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This 471 message thread spans 16 pages: < < 471 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 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.

 

paperclips




msg:3005091
 4:36 am on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is nothing more than a push to drive earnings up. I like the way the pretense is all about "quality" .... when G's organic listings are on a downward spiral.

Google's search portal is nothing more than a well oiled advertising machine manipulated for stockholder return.

Alex_Miles




msg:3005782
 4:31 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google has excelled itself this time.

Reminds me of that recent photoshoot inside the Googleplex. You remember that picture of the girl playing with toy cars in her break?

Seems shes perfected the 6 car pile up and gone live.

MSN and Overture here I come!

Along with my account I manage accounts that bring my total spending to over $1 million a year.

WebFusion




msg:3005815
 5:04 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is nothing more than a push to drive earnings up. I like the way the pretense is all about "quality"

I think that's my biggest beef. I fully understand that increasing advertising costs are a part of the game. However, I think (as a merchant) that those costs should be determined by the MARKET, not fixed using some automated (and obviously flawed) system.

It's cmoical to suggest that a landing page should be "content rich", blah blah blah. If an ad receives 18%+ CTR, and maintains a consistent 5%+ conversion rate, then obviously the customer experience is very good, right? When I asked my adwords rep about that one yesterday (in regards to keywords that went from $.10 to $5.00 overnight), she simply replied to the effect that "obviously the quality is not high enough or the system would have left it alone". Apparently, the new system is infallible ;-)

Personally, I think google's responsibility should be as follows:

1. Ensure ads have a minimum CTR
2. Ensure the landing pages pose no risk to the user (i.e. viuses, trojans, etc.)
3. Ensure the ads are not misleading (i.e. ads for one thing going to sites/pages about something else).

Other than that....I'm dumbfounded that they feel that what is essentially a bot can suddenly decied a page/site that has received adwords traffic for 3 years now (and has been reviewed prior to this by a human) has suddenly become "low quality".

Google should simply be honest and call those sites "low income generators" as opposed to "low quality".

At any rate...we've pause all campaigns at this point. I instructed my rep to give us a call should they ever come to their senses, but there is nothing that we can discernably do to make a product page "higher quality" without distracting from OUR user's experience. Although we've been able to make up about 20% of the lsot revenue by beefing up our MSN/Overture campaigns, if this continues for more than 30 days or so, we're going to have some layoffs.

Anyone else already considering staff reductions?

Alex_Miles




msg:3005826
 5:10 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've just had a client in tears over the phone. And I feel like a right prat for ever letting him go with Google in the first place.

I expect he will consider redundancies, unless I can pull a rabbit out of the hat. I didn't talk to him about redundancies, because if he hasn't thought about it yet the idea might make him suicidal.

Other than that....I'm dumbfounded that they feel that what is essentially a bot can suddenly decied a page/site that has received adwords traffic for 3 years now (and has been reviewed prior to this by a human) has suddenly become "low quality".

I think that is a very interesting point, and more sinister in its implications than perhaps you realise.

For years I've been ever so slightly resentful that I've had to change this or that to get organic rankings. Like Google were dictating the contents of the web.

Well its their engine, they can do what they like.

Except - in effect its *their internet* and I was being told how I could say, and if I could say, what I wanted to say.

Its bad enough when this bullying is for free, but there were enough arguments against my feeling that I never said anything. But the feeling remains and it just got stronger.

Now look at us. I've felt for a while - that what they were wanting was effectively two search engines - one for business one for free info. And we have to optimise *both*.

We can't just bid and appear. We have to pay a fortune now for being told what we can sell and *how we can sell it*, and you can bet their stupid conversion data have something to do with this. Or lack of it.

This isn't a profit grab, its a power grab. I can smell it. Its a prelude to something truly horrible.

[edited by: Alex_Miles at 5:23 pm (utc) on July 13, 2006]

WebFusion




msg:3005870
 5:28 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've just had a client in tears over the phone. And I feel like a right prat for ever letting him go with Google in the first place.

There's quite a somber mood around our offices here as well.

What kills me is we've spent the last two years analyzing the smallest details of the user experience when they arrive at our site....from the placement (and even color) of the "add to cart" button, to the navigational structure of the site, right down to our after-sale follow up. We are the ONLY merchant in our genre who is a member of the BBB (not a single complaint in 4 years), and our repeat business from prior customers is over 20%.

Yet we are low quality. Go figure.

