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Google ZOMBIE Traffic Observations

     
1:39 pm on Oct 4, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Mods Note: Split out of the October 2015 Monthly Observation thread into a separate Zombie Traffic Thread
---------------------------------
Sunday morning, usually banging away, but nothing but slow moving Zombie traffic, one or two at a time and sitting on the same pages for several minutes. Switch is currently OFF.
Still in decline. No sign of any seasonal upswing, which is way overdue.

[edited by: aakk9999 at 7:08 pm (utc) on Oct 19, 2015]

2:27 am on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Google promoting Amazon is pointless, Amazon has their own internal search engine, so who needs Google to find it. All Amazon links belong under the "shopping" tab. That should be where ALL of Google's affiliate links go.

Traffic for Wednesday = horrible and non interactive. Same set of pages keep getting Google hits by Zombie like visitors. These are 300-600 word pages, nobody takes 4+ minutes to read that little, except maybe a zombie. While they are on the page for that long, it doesn't seem to affect my page time one bit.
7:22 am on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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All Amazon links belong under the "shopping" tab. That should be where ALL of Google's affiliate links go.


++1
7:57 am on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Okay, I just noticed something VERY strange.

Yesterday, I was doing research for some different types of skin products. I am currently on a medication called accutane, which has a pretty bad rep around the world as it causes all sorts of side effects. Thankfully my health issues have been pretty mild so far... anyway, I am in an industry related to dating, although not the spammy type of crap you see from "PUA" blogs which overhype products and make up lies.

So I was doing research on that topic earlier today... and for some reason, I started getting a mixture of both subjects in the search results (acne and dating results). They were very vaguely related.

However, I opened up an incognito search to on the same search phrase, and it returned to being somewhat accurate. I say somewhat because I found the best results on page 3.

Personalisation might be a huge cause of what we are seeing here... any thoughts?
7:59 am on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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All Amazon links belong under the "shopping" tab. That should be where ALL of Google's affiliate links go.


Why (other than because it's convenient for you)?

In case you forgot, Amazon has a group of people behind it too, it's not run by robots. Just like you or anyone in this thread, they have worked very hard to get the store to where it is (and to keep it there - no smaller achievement than getting it there in the first place). The site has millions of back-links (most online entrepreneurs would give their right arm and an eye for 0.5% of what they have), superb item offerings, pretty much the best prices on the web, fantastic support and super-fast shipping, excellent promotions, very fast e-mail replies, exceptional site navigation, a disgustingly good item recommendation system. All of it worked very hard for, significantly harder (if you consider man-hours, as opposed to just wishful thinking - I'm talking actual work) than all the small stores combined and then multiplied. And you would say that they don't even belong in the SERPs? Then who does? I'm sorry but your statement strikes me as very hypocritical.

Many people just go to Google as their first point of exploration. They are often not aware that an item is even sold on Amazon, and even if they are - they'd rather see (in Google) a list of the best stores that sell that item (and yes, the best stores, not the ones with the most unique and cool item descriptions/pictures [nor necessarily the most 'expertise' - sorry but I don't need anyone's expertise for the new laptop I'm buying, I can handle everything on my own and if I have a problem I'd rather Google it than contact your highly knowledgable support and wait a few hours or a day+ for a reply] and the owner's face displayed in the top-right corner of the site, but the ones where I can have all of my buying needs met simultaneously in case I want to order some dog food to go along with my new Laptop simply for convenience, along with the best prices, and shipping/support/trust that are consistent no matter what and when I buy). I for one, if I were going to buy a phone for example, would not go to Amazon, but would look for it in Google to see what stores have it in stock (this is much faster than going directly to the websites of 3-4 online retailers and doing a manual search on each of them).

These highly-specialized small "moms and pops" (obviously not necessarily run by a mom and a pop :)) stores simply don't provide as much value in this day and age as their owners think they do/should, it's as simple as that. That's my opinion.
10:19 am on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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"pretty much the best prices on the web" hardly..amazon prices are way too expensive.. In my opinion anyway. Pretty much everything I want to buy I can get a lot cheaper elsewhere though the way things are going I don't think many other stores will be in business and then amazon can price gouge as much as they like then.

Also yes.. amazon has lots of links but millions and millions of them are spam affiliate links or links created by people to promote their amazon listing or shop.. if any other site did this you would be stuck in a unnatural link penalty forever.

