From the category archives:

Google

Why do all search partners suck?

by Werty on November 20, 2006

It is roughly 3:00am, my stats program updated for the day about an hr ago, and I am already about 8x as profitable today as I was yesterday. That is kind of weird eh?

The only 2 variables in the advertising that I was doing was 1- day of the week, and 2- opting in to Googles Search Partner network of SHITE.

I do not think #1 was the issue, since we usually do pretty well on Sunday, so I am going to go with #2 being the culprit for yesterdays narrow margins.

To start the morning off we decided to try the Google search network to see if we could increase traffic and sales to one of our sites. We usually spend about $30 an hr, and today spent nearly 4 times that per hr. Our ROAS (return on ad spend) is usually around 75% and today we were running at a sweet 3.2%. I would have been better off putting my money in a fucking ING saving account to get that rate. To give you a better idea of how much we got p4wn3d by google, we spend $1525 to make $49.

The biggest source of new traffic was an amazing “high quality” partner searchportal.information.com. These assholes have more sophisticated robotic clicking than your run of the mill rip off companies. They were actually passing the user agents of numerous cell phones, which is a new fun trick, since we are not opted into the mobile market.

So I give props to both google and searchportal.information.com ganging up and giving me some sweet double anal action.

Tomorrow I get to waste 2 hrs requesting a refund for the shitty traffic you sent. The worst part about this is that the only true source of decent traffic at the moment are the following companies/settings:

Google – google network only
Yahoo – none/some with hard work and numerous complaints.
MSN – does not let me buy adult traffic, low volume for non adult sectors. PURE traffic and highly recommended.
ASK – a joke

So in the sectors I work in my only real choice is Google, and with that only the Google/google partner sites provide conversions for me.

I guess the ‘good news’ is that we are not the only ones dealing with the click fraud. Here is another guy over at SEO Chat.

What sites do you get the most fraudulant traffic from?

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Click Fraud on Google and Yahoo

by Werty on September 25, 2006

This is one the best articles I have read about the subject of click fraud.

Business Week – The Dark Side of PPC

Finally someone digs into the numbers and gives examples of how a Paid To Read click ring works.

This is also a reason why MSFT does not have click fraud issues at the moment, however they are about to start whoring out their network with an AdSense type of program it sounds like. Don’t do it MSFT!

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Google takes a stab at arbitrage?

by Werty on July 8, 2006

Google appears to be adjusting its adwords algo this weekend, increasing the weight of “quality score of the landing page” .

As usual they do not declare what aspects of it are changing, so those who have numerous sites out there will hopefully be able to tell what exactly seems to be making an effect. It is strange that pay per click used to be a pretty simple model, now it is changing to a secret sauce no secrets shared model similar to that of their traditional organic model.

I think it is fine to have secrets, but when you are paying for traffic all things should remain open and defined. CTR x CPC was a great model, it maximized value for them and forced advertisers to write better ad copy.

Now we have CTC x CPC x ????unkown algrithmic characterists???? = advertisers paying different prices for the same product.

I think as a whole, adwords has become harder to use and their new adjustments end up hurting all advertisers more so than just the ones who do arbitrage. I think if they want to control arbitrage they should control either A. eliminate arbitrage sites from being able to buy traffic, or B. control their AdSense sites.

Some discusion here at threadwatch .

What is your take on the whole situation?

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AdWords Editor Now an Open Beta

by Werty on June 6, 2006

Google has finally opened up the beta test of AdWords editor to all of its users. The software is available for download at this link.

I was lucky enough to have access to this for a few months and found it to be a great piece of software. It really helps out when trying to upload large keyword lists. You can save hours of time by knowing what you are doing in excel and pasting things to AdWords Editor.

My only suggestion would be to be able to upload a bulk upload style sheet that contains both ads, keywords, adgroups, etc, like the one you can download. Or can we just change the extension of a csv and trick the tool into thinking it is an accoutn snapshot?

Either way, thank you Google, this is a sweet tool!

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Yahoo Class Action Lawsuit

by Werty on May 3, 2006

Oh Snap! It seems like the shit may have hit the fan a bit for YSM / Overture today. Apparently there is a class action lawsuit that has been filled against Yahoo for participating in click fraud. I found the article in the Washington post by the way of webmaster world.

An interesting point in the article is that it seems like Yahoo would poor on the clicks when their quarterly reporting was due, which is a brilliant strategy by them…but shady as hell. It will be interesting to see how this pans out. Advertisers have been bitching for as long as I can remember about how crappy the traffic is from Yahoo and that it has only gotten worse as time goes on.

Numerous complaints about pay per click arbitrage as well as one page domain landers have been posted all up and down the overture forum at WMW. About a week or so some dude put out some 10 minute long video documenting how wrong all this stuff is…found here at youtube.com.

The funniest thing is that GrayWolf put out a how to article (actually a series) on how to do pay per click arbitrage on his blog in a three part series. I, II, III

So there you have both sides of the fence…those complaining about the practice, and those showing you how to do it. What are your thoughts on this whole mess? How do you think this will affect the future of the pay per click market and what do the engines need to do in order to stop this?

