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Google API - Charging for usage starting 10/1
We've been wondering when this was going to happen...

 4:51 pm on Aug 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, after the big announcement of charging for Google API usage this spring, and then what seemed like an indefinite delay of this rollout, I received notice today that there is a transition in September to this new system ($.25 per 1000 quota units) and charging will begin Oct 1. This is going to add considerable expense (potentially even prohibitive expense?) to businesses developing Adwords management tools (our current api quota of 30M translates to $7500 of cost each month) and I am curious what companies that use the API here think about this?

Also, any thoughts of the effect of this change on the big PPC management players? Is this going to drive down margins, drive up prices, push them back to screen scraping versus using the API?




 9:53 pm on Aug 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Do you get any credits based on your spend under management or is it now that you have to pay for everything & get no credits based on spend levels. I've read through most of the stuff here:


and here:


So you just signup and pay those rates for everything? And what if you are using a tool that already uses the API and you want to have your own tool that does different things, how does that work?


 12:52 am on Sep 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Basically everything is shifting from varying free quotas to pay for *everthing*, regardless of your size or any previous free quota.

All SEM's, bid management services, etc. will be part of this new policy, with the single exception if you are a *single* advertiser that has developed tools to manage that single companies campaign (i.e. no agencies or outsourced managers or software companies would fall in this camp).

Curious to hear others thoughts that use the API on this? Google claims that this is to 'encourage efficiency' of coding, etc., but obviously there is a monetary reward for them doing this, as they could simply set a quota of certain API calls per account per time period if it was purely an efficiency thing (much like Yahoo does in limiting account API calls).


 10:43 am on Sep 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

It is wrong of Google to charge for using their API. They should thank us for using their API! It allows us to manage more keywords, and spend more money!

One suggestion to Google: Give all the money you get from API usage, back to the advertisers. But give it back with proportion to monthly spend. Advertisers who spend a lot of money, with efficient API usage would benefit. Advertisers who spend little money, with inefficient API usage would need to improve.

Another suggestion: Give the money to charity!

, but obviously there is a monetary reward for them doing this, as they could simply set a quota of certain API calls per account per time period if it was purely an efficiency thing (much like Yahoo does in limiting account API calls)

I agree completely. The purpose of this new model is to make more money, besides the efficiency thing.


 2:19 pm on Sep 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

The API fees are more reasonable than they were when originally proposed back in Q4 2005. Truth is, API fees coming down the pike *has* made us much more efficient in our use. That said, however, I for one don't think Google's doing this for the money - I think they're doing it to get better control over 3rd parties and specifically to obligate them to fully support Google's targeting features as opposed to the lowest common denominator approach the majority of the market seems to have taken.



 3:26 pm on Sep 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

some people here need to learn about a little something called "economics"...


 3:39 pm on Sep 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Interesting news... what I find somewhat confusing is that Google's API terms and conditions states:

"The Google SOAP Search API service is made available to you for your personal, non-commercial use only (at home or at work)."

Would non-commercial mean not for profit? if so, the fact that they are charging for usage by non profit entities seems somewhat contradictory.

Agreed they are probably not doing it for the money and this is more of a quality control move.. but wonder why they allow commercial use when the terms and conditions states non commercial use?


 8:30 pm on Sep 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

They are talking about writing a pogram that used google adwords api and selling that program.


 8:58 pm on Sep 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

They are talking about writing a pogram that used google adwords api and selling that program.

Any idea if that includes application services or web based services?

I am just wondering because I see so many commercial services and softwares on the web that publish PR data. I wonder if this is under a commercial license or if it's in violation of the terms?


 1:07 am on Sep 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm guessing there were a few users using the API a bit too much, so much that it was costing Google too much. I would predict this new policy won't affect too many users, and any agency/advertiser spending a lot of $ won't need to worry too much....or will they?


