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Overcharged $3,000 over 3 days on AdCenter

While the daily reporting was down - We'll see what happens!



2:00 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have a several campaigns at MSN, spending $150/day on average.

We check our daily stats every morning at 8:30 for the previous day, that is, until they got way behind about 6 days ago.

So somehow ONE keyword got entered at $11 per click, while all the other keywords in that campaign was .11 cents per click, resulting in $1,200/day charges for the last 3 days - a $3,000 loss for us.

I called MSN, and they are having their engineers look into it.

I was able to track the problem down on the morning of day 3 because hourly reports are available for the previous day, but not a daily summary (which makes absolutely no common sense).

Based on other posts on WebmasterWorld, I don't want to pause my campaigns because I don't know how long they will take to resume.

I'll let everyone here know what happens - will MSN credit us back for the overage, or will we have to lose this money because their reporting is broken?


2:39 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Additional info: I just got off the phone with MSN

- The budget was originally set at $1,000/month

- I discovered the overage at the $2,500 mark (already $1,500 over the budget AND STILL RUNNING!)

- When I tried to change the keyword back down to .11 cents, the system FORCED ME TO UP MY BUDGET TO $3,000/MONTH!

- I lost an additional $1,000 yesterday.

- The rep tells me that it may take a week or more to research and see if I will be credited anything

- She said that if it's our fault that the keyword was $11 rather than .11 cents that we won't get a refund.


So in summary:

- MSN will not honor your budget and turn off your spend when it's met

- MSN's daily reporting system doesn't work

- MSN's system will force you to up your budget even if you are backing down on your CPC

- MSN's system doesn't respond in real time to changes - it has taken more than 24 hours for the change I made in the CPC to take effect.

Buyer Beware


5:46 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have noticed that sometimes when I'm pricing keywords if I'm entering .27 that 27.00 will show up instead. So any time I change or add pricing on a campaign I sort the keywords prices from top to bottom and bottom to top to make sure there are no anomolies. It's saved me more than once.

BTW--I'm not sure if I entered 27 or .27 or if their system does something squirrely to cause it.


10:14 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I posted about this last week. The billing system has bugs. If there is a sudden traffic spike, it will continue to add charges without regard to the budget limit.

One of our clients was overbilled by $2,200.

Watch your accts. If this happens, don't panic. Call Microsoft Support (they have real people who answer the phones, in contrast to "that other leading service"). Be ready for this: they're friendly. Don't panic. You're probably just not accustomed to that.

Explain what happened. They'll look into it and issue you a refund. It takes a few days, but you'll get updates by email and phone.

Okay, adCenter is buggy. They're working on it. Hey, it's just like the good ol' days with Adwords, when we were filing bug reports every few hours.


7:47 pm on Jul 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Same happened to me for charge of $1,600 bucks!

sent my budget at 5,000 month / 30 = $166.00 Daily Max.
set click price to 0.19 - came back next day to see I had spent 1,600.
MSN ignored my bid and had me at an avg of $2.75 PER CLICK!

Of course that put me in the #1 spot and i collected over 600 clicks. I complain and they say they only give credit.

HUH! - YOUR system is buggy, doesnt work properly, doesnt do a proper budget pause. inflates my click price by 1400% and you only wanna give me credit and i have to AMEX CASH!

Tell Bill I can't finance his crack habit!


1:48 pm on Jul 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Week #2, no resolution, no progress.

'Our "engineers" are looking into it' is the standard response (although they have been nice about it).


7:07 pm on Jul 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Still no resolution.

The technician I spoke with said that neither he nor I could speak to a manager if we are unable to get a resolution on this issue - there is no second tier to appeal overcharges to.

If adCenter411 would weigh in on this, I would appreciate it very much...


1:44 am on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Update: We received two rather lengthy emails today from two different adCenter reps saying that they are still looking into the problem.


