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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.

 

vanillaice




msg:3003394
 1:04 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well said.

I feel completely the same as you, it's almost insulting to work with Google for so long (almost 2 years now), have campaigns running for almost a year straight and just get them shut off like it's nothing.

Because of Googles constant changes to their algo's, quality score, etc. I too am going to start looking elsewhere for PPC traffic. Even if they turn my ads back on, I will still be searching for new programs because I simply do not trust Google any longer and don't want a company like that to hold all the cards when it comes to my business.

DynamicNiches




msg:3003400
 1:18 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I second that as well. Well said KingFish!

We spend a hefty amount with G as well and to see them treat us like that is just flat our disrespectful and wrong. :-(

I will never look at Google the same. Having said that my new favorite search engine is in-fact MSN. I will never use the Google search engine again if this so called "quality score" change isn't corrected. The current quality score system is pretty messed up and it is hurting ALOT of honest and hard working advertisers.

Thanks for the bad day G. :-(

Need3lives




msg:3003432
 1:55 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

/signed completely.

I could have written your letter (albeit surely less eloquently) as our details are nearly the same. We have been running for 2+ years with AdWords, have many high CTR ads, and spent about $300k in the last year with AdWords as well. The vast majority of our keywords are now disabled, looking for $5 or $10 bids, and our AW rep seems to have no clue.

Somehow this situation just doesn't jive with the (now proven false?) "Do No Evil" meme Google likes to spread about itself.

toomer




msg:3003451
 2:19 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Man, I never knew how many big spenders were lurking around here!

Maybe a dozen or so of you should collectively chip in a grad a piece and take out a full-page ad in the Friday edition of the San Francisco paper. Get a dozen well-written cases of sites that were obviously successful, much like Mark's story above, and put them all in the ad. Mention how much each site is now going to take away from Google's top-line revenue because you've been extorted to pay 1000-5000% more for your clicks. How'd that be for sending a message? Seems as though they don't care to listen - so maybe hitting them in their stock price might get their attention....

Of course, instead of spending money that way - you're probably all very smart business folks and (rightly so) going to take your budgets over to Overture/MSN, etc. instead and I can't blame you. Was just fantisizing for a minute the public humiliation that they'd be dealing with (even temporarilty) if this was brought to light under Wall Street's eyes....

ebuilder




msg:3003455
 2:27 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I dont know how may big time newspapers and magazines use adwords but I hope they do and that the person running their campaigns knows someone in the editorial department or higher

toddb




msg:3003475
 2:49 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

My rep is out of town but the person covering told me Google's answer to my question on quality score. "That is the way it is. This is from the founders and is how they want it done." I mentioned I was basically going to have to close my account, and she was sorry to hear that.

3 years with google and a pretty big spender also. Nice to get an answer I guess. :(

ccam96




msg:3003520
 3:39 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Basically, Google is going to steal the profits that affiliates used to enjoy while advertising on their network and become a global affiliate themselves by introducing the CPA model to merchants. If I were a merchant with an affiliate network , I would be extremely worried that they will now be prone to Google's whims when they try to implement CPA campaigns.

Merchants will lose a lot of options and reach with the loss of their major affiliates main traffic sources. google just knocked affiliates over the head and stole our wallets! Enjoy.

jtara




msg:3003553
 4:23 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

So.... how's that "better customer communication" initiative going?

exmoorbeast




msg:3003609
 5:47 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

We spend a LOT more than that, and feel the same way. Our Reps are pretty good themselves, so I guess this business-balls-up is really just part of the secretive Google we all grew to love and hate!

rytis




msg:3003639
 6:32 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

My apologies and sympathy if I am wrong, but if I'm right it does not matter whether you are $100/year MFA or $1M/year MFA - you are killing entire system and looks like Google finally opening eyes on it.

venrooy




msg:3003647
 6:47 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

My apologies and sympathy if I am wrong, but if I'm right it does not matter whether you are $100/year MFA or $1M/year MFA - you are killing entire system and looks like Google finally opening eyes on it.

If their purpose is to kill off MFA sites, then they need to do it from the proper side of the fence. They need to tighten up the adsense approval process, not screw up adwords with an overbearing algo.

