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  1. #1
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    AdCenter 'QuickLaunch' defaults to 'spend wildly'
    Warning: Be careful if Microsoft offers you "free help" in migrating your Google campaigns to AdCenter.

    Microsoft encouraged me to participate in the AdCenter "QuickLaunch" program, in which clients are encouraged to export and submit their Google campaigns to be replicated (by Microsoft staff) at AdCenter. (AdCenter does not provide any bulk-submission nor bulk-editing tools to clients.) I submitted my AdWords export file, and within a few hours, all the campaigns and ad groups were replicated in my AdCenter account.

    Except...

    It turns out that Microsoft's staff "helps" customers by selecting the default settings, which means all ads for all keywords are shown to ALL users in ALL countries in ALL languages at ALL hours at the same maximum CPC bid rate. (In fairness, scheduling and country data isn't included in the Google export file.)

    Oh, yes, and AdCenter provides one-day-delayed reporting (Google provides 2-4 hour delayed reporting), so customers can't see how expensive a mistake has been made until at least "a day too late."

    Fortunately, I was launching 1,700+ new ad groups in a new Google client account tonight, and was going through the arduous process of scheduling each campaign (repeating the same arduous scheduling steps 19 times for the 19 campaigns). As I did so, I realized that the "time-saving" AdCenter agent had never asked about countries or hours, and in fact had configured all 2,300 of my new "orders" (ad groups) at AdCenter to be displayed to visitors from all countries at all hours. (Of course, the advertised products were available only to US customers.)

    To complicate matters further, editing these settings (country, language, and scheduling) is done at the ORDER (ad group) level on AdCenter, not at the Campaign level (as it is on Google). That means that instead of doing these tasks 25 times for the 25 campaigns at Google, I would need to manually alter these settings 2,500 times (once for each 'order' or ad group) on AdCenter.

    I immediately paused ALL campaigns on AdCenter, until the "QuickLaunch agent' re-configures all these properly. Once the changes are made, I will probably only activate one or two 'campaigns' at a time, instead of resuming all at once.

    Bottom line: the "QuickLaunch" services makes it possible to migrate campaigns that would take hundreds or thousands of hours to manually add to AdCenter, but customers must be very careful and very specific.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    It turns out that Microsoft's staff "helps" customers by selecting the default settings, which means all ads for all keywords are shown to ALL users in ALL countries in ALL languages at ALL hours at the same maximum CPC bid rate. (In fairness, scheduling and country data isn't included in the Google export file.)
    My rep at Microsoft told me that Microsoft only deliver traffics in the US. So the "default" will be set only in the US no matter how many countries or languages you select.

    They will notify us if they are planning to deliver traffics to other countries with other languages later on.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by atonca
    >My rep at Microsoft told me that Microsoft only deliver traffics in the US. So the "default" will be set only in the US no matter how many countries or languages you select. They will notify us if they are planning to deliver traffics to other countries with other languages later on.
    If your rep is right, then it's news (good news) to me. That's certainly not the impression I get from Microsoft's interface, which makes it clear that if I don't accept the default of "all countries," I can choose from a long list of specific countries where my ads could be shown:


    And when I click the button I see this:


  4. #4
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    I qustioned them about "select countries" function a few months ago. They said they only deliver traffics in the US at this time. I know it is confusing to have the "select countries" on their interface. Maybe they are not ready for delivering traffics worldwide yet...

    Ask them again if you have doubts.

  5. #5
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    atonca wrote: "My rep at Microsoft told me that Microsoft only deliver traffics in the US. " and later, " I questioned them about "select countries" function a few months ago. They said they only deliver traffics in the US at this time. Ask them again if you have doubts."

    An AdCenter QuickLaunch rep did call me promptly this morning, and agreed to change my campaigns to US-only and to set differential pricing (I set a fairly complicated bid-percentage system at Google, but for AdCenter I just asked to set all bids at 60% during the 11pm-7am period).

    However, when I asked if ads were currently being served to US visitors only, the rep bluntly said, "that's not necessarily true."

    I would suggest that somebody run an IP-location analysis of their AdCenter-sourced traffic and let us know the distribution. When I did this check for a a Google US-only campaign, I confirmed that every request came from a US IP address (though that doesn't preclude use of US proxies by foreign visitors). When I did the same check for Overture/YahooSN campaigns in the past (they didn't offer geotargeting), 25% to 30% of clicks came from foreign IPs. On another (now-defunct) PPC system, 90% of traffic came from foreign IPs.