Someone mentioned earlier that sellers on ebay and amazon are seeing their sales go down... I think that this is because of internal changes made on ebay and amazon such as top rated seller updates and not really related to search results so much.
11:51 am on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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amazon prices are way too expensive.. In my opinion anyway.


I guess this will vary from niche to niche. Personally though I almost never see anything where Amazon's price would be higher than that of other, trustworthy stores (and I'm an Amazon affiliate who professionally browses through their site on a daily basis). The only cases I seem to remember where this is different is when a product is not popular at all, the manufacturer sells the product on their own website and also on Amazon, and they intentionally raise the price of the item on Amazon (understandably). And if there even is a small difference in price in favor of the smaller store, it is overshadowed by the other benefits of the big stores (faster/cheaper shipping, ability to buy other unrelated items at the same time with your main purchase, perhaps free shipping thanks to Amazon prime, some degree of trust in the customer reviews posted there).

amazon has lots of links but millions and millions of them are spam affiliate links or links created by people to promote their amazon listing or shop..


What's "spam" about that? This is the essence of a good link - a link placed on a relevant website, directing highly targeted traffic from that website to your store - links directly generating money. It's the holy grail of a good, valuable e-commerce link. I'd rather have those "spammy" affiliate links that Amazon has than a bunch of "high value" links from some "authority" post on BBC / CNN or whatever, which will probably not send any buyers to my e-commerce store anyway (unless I'm selling some new, breakthrough invention).
12:23 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Why (other than because it's convenient for you)?


Simply because Amazon is a household name...Do you REALLY need Google to find a product on Amazon? That makes as much sense as using Google to find a link on Bing or Yahoo....unless of course you're just shilling for Amazon, or you're one of those placing adwords ads for Amazon products.

When I want to buy something I click my Amazon bookmark and start shopping, I don't start with Google.

Bottom line, Amazon does not need Google...but for affiliate and ad income, Google NEEDS Amazon and that's why we see it plastered all over the SERPS.
12:40 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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When I want to buy something I click my Amazon bookmark and start shopping, I don't start with Google.


Perhaps you don't start with Google in that case, but many people do (otherwise Amazon would have close to 0% clickthrough rates in the SERPs because they would be ignored completely, which is obviously not the case). Everyone I know (both personally and professionally, as an affiliate), including myself, searches for a product like so:

1) type name into Google
2) Hold CTRL
3) Left click on 5-6 of the stores in the results to open each one in a new tab (and they better have Amazon in there too and a few more popular stores because I definitely want to take them into consideration)
4) Compare prices and deals across the opened tabs

You seem to harbor the (incorrect in my opinion) belief that when someone wants to buy something, they either have no clue where to buy it or else they are certain they want to buy it at Amazon or any other specific store. In my experience, people fall somewhere in between - they have a set of stores they would like to buy from, but are not sure which one they should go for. And for such people Google is the perfect solution and is much faster than coming up with a list of stores, opening each of their websites separately, typing the name of the product into each website's search box, opening the product page for each store, and making sure you opened the page of the right product ("is this the product page for 'Red Widget' or for 'Red Widget Deluxe Edition?"). Google literally turns an annoying task that would take me 5 minutes to complete, into a 5 second clicking exercise for my index finger.

Amazon does not need Google


It's neither your nor my place to dictate who needs Google and who belongs there. Bottom line is that there are certain algorithmic rules for who gets to rank highly, when and why, and as far as I know Amazon scores a perfect 10/10 on every single metric imaginable.
12:59 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It's neither your nor my place to dictate who needs Google and who belongs there.


I never said they HAD to do anything, I said that shopping (especially for the obvious, well known monster stores), should be under the shopping tab, just like videos and news should be under their respective tabs. Are you really looking for a debate, because I'm not. Let it go.
1:06 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Are you really looking for a debate, because I'm not. Let it go.


Fine.
1:43 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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ohhhh...I'm looking for a debate though! hasek747 ....

