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Websites That May Merit A Low Quality Score
For the first time, AdWords Gets Specific (sorta)
netmeg




msg:3454982
 3:11 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

From the Inside AdWords Blog, dated 09-18-2007:

Types of websites that will be penalized with low landing page quality scores:
  • Data collection sites that offer free gifts, subscription services etc., in order to collect private information
  • Arbitrage sites that are designed for the sole purpose of showing ads
  • Malware sites that knowingly or unknowingly install software on a visitor's computer

( ... )

The following types of websites are likely to merit low landing page quality scores and may be difficult to advertise affordably. In addition, it's important for advertisers of these types of websites to adhere to our landing page quality guidelines regarding unique content.

  • eBook sites that show frequent ads or install malware
  • 'Get rich quick' sites
  • Comparison shopping sites
  • Travel aggregators
  • Affiliates that don't comply with our affiliate guidelines

Entire blog entry here:
[adwords.blogspot.com ]

 

europeforvisitors




msg:3458443
 6:05 am on Sep 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

No, common sense dictates that if you find a certain type of web site to be a poor experience to users then you shouldn't link to similar web sites that your company owns either.

A user who clicks a "Products" navigation link on Google.com knows he's being taken to a price-comparison page. A user who clicks an AdWord doesn't know that.

Using monopolistic tactics and disguising them as improvements is just another way that Google keeps die-hards such as yourself towing the party line.

Ah, the classic Webmaster World ad hominem argument. When logic fails, resort to name-calling. :-)

Rehan




msg:3458488
 9:41 am on Sep 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

A user who clicks a "Products" navigation link on Google.com knows he's being taken to a price-comparison page. A user who clicks an AdWord doesn't know that.

Really? So someone who searches for a camera model and sees ads like "Compare Prices on a Wide Variety of Photography Equipment & Save Money" and "Find the Right Price! Compare Shops & Purchase Online - Quick & Easy" has no idea that those ads lead to price comparison pages? I think you're being a bit unrealistic.

bw3ttt




msg:3458624
 3:43 pm on Sep 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

A user who clicks a "Products" navigation link on Google.com knows he's being taken to a price-comparison page. A user who clicks an AdWord doesn't know that.

That is a very poor argument as well as an inaccurate argument

Anyone who has been here more than a week knows that you love to take any position contrary to what everyone else is saying while maintaining a sort of holier than thou attitude. It's very annoying and your argument in this case is quite weak.

outland88




msg:3458856
 12:16 am on Sep 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes, its interesting some of the most prolific Adwords posters have never spent a dime themselves on Adwords. I tend to draw my advice from those who are actually spending money in the program. You know its that experience thing or I think somebody is running their own personal agenda to draw attention to something.

Web_speed




msg:3458859
 12:38 am on Sep 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think somebody is running their own personal agenda to draw attention to something.

Spot on!....unbelievable annoyance.

[edited by: Web_speed at 12:38 am (utc) on Sep. 24, 2007]

chief72




msg:3458863
 12:44 am on Sep 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have to agree with the above posters EFV, that was not one of your better made arguments. I believe Rehan's example was a good one. On this occasion, I'm afraid you are guilty of over generalisation.

Personally I own several niche comparison sites. Interestingly I have seen some slapped whilst others of near identical design structure continue to thrive. Naturally I have resisted the temptation to point this out to G for fear of manual review correcting the anomaly - and not in my favor.

I have always rationalised that these type of sites would be unpopular with the overlords at G for obvious reasons pointed out elsewhere in this discussion - G doesn't get paid for the clicks. I get that they would want to protect their profits - if not a little begrudgingly.

Lastly I would like to add this to the discussion; why does G expect greater standards from it's advertisers than it does it's search partners.

europeforvisitors




msg:3458978
 6:30 am on Sep 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think somebody is running their own personal agenda.

LOL. Is there anyone here who doesn't have a personal agenda?

Like it or not, media have always had the power to set their own advertising standards. If Google wants to freeze out what it regards as low-quality landing pages with unsustainable minimum bids, that's just a kinder and gentler way of saying "Thanks, but we don't want your ad."

It's all about freedom. If you and I want the freedom to run our Web businesses the way we like, it's hypocritical of us to think we should be able to dictate how Google, Yahoo, etc. run theirs.