 10:10 am on Sep 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

I find the API charges unreasonable, especially when you consider that adding a single ad (creative) is 250 quota units, and a keyword is 50. Just a few ads and keywords will now add up to real dollars.

The whole concept of charging for the API makes no sense to me. What exactly is Google trying to control here? The API is meant to make use of Adwords easier, thus enabling advertisers to spend more, so you'd think that it would be in Google's interest to push its use.

I don't buy the part about making "advertisers more responsible". There are already existing controls in place in the Adwords system targeting advertisers who insist on filling up their accounts with thousands of unproductive deadwood ads and keywords.

Charging for the API hurts both Google and its advertisers in my view.


 10:24 am on Sep 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

To put this in perspective with some figures, consider creating an account with 25 campaigns, 100 adgroups each, 20 keywords per adgroup.

Cost to create the adgroups:

25 x 100 = 2500 adgroups
250 Quota Units / adgroup = 625,000 quota units
At $0.25/1000 quota units, Total For Adgroups = $156.25

Cost to create the keywords:

25 x 100 x 20 = 50,000 keywords
50 Quota Units / keyword = 2,500,000 quota units
At $0.25/1000 quota units, Total For Keywords = $$625.00


That's just to CREATE the account - it doesn't include the additional ongoing charges if you use the API to modify and manage it.

Frankly this will render the use of the API prohibitive for me, at least. Back to the stone age, I guess.


 10:37 am on Sep 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Please can someone confirm for me that:
1 Google API and Google SOAP Search API are the same thing, and
2 Google API is an additional service to Google Adwords

i.e. I am not about to be charged for setting up or edditing my existing AdWords Campaigns, AdGroups or Keywords.


 3:51 pm on Sep 3, 2006 (gmt 0)


As long as you do the editing inside adwords itself or the adwords editor you will not be charged. This only goes for special programs that use the API to do these kind of things.


 5:09 pm on Sep 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

I can sleep at night again now


 10:50 am on Sep 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

I for one don't think Google's doing this for the money

Agreed they are probably not doing it for the money

Those are silly comments in my ears. If you charge for something you "do it for the money". Otherwise you wouldn't charge.


 12:09 pm on Sep 4, 2006 (gmt 0)


It has been demonstrated time and again that people treat something costing 1c much better than something costing 0c, whatever its value.

Especially given some of the crowd that G has to deal with, putting *any* sort of charging in place is more likely there to get the users to think carefully before pointlessly hammering G's servers, eg because they can't be bothered to optimise a query.

So, I also feel that this is unlikely to be "for the money". It's (IMHO of course) to instill some care in the careless.




 12:37 pm on Sep 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

I can't beleive there exist people that want to pay more money to google!

people treat something costing 1c much better than something costing 0c

Yes, obviously! Nobody questions that.

But why charge money? What's wrong with the old quota system? You get an api query quota depending on how much you're spending. When you've run out quotas, you're bound to make your queries more effective!

I use adwords for business purposes. I don't know about you others? When some supplier raise their prices, for exactly the same product, I will protest, I will haggle. Even if it is small money, I wont pay for nothing!


 12:47 pm on Sep 4, 2006 (gmt 0)


You really are just too nice and rational a person. B^>

G is dealing with "The Tragedy of the Commons" where selfish people will consume all of a resource *now* even if they don't need it just because they can more-or-less (or maybe they can sell it on!).

G almost certainly does not want to be micromanaging quotas in a socialist fashion, so a charge in proportion to G's costs means that people who fail to optimise at least pay their costs and so avoid hurting others. And some businesses will be prepared to pay G extra (at least short-term) to avoid having to pay one of those ugly IT consultant types such as me to fix their system.

So, cost-based-charging has exactly the right mixture of deterrence, reward for *efficient* behaviour, penalties for stupidity, plus automation, that G thrives on. IMHO. YMMV.



GrendelKhan TSU

 12:52 pm on Sep 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

will this affect GoogleMap's API usage?


