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This 471 message thread spans 16 pages: < < 471 ( 1 ... 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 [16]     
Open letter to Google Regarding Changes to The Ad Words Program
kingfish




msg:3003368
 12:33 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

As someone whose companies spend in excess of $300k per year on your Ad Words Program, I thought I would write you this open letter in hopes that someone would respond to it, as I have been unable to get a response from my assigned rep or anyone else at Google. I mentioned my own projects in addition to my own projects I serve as a consultant for several smaller companies which bring addition sums to Google. Why is it that Google treats me like an unwashed vagrant trying to buy a $.10 cup of coffee at Mc Donald’s rather than someone who spends $300k a year with them?

The issue I would like for you to address is of course is the radical rise in the minim bid costs that many of us are seeing. To get at this problem, I spoke to one rep on the phone today as my personal rep is “unavailable” and has been all day. I sent a lengthy email to support early this morning (my rep) and left a voice mail for my rep to contact me immediately. So far the only response I have gotten was from the lower the level rep when I declined to leave another voice mail for my personal rep. She was very apologetic and nice, but didn’t know what was going on. She told me all the reps were told was to expect some changes, but that they were not told what the changes would encompass or whom the changes would affect. She said she had spoken to some customers today that had similar issues, but simply put she doesn’t know what to advise them as she doesn’t know what the new quality system looks for other than the generic stuff from the Google Ad Words page. She looked at my account, and I had her note the same ad had been running in excess of 2 years and had produced a click through rate of 26% in those 2 years, and she agreed it wasn’t really possible to increase the quality the ad itself. She had no idea how often the bot looks at the pages so you can see if changes you make actually improve your quality score.

Your employees have been uninformed and left in the dark about these major changes to your program, and perhaps more importantly your paying customers have been left in the dark as well. The smart thing would have been to come to the community months ago and said hey we are thinking about some major changes, these are how these changes are going to affect you, and here is what you can do to bring your landing pages up to snuff. That way your business partners would not be left holding the bag when they are hit with overnight radical price increases, and are forced to seek immediate answers from your employees who have also been left in the dark, and have no useful information to provide your customers. I would suggest as good business etiquette and professionalism would dictate you roll these changes back immediately and evaluate what you have learned from this. Then come forward and announce what changes you plan to make, describe in detail what accounts it will have a negative impact on, and provide in detail guidelines for producing the type of landing pages that you want. That way your business partners can make a business decision as to if they want to continue to do business with you under the new system.

Sincerely

Mark A. Libbert
Attorney At Law

P.S. If any Overture/Yahoo rep is lurking I have 10-12k a month buy for you.

 

rbacal




msg:3025842
 2:32 pm on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think you hit that nail right on the head there. quality means nothing to Google, only money does. there is a reason I see people giving them their new logo: G$$gle.

After reading some of your replies here, it struck me that while your site passes the sniff test, maybe you didn't.

So, correct me if I'm wrong, but you have taken steps to HIDE the identity of the owner of your site (presumably you), right.

Why does a legitimate webmaster do that?

More to the point of your problem, you'd done exactly what many straight mfa's do with their domain registrations. Need to know why google might not want to do business with you? Consider your choices.

No identification on your site, a deliberate effort to hide your ownership -- fergettaboutit.

chief72




msg:3025858
 2:47 pm on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

So, correct me if I'm wrong, but you have taken steps to HIDE the identity of the owner of your site (presumably you), right.
Why does a legitimate webmaster do that?

How much of one's identity should a webmaster reveal?

europeforvisitors




msg:3025880
 2:59 pm on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

How much of one's identity should a webmaster reveal?

That's up to the Webmaster, just as it's up to Google to decide whether concealment of the owner's identity is a negative "signal of quality."

Both sides are free to make the decision that's right for them.

(ADDENDUM: We don't know that concealment of ownership was the issue here, and I'm not commenting on the quality of the site in question.)

RhinoFish




msg:3025926
 3:30 pm on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm out there baby, naked. On all my affiliate sites and more. Real address and name. Real email. Real phone number. Same info is used for my domain registrations. Not hiding was a decision I made early on.