"unless of course you're just shilling for Amazon"

"if" he's an affiliate or people he knows are affiliates...bad move - short lived revenue - they can cut affiliates off at any time...like a sales person who does not receive a residual...not smart

You say they worked so hard...how dare we say bad things...really? Jeff Bezos worked hard sure...just as hard as I have over the years...the only difference is he had an army to lead...when he started Amazon he came from a well connected job on Wall Street - he knew a lot of people - he was given money...then using that money he was able to get major PR. Don't get me wrong...he made good decisions - he's no moron - smarter than me in many ways (well...a lot of ways he's about to become the richest person in the World) however he worked hard for those backlinks, etc. is wrong.

Google is just plain not smart in helping Amazon (if they do - no proof) (even with affiliate revenue...did not know this? They really get revenue from this?) wow...like a drug...they must be addicted then...Amazon pays them a small amount but over a customer's lifetime they get revenue..smart of Amazon to do this...I always go to Amazon first when buying products - Google is only used once in a while for e-commerce searches...BIG mistake.

Google needs to show one link per web site per product and not multiple links and RANDOMIZE search results to give newer less powerful sites a chance...then those smaller sites will have a chance to breathe and flourish...before Google knows it they will have their own army of workers...us merchants...

I am not completely sour...that's how the World works...robotics...consolidation of power, etc. I understand...but sooner or later Google will lose power...always happens in business...and a new technology - mobile...other stuff we have not thought of will replace them. Again, I do not hate Google....I understand...up to them...not us pawns...

BTW, you say, "Amazon has a group of people behind it too, it's not run by robots"

LOL - actually that's rapidly changing...look up on duckduckgo how Amazon has an army of robots working in their warehouse.
2:09 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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These highly-specialized small "moms and pops" (obviously not necessarily run by a mom and a pop :)) stores simply don't provide as much value in this day and age as their owners think they do/should, it's as simple as that. That's my opinion.

That statement is painted with a wide brush. Somewhere within your definition of "value" there should be some consideration to who produces what is displayed and sold on Amazon. For the most part, Amazon would be utterly useless and empty without those big businesses and small mom and pops that produce what it is that Amazon sells.

amazon prices are way too expensive.. In my opinion anyway.

Selling on Amazon is not cheap. $40 a month for a professional seller account and 15% off the top. Add $.50 a cubic foot for warehousing and even more for handling, shipping, etc. and it gets even more expensive. These costs have to get passed along to the consumer otherwise businesses selling on Amazon would go broke. Often better deals can be found on other websites or by the manufacturers themselves. I recall ordering a shelf from a company selling on Amazon, who is also the manufacture, and they stated in bold print on the pick list you can buy cheaper on their website. I ordered directly from them at that point forward because it was less expensive.
3:04 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hi folks

I hereby declare that Thursday 22nd Oct. 2015 is a Google Zombie Traffic FREE DAY.

Long live WebmasterWorld :)
3:19 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Just like clockwork reseller. Got my first sale less than 1 hour ago. Looking forward to playing catch up.
3:28 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I've been stuck in zombie land and read this thread partially last night and finished it this morning.
Funny thing?
Today I have already gotten more conversions than most of yesterday and my normal peak times are not even here yet.
Real humans are flowing again.
3:41 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Barry Schwartz posted today that all signs of a Halloween zombie update started on October 20th and continued into today. There's very little discussion regarding this supposed update anywhere. Not here, not even in Barry's post. But all the rank trackers show some major changes.

I see slightly less traffic today than yesterday with Google driving 0 total sales, which I'm used to since most days of the week consists of Google zombies. Is there anyone else here with an eCommerce website, who has been hit hard by zombies, seeing any changes in sales? I see no changes. Maybe we were the test bed for Google and they are rolling the zombies out across the world?
4:00 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

"if" he's an affiliate or people he knows are affiliates...bad move - short lived revenue - they can cut affiliates off at any time...like a sales person who does not receive a residual...not smart


I don't know about other affiliates, but I work with many different affiliate programs and can drop Amazon just as easily as they can drop me (and have in fact done so, but went back in since I managed to get certain benefits not available to the public). I also have other activities completely non-affiliate related. I don't see how my business model is of any consideration to this discussion, however - I'm very content with my financial situation and back-up plans and would like to leave it at that, if I may.

You say they worked so hard...how dare we say bad things...really?