Webwork




msg:3459317
 4:16 pm on Sep 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Until Google steps up to explain or respond it's not all bad to have some balance to the statements, interpretations and analysis applied to G's actions - such as EFV provides. Evidently G doesn't care to assign someone the task of responding in many of these thread and I can understand why - "big corporate" issues and all. In the void, left by their silence, I'm consistenly left with the impression that "if G was talking" they'd probably say something akin to what EFV has to offer.

Thanks, EFV, for taking the heat in many of the G threads and for transforming many threads/issues from a monologue - with no reply from G - to some degree of a rational dialogue. I wouldn't want to be in your shoes despite the value that your point-counterpoint approach brings to the analysis of G's actions. Kudos for doing a dirty job well.

Of course, EFV may be "out of a job" any time G chooses to step up and engage the day to day issues . . . ;)

[edited by: Webwork at 4:38 pm (utc) on Sep. 24, 2007]

stevenmusumeche




msg:3459372
 5:16 pm on Sep 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes, its interesting some of the most prolific Adwords posters have never spent a dime themselves on Adwords. I tend to draw my advice from those who are actually spending money in the program. You know its that experience thing or I think somebody is running their own personal agenda to draw attention to something.

As someone who spends 17k+ per month on AdWords, I love the new guidelines. I am a web retailer and I believe I am Google's target customer for AdWords. I like that Google is eliminating the middleman, because it is getting difficult to be profitable while advertising on AdWords. Just my 2 cents...

bw3ttt




msg:3459432
 6:22 pm on Sep 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm a big, big fan of capitalism and crushing the competition so badly that they go on welfare or even become homeless as a result of having the nerve to compete against me.. Soooo I'm not whining about getting squeezed for more money or that life on the internet is unfair..

I'm saying it's annoying that people are still saying that Google is just concerned about quality and user experience above all else. I picture the same people who defend Google religiously are the same people who were talking about how great communism is while standing in a 3 hour bread line in 1988.

There's nothing wrong with comparison shopping sites except for the fact that they cut into Goo's margins too much. Goo says that they provide a poor user experience and then link to their own comparison shopping site at the top of the SERPs.. I don't hate them for it because I would do the same thing! Just don't tell me it has anything to do with the reasons they are giving.. Honestly, I have some ocean-front property in Arizona to sell you at rock-bottom prices if you take their word at face value.

There are people who will defend Google to the end and this has almost become a quasi-political issue. It seems people have stopped using their brains and have become robots "towing the party line".

europeforvisitors




msg:3459978
 5:40 am on Sep 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm saying it's annoying that people are still saying that Google is just concerned about quality and user experience above all else.

You haven't been reading carefully. Google is concerned about quality and the user experience because it has a reputation and a business to protect. That's especially true in the case of AdWords (as opposed to AdSense) because users who click on a Google SERP ad and are disappointed by the result will blame Google for their bad "user experience." What's more, if this happens too often, those disillusioned users will be less inclined to click on ads at all, which will mean less money for Google and less success for AdWords over the long term.

There's nothing wrong with comparison shopping sites except for the fact that they cut into Goo's margins too much.

The problem isn't comparison-shopping sites per se, it's the pandemic of template-based, computer-generated "thin affiliate" shopping sites that bring no unique technology, insights, or other added value to the party. If you're being hammered by a low AdWords quality score, then you'd be wise to spend less time questioning Google's motives and more time building pages that are useful and unique. As a bonus, you might get more free traffic from Google's organic results, too.

potentialgeek




msg:3460244
 1:32 pm on Sep 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Does Quality Score ever take into account the number of publishers who blacklisted you? Would you be offended if Google sent you an email saying your QS went down because 100 publishers blacklisted you this week?

If Google really wants to deal with junk of the type it identified, it needs to start an often-requested Junk Filter that is separate from the Adsense Competitive Ad Filter which tops out at 200 domains.
(Many of us have reached the limit.)

Add a Junk Filter (I used to call it Fraud Filter, to deal with deceptive ads), with no quantity limits on number of domains that can be blocked, and the option to blacklist by AdWords account (for all the schemers with many domains on one account).

EPV correctly noted that businesses have always had standards on what ads they're willing to allow. Publishers, too. Except with the Adsense program. As if users who aren't publishers are the only people who can discern if ads give bad user experiences.

