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  1. #1
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    Everyone Affected by Google's change please file a complaint!
    I just pulled this from Google's own adwords forums:

    Let's here some ideas on the case we're going to present to the FTC and
    Calif. AG's office. Mine is below.


    Here's where to file your complaint with the California Attorney
    General's office (Google's home state):
    https://app.dca.ca.gov/cru/gencomplaint.htm


    You should file the same complaint with the Federal Trade Commission:
    http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/consumer.htm


    My suggestion is that you phrase your complaint as about the
    descriminatory practices of a publishing company: it is charging bigger
    advertisers less than smaller ones. Somehow, Ebay, Amazon and the other
    huge clients of Google are still relevant while your site is not. In
    addition, they are descriminating against advertisers based on what
    they perceive to be the quality of the user's experience...they aren't
    REFUSING the ad like a newspaper might refuse an ad from a porn shop,
    they are saying, "we'll take the ad, just pay us more."


    Here's my scenario...What other ways should be pose the complaints? :


    You want to take out an ad in your local newspaper promoting your pet
    supplies store. Your competitors are mainly the big chain stores.
    You go see them and they give you a rate card. Then you
    go to your graphic artist, who designs you a killer, camera-ready ad
    with a coupon. They start running the ad and you get a lot of
    business...the ad pays for itself and then some.


    Two weeks later, the publisher calls you and says,


    "Thanks for the ad, Bob. Very nicely done and professional looking. I'm
    glad it's working well for you. However, I drove by your store today and saw it was in a bad neighborhood. Your door was painted red when all the others were painted earth tones. The paint on your building was faded. The sidewalk
    was cracked. I called the phone number and it went to voice mail. Even
    if they're buying from you, I think it's causing your customers to have
    a negative experience. Petsmart and the other big guys don't have these
    problems."


    So, I'm afraid we're going to have to raise your rates. We'll still run
    the ad, but you need to pay us 100 times more for it; otherwise, we
    won't accept it. Have a nice day."

    Or, it could be worse. The publisher says, "Yes, we know your store
    looks as nice as MegaPets. It's in a good neighborhood, too. However,
    for reasons we can't tell you exactly, our computer has decided your
    store is providing a worse user experience than MegaPets. Therefore,
    you will have to pay us 100 times more than MegaPets does."

    Of course, you ask, "Well, I note that MegaPets advertises in ALL 100
    of your publishing company's newspapers...they are one of your biggest
    clients. Could that have something to do with it?"

    And they answer, "We're not willing to answer that, Bob."To which you
    respond,

    "OK. Expect to hear from my attorney, the FTC, and the state attorney
    general's office shortly. Have a nice day."
    That sum's it up pretty well, and that is exactly what they are doing. I would encourage everyone who has had at least 1 keyword deactivated because of this change to file a complaint with the FTC and the California Attorney General's office.

    I for one will not stand to sit here and watch Google put thousands of hard working affiliates out of business just because they all of a sudden got greedy. Google has provided no evidence to support its claims of "quality", nor will they give us a straght answer to what needs to be done. Furthermore, their bots and technology are obviously incapable of determining a "quality" site from a "non-quality" site, which is costing us as affiliates MILLIONS of dollars.

    Everyone please file these complaints. The more hell we raise about this the better it will be in the long run.

  2. #2
    affiliate emeritus missdonna's Avatar
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    I have no idea if filing a complaint would make any difference, but I won't do it. I don't want anyone telling me how to run my business, and I don't want anyone telling Goog how to run theirs either.

    Getting the government involved in business can't be a good thing.

    If you don't like the way Goog does business, don't work with them.
    Affiliate Marketing - The hardest easy money I ever made.

  3. #3
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    Im sure if the FTC and the California Attorney General gets enough complaints from customers beeing treated unfairly by Google something will be done about it. I dont worry about the government getting into my business because I am not doing anything wrong. Their is no justification for Google's algo changes and it is obviously a flawed system. They wont admit it because immagine the effet that it would have on their stocks and shareholders?

    I dont like the way Google does business, but this is rediculous. Ill gladly transfer my campaigns over to MSN and Yahoo, which I already have. Google needs to see what they are doing to people, and if this is the only way to do it, then I am going to do it, and would encourage everyone else to do it as well.

