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Who Is Google Using to Staff Support?

     
4:15 am on Feb 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

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As I'm sure many others here do, from time to time I'll come across sites that are violating Adsense T&Cs. If it's a really glaring violation that is detrimental to advertisers, I'll report it to adsense-support@google.com. It's been awhile since I've done this, but I recall always getting a boilerplate response thanking me for informing them and saying they'll look into it but they don't provide the resolution to the person who reports the violation. That's fine.

Today, I saw a relatively well known celebrity's website with the only content of Google's home page logo, a Google searchbox and a 728*90 AdSense text banner. The rest of the home page was blank. This site used to have full content but a few weeks ago, it was taken down completely, resulting in a 404. Today it was replaced as I described. I learned about this because there was a link to it from the largest celebrity gossip site on the Internet so I'm sure it got a lot of visits today and curiosity clicks on the AdSense ads.

I sent an email to adsense-support@google.com that said "A gross violation of the AdSense Terms & Conditions: http://example.com.

Rather than receiving their boilerplate response, they said they searched their system and they couldn't find an AdSense account with the information I provided. They asked me to respond to their email from the email address associated with my AdSense account. Say what? This has nothing to do with my AdSense account.

I responded that if they would just click on the link I provided, it would be very obvious what the violation was.

I'm used to getting clueless responses from some companies, but Google? This is the first time AdSense Support has disappointed me.

[edited by: encyclo at 2:30 am (utc) on Feb. 13, 2008]
[edit reason] switched to example.com [/edit]

6:00 am on Feb 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

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In two e-mails to them today concerning problems with my site I receive a reply that they are closed for the weekend. Since when is Monday the weekend. In the meantime I cannot get things to work. Makes me very happy as I am missing the little bit the I usually get.
4:53 pm on Feb 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I get feeling that Adsense is "outsourcing" their publisher support to people in third-world countries.

I had some horrendous problems with one particular rep in January. He simply banned one third of my sites and provided no useful feedback, except to point to the TOS.

Now in February a different rep is answering me, but she gives poor responses. She wont answer any specific questions, just points to the TOS.

Why bother paying anyone to run a "publisher support" department at all? Just slap a notice on your website, "For publisher support, read the TOS at this link." Since that's the only response I get from humans anyway.

8:47 pm on Feb 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I think this is a general trend that's not limited to AdSense. I get the same level of service from other online customer service departments, as well.

kaz

11:01 pm on Feb 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I've been with Adsense for a few years, and I've never understand what level of service people expect. I think the issue is a conflict between some who have expectations of personal service and google's business model and their focus on scalable solutions.
2:29 am on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I get feeling that Adsense is "outsourcing" their publisher support to people in third-world countries.

I was under the impression that they've been building a large AdWords/AdSense support center in Michigan.

3:22 am on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I get the same level of service from other online customer service departments, as well.

As I said, I do too, but never Google, until now.
I've been with Adsense for a few years, and I've never understand what level of service people expect. I think the issue is a conflict between some who have expectations of personal service and google's business model and their focus on scalable solutions.

My expectations are very simple. Read my message and if you are going to respond to it, don't sound totally clueless. Address the issue or don't respond at all. Nothing about that as to an expectation of personal service as is very clear from the sole statement which I quoted in my first message. It didn't even require a response, assuming the recipient wasn't clueless.
3:27 am on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Well, this issue has been discussed here time and again. The general consensus is that it's pointless to report a website to Google, because they don't seem to care. I guess you can just add another chalk mark to the tally.
5:26 am on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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We have given up a while ago reporting other websites. Unfortunately, inadequate email responses are also sent regarding payment issues. We contacted Adsense 4 times regarding a problem with one of the checks sent to us. Two times we got a response informing us that the office was closed (with not subsequent effort to contact us). Two more times we got no response at all. It is not simply a question of having patience, since we sent our emails about 6 weeks ago, and up to now did not get a reaction.
5:35 am on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Don't worry, I didn't get a reply at all. Oh well, it has only been 40 hours since my first e-mail and 14 since the e-mail that got through. I know Iam a small, in fact a really small fish but we all like to think we matter.
6:52 am on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I just received the same boilerplate response that I've received in the past when reporting a violation.

kaz

7:21 am on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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With these "reports" you are making, are they your competitors or are you just doing this because of good will? Why.
7:39 am on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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It's possible that they don't look into indivdual complaints, but instead, each complaint counts as a "vote" against the site. After enough votes then they check it out. That's just a theory but it makes sense that they can't investigate all of the complaints, and as the previous poster mentioned if it's just one complaint, it could be a competitor.
7:50 am on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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are they your competitors or are you just doing this because of good will

There is no ethical issues of reporting violations of anyone including ones competitior. If it is a violation, it is. The Google staff should be able to verify this from their end.

