned an position of 2 over the default position of 38, you must write pretty good copy. Trust that the good copy will fight it's way back to the top.

Quite a few of us have been where you are now. Instead of blaming a system that obviously works very well for many people, I prefer to think of it like this, "Why did I think that changing things about an ad wouldn't make it a new ad?"

It's rather hard to imagine a scenario where Google could allow an edited ad to take advantage of past performance by it's original copy. Although it never seems obvious when people first make this mistake, and it rarely seems obvious for weeks later, eventually that realization should give you a more valuable perspective on the way adwords is setup. That insight should serve you in improving your campaigns.

Now that you've made this mistake (and found this forum), you'll hopefully learn even more to make your campaigns more successful.

vphoner

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 8:34 pm on Aug 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well, I checked my sales today and it was the largest loss ever in my account. This was a combination of no clicks and I am now paying an average 3 times or 4 times higher price since Adwords reset or re-booted by account from a URL change in the ad. Trying to recover, but its very difficult. They should have big RED warnings on changing URL's that say "are you sure?" and a link to a page explaining that you could get ruined.

Sujan

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 9:25 pm on Aug 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well then they should also have this red warning on changing ad headline, ad copy, target url, keyword bid price, keyword url, or matching options. There should also be warnings on adding and deleting keywords, adgroups, campaigns. Enabling and disabling content and search network, even ad optimization would require a big red warning. Forgot anything?

Every change can ruin your account - but every change you do not do can also ruin it because competition comes when it wants.

So please, accept your mistake and try to learn from it. It's not Google's fault.

Jan

eatchley

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 9:53 pm on Aug 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ditto Jan

danger

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 9:54 pm on Aug 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

It seems illogical for me that an ads TARGET url, which is what vphoner changed, wipes out the ads CTR. The target URL is not something the surfer sees, so it has NO bearing whatsoever on wether or not the ad will be clicked on. Logically then it follows that something which has no bearing on the CTR shouldn't affect the CTR if it's edited.

In light of this sujan, I think your last post was a little harsh. Google might not be to blame, but neither is vphoner.

On a related point, I explicitly emailed adwords support and asked if editing the destination url would affect ctr before editing the url in my ad. I was explicitly told that it wouldn't. I made the change and what do you know? Ad CTR was suddenly 0%, ads weren't showing on the content network and the edited ads show as having been served for only a small percent of impressions, all consistent with an ad having been deleted and recreated.

Despite this, adwords support maintain that the CTR hadn't been deleted. I eventually just gave up. If pasting emails were allowed here I would - the back and forths make interesting reading.

vphoner is right to be angry. I am too. If we had even a fraction of google's financial and legal resources we'd at least have recourse to the courts, but it isn't an option for us small fish.

Let vphoner vent. At least others might avoid the same mistake.

Sujan

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 10:51 pm on Aug 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

In light of this sujan, I think your last post was a little harsh.

Don't think so, vphoner changed his complete url, display and target, if I understood him right.

Perhaps I should have left out "target url" in my last psot, because that's really not logical (to me) that e.g. changing from direct linking to the landing page to linking to a tracking server that redirects to the same landing page needs a reset in history and CTR. But it's the way Adwords works...

Jan

vphoner

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 10:59 pm on Aug 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sujan, I have changed my ads hundreds of times. Never with an impact more than minor. The URL is the biggie. No documentation on this at all. Its like delete C:*.* if you gave it a DIR command. Ooops, I was supposed to know that. We made the DIR command a wipe disk, we forgot to put it in the documentation. I am sorry but Google is wrong here. The change in ads is minor. Change in bidding prices...minor. Change your URL and the world is over. That is not written ANYWHERE. I was not a member of this forum. There was no way to know this.

Another poor schmuck is going to do the same thing I did. Because google does not realize yet that it has to disclose this in a way that people can find out. They did not. So I have a major point with them. They can't refute this.

ronmcd

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 11:00 pm on Aug 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

danger

if you change your destination url, eg changing to a new server as I think vphoner said he did, google have to check that the url is correct, which means your ad goes off content and search network while that happens. It makes sense to me that you shouldnt be able to change your ads and keep all your clickthrough history etc. I didnt like it when I've changed ads, but thems the rules! I agree with Sujan its not googles fault, google hasnt tried to catch anyone out here.

If I were you vphoner I'd be careful, you're probably starting to show up on googles radar, and not because they want to compensate you for your loss...... remember what you agreed to when you started using adwords, "Google reserves the
right to suspend advertisements for any reason". If I was you I'd stop creating multiple threads on the same topic, and take it up with google directly.

If your ads were doing well before, bite the bullet and bid them back up there. You say someone from google agreed your account seemed particularly badly affected by this, and that is a valid point to raise, maybe the new algo makes it more difficult, but the basic point is its common knowledge changing ad urls is a bad idea.

Sujan

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 11:47 pm on Aug 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sujan, I have changed my ads hundreds of times. Never with an impact more than minor.

Pure luck.

There's no difference between changing url or headline (ad copy, display url...) - it has the same effect. You probably won't believe me, but it has been said for all the others reading and not posting. And now I will wait until it's tomorrow and AdwordsAdvisor will repeat all what we told you :)

Jan

eyeinthesky

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 12:20 am on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

I can empathize with vphoner. Happened to me before but luckily I was just experimenting and my spend was small.

Yes, G should warn all users that changing certain things can impact your ad rank and delivery. This is a good suggestion.

But it is hard to fault G's reasoning that a change in URL, ad text or whatever will result in a change in your CTR(and thereore ad rank).

For example, if you have a good ad rank for sometime and now change your URL, how is G to know that the contents on your new URL is STILL relevant to G's precious surfers?