  4. #4
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Google's actions against affiliate middlemen does come from their search based customers complaining about affiliate trickery polluting their SERPs and PPCSE sponsor Ads. www.siteadvisor.com exposed to all the affiliate scumbag industry schemes to victimize shoppers at the traffic source. In no way has any of their actions, from arbitrarily raising PPCSE keyword rates for domains they feel (right or wrongly) waste their searchers time, to wiping out SERP spamming tricks, break any State or FTC laws.

    The fact is that playing the PPCSE keyword arbitrage game just got riskier. Picking just the low hanging fruit by affiliates since the 90's isn't the only model for this industry. Next move by Google to whack the "made for adsense" scraper sites will put a lid on any legal action based upon discrimination towards the well funded affiliate fruit picking conglomerates verses the migrant workers.

    Just like in Lebanon, the innocent are getting caught in the crossfire directed at the company they keep. Sleazebag privacy info and Spyware clickstream peddling networks made their network tracking cookies a target. Affiliate e-mail spammers made CANN-SPAM a reality to face for both affiliates and merchants. Feed spammers killed that effort by merchants to encourage SERP spamming. Some Things are changing and some things are constant. Make pages useful for shoppers and use both PPCSE and natural SERPs on the same page as a consistant weapon for conversions.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  5. #5
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    I don't think it's a matter of telling Google how to run their business. It's a matter of discrimination. Google should be "fair" across the board. If we allow Google to push us out, will the other PPC resources follow suit? A merchants site isn't the only way to sell to a customer. Some affiliates can actually presell a product better than a merchant.

  6. #6
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    Make pages useful for shoppers and use both PPCSE and natural SERPs on the same page as a consistant weapon for conversions.
    My sites, as well as many other PPC advertisers sites are useful. There are too many types of pages and too many types of searchers out there for Google to be determining the "quality" of anything. As affiliates, it is our job to do a good job of selling to a customer. It is a whole different game than SEO, and therefore requires a different strategy. The idea is to pre-sell with pre-selling content, which is a whole different story than organic SEO content. My landing pages provide information about my products and services, and links to specials, comparisons, and places where they can get them. Explain to me how that is not a good user experience?

  7. #7
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Damned right, differential pricing based on undefined "criteria" which mask the real reasons for doing it is immoral if not illegal.

    My two cents worth - Google wants to eliminate the affiliate layer and extract more money directly from merchants. I think the issues here are anti-trust ones and restraint of trade.

    This is one thing that will bring affiliates, networks and merchants who rely on affiliates together. These are people who can hire EXPENSIVE lawyers.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  8. #8
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    I don't think we can say anti-trust here. All of google's visitors are pretty much voluntary victims as it were...

    If it were getting to the point where you couldn't search the web without using google, that might be more the case. Then again, I didn't really think Microsoft was wrong for prepackaging the IE browser either. It should have been left to Netscape to make a more compelling product to compete.

    Now, unfair trade practices is another matter. Question is what precedence is out there? If you look at it from the perspective of your local newspaper classifieds, then I suppose you are right. Everyone pays the same amount for the same sized ads, and extra for add ons.

    Do you think though that the inserts are all the same price? Doesn't the sales team have any room for negotiation? I'll bet they do. From that angle, Google has the right to charge pretty much whatever they feel like.

    If you argue that a $10.00 KW prevents you from doing business, then you might have an arguement. Except that you still have a plethora of other choices for advertising. Ans as such, doesn't google again retain the right to build their business model as they please? Just like you do.

    I'd rather see the Feds give me another choice for cable service in my hometown than go after Google on this one.
    Kevin Webster
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  9. #9
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    The argument Google is making about it being a "quality issue" is the main problem here. Also, google spicifily states that adwords is based on a bidding system where the advertiser bids whatever suits their budget needs.

    This is definately NOT what is happening here. Take a look at this post from one of the adwords forums:

    "Hello XXXX,


    Thank you for your patience. As promised, our Site Quality Team has
    re-reviewed your client's landing pages. Upon further review, they
    determined that the Destination site (i.e. landing page) itself is not
    the primary reason for the increase in your client's minimum CPCs.
    Rather, issue is with the 'vanity' Display URL they are using -
    'WorldsBestWidgetShop.com' on their ad text.


    With that said, we strongly recommend that your client uses the correct
    Display URL for the site - 'www.maindomainname.com.' This may
    alleviate the issue with the high minimum CPCs. Moreover, users will
    have an accurate representation of where they are being led from what
    is displayed your client's ads."


    First off, if this was true, then ALL of the keywords would have had
    their minimums raised, right? Secondly, Display URL isn't listed on the
    Quality Score discussion
    (adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=10215&topic=114):


    How is the Quality Score calculated?


