As a publisher I can only hope Google cleans up this mess where display URLs can be different from where my visitor is going to go. Also redirection is unneeded in my book, so it should be banned as it's abused to avoid our filters for crap ads.
Make a real simple rule: user ends up where the display URL is pointing, no redirections.
What if your destination url is a TON of querystrings. that's going to look TERRIBLE. Or can we just have our domain name?
|What if your destination url is a TON of querystrings. |
I'm afraid the PhDs at Google must have flunked English yet still got their degrees. They seldom express themselves clearly, and often use incorrect terminology.
Query strings are irrelevant. It's NOT the URL that must match - it's the domain name.
You have to realize - these are the same people that call key phrases "keywords".
You'd think Google could just follow the destination URL and figure out the display URL - like a browser (or a search engine robot) does. Or, is that too simple?
Couldn't you just assign additional names to your website's current IP address? Would doing this hurt organic search rankings?
|Couldn't you just assign additional names to your website's current IP address? Would doing this hurt organic search rankings? |
Per SEO rules, it would hurt. If you have multiple domain names pointing to the same site, 301 is a way to go. With 301 in place, you are forced to use one URL only at Google AdWords.
I personally tried multiple domains to one site on AdWords in the past, and QS would go down, and only one domain would stay in good shape.
What about my destination url that contains affiliate tracking code? Uh-oh. Maybe that's what Google is trying to knock out.
My destination url looks something like this:
I think us Commission Junction affiliates are in trouble.
|What about my destination url that contains affiliate tracking code? Uh-oh. Maybe that's what Google is trying to knock out. |
This is way more simple than people are making it out to be. The biggest problem is Google's collective lack of language proficiency. They almost ALWAYS use incorrect or confusing terminology.
I'm beginning to think this is intentional. If not, I doubt that there is any other place on the planet with so many PhDs with so little language proficiency.
Google Speak Real World
keyword key phrase
URL domain name
destination URL landing page domain name
1. Look the the domain name displayed in your ad.
2. Look at the domain name displayed in your browser's URL bar when the user arrives on your site.
Do they match? If so, you are golden. Redirects along the way do not matter as long as they do not display intermediate pages.
display URL destination URL OK?
----------- --------------- ---
example.com example.com OK
example.com/widgets example.com/redwidgets OK
foo.example.com example.com OK
example.com/foo example.com OK example.com?id=457382&color=red OK
example.com myexamplewidget.com NO
There's one other rule, which is also widely abused, but I suppose not such a big deal - the display URL must EXIST.
That is, you can't use a display URL of example.com/foo, and then have the user get a 404 error if they navigate directly to example.com/foo.
They've got bigger problems than to worry about this minutia, though. They need to learn how to speak and write clearly first, then they can worry about whether or not their customers are following the rules. As it is, their customers have no idea what the rules are, because Google can't express them clearly.
(Sorry for the formatting - my next rant is about WebmasterWorld's broken fixed formatting. Spaces - of any kind - not just nbsp's, should get the same width as characters!)
For anyone interested, it is possible that they will make exceptions. I called AdWords and talked to a rep and explained my situation. In my case my domain name was 6 characters too long without www so it had to be abreviated. When called them they did a review of the domain name and a couple of days later they gave me an exception.
It's April 1 and it seems like nothing has changed. Ads with display URL violations that were running before today are still running. And new ads with display URL violations can still be created.
I launched this ad this morning:
|Display URL test |
Please disapprove this ad because
the display URL does not match.
The destination URL and landing page are a domain other than google.com. I wonder if and when it will get disapproved.
AWA will do it. ;)
I see brand new ads too (with bad display URL). Real ones. I know they have appeared today as my average CPC has changed quite a bit.
Is this that Google AdWords just bought another three years of FOOLING people around.
Is there anyone in this world who can NAIL down that company?
