Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Is Google Lying to Adwords Advertisers to get them to raise their bids?

I've been advertising on Google for years, and I have stood by silently as they force my cost of click ever higher. But no more.

If you are an Adwords advertiser, has this ever happened to you? You log in are presented with a message like this:

"xx keyword(s) are currently inactive for search. These keywords are marked in the Status column of the Keywords tab below. Improve their quality through optimization, delete them, or raise the keywords' maximum CPCs to the minimum bids indicated. (Raising the bids to at least the minimum will activate the keywords.) "

This presumably happens if Google decides if your ad does not have a high enough "Quality Score." Google says that Quality Score, "is the basis for measuring the quality of your keyword and determining your minimum bid. Quality Score is determined by your keyword's clickthrough rate (CTR) on Google, relevance of your ad text, historical keyword performance on Google, the quality of your ad's landing page, and other relevancy factors."

What has me suspicious and raised my ire is that I feel I've caught Google with its hand in my pocket. I have a trademark on the name for one of my software products. It's a unique name. Google has determined in its obtuse wisdom that the ad for my product apparently isn't relevent enough. How could the trademark for my product not be a relevent search term for it? Perhaps it doesn't get a ton of search, but it gets some, certainly enough to be "relevant" in my mind.

I'm probably the smallest of Adword advertisers. I only spend about $1,200 per month. But I have to express just how disappointed I am in Google. During the past 18 months, my cost per click has gone up largely because of Google's strong arming me in this manner. Meanwhile, mycost per customer seems to be going up as well. I am paying more for a lower quality click. I attribute this directly to Google's doing evil. When THEY decide what is relevant to my business instead of ME, it costs me money.

Wake up Google. You're the king of the hill for the moment, but my little budget will be flowing into a different river the first chance I get. You are NOT building good will and loyalty by wringing more blood out of this turnip. I promise you, it will catch up with you eventually. I have a long memory.

I think its fitting that I use Google's own Blogger to skewer this practice, and that I've also decided to implement Yahoo Ads in this Blog. I don't make much money at all with Yahoo ads here, but I consider it a protest against Google's evil pricing tactics.

Class Action Lawsuit, anyone?

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