Like a previous poster said - They're trying to kill a fly with a sledgehammer. And from what I'm reading on this board, it seems more like their trying to kill a gnat with a nuke.

ecuadores




msg:3003671
 7:15 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Nothing works well these days and Google is a living proof.
I am an estate agent from Eastern Europe and I used to spend up to 1000 $
per month in order to advertise my company. My clients ware mostly from UK and US
interested in buying properties in my country. My site is online since 2002.
I used to pay up to 0.35 c per click. For the same keywords, Google charges as high as 10.00 $!
And speaking about quality landing pages…this is another big bad joke.
This “sophisticated” “improved” quality score, algo bla,bla, it reminds me about so called “surgical” US bombings using sophisticated weaponry in Yugoslavia, when they destroyed the Chinese Embassy and a train full of innocent passengers.
Sorry, I don’t mean to offense anyone (these are facts of real life) but I believe Google is not what we all expect to be. They are not so perfect, they are not so clever, they are money orientated, and it is us who kept him alive by giving him the credit.
We made a myth out of him, when in fact he is just another imperfect machine and nothing more.

[edited by: mona at 4:41 pm (utc) on July 12, 2006]
[edit reason]
[1][edit reason] <edit>no urls - thx! [/edit] [/edit]
[/edit][/1]

DoctorDoctor




msg:3003814
 10:13 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

kingfish,
You mentioned that you're spending 300K per year with Google and that you have high CTR ads, but what about conversions?
What about user-experience?
Maybe it's a good thing that Google don't mind so much to lose the big advertisers' money (ones that that fail to deliver user-experience) if in the long run users will completely trust Google's ads to provide the best service.
My advertising field is strictly entertainment, and if an advertiser will spends 1M with Google, but fail to entertain users, well - it's good that he's out of the picture!
Again, I may be wrong, maybe that got something wrong in their algo, a '1' that should have been a '0', but maybe it's not that algo.

kingfish




msg:3004413
 5:58 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

kingfish,
You mentioned that you're spending 300K per year with Google and that you have high CTR ads, but what about conversions?
What about user-experience?
Maybe it's a good thing that Google don't mind so much to lose the big advertisers' money (ones that that fail to deliver user-experience) if in the long run users will completely trust Google's ads to provide the best service.
My advertising field is strictly entertainment, and if an advertiser will spends 1M with Google, but fail to entertain users, well - it's good that he's out of the picture!
Again, I may be wrong, maybe that got something wrong in their algo, a '1' that should have been a '0', but maybe it's not that algo.

I do deliver a good experience and exactly what Google users for my search terms want. Once you have been in Ad Words for a significant amount of time, you realize you can’t fake it. That is if you don’t deliver what the user expects when your ad is clicked on your ad won’t maintain its CTR. Try holding a CTR over 20% for two years without giving the user the experience he/she wants. It is impossible to do so. The problem as I see it is that Google is now using an artificial mechanism to gauge what a good user experience is and is choosing to ignore years of CTR data that indicates my ads like many other peoples ads here were delving a good user experience.

inbound




msg:3004435
 6:06 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

CTR is not directly linked to user satisfaction - at worst it just means you can write good ad copy.

I imagine that many people who can write good copy will give a good user experience as they probably understand the mindset of their target audience. I wouldn't use CTR as a defence for quality though.

bostonseo




msg:3004508
 7:09 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

High click thru rate usually means you are willing to spend enough to be in the top 3 spots. Does good ad copy really exist when you have all of 30 characters? I mean you can be bad at ad copy, but not good - if there was more character length then I would agree you can have good ad copy.

kingfish




msg:3004513
 7:12 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

CTR is not directly linked to user satisfaction - at worst it just means you can write good ad copy.
I imagine that many people who can write good copy will give a good user experience as they probably understand the mindset of their target audience. I wouldn't use CTR as a defence for quality though.
I disagree good ad copy won’t sustain you for two years + in a group of keywords where a large percentage of the searches are done by repeat visitors. Furthermore my landing page consistently gets bookmarked by close to 20% of my users Google sends me.
JustinSch




msg:3004538
 7:31 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

There is no need to pool together thousands of dollars and take out an ad. Someone, who is a good writer, and has contact with several big advertisers who are willing to go on record, name, site url, etc, just needs to compile said article and send it out as a press release using something like PR Web which can be done for free.

