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  1. #1
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    Adwords going crazy, "inactive" galore!
    Don't know if you've checked your keywords over the last day or so, but their new landing page quality score is murdering keywords en masse. Keywords that used to have a 7% CTR at .10 cents are now available for $10.00.

    Read the last few pages of this thread at webmasterworld to see how everyone's getting affected by this.

    I'm going to sit back and wait...this has to be a temporary "fix", else it will cost Google millions. Here's hoping anyway.

  2. #2
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    They're screwing up on this. People aren't going to use PPC to lose money. And they would with what they're asking for some of these keywords. They want quality landing pages but let the crappiest sites on the internet use Adsense. They have some issues they need to work on.

  3. #3
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    I was looking at my budget on some keywords today and my heart nearly stopped. Recommended at $70.00+ for some of them.

    That's not PPC. That's an affiliate program. Nearly 15% of the cost of some of the items in question.
    Kevin Webster
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  4. #4
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    lol, i just checked. They want $10 for the phrase "coupon codes" Somebody at Google is high. $10 for a lot of shoe terms, merchants aren't even going to pay that. Just going thru them, crazy is the word that pops into my mind.

  5. #5
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    From the Google Blog:

    From time-to-time, we improve our algorithms for evaluating landing page quality (often based on feedback from our end-users), and next week we're launching another such improvement. Thus, over the coming days a small number of advertisers who are providing a low quality user experience on their landing pages will see increases in their minimum bids.

    We realize that some minimum bids may be too high to be cost-effective -- indeed, these high minimum bids are our way of motivating advertisers to either improve their landing pages or to simply stop using AdWords for those pages, while still giving some control over which keywords to advertise on.
    So wonder know if we're seeing the same prices as the merchants...

    AdWords Blog Post
    Last edited by Noth; July 11th, 2006 at 04:15 PM. Reason: added link
    Kevin Webster
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  6. #6
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    I've been one of the victims over the last day or so and it's killed my PPC clicks almost completely. Half of my keywords are now inactive, including what looks like all of my best CTR and highest volume keywords, and most require $10.00 minimum to activate. I have a post in that webmasterworld thread with specifics, and they seem to match up with what others are experiencing.

    People in that thread mentioned they've spoken to Google by phone. I've done some searching and haven't found a phone number for their AdWords support. Anyone know one, and is it even available for peons like most of us who aren't paying them hundreds of thousands or millions in advertising? If it's inappropriate to post the # here, feel free to PM me. I sent Google a strongly worded email support request, but I can only imagine the volume of these that their support group is getting as the "landing page quality update" sh*t hits the fan.

    Anyone else here getting killed by Google's PPC update? First CJ's LMI and tracking woes, and now this. Lovely summer I'm having.

    Incidentally, if you try bethany's link above and don't have a webmasterworld account, you can quickly register for one (free) and then you'll be able to read threads and post to their forum. I'd thought that it costs money, but I finally read the fine print and the money they ask for is a voluntary donation, not a cost to register. Apparently it gets you access to some of the more restricted forums there, but is not necessary.

  7. #7
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    MSN and Yahoo need to get it together so merchants and affiliates can take their business elsewhere. I bet they're already seeing a spike regardless.

  8. #8
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    A quote from that thread:

    "was having some trouble with our MSN account (lots of error messages). Spoke to my MSN rep who told me (maybe a bit too gleefully) that thousands of new accounts are being opened this morning which is affecting system speed."

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    OK humor me guys since I've never done any pay per click before. I know this will sound stupid to the rest of you who are experienced with it. If you have your budget set for a certain amount for the day. They can't charge you more than what it is set for, can they? Regardless of what they want to set the amount for the keywords if it's more than what you've made your daily budget for ......can they disregard that and charge what they want. Please, say they can't. It took a lot for my poor llittle brain to learn what I have learned....don't confuse matters for me

  10. #10
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    No, they won't make you go over budget, but they'll stop showing your keywords.

  11. #11
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    They did this back in April without warning. I guess they thought warning everyone would make us happy this time?

    Anyway, this is what I figured out last April...

    Previous to their Adwords algo change, Google did a huge Update/PR change. All my ad campaigns that used pages/sites that got killed PR wise and were used for Adwords landing pages were affected Incredibly! CPC jumped to the ridiculous $5-$10 mark.

    So... as a test, I created web pages within good PR sites (or even brand new domains), copied & pasted the old landing pages into the new pages & voila... back to the lower cost CPC instantly.

    Didn't Google do a major update on June 27th? If so, this may be the same fallout as what happened back in April.

    Also, after the April occurence, many of the High CPC costs went back down after a few days or so. Don't know if That will happen this time.

    Many of my keywords Are affected Again this time.

    I am Absolutely SICK of Google doing this, So, I don't know if I will bother changing anything or not. I may just Completely move Everything over to Overture.

    Recently, I found 1 of my better performing merchants kicking butt on Overture that had gone Completely Dead with Google.

    Google Adwords traffic is getting as bad as Findwhat's/MIVA's in some areas IMO.

  12. #12
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    A landing page quality check is in theory a great idea. However, whenever you do something like this, it becomes capricious and arbitrary.

    How would they build such an algorithm? Take their normal one and slightly relax the standards? They can't use the same ones, because then Search AdWords would become next to irrelevant, and Content AdWords would become king, except that that's where all of the click fraud occurs.

    If Pandora's box is indeed missing, Google may have just stumbled across it.
    Kevin Webster
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  13. #13
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    Yahoo and MSN need to step their game up and go kick some of that ass Google has hanging out. I would love to see Yahoo and MSN get more competitive with both PPC and natural search because I would rather have 3 powerhouses going at each other instead of 1 just dominating.

