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As we all well know, Google treats million dollar advertisers like cannon fodder if they don't fit perfectly into the Google mold. I've never seen a business treat their customers so poorly. Even a pain in the ass customer is a paying customer - and eventually Google's shareholders will understand that million dollar advertisers are finite.
Google's current philisophy is to slap/ban now, and ask questions never. They are happy to burn a bridge for life when a simple phone call could resolve the issue and pave the way for years of mutually profitable business.
We, as Google Advertisers, want you to know that we are not idiots. We are perfectly capable of working with a member of the Google team to make whatever changes are necessary to run in compliance.
Instead of arbitrarily assigning a 1/10 quality score, or banning the advertiser entirely - do like every other business does and pick up the phone. I am completely baffed by Google's willingness to sever ties with no communcation whatsoever.
By conducting business in this manner, you create hundreds of unwritten rules that do nothing but confuse and create feelings of hostility and resentment towards Google.
What we need from you, Google, is for you to start having grown up conversations with the people that PAY TO USE your service. Stop being candid. We need direct answers to our specific questions. If you don't have the staff to accomodate customer contact of this magnitute - hire more staff.... or don't, and watch your advertiser base continue to dissipate.
The other comapnies we work with don't have a problem telling us, hey - we don't like co-registration, or we don't like your upsell, or we don't like this or that specifically. As a result we are able to bend and flex to meet their needs as well as ours, forming long-term business relationships all over the internet. This is how a grown-up company handles their clients.
So Google - here is "a pinch to grow an inch". I hope you do.
It's been a long time coming really - although I do feel for the people out there who are losing business over this and I do think it could have been handled better...
I would be willing to make a friendly wager that a large number of people who get started in advertising dabble in grey areas early on. Many of these people will grow into mature business men and women. If their businesses grow in parallel with their maturity over the years, everyone but Googe will benefit.
Banning an account without a phone call is like sending someone to prison for life without a trial... when perhaps community service would have been more appropriate.
I would think that google would easily make up for the extra cash spent on employees in additional ad revenue.
Besides... not everyone is turning these gray area affiliates away. These people are empowering Google's competitors now, like they empowered Google up to this point. Yes, you read that properly. Google has been the biggest short-term profiteer of all the scammy products, services and downloads that have thrived on their network up to about a year ago.
Nobody can tell me that this isn't hurting Google's revenues... it is, they simply have the advantage of a growing internet userbase to offset the loss.
For example. Last year at this time we were paying $2+ per click to be in average position 1.x for weight loss terms on the content network. This year we are paying about fifty cents a click. Knowing this, you'd think we would be happy about the recent shakedown... but we're not that smug. We've had enough sites thrown under the quality score bus after months or years of paid advertising to know that we cannot depend on google for anything long-term, ever.
Considering 37% of world's internet traffic comes from google, and closed to 70% of all searches goes to google.com, it's hard to not depend on adwords.
While I do think no one should put all eggs into one basket, regardless of if it's internet business or investment strategries. But when you talking about the web, we do need a second close competitor to help the system with check and balances, which is what we are missing currently.
Sorry, the "hard not to depend on adwords" excuse doesn't fly. All that means is, the easy way isn't so easy any more, and the easy money isn't coming in anymore, and it's hard to have to think up some other ways to creatively market and then implement them. Nobody *made* anyone dependent on AdWords. People just got stars in their eyes when they saw the money roll in, and forgot to set aside a good portion of it to test and put other strategies into place.
[edited by: netmeg at 4:14 pm (utc) on Nov. 18, 2009]
If it can't survive without Google
... and keep telling this to those that have made 1, 5, 10, even 15 Millions in cash that is currently sitting in their bank accounts. Yes, real cash in US dollars. All made through AdWords... some AdSense, too.
Only time can cure it... somewhat... once they figure out they're done, and start going fishing...
Just to play devil's advocate, though. If I have a finite number of support resources, am I going to want to spend them on clients who stay out of the grey or black areas, and work within the program, or am I going to want to divert them into reclaiming past transgressors?
Unless support staff are getting annual salaries of 900k and up...I think it's a "win win" to hire some people to save million dollar accounts, no? ;)
I'll say it again...we keep talking about "gray hat" and "violations" but there are plenty of non-affiliate confused small businesses that are getting banned in this sweep and "good intent" does not make it OK.
Google simply controls too much of search traffic and we are seeing the abuse of that market control.
The fact that businesses can advertise through other venues does not make it OK. i.e. just because I can buy a yellow pages ad or use AdCenter does not somehow make Google a saint.