Take it further use the paid pr web services, use imediafax, etc, and before you know it "Is Google Committing Suicide?" type headlines will be pumped out by major news sources all over the world.

You could than watch as their stock plummets in real time, ouch!

Of course that's not what we want, we want them to undue what they have done, and we don't want them to lose money, we all want them and us to continue to thrive.

hfactor




msg:3004546
 7:37 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

It's all about increasing the cost of keywords, screwing us who pay for the keywords, and increasing Google's bottom line. User experience, landing pages, it's all bull#*$!. They should just come out and tell everyone that the minimum bid is now $5.00 and be done with it....

rryan




msg:3004969
 1:54 am on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I can honestly say I am old enough to remember the glory days of Microsoft. When they were the public hero and looked as if they could do no wrong. It started slowly; just a little uncomfortable at first but over time their actions have nurtured a rather large group of people who don't trust them and who don’t like them. Anytime Microsoft enters the game they pull for the other team no matter who it is.

I see the way Google implemented and seemingly deceptively communicated the rational and criteria of this most recent change as one of the first cracks in the Google armor.

They are still my team but I expected so much more.

Soze




msg:3004986
 2:14 am on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I disagree good ad copy won’t sustain you for two years + in a group of keywords where a large percentage of the searches are done by repeat visitors. Furthermore my landing page consistently gets bookmarked by close to 20% of my users Google sends me.

I completely disagree. I can sustain a high CTR and send people where ever I want. The reason you have to give the user a good experience is because if you don't, you don't profit.

User-experience is related directly to conversions. It has absolutely nothing to do with CTR. The only way it could hurt your CTR is if you use the same general ad on a thousand keywords and people recognize you ad as garbage based on the generic text. The classic examples are ebay ads. Everyone recognizes them and knows what ebay has to offer. If they recognize site.com because they have seen it before, chances are they know if it is what they are looking for. That is the only way that user-experience can effect CTR.

Also, you say you get %20 bookmarkers. If that is the case, why would the return through google? Why not the bookmark? I don't bookmark stuff really, I just search google. I only bookmark pages that aren't easy to remember.

So yeah, I do revisit sites via google searches instead of bookmarking, but that doesnt apply because i wouldnt search for something so specific that i didnt want to click in the first place. That means, you could be hurt by return visitors only by being beat by a better competitor site or on general keywords. But again, general keywords don't get searched over and over again by the same users. No one searches "buy tv" over and over again. If they do, chances are they already went to your site and didnt like your price. So in the end, it wasnt the user experience that hurt your CTR, but rather your prices and once that person buys a tv, he will never hurt your CTR again.

Finally, if you are advertising on keywords that are brands, and you arent that brand, of course the return visitors will hurt you because they tried you once and you werent what they wanted.

I cant think of any keyword that you should be advertising on that gets return visitors that you dont know for a fact want your site.

[edited by: Soze at 2:19 am (utc) on July 13, 2006]

kingfish




msg:3004989
 2:17 am on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

They are still my team but I expected so much more.
I think this sums up my feelings better than anything I could come up with. I just hope they make it right.
sailorjwd




msg:3004994
 2:29 am on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I too provide Google with nearly $300K in revenue per year. Been using adwords for 4 years now I think - way before Adsense.

Emailed my rep - no response.

Little rhyme or reason why some keywords go from 10 cents to $5.00 overnight.

Visitors cut by 30% today, spending up by 30%.

I never wanted to create landing pages just to make adwords happy - I've starting creating one tonight.

If I say anymore it will all be &%^$#$#@ and deleted.

kingfish




msg:3004996
 2:36 am on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Soze, I agree with some of what you say.

The reason you have to give the user a good experience is because if you don't, you don't profit.
I agree this is part of the formula, but the users are better at determining what a good experience is not a non-thinking bot that only looks at objective factors.

