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Competitors Operating Multiple AdWords Accounts

AdWords advertisers operating multiple accounts


Bobby Digital

7:38 pm on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hello all,

As you can see, Iím a new poster here. I usually just lurk and take in the discussions, but recently I encountered a situation thatís had me itching for feedback from the search community.

First, a little background. I am the Internet Marketing Manager for a company that spends approximately $1 million per year in Google AdWords (for a lead generation site). We are the industry leader and the top advertiser in our category.

However, over the past month or so, weíve noticed that several of our competitors have launched what appear to be secondary AdWords accounts using separate destination URLs (itís actually happening on YSM as well, but for the purpose of this discussion Iíll focus on Google). This has enabled them to have their ads show twice on the same page for a given keyword. Although each competitorís secondary landing page has a different design and content than the main one, they share the exact same function - to generate leads for the competitor in question.

For example, for the keyword query ďwidgets,Ē Company BCD has an ad for their main Web site - www.bdc.com - in the third position, above the organic listings. Their second ad - pointing to the site www.secondurl.info, which is a landing page only - appears in the sixth position in the right-hand column. Again, the two sites look fairly unique, but they are both advertising Company BDCís services (not two unique services, mind you - but the exact same ones). This tactic for double-serving has been employed by two of the top three competitors in our industry (a third, smaller player has recently jumped on the bandwagon as well).

Now, these practices were in such clear violation of AdWordís TOS that we didnít foresee a problem getting Google to stop them. I called our AdWords rep and let her know about the issue, and she said it would be resolved in a few days. About a week later, I received an e-mail stating that appropriate action had been taken against the advertisers in question. However, I then queried one of our popular search terms on Google just to check, and the same two competitors were still showing multiple listings!

So I put in another call to AdWords and told them that the double-serving was still going on, and our rep said that it would be helpful if we gave her a list of the keywords for which itís happening. It seemed to me that Google was dragging their heels by making us police the advertisers for violations, but I acquiesced and told her Iíd compile the info.

Before I start collecting data to send them, however, I wanted to see if anyone out there in the SEM community has experienced a situation like this. If so, what is the most effective way of getting Google to take action? I insinuated (in a roundabout way) that if the double-serving is allowed to continue, then we are going to follow suit - except weíll do it with four or five separate URLís instead of just two. Now, Iíd much rather have Google resolve the issue according to their TOS, but every day that goes by, weíre seeing a negative impact on our CPC and CPA figures. I mean, if they just turn a blind eye to infractions like these, arenít they basically telling other advertisers thatís itís OK to do the same thing?

Please - let me know if any of you have insight into this issue. I would love to hear your feedback, and any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


7:58 pm on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

One thing that comes to mind with this is I wonder if one of the links, for example the landing pages, are affiliate links. To Google, affiliates are seperate businesses. Hence, the same business is not double-serving ads.


8:30 pm on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Twice I have reported competitors who were behaving thusly (one of them actually had at least five different ads running to different landing pages, but the doofus didn't know enough to cloak the domains so that a simple WHOIS showed they were all owned by the same entity)

In one case it took Google about a week to remove the extra listings, and in the other about two weeks.

I also had an issue one time with someone spamming Froogle this way, and that one they resolved within 48 hours.

running scared

10:34 am on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It sounds to me if they are making progress and showing willing to resolve the problem so I would stick with that route.

It is probably a simple case of you knowing your industry much better than they do, so they will be less adept at identifying the offenders.


2:22 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I noticed one of our minor competitors doing this in a few instances and I called my AdWords rep and it was taken care of in days.

The offender was pretty obvious and even cross-linked between the two brands. We shouldn't have to police it, but our businesses matter more to us than they do to Google so we will end up doing it anyways.


3:35 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

You are rep'ing the biggest company (I am guessing in terms of $ spent?), so open some accounts of your own. Fight fire with fire. Take spots 1-4 and shove it in their face.


5:06 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

And potentially get kicked out? I don't think that's a very good plan.


8:53 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

They aren't kicking people out obviously. I think it's a great plan. Also, they're not going to kick out someone spending $1mm+/yr, thye might kick the smaller accounts, but I really doubt the larger accounts will go.

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