7:52 am on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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In a reply I received to a previous complaint, I was told to block the advertiser in question and that on another front QS would eventually take care of things.
9:02 pm on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I was under the impression that they've been building a large AdWords/AdSense support center in Michigan.

I can actually see it from here (Ann Arbor) but it's AdWords only - no AdSense.

kaz

7:32 pm on Feb 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I was told to block the advertiser in question and that on another front QS would eventually take care of things.

Makes sense to me. They are a business managing a system. A very large scale system. Can you imagine if Google started doing what was being suggested here. I can see it now. Lets setup an entire department. We'll start closing down accounts for all these emails we are receiving. As they proceed closing accounts in rapid succession they soon realize they are not making money but reducing their earnings. What part of this is a mystery I don't understand.

I believe they probably look at more than the type of information being discussed here. For example, is the traffic good quality based on ips, traffic patterns, and yes maybe even conversions. So while people shoot off these emails saying how terrible this publisher of theirs is and how lousy the service is because they expected to return to find the ads shut down based on their email ... google's perspective I imagine is very different. I wasn't suggesting an ethical issue with reporting, but ethics aside I don't understand the business logic of others with this from google's perspective.

12:09 am on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm the OP here. I wanted to update this with another clueless response from AdSense Support. I really don't know what to make of this coming from a company that supposedly hires only the cream of the crop. I sent the following to adsense-support@google.com.
Subject Line: Search AdSense Help Not Working

When I enter a search term and click Search AdSense Help from within my account, a new window opens but doesn't resolve to the search results. It's just blank.

They responded that they were sorry to hear that I'm having difficulty with AdSense for Search and then asked me to provide my browser and other info. so they could troubleshoot.

Geez, this has nothing to do with AdSense for Search. I specifically said Search AdSense Help from within my account.

It's working now (since I re-booted), but what's the deal that these people cannot read?

1:15 am on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

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LOL. It almost seems as if a bot scanned the text of your email and responded based on keywords "AdSense" and "Search."

You have to admit, though, in this case it worked out. It bought them enough time that you were able to figure out the solution on your own, and it didn't cost them any resources.

4:24 pm on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Bot scanning emails? LOL, this would be LAME. I don't like communication with machines.

[edited by: SEOPTI at 4:25 pm (utc) on Feb. 22, 2008]

7:48 pm on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Give those support people a break! When was the last time you misread an email? When was the last time you made a mistake? Me, I make them every day and I'm not being paid minimum wage.

kaz

11:47 pm on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

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junk in, junk out
11:53 pm on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Some of us wish we were making minimum wage off of our sites.
4:29 pm on Feb 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I haven't written to AdSense for a long time but have recently written to Google Analytics and the answer always comes in the middle of the night from names that may be Indian. But the support has still been prompt and really helpful.

Strangely I am getting terrible customer service from Google Business Search which I actually paid for!

5:56 pm on Feb 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Well... I have always had positive, to the point, replies to my emails. They take 2-3 days to respond but that is O.K. with me.

No problems here.

BTW, I have never reported problem sites or reported violations on other websites as I feel G knows most of them and G is quite capable of handling those issues themselves. I think it is a little unrealistic to expect adSense support to respond to a publisher reporting violations by a 'competitor'.

But I may say, that I have not had many interractions with adsense support.. maybe 4 communications in 2 years. All of them resolved to my satisfaction.

8:25 pm on Feb 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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> LOL. It almost seems as if a bot scanned the text of your email

> Bot scanning emails? LOL

Guys, that's how a support knowledge base assisted system works, it scans for keywords and suggests standard answers, helps save reading & typing time and unifies responses, the human is supposed to use it as a tool after reading the question, sometimes they skip through and mistakes happen, it's an art writing to the point questions e.g.

When I enter a search term and click Search AdSense Help from within my account, a new window opens but doesn't resolve to the search results. It's just blank.

is better when written as:

AdSense Support search feature is giving a blank page.

short, simple.
no .. When I enter
or .. and click
or .. from within my account

Know the nature of the beast and use it to your advantage.

[edited by: Hobbs at 8:28 pm (utc) on Feb. 23, 2008]

11:53 am on Feb 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

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They have this huge new office just 2 blocks from my house here in India Hyderabad, I don't know much about what goes on there but heard it mostly to provide support.

BTW I did email support twice this year and got a friendly human reply within 24 hrs.

11:49 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Maybe it's easier to get support in other countries than US? Maybe it's easier to get an answer from support in India/UK/Germany?