|Who is AWA and what is their real role?|
I would like to know who AWA is? Is this person paid to be here? Are they paid to represent Google Adwords interests? Google is an advertising company, like all marketing and advertising companies. Their primary objective is most likely shareholder profit or not?
I am upset because I posted a question and AWA just came and policed my post without offering any type of feedback or information. They also have their sticky off so that I cannot send a question.
The whole things seems a bit weird to me.
What does anybody else think?
|I am upset because I posted a question and AWA just came and policed my post without offering any type of feedback... |
WebmasterWorld members are not entitled to feedback from AWA. It's against the AdWords Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com] to request personal attention of Google employees. Which means the AdWords forum is not the batphone to Google. AWA is not obligated to personally answer WebmasterWorld member questions. No one is entitled to an answer. There is no reason to be upset.
Afaik, AWA is a regular employee who takes some time out of their day to be helpful now and then. It is not their job to provide customer service. It is against the AdWords forum charter to seek personal help from Google employees.
|What does anybody else think? |
You have no right to be upset about not receiving personal help from AWA. The AdWords forum is not for personal Google consultations. It's not even a forum for personal consultations. It's a forum for members to discuss various issues relative to the AdWords Program itself. Consult the AW forum charter [webmasterworld.com] for the exact topics covered and what is not covered.
As a forum member you can post a question in the AdWords forum so that members can offer feedback on what ever issue about the AdWords Program you want to discuss. If you are interested in receiving good replies then make sure your post has a descriptive title and a short and direct (non-rambling) discussion.
The best posts that receive the most responses are the ones that keep specifics out of the discussion. Keep it general so that a wider amount of people can offer their opinions.
Thank you for your feedback martinibuster.
You are absolutely correct, I do not need or want a batphone. I just noticed that the sticky was off, meaning that I cannot respond.
Let me clarify. I did not ask AWA for (personal) feedback. I posted a forum thread located here:
AWA just came by and policed my post without offering any feedback. I don't need policing, it kind of works counter to my understanding of a public forum.
This is a forum, designed so that we can ask each other questions. I have/ had a specific question, and I would like to discuss the question.
This experience led to my second question, which I posted here, namely, how does google adwords benefit from having AWA here?
From what I understand you are saying, you do not feel that Google Adwords / AWA benefits or gains in anyway from their position of authority on this forum?
Apart from that, I am not entirely convinced "luck" has anything to do with it. I do however respect your seniority on the forum, as I have seen your tag here for many many years. I would only question your assertion that I do not have a right to be upset. In my world people always have a right to be upset. Whether or not they are justified is another question.
Your referenced post does everything I suggested for you not to do. As a consequence you received unsastisfactory answers.
|I have/ had a specific question... |
Nope, you did not. Your TITLE is about AdWords phone support. What underlies the frustration with phone support is what the AdWords program thinks about your site:
|"our system finds that your keywords are not relevant to your ads and landing page." |
Those are two issues. Talk about one or talk about the other. Later on you violated the TOS by dropping specifics about your situation, which violates are request against seeking personal consultations and is completely opposite from what I suggested to you: Keep it general, avoid specifics, if you want to receive good answers.
AWA did not address what's in the TITLE, poor phone support, because you introduced the other completely different topic of the landing page issues.
So I return to my first post. Most unsatisfactory forum questions have their roots in the TITLE of the discussion being not descriptive as to what is in the body of the discussion. Many unsatisfactory forum questions end up that way because there are too many specifics. Keeping it general keeps the discussion focused on what is at the heart of the issue, which allows a wider range of people to participate in the discussion.
Thanks for the cool head and reminder.
My persistence has to do with the fact that I am not receiving answers to my question(s).
My growing suspicion here is that answers are not provided when they do not show G in a favorable light. The more obstacles I encounter in my pursuit of an answer the more my opinion is reinforced.
|you violated the TOS by dropping specifics about your situation |
I would not say that I "dropped" specifics. I am a professional technical support engineer. I have a problem and I am consulting the professional community. It is not clear to me how I can obtain assistance without providing details. In my line of work I call it "documentation".
With your insight you are explaining that questions / forum postings can easily lose their focus.
Therefore I ask a specific question here: what is the nature of the relationship between WebmasterWorld and AWA? Who does it benefit?