  14. #14
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    Pretty much all of my keywords are now inactive... and the ones that were not inactive this morning are inactive now after a few clicks... I cant believe this! Google has stepped over the line this time... way over the line...

    Anyone else here getting killed by Google's PPC update? First CJ's LMI and tracking woes, and now this. Lovely summer I'm having.
    I totally agree, my campagin was finally starting to turn around after all of CJ's nonsense, and now Google throws up something thats even worse? Google needs to realize that PPC is not SEO, and there is no way their bots can determine the relevancy and effectiveness of a PPC campaign from a publisher and user point of view. Not only is this probably costing them millions, but it is costing me as well... If this keeps up I am going to be out $4,000 or more for this month in lost profits.

  15. #15
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Interesting, two of the tidbits of advice people are giving on that webmasterworld thread:

    1) Play along with Google's game and set it to $10.00 on some of your deactivated keywords, and you probably will get clicks for much lower than that (but think of what happens if much of your competition then does the same and huge sudden bid wars ensue). Great thinking Google, this is an easy way to quickly inflate bid prices to record highs for marketers desperate enough to resort to this measure -- this is extortion, plain and simple. Google's support reps have apparently even RECOMMENDED this to some people, according to posters over there.

    2) Moving all your landing pages to a new domain name apparently fixes the problem, if you spend the time to move all your content over to the new domain and swap out all the AdWords destination URLs for your ads to the new domains. It appears that Google singles out domains, not landing pages. At least this method is known to work thus far. Of course Google will catch on.

  16. #16
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    Though that worked for one person, someone else on the forum tried that, went for $10 a click and 10 clicks later was out $100.

    Not an experiment I'm willing to try.

  17. #17
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    If there are suckers out there willing to pay that much, then I would make some quality pages with Adsense on them just for them I think it will eventually go back down if no one pays that much for keywords. Google wants to get something out of them and they need Adwords ads showing for those searches.

  18. #18
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    In fairness, let's not forget Google's intent with this.

    Arbitage is a serious matter, and it drives up costs for advertisers unnecessarily. This ultimately may not be the best solution, but how would any of you like to see someone leave your site for $.05, and then have that same user pay $.45 for a CLICK, not a PURCHASE, at their next netstop for the same thing?

    The intent is to fight scraper sites, and pages that have 22 inches of google ads at the top, and nothing else but keyword spam or worse at the bottom.

    Does it hurt us? Yes, today it does. But I hope it scares some of the knuckleheads out for the time being.
    Kevin Webster
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  19. #19
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    "The intent is to fight scraper sites, and pages that have 22 inches of google ads at the top, and nothing else but keyword spam or worse at the bottom."

    The way to do that is not allow them to put Adsense up. If anything it encourages more since the payouts are now better. And the people doing PPC for a profit aren't throwing up scraped pages, they're making good landing pages or they wouldn't be doing PPC. The pages have to be somewhat good in order to make money. That's nothing Google has to worry about, that works itself out naturally.

  20. #20
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    The intent is to fight scraper sites, and pages that have 22 inches of google ads at the top, and nothing else but keyword spam or worse at the bottom.
    Google should do that themselves then during ad review. They also could have simply added to their TOS that adsense advertising will not be allowed in conjunction with adwords. Im sure you will hear less people complaining about that then 10 dollar bids.

  21. #21
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Right. I don't disagree with either of you.

    Since it's all javascript, you'd think it would be easy enough for them to not show AdSense on sites they don't think are important... That would learn the scrapers pretty quickly.

    Or, how about this... Again due to Javascript.

    If a visitor gets to a site through clicking on an AdWords ad, Adsense won't show on the landing page. If the visitor goes 2 or 3 pages deep into the site, the ads will start to show again?

    Although I have to admit I don't know how some of the "enterprise" <cough> class publishers show AdSense on their sites. They might get around the JS somehow.
    Kevin Webster
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  22. #22
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    I don't do any PPCSE for my own sites, and see no increases for my merchant client's Adwords campaigns. I read the Google Adwords landing page and Quality guidelines https://adwords.google.com/select/si...t-awb-070706_4 and see nothing very demanding. Read my tagline and see for years I've promoted factoring in the shoppers viewpoint into every click... especially the paid for clicks!

    Now those wanks poluting the internet with the Made for Adsense" scraper sites could use a 2nd stage hosing by Google. Raise their PPCSE traffic hawking fees to bleed them while cutting them off at the knees by removing them from the natural SERPs. I'm sure the new U of Mich home base for Google Adwords will attract some smart new blood into their management team.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Yes, this blows. What's bad about it, is that their Algo's aren't judging keywords correctly. They may deactivate on keyword, such as "download blue widgets", but completely leave "downloadable blue widget" alone. Doesn't make any sense. It's almost as if they chose these keywords at random. Bad Google!

    On another note, and I'm sure Mods will hate me for saying this, but I think we should all be posting our feelings over at WMW. It's my understanding that G's reprensentatives visit the Google forum often...correct me if I'm wrong.

    Anyway. Just another problem among many that we, as affiliates, need to work through (again).
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  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    by the way, if we did improve our "quality" score, how does one reactivate a deactivated keyword? Do we delete and recreate to see if G accepts a modified page?
    Follow my dog, Maya, and I, as we fumble around the affiliate marketing world: www.MarketingMaya.com
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  25. #25
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    I wouldn't make any adjustments yet. This can't be the final call. Also, deactivated keywords usually get reactivated on their own (my experience anyway).

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