Google can't imagine that some publishers would actually like to spare their visitors from useless or misleading ads and take the initiative of blocking their ads, instead of waiting for users to complain directly to Google. (Which may or may not do anything... months later.)

So many bad user experiences could be avoided from bad AdWords ads if Google gave the type of respect to publishers it gives to Joe User and Jane Adwords Account Holder.

How difficult is it for a publisher to visit his own site, see which ads show up, read the target URL, then visit it and judge the site for value and honesty?

Instead we get monthly free advice automated emails saying we should unban the domains from our Competitive Ad Filter (used to block deceptive ads) to make more money.

According to Google, publishers are only smart enough to put its code in webpages and upload.

p/g

netmeg




msg:3460245
 1:33 pm on Sep 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

There's nothing wrong with comparison shopping sites except for the fact that they cut into Goo's margins too much.

In what way? Most of them run AdSense. Google gets a share of that. Google's own comparison shopping, Google Products, is completely free. They get the ad income (same as from other comparison shopping sites) and whatever branding benefit from Google Checkout vendors, but that's about it. I don't see how you can say that comparison shopping sites cut into Google's margins.

chief72




msg:3460323
 2:52 pm on Sep 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't see how you can say that comparison shopping sites cut into Google's margins.

I believe this assertion is based upon sites that, for examples sake links to several merchant sites all of whom are also adwords competitors. If all these sites are examined through the aff site as opposed to through adwords G loses potential revenue.

I also believe - and I may be wrong - that many of these sites are not carrying adsense ads as they have been identified as one of the potential triggers of the Google Slap.

bw3ttt




msg:3460345
 3:20 pm on Sep 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

In what way?

I mentioned this before.. Comparison shopping sites are the last stop in the click train..

Rather than a consumer clicking on several adwords ads, they need only visit the comparison shopping site and they can visit each site via the comparison shopping site rather than adwords..

eBay, Amazon, Target, Wal-mart etc..

Not only are they listed on comparison shopping sites, but they are listed in a more consumer-friendly format.

Also, the sites do not have Adsense, they are part of the search network which is different.. So they list the same adwords ads, but Goo has to pay them a share of each click.. It's sort of like the click train jumping tracks.. This is why they don't like comparison shopping sites.

Affiliate generated clones of shopping.com and Y! shopping are a different matter and would covered under "non-unique affiliate content", but they said nothing about this.. They just said "comparison shopping sites"..

Google is concerned about quality and the user experience because it has a reputation and a business to protect.

Comparison shopping sites are not a bad user experience.. Why single-out comparison shopping sites and then allow sites that copy wikipedia articles and paste two adsense blocks on the top of the page? It's all based on a formula:

X = The money we make off a click
Y = the amount we can piss people off and have them come back
Z = total revenue

X - Y = Z

pretty simple..

if you're being hammered by a low AdWords quality score

I'm not.. doing great.. Just tired of the die-hards who refuse to open their eyes.. The cute little Google of 2001 is gone!

europeforvisitors




msg:3460404
 4:01 pm on Sep 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well, the bottom line is that, if Google thinks comparison-shopping landing pages are "low-quality," questioning Google's motives won't change that--and it's unlikely to change Google's corporate mind.

What will you do now? You could regard the scoring changes as an opportunity to build landing pages that meet Google's quality standards, in which case you'd be one step ahead of competitors who are unable or unwilling to adapt.

hercules




msg:3460481
 5:07 pm on Sep 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google is losing it. Since when is shopping comparison not ok? and what's is a Travel Aggregator? Does anybody here know that?

europeforvisitors




msg:3460551
 6:01 pm on Sep 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

The term "travel aggregator" generally refers to a site like Kayak or Qixo that displays fares or deals from multiple booking engines and vendor sites. (Such sites were called "fare-scrapers" in the not too distant past.)

bw3ttt




msg:3460560
 6:10 pm on Sep 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google knows what they're doing.. I don't question that, nor do I expect webmaster whining to change anything.. Personally I don't do comparison shopping, ebooks and do not know what a travel aggregator is (I think it's a ticket comparison shopping engine). Google will keep us on our toes and you have to roll with the punches and constantly adapt or you'll be getting a real job in the near future..