    Since AdCenter also offers bid-differentials based on age and gender, I also asked what percentage of visitors are registered and can thus be targetted, and she said that could not be determined.

    Bottom line: they agreed to re-configure my orders to meet my location and scheduling requirements -- I suggest that other advertisers use the available location restrictions if your products are not "worldwide."

    Hopefully they will consider my suggestion that other customers be asked about location and time options before QuickLaunch campaigns are loaded.

  6. #6
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    Some more information on my AdCenter experience.

    Microsoft staff have been diligent in following up with me on this, to make sure my QuickLaunch campaigns are configured the way I want. Unfortunately, we've had some health issues in our household this week, so I was only able to follow up today.

    (1) Microsoft AdCenter has a 5-cent minimum click rate. I have many thousands of 3-cent and 4-cent-per-click keywords on Google AdWords, which can't be replicated onto AdCenter at comparable cost.

    (2) On AdCenter, differential pricing is "upward only" (meaning that bid rates are only increased by a percentage, never decreased, based on criteria you set). On AdWords, I have many campaigns set to run at 60% of my "normal" bid rates during low-value (off-peak) time periods (roughly 11pm-7am), but to achieve the same effect on AdCenter I'd need to set a lower base bid rate and set a premium during high-value hours. (I've chosen a simpler route, by merely disabling all AdCenter bids during the 11pm-7am time period.)

    (3) As others have mentioned, Microsoft AdCenter doesn't "normally" display ads to non-US visitors, because non-US visitors are redirected to local sites (e.g. Canadian or UK). Thus, the initial failure to set geo-targeting for my campaigns doesn't appear to have skewed my data.

    (4) An interesting observation: AdCenter's main "campaign summary" page doesn't show "totals" or "averages," but just separate rows for each campaign. I find this a little bit annoying, but certainly not a deal-killer.

    At this point, I don't have enough data to reasonably compare my AdCenter and AdWords campaigns, other than to note that traffic on AdCenter is a tiny fraction of traffic from AdWords. I do regret my use of the term "spend wildly" in the title of this thread.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Mark,

    I was just sent over to QuickLaunch myself by my AdCenter rep. I'm waiting for them to call me up. I'm not sure if I can use it since I auto generate my campaigns by PHP. I'm hoping for daily keyword changes. Do you think this service will allow that? They mentioned an API, but it's currently not open to advertisers with a budget less than $10,000/month. But they did say it'll be opened to everybody shortly. They couldn't give a time estimate on that.

    How pleased are you with the quality and quantity of their traffic? I'm concerned about volume issues, but I'll be adding quite a few keywords to hopefully combat that. I hope they've got 100% of their SERPs now. I remember Yahoo had a substantial percentage for a while.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    MSN traffic converts better than Google Adwords for me, but the volume is about 1/10 of Adwords.

    But, the downside is that adcenter is a buggy piece of crap. Tonight I logged in, only to see that I had spent most of my budget for the month, in 4 clicks. That's right, $145.33 per click. I was really scared, thinking that I had messed up my maxCPC, but it turns out I didn't. The maxCpc is indeed set at .19 cents.

    So now I have to go through the whole "Adcenter Support" headache to get my money back.

    Hmmm, I think I deserve some free credit, based on the pain and suffering of seeing 145 dollar clicks in my reports...

  9. #9
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    $145.33/click? That's scary
    There must be some mistakes. Sorry to hear that and wish you get your money back.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atonca
    $145.33/click? That's scary
    There must be some mistakes. Sorry to hear that and wish you get your money back.
    Oh geeze, its still happening... I just got more clicks that are orders of magnitude larger than my maxCpc.... I guess I need to turn my campaign off... Grrrrrr Am beginning to wonder if this is worth it.
    Last edited by isellstuff; February 23rd, 2007 at 01:29 AM.

  11. #11
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    It might just be me, I would've....checked my campaigns after moving them over.

    Again, that's just me. I'm meticulous like that.

    Shawn Kerr (.com) | Disney World | SEC Football

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mobilebadboy
    It might just be me, I would've....checked my campaigns after moving them over.

    Again, that's just me. I'm meticulous like that.
    I know you aren't talking to me... Because I'm discussing MSN adcenter bugs that aren't related to import. Oh, and by the way, WAR EAGLE!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by isellstuff
    Oh geeze, its still happening... I just got more clicks that are orders of magnitude larger than my maxCpc.... I guess I need to turn my campaign off... Grrrrrr Am beginning to wonder if this is worth it.
    I will turn off my campaign if I'm you...and try to contact MSN tomorrow to find out what's wrong.

