As you can see, Iím a new poster here. I usually just lurk and take in the discussions, but recently I encountered a situation thatís had me itching for feedback from the search community.
First, a little background. I am the Internet Marketing Manager for a company that spends approximately $1 million per year in Google AdWords (for a lead generation site). We are the industry leader and the top advertiser in our category.
However, over the past month or so, weíve noticed that several of our competitors have launched what appear to be secondary AdWords accounts using separate destination URLs (itís actually happening on YSM as well, but for the purpose of this discussion Iíll focus on Google). This has enabled them to have their ads show twice on the same page for a given keyword. Although each competitorís secondary landing page has a different design and content than the main one, they share the exact same function - to generate leads for the competitor in question.
For example, for the keyword query ďwidgets,Ē Company BCD has an ad for their main Web site - www.bdc.com - in the third position, above the organic listings. Their second ad - pointing to the site www.secondurl.info, which is a landing page only - appears in the sixth position in the right-hand column. Again, the two sites look fairly unique, but they are both advertising Company BDCís services (not two unique services, mind you - but the exact same ones). This tactic for double-serving has been employed by two of the top three competitors in our industry (a third, smaller player has recently jumped on the bandwagon as well).
Now, these practices were in such clear violation of AdWordís TOS that we didnít foresee a problem getting Google to stop them. I called our AdWords rep and let her know about the issue, and she said it would be resolved in a few days. About a week later, I received an e-mail stating that appropriate action had been taken against the advertisers in question. However, I then queried one of our popular search terms on Google just to check, and the same two competitors were still showing multiple listings!
So I put in another call to AdWords and told them that the double-serving was still going on, and our rep said that it would be helpful if we gave her a list of the keywords for which itís happening. It seemed to me that Google was dragging their heels by making us police the advertisers for violations, but I acquiesced and told her Iíd compile the info.
Before I start collecting data to send them, however, I wanted to see if anyone out there in the SEM community has experienced a situation like this. If so, what is the most effective way of getting Google to take action? I insinuated (in a roundabout way) that if the double-serving is allowed to continue, then we are going to follow suit - except weíll do it with four or five separate URLís instead of just two. Now, Iíd much rather have Google resolve the issue according to their TOS, but every day that goes by, weíre seeing a negative impact on our CPC and CPA figures. I mean, if they just turn a blind eye to infractions like these, arenít they basically telling other advertisers thatís itís OK to do the same thing?
Please - let me know if any of you have insight into this issue. I would love to hear your feedback, and any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!