Rehan, is that ad actually showing after you created it? My understanding is you can still create them with different display and destnation TLD's but now they are not eligible to show until manual review before they were.
smallcompany, unfortunately there is no way to tell for sure if an ad you did not create is new or not as it could have been created years ago and was paused and recently unpaused or it may not have been targetting your geographic area and now it is. So since this new policy enforcement does not yet effect previously created ads it may be one of those.
We all expected some proactive technological solution that would actually prevent this from happening.
On another side, if manual reviews will apply to all ads, I am saluting to it as that is still much better than having nothing in place.
|unfortunately there is no way to tell for sure if an ad you did not create is new or not as it could have been created years ago and was paused and recently unpaused or it may not have been targetting your geographic area and now it is |
True. It is just that those are brand new as I’ve been in the space for very long time and folks that are doing this particular “trick” have already been identified and nailed down by merchant itself. New kids in the block… causing pain.
|Rehan, is that ad actually showing after you created it? |
Yes, that ad has actually been showing for several hours. I increased the bid recently and now it's in the yellow area above the organic results.
yeah I would have prefered something more proactive as well like stopping the ad from being created in the first place but I guess it is too complicated for all those engineers to figure out if a destination URL with a different TLD from the display URL redirects properly or not. ;) While subjecting them to review before allowing them to show is an improvement, it still leaves open the opportunity for ones to slip through and they have already proven how good they are at letting that happen. But since Rehan's ad started appearing right away than even this new level of enforcement is not working. :(
[edited by: Kobayashi at 9:19 pm (utc) on April 1, 2008]
Huh, now you have to call them and ask them to disapprove it.
Seriously, over 50% of the time, when I say “ad with invalid display URL”, CSRs ask me “which campaign”, like I am calling to ask them to disapprove ads from my own account.
Also, few times (three I think), they went straight into my account and disapproved all related ads although they were totally fine from URL perspective.
What that tells you?
I have a slightly different question which is like the CJ situation, except they don't use subdomains.
Say I am an AdWords landing page consultant and have several clients hosted on my server as subdomains(and they do not want a separate domain name), e.g.
The display URL and destination URL are on the same subdomain per client:
They all have the same keyword (keyphrase to the rest of us) "red widgets". Let's say they have the most compelling ads and highest max bids.
Could the first page of the SERP be expected to show ads from 8-11 of my clients, who are each on a subdomain? I suspect the answer is No, simply because it would look like *my domain* is getting 8-11 positions for the same keyword. However, in fact, each subdomain is a different business.
Would I need to use the API to upload a single client every time a subdomain got an impression?
No, only one top level domain (example.com) per search is allowed regardless of who the domains are used by or for. Why do you need to upload a client every time a subdomain gets an impression?
Because of the problem you noted - only one domain per SERP regardless of the subdomain. I wouldn't do this in reality, as the API credits would disappear very quickly.
A more realistic example would be PPC clients with blogspot.com or wordpress.com blogs. Looks like they would need to buy a domain name.
|Why do you need to upload a client every time a subdomain gets an impression? |
|Because of the problem you noted - only one domain per SERP regardless of the subdomain. |
So, only one client is advertising at any given time? That's the only way this makes sense. Am I missing something?
You can see how easily this could be abused if they gave an exception for this case. Anybody could claim they were advertising for "clients" when in fact it is for themselves.
The fact that the keywords are the same for all the clients makes it all the more suspicious looking.
|A more realistic example would be PPC clients with blogspot.com or wordpress.com blogs |
I wonder if this is why Google delayed implementation of this policy? How many people advertise blogspot or wordpress blogs, though? I'd think a more common case would be people with, say, Yahoo stores.
Wonder if Google really thought this through?
It's a tough call - if they make exceptions for, say, blogspot, wordpress, and Yahoo stores, then the people who have been gaming the system will just move to those venues.
But, then, I am convinced that many of those who are gaming the system have been and continue to do so with the full knowledge and approval of Google. Given Google's actions (or lack thereof), there is no other possible explanation.
So, how it looks now? It's April 3rd, are we seeing any changes?
Absolutely no changes whatsoever.