    And let us know what's going on if you would. Good luck!

  14. #14
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isellstuff
    MSN traffic converts better than Google Adwords for me, but the volume is about 1/10 of Adwords.

    But, the downside is that adcenter is a buggy piece of crap. Tonight I logged in, only to see that I had spent most of my budget for the month, in 4 clicks. That's right, $145.33 per click. I was really scared, thinking that I had messed up my maxCPC, but it turns out I didn't. The maxCpc is indeed set at .19 cents.

    So now I have to go through the whole "Adcenter Support" headache to get my money back.

    Hmmm, I think I deserve some free credit, based on the pain and suffering of seeing 145 dollar clicks in my reports...
    $145.33 per click?

    OK, I may still be a about getting into PPC for now, but at least I know for sure that one lottery ticket still cost only $1.00 and I maybe one of this days I can win a few million Dollar

    One dollar a day would be 365 dollars a year!
    But just three of those clicks could be 435 dollars in a few minutes?


  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by isellstuff
    MSN traffic converts better than Google Adwords for me, but the volume is about 1/10 of Adwords.

    But, the downside is that adcenter is a buggy piece of crap. Tonight I logged in, only to see that I had spent most of my budget for the month, in 4 clicks. That's right, $145.33 per click. I was really scared, thinking that I had messed up my maxCPC, but it turns out I didn't. The maxCpc is indeed set at .19 cents.

    So now I have to go through the whole "Adcenter Support" headache to get my money back.

    Hmmm, I think I deserve some free credit, based on the pain and suffering of seeing 145 dollar clicks in my reports...
    I just checked my account and I'm seeing the same problem. The bid amounts are all over the place...some are $46.26, $6.18, $5.24, etc.

    I hope this isn't a huge issue to resolve with MSN and CC charges. I'll definitely be on the phone with them when they open this morning.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Depend on no one but yourself...[/FONT] :winking:

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meeka
    I just checked my account and I'm seeing the same problem. The bid amounts are all over the place...some are $46.26, $6.18, $5.24, etc.

    I hope this isn't a huge issue to resolve with MSN and CC charges. I'll definitely be on the phone with them when they open this morning.
    Sorry to hear that you are having the same issues, but it does make me feel a little better that I am not alone.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by isellstuff
    Sorry to hear that you are having the same issues, but it does make me feel a little better that I am not alone.

    I called customer service and they're sending backup reports to the billing department so that they can resolve and issue a credit. They overcharged me approx $200 for yesterday. Hopefully, you paused all your campaigns.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Depend on no one but yourself...[/FONT] :winking:

  18. #18
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    yep, known problem, i notified my clients earlier this morning about the bug and the refunds / adjustments to come - this is a widespread problem, but it started less than 24 hours ago and the engineers there are on it. i've been assured by several that it's got highest of high alert / alarm levels attached to it now and the whole adcenter hive is buzzing and working to fix it FAST.

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    adcenter representitives are posting to this thread on webmasterworld with status updates.

    http://www.webmasterworld.com/msn_adcenter/3261268.htm

    One person was hit with a 900 dollar click! I believe a lot of people who don't monitor their accounts regularly haven't even noticed yet. The problem is pretty widespread, suggest if you are running adcenter ads, you check your account ASAP. your credit card may get maxed out...

  20. #20
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    My rep at Microsoft told me that Microsoft only deliver traffics in the US
    This isn't true, I'm afraid. I use Adcenter in the UK and I believe that it's also open in France so that's at least two other countries where its operational.

    If you show your ads to everyone, people in other countries will definitely see them.

  21. #21
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    I thought I was the lucky one last night. Not any more. One of my ads was charged 4 times more than max bid . Just turn off all my campaigns.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by markymark
    This isn't true, I'm afraid. I use Adcenter in the UK and I believe that it's also open in France so that's at least two other countries where its operational.

    If you show your ads to everyone, people in other countries will definitely see them.
    Markymark, that was back to last summer or earlier when MSN first launched serch engine business. They were not ready to deliver trafics worldwide yet(at least that's what my rep told me at tha time).

    It is a different story now.

  23. #23
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    I got a credit in the mail to open an account, guess I should wait huh?
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  24. #24
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    I just talked to one of the MSN reps on the phone. She said the issue has be resolved and they are working on a plan to credit us back the overcharged amount.

    Need to turn on my campaigns again. What a mess!

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