So I get tons of spam. And people scrape my site and send me (physical) junk mail, like bills for ads I never approved / ran. And I get weird phone calls every now and then too - sometimes at very odd hours. I get ones where they want to verifiy my fax number - that's all they ask and then hang up (fax spammers maybe, identify thieves who just want to confirm my phone number by my answering... who knows). It's a little scary at times because it does feel like I'm naked in the street, especially since most other people hide to some extent or use a PO box from their local UPS store or whatever.

I'd say the spam alone is a legit reason why many want to close down paths to their true identity. But, it's my own personal belief that people I do biz with, even as an aff, have a right to know who I am (even though most don't care). It's a credibility thing with me - just a personal opinion and business choice. I don't think it should be required to run ads (G has plenty of info about you from your account) and just because there's an address for consumers, it doesn't mean companies will reply to consumers or even that it's a real address... then again, with G maps, maybe G knows... :-)

And if you inspect the privacy policies and contact information for the scumbags on the internet - say 180 solutions for instance - their stuff would pass that particular sniff test. So priv policy and address stuff isn't a good litmus test for legitimacy in my view.

Then again, it would be kinda fun if we all went streaking together... hehehe!

rbacal




msg:3025934
 3:36 pm on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

How much of one's identity should a webmaster reveal?

That's up to the webmaster. But if you do hide your identity, and it so happens that hidden identities are EXCEEDINGLY common regarding MFA sites and other junk content, you can't really complain if google, or anyone else decides not to do business with you.

And, if you use site templates for your sites, have pages where you haven't even changed the default "content" from "content goes here", have a family of similar sites similarly themed, work in a content area that has quite high CPC costs and potential adsense income, you have to at least consider the possibility that this "won't look good" to at least some people, and particularly google.

I'm trying to consider this from the point of view of a) google's algo and b) a human reviewer. Personally, if people want to hide web ownership that's their choice. It's not illegal, and maybe people have good honest reasons for doing that.

In any event, rightly or wrongly, fairly or not, this site (and site owner) exhibit some characteristics that make it appear to be made for adsense, using arbitrage, affiliate linked (via the family of sites), FROM GOOGLE'S POINT OF VIEW.

It's a little less of a mystery now.

rbacal




msg:3025940
 3:39 pm on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

And if you inspect the privacy policies and contact information for the scumbags on the internet - say 180 solutions for instance - their stuff would pass that particular sniff test. So priv policy and address stuff isn't a good litmus test for legitimacy in my view.

I'm with you on all that you said. As for the above, think correlates.

This stuff isn't about litmus tests, it's about predictive correlates.

...a bunch of variables combined together that predict something.

aleksl




msg:3025944
 3:42 pm on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

rbacal, I've answered this ridiculous assumption in another thread. If this is what G$$gle uses, why don't they STATE IT IN PUBLIC, that each advertiser requires legitimate WHOIS info.

Otherwise, there's a million and one reason, including example by RhinoFish above why a legit business wants to have a privacy turned on on a domain.

aleksl




msg:3025949
 3:44 pm on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

G$$gle owners are laughing all the way to the bank at this thread, and other attempts to figure out non-existent "low quality" myth.

netmeg




msg:3026025
 4:22 pm on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

So, correct me if I'm wrong, but you have taken steps to HIDE the identity of the owner of your site (presumably you), right.

Why does a legitimate webmaster do that?

I've been in agreement with most of what you've said, but here I veer off. I never hid my identity on any of the initial 40 or 50 domains that I took out (going back to 1989 - or whenever it was that they were FREE!) but boy howdy, I sure wish I had. It's not unusual for my spam amount to reach 1000 per DAY. It's got to the point where I filter email IN, and not OUT of my mailbox. But I refuse to give up the email address I use most often, that I've used for over 15 years now. I've also gotten solitications to my physical address, and even phone calls. A stalker once found me via WHOIS. I can always tells when a new CD of WHOIS names gets distributed to the spammers, because of the huge bursts of spam I get on my personal address, and the DNS Admin address I use to administer my client's domains.