I'm still seeing old ads with violations. New ads with violations are also being created. When I report yet another keyword with three ads going to the same website, the CSRs hum and haw and then say they'll escalate it to the "specialists"....then nothing gets done about it.
And my test ad that I launched a few days ago is still running. Nobody has visited the destination URL since a few minutes after I launched it, so either ads are not reviewed or they're reviewed by monkeys that don't understand English.
I'm normally fairly respectful, but at this point I'm convinced that idiots are working in the AdWords team. Did everyone with half a brain cash in their stock options and flee to Facebook?!
[edited by: Rehan at 11:09 am (utc) on April 4, 2008]
Two weeks since this supposed policy update was to be implemented, and nothing has changed. Why they chose April 1 as the date is becoming very clear to me.
I am persistent in following up over the phone and I saw some results so far. I saw ads being removed for invalid display URLs as well as for bridge pages where folks would literally copy landing page of a parent company.
Not all gets resolved though. There are still some old cases hanging out there.
Finally, I cannot speak for new ads as that takes time and I need to figure exact case in order to see how ads reappeared.
It shouldn't take repeated pestering by customers for Google to show some integrity in this issue.
I just fired off an email with a list of 51 completely different keywords that have multiple ads (up to 4 in some cases) going to the same site because of slimy advertisers using fake display URLs. Let's see how many of them they remove by next Thursday...
One of my prospective clients is pestered by this issue and asked me about it, he had heard I knew what I was doing with AdWords... I told him the new policy was to enforce the old policy going forward and that his problem would soon be solved without having to lift a finger... I heard from a peer of mine that this prospect still sees the crap going on now and he has mentioned to at least two people that told me he said to them that I really don't know that much about AdWords and how PPC works... thanks G.
This is a very simple case of a poacher dropping the ending "s" from a merchant's domain name, there is a domain that exists at the displayed url in the ad, the singular version of their name (the merchant owns it), but that's not where this poacher has his redirect landing the ppc visitor. So G's checker should easily see that this person's domain in their display url is not the same as the one people land on nor does the displayed url he has in his ad ever appear inn the string of redirects he uses... as a result of this not being caught, G's double serving policy appears to be in violation as well - the merchant was hoping G would stop this, while they also worried that G might somehow think it was the merchant himself violating the double-serving policy...
Wish I could help the guy out, but now I'm discredited and he no longer seeks my input on this issue or others.
I tried adding some new ads with different URLs in them tonight and got an email saying my ads were disapproved. Looks like it's finally being enforced.
I found it to be really annoying that they don't allow different URLs anymore. Some affiliates allow for direct linking, but this basically destroys that.
|Some affiliates allow for direct linking, but this basically destroys that. |
No, it doesn't.
The display URL simply has to match the destination URL.
So, for example, if you are advertising Amazon products, and the user is going to land on an Amazon page, the display url must be amazon.com. (or amazon.com/<section> or some other existing Amazon page.)
You can't use a display URL that returns a 404 - I have seen some advertisers do that - technically, it's not allowed. If the user were to type-in the display URL, it needs to return a useful page. (Doesn't have to be the product page, though.)
|Some affiliates allow for direct linking |
What has been meant here is affiliate programs, I’m sure. They drive me crazy, and here is why:
If management of affiliate networks and particular affiliate programs (aka merchants and advertisers) publicly or between the rows encourage their affiliates (by allowing something that is not their business anyway) to use invalid display URLs or serve more than one ad at the time, they are actually “killing” programs as such encouragements push away serious affiliates with good sites, while “lazy” boys and girls stay in. The result, no quality, but quantity while lasts.
Just recently I witnessed an email from a prominent worldwide company where they said “no more than two ads at the time”. I can only guess that certain affiliates were serving three or more ads on a same query which produced unhappiness among the rest of people.
Lazy = Short.
Now, just so I don’t sound too this or that, many programs will not convert well for affiliates unless they link directly to their parent sites. Google seems to be too expensive in many cases. Also, not all affiliate sites are good so they don’t get the click conversion needed to produce profit.
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