2:14 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Same thing happened to me. Your not going to get anywhere with this. It will just keeping going on and on and on...... and you won't be refunded anything.

Unless you have screenshots of your monthly budget before you increased it to lower your bids you won't get anywhere.

It's pretty clear that it's adcenter's fault that they let your spend go over your set monthly budget. But you have to change your monthly spend to be allowed lower your bids which means there's no record of your orignal monthly budget.

Now, if you had left your bids at there really high bid amount and didn't change your budget and just let the spend keep going up and up you would get a refund.

So if it happens to anybody else don't touch anything and report the problem. Then I guess you will get a refund?

It's pretty stupid because you can set up an account with 1,000's of keywords with $10 bids per keyword with No. 1 positions and a monthly budget of say $200. After a couple of weeks when you've clocked up $10,000 over your monthly budget just report it and get a full refund.

They know there monthly budget spend doesn't work very well but won't fix it or entertain that there's a problem with it.

I hope you get somewhere with it but I somehow doubt it!


4:43 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

A friend I was mentoring with PPC accidently put in 50$ per click instead of .05

Unfortunatly this was the finals of american idol and he had bid on all the contestents names.

FORTUNATLY he only had a 5,0000 limit on the credit card on file.

He called msn and told them he did not obviously intend to bid 50$ on these keywords but rather .05.

The charges were credited to his card 1 month later.


5:38 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We're currently spending $200/day with adCenter, and I have 3 other clients asking me when we're going to expand their PPC ads to MSN.

It's amazing to me that MSN might want to forgo my $6,000/month budget for a 3 day take of $3,000.

I even let them know that we're willing to take a credit rather than a refund if they prefer, since we'll spend it over the next 15 days.

I'll keep everyone updated - still no word today!


1:40 am on Jul 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

MSN says they have "resolved the issue" and they are considering how much they will credit back to us.

They said they would be finished by 5pm Pacific time, but then we just got an email stating that they were unable to finish the inquiry today.


3:20 am on Jul 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Grrrr! Microsoft credited me back 863 of the 1611 they overcharged me. i get the pleasure of paying $1.14 per click for 651 clicks.

An expensive $748 lesson in "Beware of Crappy Interfaces". those 651 clicks generated $126.00 in sales so i get spanked for $622.00 - Ouch!

It pisses me off 'cause i've used almost EVERY ppc interface available and never made a pricing setting error. MSN would rather stick us then admit the fact that their interface is a buggy nightmare and 'forgive' these beta-test slips.

..and on top of that - they only wanna give credit. Grrrrr!


10:18 pm on Jul 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Followup: After a few days, they resolved the issue and credited us with several thousand dollars.


10:13 pm on Aug 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Here we go again! Adcenter has already used up a third of my $3,000 monthly budget in the first 1.5 days of August.

Watch your budgets!


12:11 am on Aug 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yikes, this really has me worried. I am actually concerned about potential overcharges back in July as well.

Is there anyone who you can hire to do auditing of this sort of thing? I am not really good with checking it all as I don't fully understand their reports and system. And even then, I think the reports are sometimes incorrect or contain errors/omissions.

We spend a little less than $350/day there, so I think this is something we really need to get on to!

Any suggestions on auditing?


7:27 pm on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I just called MSN again - they were supposed to call me every other day with an update (they offered this), but they didn't follow through.

They are still looking into the overcharge - it's been almost 3 weeks now.


4:22 am on Aug 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Still nothing.


6:23 am on Aug 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

You have me so worried now...
Keep us up to date.


2:54 pm on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Sounds to me like they're taking lessons from Overture/YSM...
which is just crazy, it's as if these companies hate the world or something!

And on the other side of the fence...
Google is building the largest Big Brother machine this side of Hitler,
while also being the responsible big brother and losing out on Millions in potential Arbitrage revenue to clean up the system!

What the hell is going on these days?
The sky is falling!


2:58 am on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This is not aimed directly at MSN adcenter but more towards all the major PPC players.

