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Anyone else seen this and why would this be when everything is relevant? BTW I don't use analytics or anything else to allow any tracking of conversions from their side, but I can tell you the kw's that got bumped up high were converting.
I think Google (now) sees the world differently. In the past, the value chain looked like any of this:
a) End consumer - Google Search - MFA - Google - Merchant
b) End consumer - Google Search - MFA - Google - Affiliate - Merchant
c) End consumer - Google Search - Affiliate - Merchant
d) End consumer - Adsense publisher - Google - MFA - Google - Merchant
e) End consumer - Adsense publisher - Google - MFA - Google - Affiliate - Merchant
f) End consumer - Adsense publisher - Google - Affiliate - Merchant
g) End consumer - Google search - Adsense publisher - Google - Merchant
(a and b were nuked with the Quality Score 1.0)
Current focus is c, and d-f on the Adsense side.
I guess that Google has now decided to leave the massive growth area and enter the sustainable and more solid area of quality. Only this protects their brand and secures future growth opportunities.
The new value chain looks like this:
a) End consumer - Google - Merchant
b) End consumer - Adsense publisher - Google - Merchant
c) End consumer - Google search - Adsense publisher - Google - Merchant
The rationale for this change is clear: on the Internet, there is no need for a middle man. This is even more true if you are Google who have all the resources and data to cut out the middle man altogether. In order to stay competitive, the middle man needs to be cut out as he is only grabbing money along the value chain without adding value. (And this, dear friends, is a risk for Google as the presence of a middle man clearly indicates an inefficiency of the system. As soon as someone comes along who removes the middle man, they are out of the game.)
Google don't care whether those who in the past could successfully run their tiny affiliate sites without adding anything to the user experience have trouble paying their bills now. I guess they want to see unique content around the site topic, e.g. a site selling trips to Elbonia better has unique user reviews for hotels and car rentals in Elbonia. Just slapping up a logo and the generic/unchanged GUI of a reservation engine will not be sufficient as is does not add anything to the user experience.
Again, Google - you are on the right path! Go, Google, go, go, go!
Yes its very annoying and a real pain to admit the party may be over but it ands theres nothing you can do about it.
Lear to seo your sites, that my advice, or better still how abot selling the goods yourself?
I wonder what other search companies like Yahoo! think about that. Their serp rankings won't change on a google whim... but they'll have to re-evaluate a lot of sites that get changed because of the whim.
Something smells here...
Also, I'm not currently using either adsense or adwords but I did on a site that I ended up shuting down 6+ months ago.
I just checked the results for today via adsense tracking. I got 43 hits today. The site has been gone for 6 months! Apparently when someone looks it up in the serps and sees its gone they can click on "cache" and see it as it was... with ads and all and the hits count in my adsense tracking.
what about the ones that were paying for the advertising and wasted their money on fraud, wasted their time ttrying to make a living the honest way from the get-go, the ones that actually have a clue about the color variations on the pavement in driveways? The ones that had to pay more money for the advertising cause 10 other listings on the right side of the SERP were playing the GAME of 'let me try make you click on Ads'?
are they scrambling to change their content?
1) A warning email - "We will be updating / changing our quality score algorithm in the next 24 / 48 / 72 hours".
2) A precise - detailed - comment on exactly what is required on a landing page to meet their criteria.
This should not be the hit and miss concept that it is right now - I do not understand why they cannot publish the precise requirements they are looking for - we are PAYING customers at the end of the day - sure maybe there is a need for some secrecy in the organic search area, or the Adsense area - but in Adwords we are PAYING their salaries!
Why is it a secret how to successfully use their product?
Every other supplier we have HELPS us understand how to best use / sell their product or service - not tells us we can pay for their service but inhibits our use of that service or tells us we cannot use it but says its a secret why we cannot.
