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Google Sponsored Links Search Broken

Showing paused campaigns and negative keywords

12:49 am on Jun 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

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One of my major affiliate programs just threatened to cancel my account and keep the earnings because they say I was bidding on their trademark. I was not, plus I have the term and all variations as a negative keyword.

Well, after a bit of investigating, I found out that they were using Google Sponsored Links Search (http://www.google.com/sponsoredlinks), and indeed my ad was showing.
What the heck? It seems like Google is showing the ad because the display URL has the trademark word in it.

To make matters worst, even after I paused the campaign, the ad still shows.

A bit more digging, and it seems like Google will show any term present on the display URLs or the ad text, even if the advertisers are not bidding on it. For example:


These are terms that people are not bidding on, but google still shows the ads because they have the term in the URL.

This is crazy. Google, I DO NOT want my ads to show, period.

12:56 am on June 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I noticed recently that something else in the Sponsored Links search was broken:

Hopefully they'll fix it soon.

9:36 pm on June 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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It looks like it's an intentional "feature" and not just a bug. :(

I found some info at [adwords.google.com...] ... Apparently sometime in May, Google changed the Sponsored Links results behavior to be an "Ad Search feature" that searches ad text. In other words, before it was essentially "Show ads for the keyword _____" and now it is "Show ads that contain the keyword ______". That's why when you search for brand keywords like "Myspace" or "Yahoo" you see a bunch of ads that contain those words but are not running as ads for those keywords.

A couple of quotes from that AdWords help page:

As an extension of Google's search results, these ads are ranked differently from competing AdWords ads.

Please note that ads appearing on the 'More Sponsored Links' page may no longer be active at the time they are shown. In addition, because ads are shown based on a user's search terms (keywords), they are not filtered for language preferences.

These changes make the Sponsored Links page useless (to me, at least). For whose benefit was this "feature" introduced?!

[edited by: Rehan at 10:28 pm (utc) on June 20, 2008]