In any other business the amount of money PPC advertisers spend would justify much, much, better service. For example, if I buy a Mercedes Benz for $1000/month i get incredible service. If anything is wrong they are totally willing to do anything to make it right, give me a spare car, pick me up, whatever. Yet, you can spend $5000 a month with a PPC company like Google, MSN, or Yahoo and they treat you like you're wasting their time when you have a problem. Just seems weird.

I know people who spend six figures with these companies and they still get the same canned e-mails I get. In any other business that type of service would not be tolerated considering the amount of money being spent.


9:48 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It will be one month on 8/14/2006, still NO ANSWER.

They are "still looking into it", while we continue to spend $6,000 a month on adCenter.

I like the previous post. Acura / Lexus treats you like a VIP when you pay $800-1,000/month for their cars. I spend $6,000/month at MSN, and they treat me like a loser because THEIR system was programmed in Singapore and it sucks.

At 30 days, I'm pausing all of my campaigns until they refund my money.

I used to be a Microsoft advocate while everyone else was blasting them (Micro$oft) - I'm changing my mind.

Great White Shark

8:09 am on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I had the same problem however i kept calm, took the issue up with adwords and got a credit refund since, no conversion data was unavailable. Do the same.


1:07 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Well too bad my first post has to be like this...

Yesterday evening 8 of my 9 keyword pages were set to $29.22 a click, an act I did not employ!

It ate up my total monthly budget before I realized what was happening! I typically bid .08 cents a keyword...

I contacted adcenter support by email this morning and am anxiuously awaiting a response.

There are also other glitches and dumb reports I do not understand.

I do not need this kind of crap on a friday, or any other day for that matter. But up until now adcenter has made me money.

I will keep this up to date!


5:41 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Got an answer today after 30 min on the phone with them:

MSN offered to credit us back $179

Their glitch cost us $2,000+, EVEN IF IT WAS COMPLETELY OUR FAULT AND WE HAD ACCIDENTALLY SET THE CLICK AMOUNT TO $11.00/CLICK. However, we didn't do this - all of our other keywords in the campaign were .11/click.

To recap - we had a monthly budget cap of $1,000 and MSN blew past the budget over a 3 day period to charge us $3,200 while their daily stats were unavailable.

Be very afraid of the adcenter monster.

Their system sucks, and YOU will pay for it.


6:22 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This is BAD, BAD, BAD. I've been doublechecking my bids today.

That is not an acceptable solution.


6:23 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

How can they possibly justify ignoring your budget? I am befuddled. Can you give us more details of their explanation?


1:03 pm on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I actually got a timely reply yesterday after about 8 hours, by email support.

They know theres a problem, and are working on it!

I was asked to reset my bids all to 10 cents and save it, this worked for a bit but after logging in after about an hour or so; first page .08 and 2-9 pages set at 29.22. Reset to 0.10 again, this time emmediately back to .08 and 29.22 again! So the problem is deffinately at their end.

Sent in more info. to adcenter support last night. Now I wait...

At least my campaign is paused, but I better keep checking that as well!


12:11 am on Aug 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Still no answer. Called again. No one has any authority to make a decision, and they can't give me any additional details.


10:49 am on Aug 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

For what it is worth, I have noticed that when selecting the amount you want to bid on keywords there is a bug in that after several seconds - and I mean several seconds, it automatically fills in the box with the amount you would have to bid to place yourself in number one position So when you arrive at this page you must wait for it to fill in this box, then change it to the amount you actually want to pay. So far this has worked for me - but this thread has made me very nervous. I have a budget of upto $200K per year that I was hoping to integrate into MSN - (after the recent devastation Adwords has caused, I wanted to investigate alternative), however I am now deeply concerned. Can't believe they didn't refund you guys the full amount - at the very least the amount over your specified budgets. It sucks!
This 44 message thread spans 2 pages: 44

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