Why do I feel like I am coming up against roadblocks?
|what is the nature of the relationship between WebmasterWorld and AWA? |
There is no relationship. "Afaik, AWA is a regular employee who takes some time out of their day to be helpful now and then. It is not their job to provide customer service."
AFAIK, it is not an official position, although for the sake of clarity there is usually just one AWA, ASA, and GoogleGuy at a time.
It benefits WebmasterWorld members when AWA helps clarify AdWords program policies. It benefits the AdWords program and WebmasterWorld members when WebmasterWorld members suggest ways to improve the AdWords program. Over the years many suggestions have been incorporated into the AdWords program to improve it.
|My growing suspicion here is that answers are not provided when they do not show G in a favorable light. |
From my expereince, your suspicions are unfounded. I recall AWA participation in a thread last year about Google banning advertisers without notice that raised a negative outcry. I am the moderator of the AdSense forum and based on my experience there I would say that whether G is in a favorable light or not doesn't have a bearing on answers provided by ASA or members themselves.
|Why do I feel like I am coming up against roadblocks? |
Heh. :) Well, the title of your discussion is: "Who is AWA and what is their real role?"
But the discussion loses focus within the body of the first post:
|I am upset because I posted a question and AWA just came and policed my post without offering any type of feedback... |
If that is irrelevant to your discussion then it should have been left out so that I or anyone else wouldn't latch on to that and start posting about whether or not you are justified or have a right to be upset about AWA missing the point of your previous post.
I can't emphasize enough how important it is to have a descriptive title and an opening post that states exactly what you want to discuss. This discussion is an example of dual topics resulting in less than satisfactory responses. It's the nature of forums, all forums, that forum members will latch onto what is in the title. However it is not uncommon for something different from the title that is in the body of the post will click with members who then proceed to pick up that ball and run with it in a different direction. For example, I've seen in the AdSense forum where someone will post about topic A and in the last sentence mention they are arbitraging or advertising ringtones. Guess which part AdSense forum members will latch onto with the sharp end of a pitchfork? :)
In most cases these issues aren't really a big problem as the discussions move forward one way or the other, perhaps not as well as if the title or body post were better. As a moderator I try to fix titles here and there to help newer members receive better responses. But it's my opinion there are many posts that don't receive the best responses because of rambling, multiple or conflicting topics in the body of the post, and titles that are not descriptive enough. Maybe more information than you wanted, but just trying to give you an idea of how complex forum communication can be.
To further that, once the discussion gets going, it's quite common for the OP to change the topic under discussion by asking a "side question" that is not at all suggested by the forum title. Which is where a good moderator will step in and split the post off into it's own thread with a descriptive title. :)
Your questions are legitimate finish_last as a similarity to the latest blogging laws. Whose interests are being represented?
Years back it was revealed AWA was engaged in his own Adword campaigns or something to that effect. Whoever it is dodged many questions regarding the matter. My opinion after that point was this person was pretty self-serving and they just frequent these forums to report back to Google or for their campaigns. Most of AWA’s answers on anything can be found in Adwords help and are basically low level in importance IMO. The rest of the AWA posts just re-state the obvious such as the latest regarding Adword maintenance. Perhaps others get more out of the posts than I.
No AWA isn’t going to reveal anything bad about the employer. Even when I asked a rather mundane question about who is in the Search partner network there was not a peep out of AWA. There’s a reason for that and I think it can be best answered by those who spend money on Adwords or those who really know what’s in the Search Partner Network. Even the Adsense people might become considerably upset.
Brett killed the issue a while back and I am in total agreement. I believe he asked that any further questions be stickyed to AWA. I believe that box is closed most of the time.
Hello to all, and thx for thought-provoking responses
martinibuster: "cool heads will prevail" - your insights to forum discussion evolution are very clear and helpful. That is the level of expertise that I am accustomed to here :)
outland88: This is the critical attitude that I am also accustomed to
I will focus on the issue at hand here, specific to the title of this forum thread.
In your reply martinibuster you say
|It benefits the AdWords program and WebmasterWorld members when WebmasterWorld members suggest ways to improve the AdWords program. |
I take this to mean - Google is here, and we are improving Google and therefore we are making the world a better place which is de-facto good.
