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MSN homepage A-List Hot Topics

5:53 pm on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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We've been running adCenter campaign since September, with an average spend of $170/day. One day the last week of January, our daily spend jumped to $970, with majority of the traffic around one keyword -- but conversion didn't follow. We reviewed our logs and found some suspicious things and asked MSN to review.

They replied back advising that they were unable to find clicks that appeared suspicious and "Through this investigation we did confirm the increased traffic, both impressions and clicks, to the keyword “widget”. We were able to trace the increase back to a featured section on the MSN homepage A-List Hot Topics titled "widget". The word "widget" was a hyperlink which resulted in a query for the keyword "widget”. Additionally we verified that you experienced increased conversions on the same day, which is a key indication of human traffic."

1) Anyone else experience this yet?
2) I'm fuming! We are opted into SEARCH only. As I understand it, search only means the "searcher" actually types in the keyword and are not "directed" to results as adCenter did in this case -- there is a HUGE difference in quality of clicks between the two as far as I'm concerned.
3) We have their pixel implemented, however our internal reporting is most accurate. There pixel has always overcounted converesions AND I'm sure pixels can easily be triggered without an real conversion ever happening, so the "key indication of human traffic" comment is just silliness, no?

I asked to be opted out of this "homepage A-List Hot Topics", because the quality of clicks was horrible -- but they advised they can't do this.

I also asked my rep to advise where in their Ts&Cs it states that when an advertiser is opted into adCenter's search only, that it in fact isn't truly, purely "search only" and that MSN will drive traffic in the way described above.

Would love to hear from anyone else while I anxiously await my reps response.