Not really; you can say whatever you deem appropriate, and I may say the same while hoping for a discussion if possible. And I guess that what I'm saying is that if something is to be done with Amazon or any other big brand, then it should also apply to smaller businesses. Want to delegate Amazon or other stores to a "Shopping" tab? Be my guest - but your own small(er) e-commerce store is going right along with it. I guess this is something that is impossible for two people to agree on if they hold different views on certain things - I for instance believe that small or big should be treated equally, and heavily detest the notion that if you are really big then you should be made to 'suffer' for the good of others.

Jeff Bezos worked hard sure.


I was not referring to Jeff Bezos alone. I specifically referred to "man-hours" since I was talking about all the workers behind the company, the tens of thousands of people involved. That is what it took to get Amazon to where it is, and that is what it takes to keep it there (for the foreseeable future). The purpose of that statement wasn't to make a comparison aka "who works more than whom". I only mentioned that as a reminder that there is a ginormous amount of effort that goes into making these brands, and that they are not in Google by "accident" or due to some manipulation - to me, this always sounds akin to saying that the US (as a country) is Great Power only because it recruited the richest and smartest of Europe. It's neither here nor there, they are what they are and you either adapt and try to learn from them, or you whine.

Google needs to show one link per web site per product and not multiple links and RANDOMIZE search results


Google is a for-profit company. If they were to do what you propose, they would have to deal with scores and legions of unsatisfied searchers, since a randomized approach would result in the displaying of tons of very low quality websites that would be extremely frustrating to browse through. This would not work for anyone (except maybe spammers who would go even more ham than they currently do and start creating tens of thousands of e-shops in order to increase their chances of randomly appearing on the first page).

to give newer less powerful sites a chance


If there was a way for Google to make Searchers, Google itself, and Shop Owners happy (while continuing to grow - lack of growth is the same as closing shop in this age, for these big companies at least), I'm certain they would do so. Unfortunately, giving every crappy online shop a chance (and there are far more of those than there are decent stores) will always result in unhappy searchers. Then we'd need to tighten things up a bit and say "ok, well, not EVERY shop.... how about only show those that have a few links?" etc. And inadvertently we would end up exactly (or pretty close to) where we are right now, which is that in order for you to appear in Google, you need to first demonstrate that you are already valuable before even "getting in."

Google is just plain not smart in helping Amazon


I don't want to discuss Google's actions simply because I don't feel qualified to do that and I like to assume that they know what they are doing even if I don't understand it (my understanding of something is no a prerequisite for it making sense to someone else).I have no clue who Google pays and what for. All I know is that I constantly see websites outranking Amazon for fairly valuable terms (including all of my own websites), and that I absolutely don't get the feeling that they are "above everybody" - it usually makes perfect sense to me, after objective inspection, why Amazon is ranking first, or above this or that website, in a given situation. There are exceptions, of course, but they are far and in between from my perspective. I guess what I'm saying is that I absolutely don't get the feeling that Google is being paid by Amazon for anything. I'm sure they have some mutual agreements, but I see no signs to indicate that they are flat out paying Google to rank them above others, if that is what you meant.

LOL - actually that's rapidly changing...look up on duckduckgo how Amazon has an army of robots working in their warehouse.


You got me - no arguments here, lol.

This is getting quickly off topic though; feel free to start a new thread about this and I'll be happy to join in there and continue the conversation. I will refrain from posting about this in this thread however. Let the zombies run amok!
4:19 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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There's very little discussion regarding this supposed update anywhere. Not here, not even in Barry's post.


Matt Cutts used to talk to webmasters/SEOs communities during Google updates. Since Matt Cutts went on leave Google has downgraded and minimized its communication with webmasters/SEOs communities. Especially now that we are in the process of analysing and observing what it could be a Google Zombie Traffic fraud, I wouldn't expect Google to sending us love for what we are doing :)

For a year a go if somebody posted that Volkswagen is using software to cheat on emissions tests, nobody would have believe it?

Today we are talking about possible Google Zombie Traffic Fraud. Keeping in mind that European commission announced antitrust charges against Google in April 2015 [theguardian.com...] . Who knows how would Google situation look like after a year from now? :)

[edited by: reseller at 4:23 pm (utc) on Oct 22, 2015]

4:20 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Just like clockwork reseller. Got my first sale less than 1 hour ago. Looking forward to playing catch up.