E.g. when we get a new DVD supplier they usually bend over backwards to help us sell their product - including helping us with product information, promos etc. They don't critique our website and say they don't like the colours or content and therefore will price our DVD's at $50 each when everyone else can get them at $5
(and I have noticed people being labeled as 'newbies' here - but I am a long time lurker and our company has been with Adwords since 2001 - the good old days when a PPC auction was real and fair).
[edited by: Michael_Russell at 1:30 pm (utc) on June 10, 2007]
You are a middleman. And so is Google.
You are right.
And, to be honest, I am quite aware of the fact that Google might see me also as middle man (and they certainly do). Big question is: can they create enough content without publishers? Short answer: I don't think so. They need people out there who create unique fresh interesting content. Otherwise they do not have stuff for their SERPs or for the content network. That's why I think that unique content sites will be the last to be hit...
And concerning the fact that Google is a middle man. Again, you are right about this, so let me rephrase - Google is trying hard to get into a position where they are the only middle man. In theory, there would even be no need for Google as middle man. End consumers might be ordering directly from a shop around the corner via Internet (as long as they know that the shop takes orders via the Internet). Big question: how do people find shops if they do not know the address directly? This is where Google enters the stage.
"WE" represent such a tiny part of the online ad market - and
"WE" think we are the whole market . . .
But again the real money for Google is from Madison Ave and the 'brands' - not "US" (affiliate marketers, lead generators, etc)
Google doesn't want an 'affiliate' or 'thin' site or whatever to buy traffic at 5 or 10 CENTS - they want the direct brand or seller to pay $1 DOLLAR++ per click as they are the ones who have:
- the marketing budget
- the margins to support it
- competitive reasons to outbid others
- staying power
Google does NOT need 5-10 ads displayed per keyword / market they only need 1 or 2 (the ones that will pay the most money, who happen to NOT BE US!)
WE have to first understand that we are not the only players in the market and second accept that the game has changed - and Google has no reason to go back.
Does this mean that I like or agree with this?
NO - I miss the good old days :)
But you have to adapt and be honest with yourself on where you fit within the value chain - and stop being mad at Google (they are a public company with shareholders, NOT a non-profit)
So am I happy? Again NO - but I have to just focus on MY business the best I can and be ready for whatever changes in the market.
That is the advantage that WE have - this isn't the old days - we don't need lots of employees and fancy chairs - we can be agile and ready to change / adapt.
Well its Sunday and I'm off to enjoy the day - I started buying CPC ads on Goto in 1999 and in 8 years, I never wanted to let it ruin my day (so do not let it ruin yours)
Any affiliate programs I run, I have the company's blessing to do PPC marketing. They WANT me to do it.
So who cares how why you end up at the end result. I don't disagree with having 10 exact looking sites/feeds in the results from different affiliates. But that is not what happens in most cases and hasn't for a while.
But the idea that affiliates all lessen the user experience is ignorant of the process. In a lot of cases without the affiliate program the advertisers would not be there at all.
I guess Google's wish is all companies just bypass affiliates and buy all their advertising from Google but a lot of companies will not do that for a few reasons. When they run their campaign and their ROI is up and down, and some days they even lose money they will say, gee I like it better when we paid out $20 every time we sold something.
There is a very strong and compelling force for retail companies to like affiliates. As long as that exists, Google is going to have to deal with them. They are not going to be able to force them to go away, even if that were their plan. As other's mentioned with their own CPA plan Google is essentially now a giant affiliate buying space on other people's sites, many of whom will or are advertising on Adwords.
they want the direct brand or seller to pay $1 DOLLAR++ per click as they are the ones who have:
- the marketing budget
- the margins to support it
- competitive reasons to outbid others
- staying power
As much as I understand Google's rationale, I think the PhDs at the Plex are losing contact with ground.
Only very few businesses (even those with big marketing budgets) will put this kind of money into online advertising. Main reason being the fact that the investment can be tracked so well. Print ads? TV ads? The marketing folks can not be sure that an ad will lead to increased sales. They will cover up their tracks by tracking brand awareness. (Ever wondered why sales and marketing departments often do not get along very well?)
