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Invalid Display URLs - Costing Me Money

Google seems to be turning a blind eye...



2:55 am on Dec 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

In the last couple of months, Google appears to have given up checking the validity of Display URLs. It's impossible to tell if this is due to a lack of staff, cost-cutting, or because allowing Invalid Display URLs increases the number of ads showing, and consequently increases Google's revenue.

For most advertisers this would be a rare problem. But for affiliate marketers it is rife. Google's rules are:

We'll only display one ad per search query for advertisers sharing the same top-level domain in the display URL. This means that if you're an affiliate advertiser, your ad may not show for a query because another affiliate or the website that runs the affiliate program also has ads using the same (or a similar) domain in the display URL.


Display URL

Display URL must be accurate.

* Your display URL must accurately reflect the URL of the website you're advertising. It should match the domain of your landing page so that users will know which site they'll be taken to when they click on your ad.


Lately I've noticed as many as 5 invalid Display URLs for one search term - all of which lead to the same page on the merchant's site. Typically the affiliate using the correct Display URL is in #1, with the others below.

The end result is:

1) The affiliate using the correct Display URL is paying more than what they should
2) Google is making more money
3) The merchant's brand name is looking spammy
4) Searchers waste time clicking on ads that all lead to the same page

Until a few months ago, Google took action when I reported an Invalid Display URL to them. Now they say "no need to contact us, it will be caught when we review the ad".

Either they are taking weeks or months to review ads, or they aren't checking Display URLs any more.

These rules have been in place since 2005. Everyone was forced to agree to new terms and conditions when they changed the "one ad per search query for advertisers sharing the same top-level domain in the display URL" rule and lately Google's lack of care is literally costing me hundreds of dollars each week. With Google having a market cap of $213B is it necessary to cheat hard workers like myself who follow the rules?


6:57 pm on Mar 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

They may have a problem with redirects, especially multiple although those are rare.

But, I completely agree, they could automate the system in many ways. I always thought about some kind of robot that would check the final landing page URL and compare it to display URL.


Your approach is very interesting and worth of thinking about. It would save people time and also save them from typos. It could be applied on account or campaign level.


1:52 am on Mar 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

April 1st is almost upon us, and uh-oh, initially they'll only be policing newly created ads.

I guess this means the cheaters will spend the next week creating ads with false display URLs, to "stock up".

I wonder how long it take Google to clean up the existing ads? What could their reason for further delays be, besides financial gain?


5:20 am on Mar 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I guess we'll have to “volunteer” in regards of old ads. It is still if Google will listen to us, and bring them down.

I started a thread where I am following a story about ad that (for some reason) “cannot” be brought down for four weeks now.


This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33