My experience over the last ten years has been a mixture of extreme highs and lows.. Right now I'm somewhere in between and that's ok with me..

hercules




msg:3461296
 11:32 am on Sep 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thanks Europefor visitors for your clear explanation.

I think making it for shopping sites and Travel Aggretors impossible to advertise they are violating european law and making misuse of their monopoly. Microsoft paid a big sum of money in such a case. If Neelie Kroes or here EU department reads these I guess Google can get in trouble for misusing their Monopoly.

europeforvisitors




msg:3461495
 2:43 pm on Sep 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google doesn't have a monopoly on advertising, or even on online advertising. And having advertising standards is a whole different matter from bundling applications into an operating system.

aeronautic




msg:3461890
 8:02 pm on Sep 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google doesn't have a monopoly on advertising, or even on online advertising.

I'm afraid I must disagree.

They have an effective monopoly on the micro advertising and CPC market in the same way as Microsoft was found to have one in the OS sector.

Were there other OS choices when Microsoft got slapped in court (as they did yet again in Europe)? Yes, of course.

Are there options both major and minor in the AdWords niche? Yes.

Is there any doubt that AdWords occupies the vast majority of the transaction space? Me thinks not.

I am no fan of regulation. But the time is coming when Google may find itself looking at an experience with State AGs, Congress and European regulators not unlike that faced by Microsoft.

Could not happen to a bunch of more arrogant people in my experience.

hercules




msg:3461981
 9:31 pm on Sep 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google has more then 90% market share in Holland. MSN 1% Ilse 4%
That's a monopoly if it comes to search.

toddb




msg:3462055
 11:10 pm on Sep 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think, EFV does not use adwords. By an outside view all of this stuff does look really reasonable. It is from the inside when ads that have been running for 3 years are now considered low quality. Or trying to add ads to an existing site of high quality and seeing the new ones flagged as low. Or worse having that new low quality creep all over the other ads.

Google has a great product, it is just so unpredictable from my point of view. I have hung in there for 4 years and will continue to do so but every year it gets harder.

aeronautic




msg:3462652
 2:17 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

If one simply looks at the percentage of the search market Google controls, which we all know is the largest, since they control the advertising on those pages we can conclude they control the largest slice of search advertising.

But beyond that they also have their content network and the emerging sectors of Google print and radio (no doubt broadcast video is coming too). Again, they are not the only player. But monopoly power historically has rarely been exercised by the only player. It has to do with dominance and conduct.

Again, I point to Microsoft for a recent example. While I mentioned the OS issues earlier, I forget to mention the browser troubles they faced in the past.

Much of the attitude and culture in the AdWords unit brewed during the heady days of private ownership. It is an attitude I've found extremely unpleasant to put it diplomatically. Now the company is public and must answer to different regulations and some new masters (stock holders).

My hope is that market forces (customers) and institutional investors intervene and "educate" the arrogance out of Google and AdWords senior management before (more) lawsuits and regulators act.

What is often forgotten in discussions about the many many failures of AdWords technology and horrible support is that every time an AdWords advertiser leaves, reduces ad buys or otherwise complains to other business people about AdWords it damages Google net income, shareholder value and AdSense publishers around the world.

europeforvisitors




msg:3462972
 5:52 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

What is often forgotten in discussions about the many many failures of AdWords technology and horrible support is that every time an AdWords advertiser leaves, reduces ad buys or otherwise complains to other business people about AdWords it damages Google net income, shareholder value and AdSense publishers around the world.

It isn't that simple. The presence of certain ads or advertisers may inhibit participation by more desirable advertisers, such as those with more staying power, deeper pockets, or greater appeal to users. For example, if the AdSense network is overrun with ads for click arbitrageurs and ads for "dead popes" on eBay, mainstream advertisers may decide to stay away, and users may be less inclined to click on ads. That's why (to borrow a cliche) Google can't afford to let the inmates run the asylum.

aeronautic




msg:3462997
 6:27 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

europeforvisitors - I fail to grasp your point. I never suggested that AdWords embrace "bad actors" for lack of a better generic term.

Nor did I suggest management by customer.

However, in the context of an ongoing contractual business relationship Google bears significant accountability for its conduct, which as is well documented, by publication and litigation, it has deflected time and again.