It's different with online marketing: in theory, every $ spent can be tracked whether it converts. Whether there is ROI. Many marketers (especially those at the big brand companies) will want to avoid that.
Just ask yourself - how many products do you know that can support a click price of one US-Dollar? Not many.
Let's say, the click price is $1, the conversion rate is 5% (you need 20 people to view an ad to get one transaction), the product margin (gross profit) is 10%.
$1 / 0.05 / 0.10 = $200
i.e. if you sell your product at $200, you are just breaking even, Google eats up your margin. Also, I feel the 5% conversion rate rather optimistic. I'd rather be conservative and go for 1% (raising the price to $1000). Now if you have a smaller margin, things get even worse!
The rationale for this change is clear: on the Internet, there is no need for a middle man.
That is just not true. Apparently you don't understand how and why Affiliate marketing works. The middle-man is there because the retailer wants them there. They can spend a fixed amount of money PER SALE in marketing. That is any business owners nirvana. There is actually a huge need for middle-men, as the online process for marketing products becomes MORE complex. Changes like this just make it worse. Retailers also become frustrated and they stop managing their own campaigns or cut back and simply pay others a fee or percentage to bring in the customers.
This is even more true if you are Google who have all the resources and data to cut out the middle man altogether.
Google is a massive middleman themselves. What is Adsense but Google being one big middleman. People used to go out and get their own advertising deals. Now most small websites just throw up adsense and under-monetize their site. Google is filling that middle role. Same goes with Affiliate marketers on Adwords. A good affiliate can improve the experience for both the retailer and customer by putting them together.
In order to stay competitive, the middle man needs to be cut out as he is only grabbing money along the value chain without adding value.
You have never successfully done any affiliate marketing have you? My value to the retailer is they get a customer for a fixed amount of money. My value to the consumer is I am able to find them and led them to the retailer for something they were interested in or became interested in.
(And this, dear friends, is a risk for Google as the presence of a middle man clearly indicates an inefficiency of the system. As soon as someone comes along who removes the middle man, they are out of the game.)
And in this case the middleman won't go away because the major inefficiency is at the hands of the retailer and most are not going to focus on blanket ppc marketing skills, when they can be guaranteed a return on their marketing budget. Some will do it, and do it well. Some will try and fail miserable. A lot will do both as to maximize their revenue and earnings. But the inefficiency won't go away, and Google just makes it worse the more the make their system less understandable and less managable. Changes like this will improve opportunities for affiliate marketers who have the knowledge and experience to move products on the internet.
google has become arrogant, moreso than Microsoft ever was.
You mean people are just now figuring this out? :D
I'm certainly a cynical guy, and ever since the first day I heard G's mantra: "don't be evil" - I've appended "until it's too late for anyone to do anything about it." This is not to say that anyone at G ever intends (or intended) to be or do evil, but it's the nature of the beast.
[edit - added my modification to G's slogan]
[edited by: inactivist at 5:09 pm (utc) on June 10, 2007]
Google is just like us all about the $$$$$
But unlike us they donít give a damn about one group of their clients Ė advertisers.
That's funny, a quick scan of the AdSense forum will show that there are a lot of AdSense publishers who feel the same way: unloved.
If there is any validity to both viewpoints, then what does G really love? :^)
As a publisher on the content network, I am thrilled to learn that Google finally tunes their systems towards quality. All the recent changes have one thing in common: the focus on quality. I applaud for this.
As a publisher on the content network, I agree that a focus on quality is a good thing.
I've never really done any AdWords advertising, or affiliate stuff - I'm trying to build quality sites as a platform for displaying AdSense and other systems in order to monetize the sites - but, I can certainly understand the frustration that Google's 'partners' feel when the Big G makes changes that have a major impact, without giving people any direct, clear indication of what the change was and why G feels it applies to them.
And no, a blog entry or an obscure help page somewhere on G's site isn't really what I consider direct, clear communication about a change that applies to *me*.
