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Ambiguity Of Blank AdWords Input Box Gets Google A Lawsuit
Plaintiff alleges opt-out of Content Network dodgy
potentialgeek




msg:3633069
 10:02 am on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

The suit claims Google doesn't inform advertisers that if they leave the content bid CPC input blank, Google will use the advertiser's CPC bid for clicks occurring on the content network.

By Thomas Claburn
InformationWeek
April 22, 2008 07:30 PM

A lawsuit filed against Google on Tuesday alleges that Google has been defrauding its AdWords customers by charging them for ads they don't want.

. . .

"This action arises from the fact that Google does not inform its advertisers that if they leave the content bid CPC input blank, Google will use the advertiser's CPC bid for clicks occurring on the content network," the legal filing says. "Google does this despite the fact that ads placed on the content network are demonstrably inferior to ads appearing on search result pages."

[informationweek.com...]

This is interesting because when I took a look at the AdWords interface it's wasn't immediately clear how to opt out. I was looking for checkboxes of Search Network and Content Network in the Campaign set up interface and didn't see them. Admittedly, it was a rushed look, but it's the main reason I never bothered to look further into AdWords (I'm a publisher).

I don't know if the plaintiff has a case, but Google isn't doing its best.

p/g

 

avalon37




msg:3633177
 1:24 pm on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google's pricing CPC boxes certainly should raise flags. On adwords editor if you type in 015 I think it should safely be assumed that the person was trying to type in 0.15 but somehow missed the decimal point. Adwords editor does not make you use a decimal point, as a result 015 is automatically $15 and not $0.15. Do you know know how much money Google makes off simple decimal point mistakes that they know people will make? Why not just have all bids verify a decimal point? Well I think it's pretty obvious why they don't verify for the decimal points anymore.

goodroi




msg:3633215
 2:09 pm on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm not a lawyer but this smells more like publicity and less like a real issue. Is Google perfect - nope. Can they do things better - yes. Is this a situation that calls for a class action lawsuit - not imho.

From my seo side of the brain I think this is brilliant. Kudos to Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP. They spent some time and a bit of money on legal filings and look at how many links they will get from this.

balam




msg:3633226
 2:21 pm on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

[webmasterworld.com...]

ogletree




msg:3633242
 2:35 pm on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

It is very easy to turn off ads on sites other than Google. I guess the point is that if you don't know what your doing your going to show up on adsense with a default adwords setup. This "feature" is what keeps Google in business. If they have to turn it off by default Google will fall. That is the single thing that makes google profitable without it they fall and they fall hard.

This tactic is normal for every business. Our whole economy is based on tricking people. If everybody had to be honest and straight forward we would fall into a horrible depression worse than the 1930's. Every business is based on getting people to buy things they did not intend to.

fischermx




msg:3633261
 3:06 pm on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think this is about history.
Historically, there was NO option to separate bids from content and from search.
That was introduced a couple of years ago.

Now a "clever" lawyer and a bunch of morons come with the great idea that the blank input box should default to "I don't want to advertise in the content network"...

jecasc




msg:3633290
 3:22 pm on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

Now a "clever" lawyer and a bunch of morons come with the great idea that the blank input box should default to "I don't want to advertise in the content network"...

Actually thats exactly what I would expect to happen. If I wanted to bid for content websites I would fill in a value, wouldn't I?

I don't know how it had happened but somehow content advertising was on for one of my ads. Don't know if it is relate to this problem. Only thing I know is that I have been paying 50$ per sale in advertising on content websites where it only was 4$ on search.

jkwilson78




msg:3633297
 3:29 pm on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

Sounds to me like someone didn't take the time to learn about Adwords and lost a lot of money on the content network and wants to blame Google for their ignorance.

I can see the next lawsuit:

"Advertiser sues Google for not making it clear that running an Adwords campaign may not be profitable"

A spokesman for the law firm representing the case said: "Google needs to make it explicitly clear that people may lose money. Something like a blinking flash banner that warns people of the possible financial risk would be appropriate."

Adwords is not a toy and if you as a business owner decide to use their system without the help of a marketing firm or someone who has experience with Adwords it is 100% your responsibility to learn what to do.

Google has several hundred pages of documentation for Adwords...read it....

randle




msg:3633305
 3:43 pm on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

They have no case, just another waste of money on lawyers. However, the proper thing for Google to do is to default the content network off, and if you want to participate, then you turn it on. For a newcomer itís actually challenging on several fronts;

You think your just advertising on Adwords, because thatís what Google calls it.
If you do catch on, 9 times out 10 itís because you rang up a big bill you didnít expect. Then itís rather challenging to actually figure out where you shut it off.

How much money do you think Google has raked in from people who did not know they were spending money for the content network? From a user perspective, (thatís what their all about right?) theres plenty of data to show this. They know this happens all the time to people so they should make an adjustment to make it more intuitive for the user, but they havenít.

All of this aint by accident; legal? sure - right? definitely not. Right now, this very minute, there are thousands of people spending money on the content network, that have no clue they are, and if they did would immediately shut it off.

Sharpseo




msg:3633319
 4:06 pm on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

What a joke. Lazy people who don't take the time to learn Adwords vs. Google. I guess going into campaign settings and looking around is far too much to ask.

wheel




msg:3633466
 6:43 pm on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>>>> Sounds to me like someone didn't take the time to learn about Adwords and lost a lot of money on the content network and wants to blame Google for their ignorance.