It seems more reasonable to me that Google would look at the AGE of the domain (i.e. when it was first taken out by its current owner) rather than whether or not the owner's details are visible to the public. But we're talking about Google, so who knows. I hope you're wrong though - my old domains, there's nothing I can do about it, they're already polluted, but any new domains I take out - I definitely make the info private.

europeforvisitors




msg:3026062
 4:41 pm on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

It seems more reasonable to me that Google would look at the AGE of the domain (i.e. when it was first taken out by its current owner) rather than whether or not the owner's details are visible to the public.

Or both, and other things besides, with the variables being added up to produce an overall score. (See rbacal's comment about litmus tests vs. predictive correlates.)

dubnoir




msg:3026182
 5:44 pm on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>>>After reading some of your replies here, it struck me that while your site passes the sniff test, maybe you didn't.

I dont pass the "sniff test" due to my replies here? when and why did this become personal? is there a reason I have offended you?

>>>>So, correct me if I'm wrong, but you have taken steps to HIDE the identity of the owner of your site (presumably you), right.

there are people in this world to whom privacy is an important factor. given that Im not selling anything this should be a non-issue. albeit Google knows who I'm (the do take my money), I can still see this being an issue to them.... who knows....

hdpt00




msg:3026230
 6:13 pm on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

dub's site is nice, I'll vouch for it.

nicmat72




msg:3027593
 11:13 pm on Jul 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, I managed to read 8 pages before I jumped to the last page, but IMO the 'update' is due to:

Get rid of MFA and affiliates, they have to do it to save their reliability (if it's still possible).
This will most certanly increase 'user experience', at least regarding the MFA sites.
It is tragic though that so many serious small-business sites gets affected.

I didn't really have to mention the profit side of it because it is so obvious.

I agree that the term user experience is very strange, and I believe it is really something they just came up with to get rid of the the MFA's, because if it's not an MFA (or perhaps an affiliate), it should really don't matter to them since they get paid for the advertising space. Besides, it is impossible to determine what an 'user experience' is. It can be, and will be, so different from user to user, and purpose to purpose.

To be honest I would prefer those sites (MFA's and affiliates)to vanish from the face of the Internet, but it's really sad that many others are beeing penalized.

This is their solution, but I don't thing it's the right one. There are others that would demand alot more work, but I guess they are taking the easier path to it.

I myself haven't accepted the new agreement yet, since I saw it's drawbacks coming. I have yet about two months to see what will happen in the aftermath to this circus.

ebuilder




msg:3027934
 2:38 pm on Jul 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Instead of terms of agreement they should call terms of enslavement

Widestrides




msg:3028592
 10:18 am on Jul 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

One from leftfield. I was just wondering if the algo perhaps punishes pages linking to sites competing for the same kword.

Let's say I own bluewidgetcompare.com (let's just assume this site is a world leader in terms of unique content:) and I display affiliate links to bluewidget.com & thebluewidget.com etc. (bear with me, remember, loads of unique content, real hard hitting stuff, relevance up the gazoo). Both of these sites and I bid on many of the same kwords. I used to link direct to bluewidget.com before the single domain policy change forced me to either outbid my merchant or build bluewidgetcompare.com, I chose the latter.

Getting to my point, is it possible that G, on finding that my page links to domains that are already displayed in the Adwords results, views it as a contravention of the single domain policy and reduces the Q.S?

Chief I think you got it here. I have lots of evidence to prove your theory as I believe all of my kws that are duplicates of my merchant's kws have been hit, but my ads continue to run for kws that my merchant is not bidding on.