Meanwhile, a competitor who has been kicked off every comparison shopping engine due to customer complaints, and who has changed their name/domain 3 times in the past year to try and distance themselves from BBB complaints, has taken over the top spot of the majority of our former listings (they've even changed their ad copy to ours).

ohwell




msg:3005915
 6:05 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)


Google should simply be honest and call those sites "low income generators" as opposed to "low quality".

Bingo - simple as that. Well said.

When they changed from .05 min to one based on CTR, they apparently didn't think folks would get things down to .01 cent per click. They aren't too happy bout that so they changed the rules again. So the guy with worse CTR and paying more per click now gets your BETTER, MORE "QUALITY" listing. It is definitley designed for profit and NOT for QUALITY, except maybe the quality of Google's stock earnings.

Still why they went up to .50 and not a few cents is the real mystery here. Maybe they figure if you can make profit at a CPCin that is ten times high great. Otherwise let the guy paying more for the KW get the listing.

You may have been penalysed for being a little too good at making profit off there system.

Lady Seraphim




msg:3005927
 6:14 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

2p to £5.50 for a term that's always done well for us. I'm absolutely livid.

ohwell




msg:3005928
 6:15 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I know that doesn't totally add up but then why in essence ban someone who was delivering the clicks and instead of raising them a few cents, give the listing to someone who was not delivering the clicks other than that the new listing has a locked in history of paying more per click and, thus, will make more. They won't deliver as many clicks but if they are at .10 and I'm at .01 then they dont have to deliver more clicks for G to make more $$$.

If you were getting traffic too cheaply and a competitor is in the wings with a substantial higher CPC to offer G then you get jacked up.

Does anyone still have any 1 cent listings that were prob getting 50%+ CTR?

dmerton




msg:3005953
 6:30 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

If this change is TRULY about quality, why let me advertise at all, at any price....

Interestingly, google doesnt like the quality of my landing page at .10 cents. But hey, all of a sudden that quality is just fine at $1 per click. Gosh Google, it is certainly nice that you'll let me BUY some quality, and how convient, you'll even tell me exactly what it will cost me too. (But when I call, which I just did, I can't get a specific answer on how to increase the quality of my landing pages.) AWA, be honest, does this seem at all descriminatory, unethical, or slightly contradictory to you?

bboyv




msg:3005973
 6:47 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Once enough advertisers can't afford to pay anymore, google will have to change it back. Everyone should boycott google now.

.02 to 1.00 , thats just nuts

they put lots of people out of business

europeforvisitors




msg:3005987
 7:06 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

If this change is TRULY about quality, why let me advertise at all, at any price....

But will you advertise at any price? Probably not. At a certain point, you'll either leave or decide that it's worthwhile to invest in landing pages that earn acceptable quality scores. Either way, Google will meet its objective of improving the advertising experience for users--something that Google obviously feels is necessary for the long-term success of AdWords, whether or not that's a hardship for some (or even many) current advertisers.

dmerton




msg:3005997
 7:15 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

If a local newspaper quoted me a price that was 10 times more than the quote for a competing business for the same ad spot, based their decision to do so on the quality of the creative or business reputation I bet I would have grounds for a lawsuit.

Alex_Miles




msg:3006000
 7:17 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

You probably would. Specially if newspaper employees ran their own ads alongside yours.

[edited by: Alex_Miles at 7:18 pm (utc) on July 13, 2006]

rohitj




msg:3006022
 7:40 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

The local paper is free to charge you whatever they think you'll pay--its called sales. They have discriminated for many years on such basis and won't stop anytime soon.

As for google, this will mean more--not less profit--for them. Advertising is improving and the street has been very bullish, from what i hear/see, about internet ad sales. They've been welcoming such changes from google and will continue to do so because they aren't webmasters. If the street likes it, then so will the founders/employees and investors. The way I see it, is that there's two choices here: write an open letter that won't change anything or go back to the drawing board and revise respective business/marketing plans to be more adapative to this pricing.

dmerton




msg:3006030
 7:46 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

As for google, this will mean more--not less profit--for them.

Fewer ads displayed for the same search results means less profit for Google, not more.

BillyS




msg:3006034
 7:50 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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

While I can understand your frustration, when I read this stuff I get turned off. If Yahoo / MSN are willing to provide you with an account, why not just sign up and take your money elsewhere?

When I was advertising at your stated rate, I was running ads on Yahoo / MSN as well as Google.