 1:10 pm on Sep 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

IT consultant types such as me
Ah, so you are not an adwords account "owner" like me for example. That actually will pay for this?

Please leave socialism out of this context. Even if I see the similarity, api quotas has very little to do with macroeconomics.

Damon, let's say that you're right. Money is the absolute best way to get people stop using the api! Why not give that money back to advertisers?

a charge in proportion to G's costs

In that case, why not also a cash-back in proportion to G's incomes for the api?

This charge is greedy. And it's bad customer service.


 2:40 pm on Sep 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Ah, so you are not an adwords account "owner" like me for example.

If you have a direct relationship with Google and only use the API for your own business, you may be entitled (at least from what I see) to discuss a free quota allowance directly with them. Presumably you would need a large enough account to have such a direct relationship.


 3:30 pm on Sep 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi johannes,

1) I am an AdSense publisher and AdWords advertiser. If you can't see my attempt at diplomatic modesty when I hit you in the face with it, well... B^>

2) The "socialism" element is G having to guess how much quota each user "should" have as opposed to how much they are prepared to pay or cross-subsidise. For example, how much free quota should the following have relative to one another: (1) British Airways (2) The Red Cross (3) Yahoo! (4) A new mom-and-pop? If G can't/won't spend the effort to do that "according to its needs" allocation then, so that the money doesn't end up indirectly coming out of the pockets of advertisers and publishers such as you and me, G has to recover the costs from somewhere. The simplest answer is surely to recover the costs from those incurring them, hopefully in proportion to the costs incurred.

3) I do not believe for one moment that G wants to *stop* people using the API. I suspect that they want people to stop running 100,000-dictionary-dump campaigns, churning them wastefully, and generally hogging resources consumed by bad programming in API client code. If you've ever seen an administrator/developer cry with the block-headed misuse some people put simple APIs to, then you probably know what G is trying to stop...



[edited by: DamonHD at 3:37 pm (utc) on Sep. 4, 2006]


 8:56 pm on Sep 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

What Google is certainly going to stop is people submitting keywords and creatives over the API. 50 quota units per keyword and 250 per creative is too much. Especially the 50 per keyword.

It reminds me of the old story about the bus company that decided it could run the buses more efficiently if they didn't keep stopping to pick up passengers.


 9:54 pm on Sep 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is on a par with having a door charge at a grocery store.

I'd support a charging scheme like this for the regular Google API (with commercial usage) though :) Lots of data it'd be great to legitimately mine.


 10:23 pm on Sep 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

When we started out with the API we were taken by the ability to do everything out of adwords but this soon changed when we blew our quota quickly.
In reality if you have the benefit of some man power then the best balance is to use the API for things like bid management and ROI and then using your resource to adminstrate adwords normally for other jobs.

Chopping out poor performing keywords or optimising bid strategies uses very little quota even with alot of changes.

Anything else such as big account construction & a mass keyword barrage isnt efficient with the API and if you think about it you can understand why they dont like that.


 9:48 am on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)


G has to recover the costs from somewhere.

Google has costs for the api. Sure. But there is also revenue. I'm sure that the api has been very profitable for google. I state it again: Google should thank us for using the api!

The grocery store analogy by wackybrit is spot on.


 11:58 am on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)


But are *you* willing to pay for British Airways' (or other deep-pocket org that may not be prepared to optimise theier code *yet* and let's G take the strain instead) inefficient use of the API?

In effect, you *are* now being forced to pay for exactly this I think.




 4:27 pm on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

magicdan has got it right.

updateCriteria and the the reportinservice is the only stuff that is worth using in the API. Everything else has to be done with the adwords editor.


 4:40 pm on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

I stopped using WP4 a while back as I didn't want Goog penalizing me for running inquiries on their servers.

I have placed some $$$s into my API account and my new API in Web Position so I should be OK querying now?

This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 ( [1] 2 > >
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