    We want to ensure that your keywords get a fair chance to run and that
    we do all we can to properly gauge their performance. We use a Quality
    Score to do this. Each keyword is given a Quality Score based on data
    specific to your keyword performance on Google, including your
    keyword's clickthrough rate (CTR), relevance of ad text, historical
    keyword performance, the quality of your ad's landing page, and other
    relevancy factors.


    Quality Score = keyword's CTR + ad text relevance + historical keyword
    performance + landing page quality + other relevancy factors


    Your keyword's Quality Score and maximum CPC (at the keyword or Ad
    Group level as seen on Google) determine your ad's rank on Google and
    the search network. For content sites, your content bid or
    cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM), plus the ad's performance history
    on the site and similar sites, are considered. (For the top positions
    above Google search results, however, we use your keyword's actual
    CPC.) Remember that improving the relevance of your ad text and
    keywords will increase your keyword's Quality Score and reduce the
    price you pay when someone clicks on your ad.


    BTW: I had given them 4 ad groups to investigate, and the
    WorldsBestWidgetShop.com was only used on two, so I asked her to find
    out the story on the others. One of them has a GREAT display
    URL...basically, "widgets.com." If they tell me that causes a negative
    experience for the user, I will just die.


    If the Display URL works and points to the correct page on the site, I
    don't see why it can't be used...who are they to tell me my URL is not
    up to snuff?


    Google is turning into a bunch of Nazis.
    So its no longer about landing pages, now domains are not good enough either?? Who cares what my domain name is! If I cant get widgets.com I am not allowed to use worlds-best-widgets.com? How is that fair?? Google is so full of it its not even funny. I dont even think they know how their own system works.

    Could someone please explain to me what "other relevancy factors" are? How does google know this? Also, how can someones historical keyword performance apply to everyone? It cant. Just becuase one person cant market a particular keyword it doesnt mean that another person cant either.

  10. #10
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    This is a good one too guy's, just one more indication of a flawed system.

    I had one of the Google Adwords "experts" create new campaigns, Ad
    Groups and keywords for my account recently. Now about all those
    keywords are disabled. I mean, if an Adword employee, who is suppose to
    be an Adword "expert", can't create campaigns with keywords that remain
    active, then how are advertisers suppose to do it?

  11. #11
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    The domain bit is another obvious shot at affiliate marketing. Especially those affiliates that PPC direct to the merchant, as opposed to their own site.

    Which in and of itself I don't have a problem with. The problem, as with this whole issue, is the "unintended" <cough> ramifications to honest webmasters.
    Kevin Webster
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  12. #12
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    Judge dismisses antitrust complaint vs Google
    Check this out. Hard to make a case....

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...071400112.html

  13. #13
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'm not a lawyer, but I've yet to see anything that Google does to be a true "monopolisitc" or "legally unfair" business practice.

    Kinderstart raises some good points however. Although Google doesn't fall into any of the classes of companies that tend to be heavily regulated. As such, I'd say again that Google is free to do as it chooses.

    I thought it was interesting that Google was referred to as a "public utility" in the article. The use of the word utility, even if just in passing here, is an interesting one. Will search engines be considered utilities in the future?
    Kevin Webster
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  14. #14
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    Check this out. Hard to make a case....
    Organic search is another story all together. Adwords however is a bidding system to where the advertisers set their bids according to their budget. When google inflates the keywords to 10 dollars based on something they wont give us an answer to, all while major players remain untouched, sounds to me like they could have a potential problem on their hands.

  15. #15
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    The Kinderstart case isn't as simple as it looks.. read the end of the second paragraph.

    Judge Jeremy Fogel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose said in a ruling he would grant Google's motion to dismiss Kinderstart's complaint, but gave Kinderstart leave to amend and resubmit its case.
    I think the legal argument was just poorly constructed in Kinderstart's case.

    My point about anti-competitive practices is this: Google appears to be leveraging parts of its businesses so that it can remove the affiliate layer and deal directly with the merchants. That "leveraging" is the sort of thing that Microsoft does, and it regularly loses court cases over it.

    If it is the case the Google has wilfully discriminated against competitors in the SERPs and AdWords in order to gain an unfair competitive advantage, then that's the legal argument that should be applied.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador darkstar7's Avatar
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    Get the news services involved. The negative publicity will be very bad for the stock price and their super clean goody image. The news services love negative news on a clean image.
    Luke
    Have you promoted your brand name today?