I learn this the hard way and now I don't change anything unless the ad is not performing. Hey, I still have the "aff" thing on some of my olders ads :)

chiboy

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 5:29 am on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

For all you who keeps kissing G's A**, Three words,

Customer's Always Right!

danger

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 7:21 am on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Don't think so, vphoner changed his complete url, display and target, if I understood him right.

you're right sujan, I apologise. I'm probably suffering from tunnel vision due to my own trouble with the editing the destination url only.

if you change your destination url, eg changing to a new server as I think vphoner said he did, google have to check that the url is correct, which means your ad goes off content and search network while that happens. It makes sense to me that you shouldnt be able to change your ads and keep all your clickthrough history etc.

You make a valid point about Goggle having to check the new destination for validity, but I still can't see why or how it would affect CTR. The landing page would effect conversion rates, not click through rates. A viewer decides whether or not to click on your ad based purely on what they see. Saying that editing the destination URL affects CTR is like saying the bid price affects CTR - how many adwords advertisers would be happy about losing their CTR every time they changed their bid? There would be a riot!


But it is hard to fault G's reasoning that a change in URL, ad text or whatever will result in a change in your CTR(and thereore ad rank).

For example, if you have a good ad rank for sometime and now change your URL, how is G to know that the contents on your new URL is STILL relevant to G's precious surfers?

eyeinthesky, if you're talking about display URL then you have a valid point. If you mean the destination URL then see above.

Two ads with identical copy and display url, but different destination URL's would have the same CTR - assuming the surfer has never clicked on your ads before. I challenge anyone to prove otherwise.

Customer's Always Right!

here here

patient2all

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 9:22 am on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

If your situation is real bad, you can try reinstating your old ads. If you use AdWords API, this is straight forward. Even otherwise Google would be able to help you on that. Once it is reinstated, I would suggest that you add the Ads for the new domain slowly over time.

Inasisi,

Just so it's clear to everyone, re-instating the old ad verbatim will not bring back the old ad CTR. It does with a keyword, but not with an ad. You no doubt knew that, I just wanted to make it clear to anyone else tempted to try that feat.

I realize too, it wasn't an option for vbphoner since he was switching servers. Though that part is not entirely clear to me either. Over time, I've been moving scattered sites to a virtual server that I lease; the URL stays completely intact.

There must be more to vbphoner's situation. I apologize if I didn't read every word of each post in this thread.

I proposed in the 'what if' thread that an ad only use it's Ad CTR if more than 10% of the text changes. That was rather self serving of me since I'm often changing prices and dates.

patient2all

vphoner

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 3:24 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

The change I made was the visible URL and the Target URL that is not visible. I had to change to a different name, as I was putting my sites under one domain instead of many. No change to ad text.

Now that it has been explained that this is part of google. My main problem with this is that there was no warning about this . I read ALL the literature online that google provided and no mention about changing URLs being the most damaging to your rank. Very vague references to quality score. I really did research all this before I made the changes. That is where I fault google, on non-disclosure.

And I also don't think its a good idea to change your rank based on an ad change. Here's why...

[1] You can't compare one ad to another scientifically in a controlled manner. If one ad displays in slot #2 and one in slot #7, of course the #2 is going to perform better.

[2] The system discourages creativity and efficiency. If an ad change can ruin your hard earned rankings....why change?

[3] When you make an ad change, I believe that it should be in exactly the same place, even the blue area. I did notice you get kicked out of the blue area on a new ad. That is another problem as the blue area is always better than the right side. So the new ad will always perform poorer than the old. All else being equal.

[4] If the new ad performs poorly, it will drop in rank by itself automatically. So, why change its rank artificially?
The CTR of the new ad will determine, or should determine its fate. I know thats not how the new system works, but thats the more logical way, unless someone can argue the other side is better. At least this way is more predictable for advertisers. By my changing the URL only, I got an unpredictable result. Devastating.

inasisi

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 4:46 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

patient2all

Reactivating a deleted Creative through the Adwords API does reinstate the CTR. I just tried it on one of my Ads and when I checkd the Ad group through the UI, I did see all the clicks and CTR showing up. It also doesn't go through the approval cycle as I did see it immediately on AOL too.

However this is not a solution for vphoner as going back to the old URL is not an option him/her.

mark1111

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 12:51 pm on Aug 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

vphoner, were most of your clicks from content ads? As someone else mentioned, it can take several days, even up to a week, for ads to be reviewed, and until then they don't run on the content network. If you keep them going, they may be okay once they're approved.

patient2all

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 6:52 pm on Aug 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

patient2all
Reactivating a deleted Creative through the Adwords API does reinstate the CTR. I just tried it on one of my Ads and when I checkd the Ad group through the UI, I did see all the clicks and CTR showing up. It also doesn't go through the approval cycle as I did see it immediately on AOL too.

inasisi,

Interesting, but only through the API? Getting into the Google API is #55 of 83 tasks I'm hitting one by one. One problem for me is I'm rusty or inept on most of the supported languages, so I planned to "steal" from the sample code and go through a lot of trial and error to get the things that I want.

Wonder if anyone has a suite of tools yet written for these kinds of tasks? I'd pay $100.00 in a minute.

The ability to reactivate the ad extant only through the API is kind of unfair to non-programmers. Gives us an edge, but Google has never touted AdWords as requiring programming to be on an even footing with other advertisers.

I'm going to bump the API up on my list :) In fact, inasisi, I owe you a beer. I just came up with a fantastic idea that I always wanted to implement but couldn't. I can now effectively "pause" ads if I wish, would you agree?

Thanks,

patient2all

FromRocky

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6265 posted 7:34 pm on Aug 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

The lesson has been learnt long time ago and has been discussed on this forum. The solution for this is offered in msg# 2 in this thread

[webmasterworld.com...]

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