Do a search for terms like "canned response" and "cut-and-paste" and "boilerplate" and "template" along with "AdWords" and "support."

I just tried: adwords canned support response - and came back with 80,000 hits. Few of those results reflect satisfaction with AdWords' support. That's a lot of PO'd people.

Google fell into the "low-cost (to our shareholders) support at the expense of the customer trap" and seem to care not to leave it. Their customers pay them and expect better - at least I do.

brizad




msg:3463057
 7:26 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

However, in the context of an ongoing contractual business relationship Google bears significant accountability for its conduct, which as is well documented, by publication and litigation, it has deflected time and again.

Do a search for terms like "canned response" and "cut-and-paste" and "boilerplate" and "template" along with "AdWords" and "support."

I just tried: adwords canned support response - and came back with 80,000 hits. Few of those results reflect satisfaction with AdWords' support. That's a lot of PO'd people.

Google has always been an arrogant and elitist company. They've always maintained the attitude that "we're smarter than you and we know better than you silly proletariats." (I don't discount the fact that they have done a lot of things right and made billions.)

They try to cultivate a populist image and most people not involved in this business probably buy into it. Those of us who do business with them see the real google or at least another side of them.

I've been to google corporate many times and have spoken to dozens of their employees many times. They seem like very pleasant and happy people and almost without exception they have the saccharine smile and attitude of a brainwashed zombie. They are as near a cult as I have ever seen in a corporation.

They LOVE google with all their heart and soul (could be the stock options) and they have swallowed the corporate mantra and endless propaganda. They cannot comprehend that google is not perfect in every way and beyond reproach.

Those who don't agree are disregarded as ignorant peasants whose lack of knowledge and sophistication can only be remedied if they would just worship at the google altar and they would see the light too--the one true god--GOOGLE! Oh master, thine is so holy.

You think I'm kidding here but I'm not. When you realize this then a lot of their actions make "sense."

DamonHD




msg:3463090
 8:02 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

I know a couple of (senior) Google people quite well, and "zombie" and "arrogant" are so far from applicable that they are slander. Really.

Google runs AS/AW with boilerplate reponses in the first instance because many of their customers are too darn stupid/idle/crooked/whatever to work out the right thing to do on their own without big cluestick, and G has to keep its costs down if it's to give all parties a decent cut.

Name calling doesn't make you right.

Yes, AS/AW support is annoying, but I've run/owned companies (eg an ISP) where I'm amazed that my CSR staff didn't just torture the very-high-maintenance and often stupid/idle/crooked/rude 5%-10% of customers I wish we could all avoid somehow. I can't stand doing customer support, and I've collected some choice examples of why over the years.

Rgds

Damon

netmeg




msg:3463114
 8:27 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Exactly so. I haven't found them arrogant or elitist in the slightest; I get the same support for my tiny personal AdWords account as I get for my client accounts spending 70k per month.

The email support has definitely deteriorated; if you want to get anything done quickly, your best bet is to either call 'em up on the phone or engage a support rep in chat. Saves loads of time and effort, and once you can make contact with a (presumably) live human, and they realize you're not the lowest common denominator when it comes to your knowledge of AdWords, things get taken care of right quickly.

Email Support does need work, though.

aeronautic




msg:3463130
 8:40 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

There is a gargantuan difference between truly helpful canned responses which quickly direct someone paying attention to actually useful resources that will assist them in solving their problem, and the AdWords staff I've encountered time after time who fail to read, comprehend and specifically respond to a painstakingly crafted query sent regretfully (in anticipation of the poor support and coming wasted time), after failing to find answers in carefully RFDs.

Sure support appears to some firms as an expense that is a pain to administer. But guess what? If you are charging for a service in 2007 (or selling a product) in the developed world you better darn well provide it and do it well.

If you can't, pull it from the marketplace.

My hosting supplier deals with experienced administrators and newly minted entrepreneurs. I've this same issue with them but not nearly to this extent. Damon, this mirrors your comment and I'm sympathetic.

The trick is to train all of your support staff to distinguish detailed and thoughtful questions from nonsense that's already explained there in the docs or TOS and act accordingly. My experience and the public record reflects the fact that in this respect AdWords fails miserably. Time after time after time.

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