  17. #17
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    good post. i dont think in the end they will simply be able to skate by with such a blatant and literally cruel attitude. and im sure the reports are stacking up...what you guys need to do as well is form a class action suit. in any case the internet was created for google to dominate and control. at some point i am certain something can and will be done.

  18. #18
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    Why not start a grassroots campaign.

    Start an online petition. Many affiliates signed the CJ petition against LMI and I am sure many would sign this also.

    Notify your merchants. Tell them to sign the petition and email their own Google reps and express their dissatisfaction with the issues.

    Write a powerful press release. It is the age of communication I imagine there is a way to release some type of press communication online.

    It will take quite an effort but I think it can be done.

  19. #19
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    These are all excellent ideas! It seems more and more that Google is just targeting affiliates... I am not totally sure this is the case, but responses from their reps and different posts at various forums seem to point in that direction.

    For some reason it seems that restricting affiliates from using adwords would be against the law. Again, Google has not spicifically said that is what they are doing, but they also have not said what they are doing either. Every rep that I have seen a response from has added a new element into the algo and it seems that non-affiliate sites can stay the same while affiliate sites get inactive.

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador best123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh
    These are all excellent ideas! It seems more and more that Google is just targeting affiliates... I am not totally sure this is the case, but responses from their reps and different posts at various forums seem to point in that direction.

    For some reason it seems that restricting affiliates from using adwords would be against the law. Again, Google has not spicifically said that is what they are doing, but they also have not said what they are doing either. Every rep that I have seen a response from has added a new element into the algo and it seems that non-affiliate sites can stay the same while affiliate sites get inactive.
    Is banning sites from it's search index, just because there's too many affiliate links or affiliate merchandising text content on a website against the law as well?

    Well, if it's not against the law, it should be made against the law.

    It feels like discremination to me.

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador La_Valette's Avatar
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    All this talk about soliciting the help of the law is way off track. It's Google's website and it can do pretty much as it damn well pleases on it (that includes charging whatever it wants for any advertisement). That's not necessarily good business, or good PR even, but it's not breaking any laws if it decides to charge certain websites more. Now I don't agree with what Google's doing here, but it's the way it is. Just like nobody can dictate to you what you post or decide not to post on your own website (so long as you don't break really basic rules like posting child pornography or stuff like that).
    Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try. -- Homer Simpson

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador best123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by La_Valette
    All this talk about soliciting the help of the law is way off track. It's Google's website and it can do pretty much as it damn well pleases on it (that includes charging whatever it wants for any advertisement). That's not necessarily good business, or good PR even, but it's not breaking any laws if it decides to charge certain websites more. Now I don't agree with what Google's doing here, but it's the way it is. Just like nobody can dictate to you what you post or decide not to post on your own website (so long as you don't break really basic rules like posting child pornography or stuff like that).

    What about charges of unfair competition?

    Here's an example , Press Ctrl F, and paste "charges of unfair competition"

    http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,39130,00.asp#

  23. #23
    affiliate emeritus missdonna's Avatar
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    Then after you file a complaint against Google I suppose any merchant you don't have on your website should file a complaint against you? I know, that's different.
    Affiliate Marketing - The hardest easy money I ever made.

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador best123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by missdonna
    Then after you file a complaint against Google I suppose any merchant you don't have on your website should file a complaint against you? I know, that's different.
    Yes they should, except that they wont get anything out of me, I haven't got a single cent :-(

    because google wont index my website, even though it's been built with its quality guidelines, except that I have affiliate links on my site

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by La_Valette
    All this talk about soliciting the help of the law is way off track. It's Google's website and it can do pretty much as it damn well pleases on it (that includes charging whatever it wants for any advertisement). That's not necessarily good business, or good PR even, but it's not breaking any laws if it decides to charge certain websites more. Now I don't agree with what Google's doing here, but it's the way it is. Just like nobody can dictate to you what you post or decide not to post on your own website (so long as you don't break really basic rules like posting child pornography or stuff like that).

    Not so simple. They are at the point of being considered a monopoly and I be damned as well as im willing to bet the rest of the persons with interest are going to side on that end as supporters of capitalism to that extent. That is akin to saying something like "Poland belonged to the 3rd Reich, They had the right to do whatever they wanted to." Do you think that if you formed a successful company that was able to control 50% + of internet traffic you should be able to do "whatever you wanted'? I seriously doubt it...least I hope not, and if so...like with anyone you would likely end up wrong. Just because microsoft got away with it, does not mean everyone else will.

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