Bingo. This isn't deception. Maybe very mildly and unintentionally misleading, apparent to anyone who's actually looked into it. Google should probably correct this, but it's not a lawsuit if you're not bright enough to watch how you spend your money.

Adwords has far bigger problems than something like that. Like, are they still justifying including parked domains as part of their 'search network'? That I'm surprised they haven't had a chat with someone's lawyer over.

ispy




msg:3633472
 6:48 pm on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

There is a message there now when you opt in and set bids for the content network which reads "If a content field is left blank, the default bid will apply".

Chrispcritters




msg:3633480
 7:00 pm on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google does this despite the fact that ads placed on the content network are demonstrably inferior to ads appearing on search result pages.

Interesting... For my site, the results are opposite, I pay less per click on the content network and get better quality traffic. I guess my "facts" are wrong.

bwnbwn




msg:3633509
 7:44 pm on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

Content network is in fact a very good advertisement. In most cases the traffic is well targeted traffic sent to the advertiser.

Fact is I got a call from one wanting to put a banner on our site as we were sending them such well targeted traffic from adsense ads on one of our sites..

Just the amount of traffic is staggering and sure there is clicking issues.

I opt out not because of the click issues I have a budget and using both is just to much traffic to keep the ads displaying for the day before the budget is met, so I opt out to reduce the amount of traffic and only use the search feature.

We have had adsense for 3 years and I bet we haven't had 10 clicks from within our office on the ads most by accident and 1 I was actually interested in seeing the product. I would have copied the url and pasted it in the browser but they don't show for obvious reasons.

This is a lame excuse for people rushing into a website with all these dreams of hitting it big to be sadly disappointed due to the fact the site is horrible, they don't know what to target or how to target it, they buy the most used keywords in the sector they are in , go bust and need a scape goat for rushing into it and not seeking help or as many have said just plain didn't take the time to read up on how adwords works.

Not like Google doesn't have some really good tutor sections on the net to help guide you in learning how to be an effective advertiser.

Just another dumb lawsuit

Bewenched




msg:3633511
 7:47 pm on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

Now a "clever" lawyer and a bunch of morons come with the great idea that the blank input box should default to "I don't want to advertise in the content network"...

Exactly... blank=null, 0, nada,

IE dont charge me unless its free.

KPosition




msg:3633609
 10:50 pm on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

Ok, get all the arguments.

But this is a "accident claim" mentality - zero responsibility.

Is it just me but the day after you set up the campaign you should probably check the spend etc. and upon finding that it is on the content network you should maybe check into what that means and pause campaigns until you have used your god given brain to look into it.

This sort of "claim" stuff is a parasite and the people who use this logic are the scum that infects the social services system in the UK.

wheel




msg:3633615
 10:58 pm on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>>>> Content network is in fact a very good advertisement.
Content network. :shudder:

OT I know, but it's definitely industry specific. I turned it on once by mistake for a day when setting up a campaign. Blew out about 5-6 times my daily spend. The campaign was only to show in a specific anglicized country, yet I got a ton of conversions from pacific rim countries (for something that's clearly only available and of interest in one country, from countries that shouldn't be seeing the ads). Not worth the hassle to complain about it, but all/most of the traffic was clearly fraudulent.

On the flip side I've got adsense on a few sites that don't do much traffic, but any traffic they do send from the competitive industry they're in should be top quality stuff. So someone's getting some good out of it :).

[edited by: wheel at 11:00 pm (utc) on April 23, 2008]

Petrogold




msg:3633975
 10:04 am on Apr 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

Wheel,
Hi,

I have been using Adsense on all my sites. Nerver did well and no good traffic on kw long tail sites. Am I under sand box or this is usual? It over a year now . Is there good suggestion or should I leave Adsnse ?

wheel




msg:3634098
 1:18 pm on Apr 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm no adwords expert; I only use it on site's I'd be too embarrassed to put an affiliate link on :). I do know that in addition to traffic you have to be knowledgeable about placement and other things to make it perform.

If you don't have traffic, that's not an adwords issue, it's an SEO issue and suggest you start a seperate thread for that.

You should also Google 'the lazy monetizer'. Sugarrae, a mod here in the links section has an excellent article on better ways to monetize your site than using adsense.

netmeg




msg:3634184
 2:29 pm on Apr 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

I agree that it's silly to assume anything, and yea, the advertisers should know what they're doing before they start.

But to be entirely fair, Google has been heavily pushing AdWords for small businesses for some time now, and the plain unvarnished truth is, the entire system is now too complex for the average small business to run themselves - those who can't afford to hire someone like me to run it for them, or who don't have the staff or the time to learn it for themselves (not to mention keeping up with all the changes); heck, it's 90% of the way I spend my days and *I* have to scramble to keep up.

This was brought home to me a year ago when I attended an intermediate level AdWords seminar. It was a fantastic seminar (given by our own ewhisper) and I'd heartily recommend it, but most of the people there were end users, who were not even *close* to intermediate or advanced users, but who attended because it was the only thing close to AdWords training that had been offered in the area. Some of them drove hundreds of miles or flew in to be there. And they were all *desperate* to find out why their money was floating away and they weren't seeing the results they'd been led to expect. If I'd been trolling for clients, I could have probably picked up twenty that afternoon.

And that was a year ago - think of all the changes and enhancements and whatnot since then.

So yea, I think the lawsuit will probably be tossed out, and it probably should be - but I also can see where the other side is coming from. Bigtime.

This is not the AdWords of three or four years ago. And it's *not* for the average business who only has an hour or two a week to spend on it.

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