A few years ago I would have agreed with you. I actually grew up in palo alto, I used to wear a google t-shirt and black sabbath shirts! Now i find myself in the position of having built a software that competes with google. I tried to promote the software through adwords and got nowhere. I suspect that this has to do with the software itself. Fair shakes. This is capitalism. If google doesn't want to promote my software, I can accept that.
Where I have a problem is the justification; that my keywords don't fit my product. That is a simple charge which can be resolved by looking at the facts of the case.
This situation led me to Webmaster World, where I am seeking impartial advice. I have always come here first to read critical impartial advice since even before i joined the forum.
I am wondering if it's really so impartial anymore with regards to google. It seems to me that google is more-or-less embedded here.
Martinibuster, you wrote:
|As a moderator I try to fix titles here and there to help newer members receive better responses. |
That is an incredibly valuable service, in my job I spend my days writing technical support documentation and so spend a lot of time "interpreting" information as well.
Your mention of new forum members brings me to this point: there are plenty of new folks here who are learning about Adwords, etc. When these people see "Adwords Advisor Senior Member" - they must assume that there is some "authority" here, and by association with WebmasterWorld something good, a "special relationship" to be implicitly trusted. What if we were to replace "google" with "Microsoft", so that it read "Microsoft Advisor Senior Member"? I am wondering what the difference is.
And what is google? Google has become primarily an advertising company. In the process of accepting critical feedback through this forum, Google seem to have joined forces with WebmasterWorld, who in turn become essentially co-opted into promoting adwords services.
If I had wanted to have this discussion on google's turf, I would have gone to the adwords forum. I come to the WebmasterWorld forum because I relish critical thought, free from tertiary interests.
It should by now be obvious to you that I am not 100% versed in the history of AWA, or whomever, and the lay of the land wrt Adsense and/or Adwords advice / etiquette here. I did not purposefully violate any TOS.
I do have one question further: Are there other marketing companies who have experts in the WebmasterWorld arena?
>Are there other marketing companies who have experts in the WebmasterWorld arena?
finish_last, one thing that we do is to protect the privacy of members, and with that, we do not allow discussions speculating about who is who. For one, we can't know they want to expose their details, and secondly, it's impossible to do that without some form of promotion and marketing. For example, it would not be permitted to speculate and expose your identity and business, whether the details discussed are correct, or incorrect. It's all too easy for hearsay to become more than that, so we just don't get involved.
As a relatively new member here, it's worth pointing out that WebmasterWorld is independent, and is not the tech support department for any company or business program. As was indicated by martini, WebmasterWorld welcomes contributions from all walks of the webmaster world, including marketers, businesses, individuals, mom-and-pop shops, designers, coders, etc., however, it does not encourage any self-promotional activity made by any member, whether as spam, or even as part of conversation. WebmasterWorld is here for webmasters to discuss the process of doing business, and not to do business with one another. If a member has some specific expertise, we welcome it as it will benefit the WebmasterWorld community as a whole.
WebmasterWorld is a news and educational resource aimed at helping professionals do their own business better.
As it says in our Terms of Service, we are in it together.
WebmasterWorld Terms of Service [webmasterworld.com]
WebmasterWorld Mission Statement [webmasterworld.com]
WebmasterWorld Posting Guidelines [webmasterworld.com]
|I am wondering if it's really so impartial anymore with regards to google. It seems to me that google is more-or-less embedded here. |
Really? Because I get exactly the opposite impression around here these days. This is about the last place you're going to find a Google lovefest.
With sincere respect to yourself engine..
|As it says in our Terms of Service, we are in it together. |
Company PR reps ..be they from G,Y MS or whatever organisation ..are not "we" ..
They post here for pay ( if not actual pay per post then they are recompensed by their respective employers for time spent reading reporting back from or posting on these fora ) ..
And whilst I agree that this place is not the venue for personal tech support from search engines ..neither is it the place for their PR people to post large amounts of FUD ..as G's PR people have been doing since GG slid away and Adam was sent to "sooth" us and thus began the reputation management by their people ..and their attempts to spin threads ..witness the ASA and personalisation threads ..
