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Was there a Quality Score update that affected proper names?

 7:40 pm on Jul 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing some odd results for names in AdWords. Many proper names have much lower QS in many accounts than a couple weeks ago.

In fact, my own name, in my account, going to my website, is running a QS of 3 right now and the ad isn't even showing very often due to low QS. That's one of those situations where you know something is wrong as usually this is a 9-10 (and should be).

Anyone one else seeing odd proper name QS things going on?



 7:55 pm on Jul 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Quick update > I talked to some other companies who are buying my name and they are also seeing low QS for my name (Is Google trying to give me a complex?)

On others they are seeing some mixed results.


 2:56 pm on Jul 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

You sure there's no recently 'discovered' star by the same name?


 3:33 pm on Jul 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't think so; while I don't bid on my name, I do run a number of Google Alerts on it, and had it been in the news in any way, I'd have noticed.

(eWhisper and I share the same last name, although as far as we know, we're not related.)


 7:20 pm on Jul 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

LOL, eWhisper. I guess lower QS means higher eCPCs, maybe Google just figures you are so valuable they deserve more money for searches about you :)


 10:25 pm on Jul 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google just jacked up the minimum bids on proper names, effectively killing this category. I really tire of Google playing God with peoples businesses. They really couldn't care less if they make a change that wipes out your traffic.


 10:56 pm on Jul 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

This (if true) is very sad and annoying as I work for a client who maintains a site that bids legitimately on hundreds of proper names.

It was a good source of cheap traffic for them, and a good business for the service that consolidated this data and offered a good service to these name holders.

Pls advise if this policy changes or if Google states anything officially (or non-officially) about this.

I only add the (if true)qualification to continue to give Google the benefit of the doubt.

I indeed trust that Brad and Meg are both highly trustworthy about matters such as these.


 11:33 pm on Jul 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Names are just like any other keyword, they must be *relevant*. So maybe the problem is just that, the names you are bidding on are not relevant.

It always surprises me when a client says "I want to bid on the keyword John Smith". "Why?" I ask. "Because John Smith (sometimes the client's name) is known for [insert product here]". Yeah, maybe so, but you are not selling John Smith. You are selling [insert product here]. No relevancy.


 12:41 am on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Anyone one else seeing odd proper name QS things going on?

Yes, noticing it with brands that are proper names. Match type doesn't seem to matter. CTR is stellar (5-10% range). These are keywords with former 10/10 QS scores.

I think we're in the middle of something, FWIW. Seeing some changes in the last hour or so. I'm getting a "poor keyword performance" in ad diagnostics for a keyword with an absurdly high CTR and conversion rate. :)

I'm also noticing strange singular/plural behavior.


 8:40 am on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm sorry but I think that those that play this game with Quality Score are mad. Sure I acknowledge you don't have a choice but it just strikes me as crazy.

I go and read the dynamics for how QS is calculated and I read things like "It looks at a variety of factors to measure how relevant your keyword is to your ad text and to a user's search query" and then when you drill down you read stuff that has to be human evaluated, but I simply can't fathom that due the sheet volume of Ads that are getting put through the mill (but I'm not suggesting that's what happens)

For example the advice on navigability such as, "Provide a short and easy path for users to purchase or receive the product or offer in your ad. " - how can that be calculated as a factor for QS, if Google is not tracking the speed at which a user transacts and using GA data to inform the process.

Please someone tell me that they have an amazing quality score and don't have any GA on their website and I can stop my thinking like this!.

Can some expert here please explain Quality Score to me, because I've always seen it as something quite unsettling what a webmaster is being asked to "Trust" in terms of their QS rating.



 10:14 am on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is anyone seeing this QS problem with a landing page URL that exactly matches the proper name? For example, "john doe" and "johndoe.com" as the landing page URL?


 1:12 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

> I think that those that play this game with Quality Score are mad

I agree with you 2dean, to a certain point. Yes, Adwords people have gone QS mad. Google has done a good job in implanting that into advertisers' minds. But with fairly good reason. QS is the backbone of how you are ranked and how much you pay. Problem is, people have the wrong idea of what QS is and concentrate on trying to improve the wrong thing, trying to get from a decent 7 to 10.

Getting a low QS (my definition is lower than 7) is not a good thing and you do want to get it higher. Myself, I'll try to get it up higher, a 10 if possible, but I'm not going to pull my hair out if it's not. It's also about the ROI and given a choice, if my ROI is better with an ad with QS7 vs QS9, I'll go with the QS7 ad.

[edited by: bakedjake at 2:29 pm (utc) on July 30, 2009]
[edit reason] TOS 13 [/edit]


 1:47 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes this is another money grab by Google. My company is, and has been the only advertiser, bidding on our trademarked words for 5+ years. We did nothing, and all of a sudden prices went from 4 cents a click to over 80 cents. Now granted we did have the max bid at $1, but before last week Google had never been so greedy as to charge us almost the max bid. We lowered the max bid to 10 cents and were are being charged what we had been. The reality is that Google is taking, more than ever, as much of the max bids that you put in. So be very careful with max bid settings.


 1:55 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks Lucid, I'll take a look at that QS manual which looks good, but this QS has always looked very VERY dodgy to me. Still waiting for a high QS with no analytics.


 2:35 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is anyone seeing this QS problem with a landing page URL that exactly matches the proper name? For example, "john doe" and "johndoe.com" as the landing page URL?

Ours are not domain driven, but the term is usually in the URL, more like for keyword "john doe" the landing page would be:



 5:09 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

This change has nothing to do with landing pages. You can click the quality score details on the UI and Google will show you the 3 main parts of QS and what your score is. Landing page and landing page speed are not the reason for this change. Google just wants you to pay more, simple as that. Your keywords are not all of the sudden less relevant when you have been bidding on them for years and making a profit selling a service that people want. Google just decided they don't want 10 cents a click on these, they want 30. So screw you (that's Google saying that, not me)

And for those that don't bid on proper names and could care less, don't be surprised when you get hit on your keywords some day. Because Google can completely manipulate the prices to whatever they want you to charge, and that's exactly what they do. The days of the honest auction are long over. I think it's time for some regulation, and I hate the government so this is pretty crazy for me to even say that, but Google has WAY too much power.

Microsoft was NEVER this bad, sure they put a few companies out of business here and there but they never turned a dial and wiped out traffic for hundreds of businesses. Google does that all the time, claiming 'quality score adjustments', when it's just 'increase the prices these suckers pay'.

Yes, I'm slightly bitter at the moment.


 5:59 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

The one main proper noun that I bid on is still showing 10/10 QS.


 7:43 am on Aug 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

On the bright side, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions and common nouns are still wiiiiide open.

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