Also, you say you get %20 bookmarkers. If that is the case, why would the return through google? Why not the bookmark? I don't bookmark stuff really, I just search google. I only bookmark pages that aren't easy to remember.

That is a mystery to me, but they do according to my stats. In addition my site name (which had no search value two years ago) is now one of the top additional keywords that is recommended by the Google keyword tool when using it on the most trafficked keyword I have, which I read as so many Google users had a good experience at my site it has brought them back to Google to search for my site again and again, and the good will created by my site has brought a monetary benefit to Google and other advertisers in the same key words.

ThinkTank




msg:3005002
 2:46 am on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

a few new words, phrases and names come to mind - lol ... Gevil, "do now evil", Erich Schmidt, Larry Wage, Sergey Grin, AdWorse, ... we have all been screwed royally - lol

now lets help google with their way too overloaded servers and too busy reps (we can buy em a lot of resources, capacity, space and time for free) - the new microsoft live search is my home page (its actually quite ok and if we re-train the masses on our sites they will use it and not know the difference), i have relegated google to a search option in my IE7 searches (still default, but that will change), all permanently running google software has to go as i dont care for them having any extra data of mine anymore (desktop search, toolbar (ie and firefox), gmail notifier, picasa detector, hello, etc.), ANALYTICS HAS TO GO, CONVERSION TRACKING HAS TO GO, GMAIL HAS TO GO ... u get the drift ... and the market forces will win in the end ... good look Gevil

Turns out they were Big Brother all along - god do i feel stupid now!

jim2003




msg:3005009
 2:57 am on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google had a similar update in April. My websites were much more affected by that update than this one. There were quite a few posters on this forum that were affected then as well. But it seemed like there were even more who posted messages saying those affected must have deserved it.

Whom the Google Bell tolls for next is hard to tell.

techrealm




msg:3005022
 3:14 am on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

As I remove my url from my profile <true fear actually> ... I haven't seen an significant increase in price for my keyword's, in fact my conversions (leads) have quadrupled this week (keep's fingers crossed) as this is occuring.

As for alternative "just in case" plans, I recently spent an afternoon with MSN adcenter and was happy that they took the time to really understand my clients online advertising issues as they look at revamping adcenter. Who knows what that may actually bring.

Yahoo PPC has been useless at any cost for me the last year and a half...

ohwell




msg:3005029
 3:31 am on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yahoo semms to hold promise for adult stuff. Don't seem too fussy about stuff like G is. But I must say I was super impressed with the layout and feel of MS AdCenter. They seem hungry and fresh like the Google 3 years back. Unfortunitly for me they don't allow adult. But they seem straight forward. A bid of 5 cents remains a bid of 5 cents. Not all these Mickey Mouse rules Google has. Looks like the wild west in 1885. LOTS of room for everyone.

It occurs to me lately that all software/programmer types jump the shark eventually. The have a good software (or ad program) but they have to give these guys something to keep earning their paychacks so they keep "improving" things. Until the software (or ad prog) is not as good as the previous version. They start out to please the end user and they end up pleasing themselves. Everytime. Can I get an earlier version of Google please.

Fortunatly MS ADCenter is at the beginning of the curve. Got to start promoting mainstream as I love feel of the MS system. With Yahoo/Overture well lets say I'm optimistic although they seem a bit mickey mouse like having to pay in advance and 3 day reviews ect ect. But it seems like they have some open space to start a new life too.

ohwell




msg:3005060
 3:58 am on Jul 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Oh and MS ADCenter also allows you to meta refresh your landing pages. I dont know if they allow multiple listings going to the same domain but no matter as meta refreshes solves that problem. Is that sweet or what. That is Google over two years back. As the poster before me said folks got sore at Microsoft in general a few years back but mostly not for business. With Google folks are sore because of business.

Google may be the biggest game in town but not the only game in town and very well not the best game in town before long if not already. Mr. Gates said on an interview the other night when asked what he likes best about the new MS AdCenter and running it. He said he likes the competition.

hehe This may be a new beginning for the better.

Did I mention MS allows you to import your adgroups from Google. They just need an adsense type prog to increase traffic and surfer awareness and Google may have some stiff competition. If anyone can knock G off their high horse the world's richest man has a shot.

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