ASA as has AWA also in the past let it be known that they are a "publisher" ..there appears to be a problem of conflict of interests there ..and makes their advice doubly unimpartial IMO ( and that of many other members ) ..
It is already difficult enough to remember who amongst the members and mods and admins declared that they bought shares in G at the time of the IPO ..and therefore who's lauding of G ( and diverting of threads etc ) should be taken with a pinch of salt ..or even whole truckloads ..
Plus many of the senior members and above have personal contact with search engine staff and as such cannot be expected to be unbiased with regards to their friends employers ..or their own careers are dependent upon advising and interpreting the actions of search engines ( especially G ) to other internet users and in some cases members ..( thus they will not bite the hand which feeds them ..nor sit by whilst others growl at the actions of G ..) and thus their actions and posts are read by those of us who are aware of these links.( .or who have long memories for trivial comments on these boards or and photos and comments on other sites ) with this taken into account ..
I dont think for a minute that finish_last was attempting to determine the actual identity of AWA ..
But it might be an idea if all known reps were identified as REP next to their "nicks"..and did not have "member" status ..Thus their posts could be more accurately judged in "context" by newer members to these boards ..
|Which means the AdWords forum is not the batphone to Google. (...) AWA is a regular employee who takes some time out of their day to be helpful now and then. |
1) A number of Google employees are assigned to monitor WebmasterWorld. They get feedback, they look for ideas (you won't get compensation or even acknowledgment), and they look for SEO hacker tricks (these are collected and sent over to the spam team.) (I know this because I've talked with several of them.)
2) WebmasterWorld isn't a batphone. If you want a metaphor: Google is the KGB spying on its citizens.
3) Google isn't doing this to be helpful. No intention of that at all. As others noted, AWA's replies (and all of the replies from various Google employees) are generic statements.
4) Google exploits (and that's the correct word here) WebmasterWorld and other social sites. We discuss, write our ideas, Google takes what it wants, and Google gives nothing in return.
Go ahead: come up with a brilliant improvement in search and mention it here. Google will build it, make billions, and you'll get zero.
speaking of batphones...
Why do _I_ get a flood of PM's everytime someone feels LEGITIMATELY stepped upon by admin/mods?! who then posts:
WebmasterWorld Terms of Service
WebmasterWorld Mission Statement
WebmasterWorld Posting Guidelines
under some silly ideas that
RULES EQUALS RIGHT AND WRONG?
It's not the 1700's guys...
Rules are GUIDELINES for administering ANYTHING,
NOT a crutch for not using one's own common sense and inner sense of justice, and should be changed or ignored accordingly....
Spirit of law.... NOT letter of the law.
Long live WEBMASTERworld! :)
Not for a second I would believe that ASA/AWA are present at WebmasterWorld out of genuine interest for the topics discussed here. Not even for a split second. To me, it is clear that they are here because they get paid for it - by Google. And that's fine with me.
It's definitely a win-win situation for Google and WebmasterWorld, and can even extended to a triple-win (including the WebmasterWorld member) when things are running smoothly:
1) Google gets fresh ideas and feedback on issues from the webmaster community, and gets an unrestricted outlet for whatever they want to communicate back (mostly PR).
2) WebmasterWorld can claim that Google is being present on their boards, saying it can be a useful communication channel, that provides genuine help and insights (which, of course, is not being promised).
3) The member MAY find the communication with an official Google employee useful. There MAY be something in for him/her as well.
However, over the years we -as members- have seen limits to the benefits of having an official Google employee around. Whenever a discussion touches critical issues with Google, the communication channel dries up, sometimes to the degree of the Google employee vanishing entirely from a certain topic or discussion. Which is understandable, because at the end of the day the mission of that Google employee is to gather feedback and to post PR messages in line with Google's objectives. I can not see a Google employee actively criticize Google. To assume that would be outright silly.
I am more concerned about inofficial Google employees (shills) that -for whatever reasons- seem to be present at WebmasterWorld, defending Google, dragging discussions offtopic and posting messages in favor of Google (sometimes even glorifying the company) without disclosing their vested interests with Google. Of course, this is just a gut feeling, as there is no proof for this actually happening: In a room full of naked people, how do you identify the police officer?