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Google decided to clean up some of the slop that was hanging around in the AdWords SERPS today, trying to kill lots of the AdWords to AdSense scraper/wikipedia/trash sites that have been filling up many of the 8-10 PPC slots lately.

Why are we doing this? Simply stated, we always aim to improve our users’ experience so that these users (your potential customers) will continue to trust and value AdWords ads. Have you ever searched on a keyword, found an ad that seemed to be exactly what you wanted, and then clicked on it only to find a site that had little to do with what you were searching for? It’s not a great experience.

From Inside AdWords

An interesting move that is getting mixed opinions over at Webmasterworld.

In one way I am glad that Google is cleaning this up, but I do not see it as a problem with AdWords, as much as a see it a problem with AdSense. Would it not make more sense to say that we will not serve ads to pages with duplicate content? Would it not make sense to put a filter that says if content = wikipedia, dmoz, etc then ad display = PSA?

The biggest problem I see is that average AdWords users are seeing an increase in bid price, on terms that that they can not afford to pay that much for. What ever happened to the days of actually setting a price you were willing to pay for an ad, and your position being based on bid price times the click through rate of the ad? A simple, easy to understand and use system, that was good for Google, and for the advertiser.

Then came broad match, which killed the ability to buy longer more complex phrases and forced the single, more broad terms to go up in price, as well as the more targeted terms go up if you wanted to rank for something specific. they took the skill out keyword research and ad copy out of the game and made it more of a Pay to Play game…still worth the spend, and pretty easy to work out, just made tracking more important.

The affiliate shooting range – This change made it that only one ad would appear per URL. This was to kill 20 ads for the same site because of all the affiliates bidding for the same site. They forced the advertisor or affiliate to outid the other/rest of the group to gain the position. Personally I think this was a good move and forced people to create better ads and know their margins better. From an affiliate point it made it harder for other people to copy what I was doing, and it allowed me to remove my AFF from my ads which was always pretty ugly and a dead give-away.

The next big change I remember is the active/inactive change which was supposed to help people not get keywords disabled for having poor click through rates. This was terribly applied and terms with a high click through rate would be inactive based an unknown cause. You could usually get around things by deleting terms and adding them again. Things were still pretty the same, but you had to log into your account and poke around to see how things were working. Many people complained about this and Google helped us once again…

Enter Quality Score. No more will you have to worry about inactive keywords, we will remove that for you, but give you a minimum price that you have to pay per each keyword based on Quality Score * Bid Price * CTR, but this will only apply to search results, we will take your money to fill the content network, and let anyone apply for an AdSense account. This move made very little sense from an advertising point and was hard to figure out. The bottom line was create a good ad, have smart targeted keywords lists that fit into the hierarchy of campaigns, and pay more then 5 cents for the click and you might be fine, much safer if you know what you can pay and pay close to it from the get-go with the ability to raise your bid to the point you are willing to pay.

The days of bargain traffic are over…or are they? There was one slip Google made which would allow you to pay a really low price for terms that were really broad and had massive traffic. I am talking like 1cent for the term movies! I am not sure sure if this still exists and had mixed results with it, but would love to hear feedback about this.

On the boards many people were complaining about the unknown components of Quality Score…what was it, why were they penalized for one account, while praised in another? People ran tests with the same keywords in sperate accounts and would have one account paying 8 cents and another saying they needed to pay 10 dollars per click…there was no logic to it, and the results were not consistant. It was thought that the account history had a lot to do with the bid price, and other ideas pointed to the landing page URL, the keywords in the ad copy, the rest of the keywords in the account.

A while later Google came up with a new and improved keyword tool, which would allow you to spider your landing page, or the pages of your competitor and extract all of the keywords that they saw on there. Of course the results of this were mixed but there some very useful terms that were extracted, especially when looking at sites other than your own. This was just the beginning of looking at pages through AdWords.

Yesterday they took it one step further and started to use the content of the landing page as a determining factor of Quality Score. An interesting move that many are calling “evil”. What happens when a a page contains very little content, or only images, what about flash? It seems like you now have to do SEO for your AdWords pages. Many people are complaining, others are not noticing much of a change. Luckily I am one of the latter, but I will say I do not bottom feed (pay minimum price) on any of the accounts that I run.

The whole thing makes you think what next? I still think GoogleTax will be next, them taking a cut of all sales generated through their site. A CPA (cost per action/aquisition) based advertising platform that will take a percent of all sales. Think of them as a super affiliate taking a cut of all transactions that are due to the user starting at google.com. Personally I would be fine with paying this, as long as it is easy to understand and transparent, meaning I know what I am paying for, and that I know I am paying the same cut as the guy next to me, which I think is completley lacking right now. Is it fair? Is it legal? What are your thoughts on the whole thing?

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Pay Per Click Blog Launches

by Werty on November 24, 2005

Welcome to pay per click blog, a resource for news, reviews, tips and pointers for the various pay per click search engines.

This is the first post, and I plan to have many more. Please stay tuned and leave me feedback on what you think of this site.

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