Last conversion was yesterday at 8:30 am....next conversion was this morning at, guess what? 8:27 am...only off by 3 minutes.
Nothing in between. The day started off with what LOOKED like humans, but now has reverted to ZZZ's, by-passing all my "product" pages and going direct to a handful of what I'd consider my "better written", authoritative and entertaining blog posts.

I'll try to switch the ads back on and see what shakes out today.

@haysack, really? give it a break or open a new topic.

UPDATE: No sooner started ads back up and another conversion comes in. So unpredictably predictable.
6:12 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I spoke too soon. Sales have also dropped back down to zero. The only sale I made was the one mentioned earlier.

I will post if anything develops.
6:22 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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hasek747 + whoooaaa - what a response - good constructive answer! I only glanced at it since it was so detailed - will look again tonight when I have more time :-)
6:51 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Darn! after reading through this whole thread, Isellstuff beat me to the punch I was revving up to make, although you all pretty much ignored it, I think (I fastforwarded and mostly scanned.through the last 24 hours worth of posts.) Anyway, that is the mobile users! As primarily an info site we rely on Adsense and some affiliate sales, and noticed, along with most others, that when G made us all start making things responsive and/or compatible with mobiles (and mobile users jumped from about 5% to about 40% of our traffic) that overall CTR dropped almost proportionate to the increase in mobile users. They tend NOT to buy or click on ads! So now what if you go back and reread the earlier posts and replace "zombies/robots" with "mobile users" in your theories (including of course combing this with the buckets theory AND the quota one), I think you will see that this tends to make the explanation a whole lot more "less eerie" sounding and a lot more plausible as to why it is so universal. How many of those affected did or did not make changes for mobile compatibility? You may want to compare your data separately based upon conversions from desktop vs mobile users and also evaluate your site for its appeal and usability to mobile users. If more non-buying ('zombie'/mobile) users are coming through, that could mean fewer non-mobile buyers. As much as I personally hate to admit it they are here to stay, at least until they all go blind trying to read those teeny tiny screens (or get old enough that they can't see them anymore like me.) Can they really see a box or button on the right side of a 750pixel website on a 320 pixel iphone?
Just my 2cents. Thanks for the useful thread!
8:14 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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They tend NOT to buy or click on ads! So now what if you go back and reread the earlier posts and replace "zombies/robots" with "mobile users" in your theories (including of course combing this with the buckets theory AND the quota one), I think you will see that this tends to make the explanation a whole lot more "less eerie" sounding and a lot more plausible as to why it is so universal.


Only problem with this is seeing zombie adwords traffic on campaigns where mobile are excluded altogether.
9:59 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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+1 @seoskunk. We have mobile excluded and still see the on/off zombie effect on Google shopping.
10:01 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Only problem with this is seeing zombie adwords traffic on campaigns where mobile are excluded altogether.

I agree with this too. Mobile users, as bad as they are about making purchases, are more productive than zombies. I see no discernible change in mobile or desktop users either.
10:13 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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How many of those affected did or did not make changes for mobile compatibility? You may want to compare your data separately based upon conversions from desktop vs mobile users and also evaluate your site for its appeal and usability to mobile users.


From what I've seen ALL those reporting have responsive sites.
Still does not explain desktop or tablet users who come to the site then site on one page for 5 minutes then gone...repeatedly.
I have excluded all mobile in my Adsense campaigns too. While mobile is useless, it's not as useless as the zombie.
11:14 pm on Oct 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Great now I got this stuck in my mind....

In your head
In your head
Zombie zombie zombie


[youtube.com...]
2:05 am on Oct 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Ha - Google called me tonight to ask why I was turning my ads on and off. I told them of their poor performance. Their advice for better performance was to simply increase bids and add more keywords. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
2:31 am on Oct 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It's official (just read today) Jeff Bezos is now the 3rd richest person in the World.
2:56 am on Oct 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Ha - Google called me tonight to ask why I was turning my ads on and off. I told them of their poor performance. Their advice for better performance was to simply increase bids and add more keywords. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


I had the same. I told them that we already tried that and now find their keyword bids exuberant and no longer make business sense. I also said that we are taking our entire budget to Bing and Facebook and asked the guy to pass this higher up. We've had enough.

[edited by: goodoldweb at 2:59 am (utc) on Oct 23, 2015]

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