To summarize - I am supporting to have reps on board and I like the idea of them being identified clearly on the nick level. But WebmasterWorld should be more concerned with Google shills (and not just with those posters who are critical of Google).
|The Shower Scene|
|I am more concerned about inofficial Google employees (shills) that -for whatever reasons- seem to be present at WebmasterWorld, defending Google, dragging discussions offtopic and posting messages in favor of Google... |
At last, someone with common sense. :) Google shills are annoying. The only people as annoying as Google shills are anti-Google shills. Reading their posts is like watching an autistic kid beat his forehead.
|But WebmasterWorld should be more concerned with Google shills (and not just with those posters who are critical of Google). |
I think it's about time you go to the next PubCon Vegas and meet everyone from the forums.
They don't work for Google, but many of us earn lots of money thanks to AdWords or AdSense which means we do well as long as Google does well.
If being a shill means making lots of money then slap me in a Google t-shirt and call me Benedict Arnold.
Please note that I was not referring to any specific person in that message, for a good reason.
IMO you (personally) are doing a good job to keep discussions balanced; I read your blog and appreciate the knowledge that you bring to the forums. So, no, this was not directed at you at all. And this is true for all of the mods and admins here.
The whole point of having a shill is that he goes undetected, under the radar of the official communication channels. Ideally, you can not uncover the fact that he/she has another motivation apart of seeking/providing information. A shill pretends to be a "normal" user, not affiliated to anything or anyone. I'd suspect that these people work for a company (but do not make that fact public) or get paid for their relentless PR spin (e.g. as "freelance writers").
Sometimes, just sometimes, it becomes very obvious that a person is a shill, even more so if this person abruptly stops posting after having posted on average, say, four messages a day for a very long time. What motivated them to start posting with venegance? What motivated them to stop posting, and so abruptly? Could it be that there was a contract "to manage the community" for a certain period?
My point was I've met most of the names on this forum in person and there are very few people here from Google, AWA and ASA are the most frequent fliers.
If there were shills, a couple of us would know about it.
Not saying there isn't possibly one, but if there is one, it's not one of the frequent posters to the best of my knowledge.
A shill doesn’t necessarily have to work for a company or receive payment from a company to be classifieds as such. I think most people are using the term loosely as well it should be. I think people are referring in general to the repression of thoughts or writings against Google. The nudge behind the scenes, the removal or condemnation of a post. Mr. Bill you aren’t necessarily aware of these things. Plus nobody in any thread I have read in WW has ever directly accused anybody of being a shill so lets not get started on that unless there is something particularly untrue or injurious to a reputation. I haven't seen that.
Freedom of speech is one of our greatest freedoms but without a doubt the most dangerous. Many times people who are skilled in verbal and media presentation use the freedom to repress the thinking of others to their advantage or their own vanity. In other words a skilled argument doesn’t mean the one who had less skills and failed to convey their point was wrong. At no time will you ever see me making absolute or authoritative statements that I have met or spoke to so-in-so and this is quite impossible. Everything has been proven possible to me. Nobody will ever know the true thoughts of another man or woman.
What I do know is history has shown corruption within about every large corporation. To me it is foolish to defend Google because at some point you will likely be proven wrong. My fear is a financial catastrophe driven by cowboys who know how to get in and out unharmed while the vast majority experience financial catastrophe. In other words a very critical eye on Google and keeping them honest is absolutely necessary for us all. It goes without saying Google is now in a position to wreck more than most conceive. If I focus on something in particular it is because I have seen something very disturbing in Adwords done by Google that has questionable legalities that could hurt many.
|The nudge behind the scenes, the removal or condemnation of a post. Mr. Bill you aren’t necessarily aware of these things. |
I'm aware of many things.
The WebmasterWorld front page currently has 4 negative stories running about Google so what would be the purpose of removing posts that are negative about Google?
We also run positive stories and people have both positive and negative posts.
It's when it changes from discussion to liable, such as flames and calls to action, that posts may get removed.
Anyway, enough of this as we're "fair and balanced" if people ever bother to look.
|My fear is a financial catastrophe driven by cowboys who know how to get in and out unharmed while the vast majority experience financial catastrophe. |
If Google tanks it'll be worse than the original dot com bust when Yahoo was riding the top of the financial wave and the whole thing tanked.