Like Google did b4 by eliminating more than one of the same url, they are now trying to keep all of the ads to one per merchant, not one for the merchant and 2 or 3 or 4 for their affiliates, and at lower click costs and revenue for Google. I can't argue with that, despite the fact that it knocks me almost totally out as an affiliate advertiser. I knew it was coming. (My ads and sites were never deceiving and I delivered customers to what they were seeking. But I can see what Google wants here - less duplication and more revenue!) However, there seems to have been a lot of collateral damage to real merchant stores if eliminating duplicate affiliates is all they intended to do.

vphoner




msg:3037520
 5:18 pm on Aug 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

So how long do we have to wait for some reversal of this policy? Or is that not going to happen? Google has not given us any info to reverse our fate. They are very vague about it. I still see price engines with no content advertising. If you are an affiliate, should you add more vendors than one. Would that change things?

chief72




msg:3037937
 11:12 pm on Aug 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

If you are an affiliate, should you add more vendors than one. Would that change things?

It can't hurt, but that alone won't do the trick. You need a site that is more than an affiliate landing page.

If you're going to link to multiple merchants, then offer detailed reviews (you need unique content, don't just duplicate merchants sales letter, write your own articles). You probably need to avoid the temptation of placing affiliate links on every page. You need a privacy page & a contact us page. Basically things that you would consider if you were trying to rank in the free results. Link to interesting discussion below;

[webmasterworld.com...]

There are probably a few shorcut work-arounds. But do you really need the grief when those options inevitably get shut down. My advice; improve your website, resubmit (or consider changing URL if you don't want to wait for manual review), hope for the best. In the meantime you can try linking direct to merchant w/o landing page & diversifying your advertising options (MSN adcenter for a start. Has less traffic and a somewhat frustrating UI but is on the up and ROI reports have been good).

Remember shorcuts should only be short term. If we want to stay in the game for the long run we've got to play smart and lay some solid foundations. I don't expect that there will be a reversal or even a partial rollback of this policy, waiting for one will only give your competitors a headstart.

ajwebmaster




msg:3038700
 3:39 pm on Aug 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

To me the real irony here is that you can still buy your way back in.... in other words if quality was the real issue then the sites should just be disabled and banned from AW. However to make up for lack of quality you just need to bid higher... and apparently bid some arbitrary price that is x times higher than you are bidding... e-commerce is hard enough so know you can't sleep at night because your ads may be disabled... I'm calling my local outdoor adv firm....

p.s. anyone have the toll free for Ask.com PPC sales?

ajwebmaster




msg:3038726
 3:56 pm on Aug 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

this is why you should never use their conversion system... they can see your CPC your conversion rate and your profits...all they have to do then is raise your min bid price based on your sales, conversions and profits....

sailorjwd




msg:3038798
 4:43 pm on Aug 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

In reference to 'how long it takes'...

Some things I've been told by google such as:

Weeks not days...

It is a long-term thing...

Algo needs to gain experience/confidence in the site/pages (likely meaning stats go through some time-based weighted averaging)

If I don't see some improvement by mid september then I'll start whining.

I suspect that if you now have less activity on your account (now vs before) then it will take longer for the algo to gain experience. Therefore I'm letting my ads fly for about two hours during prime time occasionally (200% bid increase). It is also nice to see visitor stats like they used to be :) Probably throwing my money down the drain.

starke222




msg:3053558
 4:06 pm on Aug 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

All this, and it still does not change the basic premise that Google Ad words are meant to take people away from your site.

Of the posts that I've read, I haven't seen any posts about a visitor to page ratio... meaning that most of the MFA sites probably produce 1 page/visitor. If the visitor doesn't click one of your adds, their doing something else.

The argument of a higher click through ratio is proof enough that the site is not a sufficient resource, or a resource at all for that matter.

Also, I think that this step has been clear for sometime, and should not come as such a surprise. Google has been very specific about spam web sites, doorway pages and the like.

I can understand the frustration, and empathize. One sided MFA sites will suffer, but I believe for the better good of internet users searching for content.

Most genuine site owners with content and complimentary adwords directing people to relevant resources won't be affected. I'm sure that Google analytics are weighing user activities, and this will weed out the abundance of spam that is generated solely for the purpose of Adsence and other advertising revenue.

If you were a one sided company, and this was your only source of revenue... adjust your business plan. Google's adjustment will shake out many spam sites, and I'm sure will be continually updated to adjust to 'workarounds'... but I can't see this hurting owners of hand created, managed content/user experience oriented sites.

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