Essex_boy




msg:3006042
 7:53 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why oh why am I not surprised? This has been on the cards for a while, come on you must have seen it?

Fluff up the serps aka Florida so people have to use PPC then bang the trap shuts. Your stuck.

gregbo




msg:3006054
 8:03 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think that's my biggest beef. I fully understand that increasing advertising costs are a part of the game. However, I think (as a merchant) that those costs should be determined by the MARKET, not fixed using some automated (and obviously flawed) system.

In a way, they are being driven by the market ... the stock market, looking for higher earnings to justify G's valuation.

edd1




msg:3006055
 8:03 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am torn between admiring google for their stance and disgusted at the way of doing it.

Yes, a local paper could up there charges but if it was 10 times and due to quality issues, I'd like to think they'd get in touch and tell us about it. It was brutal and unnecessary. The right direction to go but without any respect to paying advertisers. And not too many reps proudly interacting on the forums. The policy is nothing to be ashamed of but the communication is and continues to be.

vanillaice




msg:3006058
 8:04 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

For years I've been ever so slightly resentful that I've had to change this or that to get organic rankings. Like Google were dictating the contents of the web.

Well its their engine, they can do what they like.

I remember another SE that tried to do that a few years ago when they owned the Internet. That was until they started getting real greedy, charging like $600 just so they can review your site for a possible listing. The quality of sites on their results tanked, and at the same time some smaller SE with the right promotional connections came along with this very simple SE that gave you pretty good results, and usually very quickly. A few days after a big event, you can usually do a search and find tons of sites talking about it, unlike the other SE that usually took weeks just to get looked at.

Now that this new SE has pulled in a majority of the web traffic, they're trying to dictate the quality of sites on the web by their standards. If they keep doing that, what happened to the original SE will happen to this one.

They need to learn the lesson from the first one, users are not loyal to their engine. They're loyal to the most popular and most relevant SE at the time. When Vista comes out and all these new computers are being shipped with Vista & IE installed, and they cram their SE down the throats of users, they'll start using that one as long as the results are relevant.

It should be interesting to see what happens to "Big Daddy" once M$ really attempts to control the web. They may not be scared of that company yet, but I don't think they've seen 1/2 of what they're capable of. "Big Daddy" may own the web right now, but M$ owns the software that allows users on the web.

edd1




msg:3006067
 8:11 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think that their aims are three fold. 1. to get more people signing up to the content network. 2. to improve landing pages. 3. (and most importantly) to do both together.

It's very risky because a lot of people find themselves in a position where they can only proceed in one way. Spend time doing two things 1. learn how to use overture and msn effectively and hope to get traffic from there. 2. Improve landing page quality and hope google traffic returns.

There's going to be a huge shift of energy to other ppc and if those guys can capitalise, Google could lose out ultimately and the funny thing to my mind is not that they sought landing page improvement but that they couldn't be bothered to send out a friggin email saying "Hey guys this isn't good enough because of a.b. and c . Improve it or we're going to put your account on hold - you have 6 weeks"

What's wrong with talking to people?

whoisgregg




msg:3006074
 8:17 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why not send an email with a list of URLs of pages that need improvement to the main account email? Or, even better, have a new tab for "Quality Score" management that identifies relative quality score of all landing pages.

Even if Google's goal is for advertisers to actually change their pages (and not just to quit), they still aren't really giving the advertisers the right tools to understand Google's intent.

zomega42




msg:3006078
 8:20 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

There are two very separate issues here and they are getting mixed together. First, should Google be raising minimum bids. Second, should they being doing it suddenly without warning or explanation, even to people who spend a million dollars a year.

I advertise on my site, just like Google does. Some ads just aren't worth displaying -- I'd rather have fewer ads than display an ad that will pay me a penny. Google probably feels the same way, so they have every right to raise minimum bids.

For the second issue, however, there is no excuse. They need to announce these changes well in advance and explain themselves, at least to the big spenders.

Alex_Miles




msg:3006082
 8:21 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

What's wrong with talking to people?

Remember they live in a plex with onboard hairdressers and restaurants and toys to play with. Not a single person over the age of 35 is to be seen and the contents of their 'gourmet dinners' are therefore quite suspect.

The precious little darlings are cossetted and nurtured at the plex, never get out, and wouldn't lower themselves to talk to 'people'!

And, will you all please quit going on about 'quality score'?