Ok, go ahead, tell what I already know: That I entered into an agreement with G, that I can 'take it or leave it' and that G has no obligation to do anything for anyone, ever - outside of the specific terms of the agreement.
If, as a businessman, I do *nothing* (or next to nothing) for my partners outside of what is *required* in my agreements, I'm not going to do well in the long run - unless I'm operating what is effectively a monopoly, that is.
So, G has tremendous technical and marketing prowess; sometimes it seems they fall flat on their faces when it comes to partner relations. And that is a major weakness, IMO.
[edited by: inactivist at 5:12 pm (utc) on June 10, 2007]
Surely Google offer a service - they are the largest search engine. A telephone directory proffers no product - but it does provide a service. It offers its users information on products/services layed out in a user friendly manner. This, to my understanding, is a service - and although acting as an intermediary between the customer and the supplyer - it is none the less a useful product/service.
That said, the blitz on affiliates I find very questionable - and am pleased that someone else ( I think perhpas DamonHD) mentioned, I think the longer term goals will be arriving with the PPA deals.
It is at this point that I think all will become apparent, and Adwords and Adsense will cease to be as we have come to know them.
Is this a good thing? For sure - ridding the net of MFA sites is going to do nothing but good. Affiliates? Not so sure. I think the general public quite like comparison sites - or perhaps sites that contain 4 or 5 links to different suppliers enabling them to compare quite easily without wading through tons of other stuff.
A well presented and articulated affiliate site, IMO, is a useful thing, and by hitting them I think Google may be making an error in what their users actually want.
Some intermediaries are vital. I work in finance, and quite a lot of the world would grind to a halt without intermediaries such as banks and exchanges and brokers.
So, be careful to avoid killing aff sites that provide a useful service.
However, please turn the flamethrower on the scraping/stealing/deceptive MFA quick-buck sites. I discovered another today stealing my images purely to draw users in to exit via AdSense: no other content AT ALL.
If I make a 30 second commercial and pay 1.3 million dollars for it to be shown during the Super Bowl, or American Idol, or even on my local cable network in my specific city, I pay for potential eyeballs - I don't pay for the "quality" of my ad.
If my ad sucks, my fault. I lose money. They make money.
Never in the history of advertising has the medium set the rules.
Go ahead and try to do get your ad on the super bowl and see if they don't drop the quality hammer on you.
I will have to do a ton of work creating a navigable/searchable web site with hand-written content and useful features for consumers not readily found anywhere else on the internet.
Exactly. That's what the $5/$10 min bid says when translated from biddish into workspeak.
I'm torn between doing the work and possibly wasting a ton of time and money or simply using DTM marketing using the merchant's display URL. I absolutely hate doing this however because just when you start making money, the merchant outbids you and you no longer receive any traffic.
Do both DTM PPC and Value-Add Aff Sites, for diversity's sake. And leverage your ppc skills into some consulting work for merchants (including those with and without aff programs) as well.
Do I own eBay, Amazon, shopzilla, overstock.com, buy.com or shopping.com?
If the answer is no then you are being squeezed out of this business. Affiliates get whacked first, then smaller retailers.. After all a click to a small retailer rather than to one of the giants will be worth less money to Google and is an undesirable click. (This creates a poor user experience.. HA!) If affiliates were causing a poor user experience then why not tell us what to fix rather than being secretive! It's because an affiliate site that links to all of the above companies for one search means that Google will only get 1 click rather than the customary 6 individual clicks to each mega-merchant..
Anyone who thinks the latest changes have been made in order to create a more positive user experience is kidding themself.
Consumers now get a choice between the same old sites rather than having a little flavor.. This isn't an improvement..
Also, all you SEO guys get ready for a lot more competition.. Speaking of SEO, I sure see a lot of the afforementioned sites constantly popping up on page one of the SERPs too.. The internet we once knew and helped to build is becoming dominated by giant corporations.. It's nothing to cheer about!