The number of people depending on AdWords/AdSense that'll be suddenly left hanging in the breeze will cause an internet shock wave the likes we've never seen before.
|Who is AWA and what is their real role? |
Back to the original topic, just like ASA, the AWA is a Google employee that devotes some of their time to try to help us with various topics.
We're lucky they do come to WebmasterWorld instead of forcing us to go to Google forums, which is obviously biased, so there are multiple places we can go to get help.
I think at one time Google reps were of value but once the company moved into stock offerings and everything else their value has diminished. In fact most are to “tight lipped” to be helpful. If you attach a face to it though and meet with Google reps the personals come into play. Once Google’s ability to gather data is somewhat curtailed (and it will be) you’ll see these threads return to the old posts and not what we’re discussing now.
Now if I was to post a few legitimate tricks to get your Adwords quality score up an employee might run back and see that gets sealed off immediately. In the past a Google employee might reveal the same but now too much greed has slipped into the picture. The thinking now is likely the more money we make the less chance I’m in the unemployment lines with those other poor slobs. You could argue that was true past or present but many would argue the “purity of purpose” has changed substantially at Google. That data gathering is not confined to what the servers do.
Thanks to everybody for posting.
|"It's definitely a win-win situation for Google and WebmasterWorld, and can even extended to a triple-win (including the WebmasterWorld member) when things are running smoothly:" |
Speaking personally, trying to post about an Adwords issue hasn't been a win-win-win situation for me, as I felt like a crank, making a post which was edited to sound like nothing, and then receiving references to TOS as answers. It felt more like a win-win situation for Google + WebmasterWorld instead, because I couldn't see how I was benefiting.
Disclaimer: I also understand this to be the result of a "conflict" that I am having with Google. For which I am not receiving satisfactory answers. If I was cheating somehow or felt what I was doing to be under-handed or dishonest I would probably feel different about the situation. What I am trying to do is use Adwords to promote a (free) software that competes with a google product. For whatever reason, I feel that I am in my right to do that. Maybe I should re-evaluate that.
As incrediBILL wrote:
|"many of us earn lots of money thanks to AdWords or AdSense which means we do well as long as Google does well." |
I personally wasn't doing "well", so to speak. I was feeling shut-down by both WebmasterWorld and then by Google. Basically I was having trouble keeping the two apart. That's probably why I sound "negative" (read=complaining).
|"I think at one time Google reps were of value but once the company moved into stock offerings and everything else their value has diminished." |
outland88 also mentions things getting "tight lipped", and hence basically unhelpful, which I experienced as antagonizing. To repeat my profession, my job includes providing technical support. I can "answer" people's questions and solve them right away, or I can phrase an answer in a way that looks like I am responding, but the issue isn't any closer to being solved. In other words, there is a whole spectrum of "support" available, and I perceive something which isn't helpful at all to be in some way antagonistic.
|"back to the original topic, just like ASA, the AWA is a Google employee that devotes some of their time to try to help us with various topics." |
In my limited experience, things used to be more helpful, I remember when googleguy would come along and tell us about the google dance - that was pretty exciting, it really was a sort of batphone, you could get interesting information that created buzz, and you could directly report spam, abuse, etc.
Re-reading this forum, and sticking to topic, my next question would be: how to alert new forum readers to the role G reps, or any other reps, are playing here.
|"But it might be an idea if all known reps were identified as REP next to their "nicks"..and did not have "member" status ..Thus their posts could be more accurately judged in "context" by newer members to these boards " |
I agree with this. My rationale is this: I did not really understand how AWA was related to the forum. I understand that now. What confused me was to whom he or she was a senior member and what that meant, what sort of status was actually being conferred.
|"To summarize - I am supporting to have reps on board and I like the idea of them being identified clearly on the nick level." |
I don't have enough experience to comment on the presence of reps on the whole. I would like to assume broad participation is a good thing. I would suggest to strive for transparency while being realistic about what's possible.
|What confused me was to whom he or she was a senior member and what that meant, what sort of status was actually being conferred. |
member level are based on post count:
"FAQ: What are the member levels?" [webmasterworld.com]
Hmmm... I'm at 200 posts.
Let's go for Senior Member (650 posts).
Everyone, please don't mind the next 450 blank posts... :-)