You all know full well this is to do with those who got cheap clicks and were therefore making money - rather than the starvation rations Google thinks should be enough for us plebs. Now we are being held up at gunpoint and it is all the fault of those who were daft ebough to give Google access to their conversion data.

You don't take sweets from stangers and you don't give the fox the keys to the henhouse.

[edited by: Alex_Miles at 8:27 pm (utc) on July 13, 2006]

netmeg




msg:3006085
 8:25 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google's not going to lose unless Joe Everyday Searcher stops using Google, and there's no current reason for that to happen. People are used to using Google. If they perceive that Google is trying to clean up the SERPS and the Ads for the sake of the user (whether or not it's true, it's the PERCEPTION that matters) then they'll keep using Google. And as long as people are searching in Google, advertisers are going to have to figure out a way to be there, or get passed over. If Vista sets all the default searches to MSN, people will just unset them back to Google. So far, nobody's suggested creating a verb - to MSN someone.

davewray




msg:3006087
 8:26 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Pretty hard to fix something (landing page quality) when you don't have a clue what's broken in the first place! Whether Google is doing the right thing or not, the way they are going about doing it is almost dictatorial. Just BANG, and you're gone. Wow, thanks for the warning...and even more thanks for NOT providing the reasons why except that, "Your quality isn't good enough". What the heck is "quality" anyways? It's different for every industry and for every user. How can you define quality in ONE way for every website? And I agree, CTR has nothing to do with quality of a website. You could be VERY good at writing ads and achieve a 40% ctr..no lie...yet once the user gets to your site it's junk and they leave. Conversions at the site is a better measure of quality....and at best, most of us can't possibly measure the conversion rate right at the site. You have to look at return visits and a ton of other things to measure that (unless you have one action you want performed that can be measured acurately). Anyways, we'll see what happens. Glad there's still Ov and MSN that give a little competition. Could you imagine if Adwords was It and there was no other alternative? Thousands would lose their livlihood.

rohitj




msg:3006088
 8:27 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

dmerton, you can't assume that the loss from people who withdraw ads, is going to outweigh added benefit from raising prices.

If they felt that this would have had an adverse effect on profit, then they wouldn't have gone forward with it. And, quite frankly, they know a lot more about the pool of advertisers and their elasticity than we do.

[edited by: rohitj at 8:31 pm (utc) on July 13, 2006]

Khensu




msg:3006090
 8:30 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am just curious.

In the original letter the poster cited that he had a customer with a 26% CTR.

Spends 300K, 26% CTR, has clients for AdWords and Google won't talk to him.

Doesn't that just give you pause?

I rest my case unless he can appeal.

I am a publisher and an advertiser.

[edited by: Khensu at 8:32 pm (utc) on July 13, 2006]

davewray




msg:3006091
 8:32 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Rohitj...That's nonsense. Google has rolled out all sorts of new algos and products without having a clue what was going to happen, or how people were going to react...they've doen that with all of their betas. They are NOT as smart as we take them for. It's shoot first and then see what happens. It must be pretty easy for you to sit here and judge when you haven't been affected by this. Let me tell you though, their last quality update a few months ago, I wasn't affected either...I am affected big time this time around. What has changed with their quality metrics? Who knows. But know this, you could go down next time they update their "quality" standards...

aleksl




msg:3006094
 8:34 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

rohiti: you can't assume that the loss from people who withdraw ads is going to outweigh added profit from raising prices.

they know a lot more about the pool of advertiser

Of course they do. They've been using G$$GLE ANALytics data to run statistical models on this, NO DOUBT. And whatever model suggested is the best scenario - they moved on with.

But it's no wonder it didn't work as intended. We are talking about clueless Math+CompSci PhDs with a bunch of money-hungry management on top, all protected by airconditioned hallucinogenic air and piles of cash.

netmeg




msg:3006097
 8:40 pm on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

You all do realize, of course, that the reactions and postings you see here on WWW are just a small (and unusually vocal) percentage of the entire base of AdWords customers out there? Most of 'em probably don't have the time to monitor a board or subject like this, even if they had the inclination. The ones who were not affected and weren't already here are not likely to come here to talk about it. The ones who WERE affected are far more likely to come here to do their screaming, where there are plenty of sympathetic and empathetic ears. We're just seeing a small corner of the entire picture. Our sample is too small to draw any conclusions about the effect on Google.

This 471 message thread spans 16 pages: < < 471 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 16 > >
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