Google abuses

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I know I’m a ranter, but I don’t care. I’ve heard and seen too much recently to not say something about this.

I also know there are a whole bunch of Google worshippers out there who are going to bash me for this…I don’t care.

Also, I hope I’m wrong.

But…

Right now it looks like wall street has gotten at the google motto of ‘Don’t be evil.’

Some of what’s going on doesn’t make sense in terms of google trying to take care of their share holders, other stuff does.

Here are a few things I’ve seen over the past few weeks:

1. A few weeks ago basically everyone I know had their adsense incomes cut in half. It could be that google is trying to protect their advertisers from adwords, but that doesn’t seem to be the case (as seen in my second point). It looks like google is simply paying their publishers less. This boosts their quarterly earnings. I mean, how are we to know what they’re paying us? They don’t tell anyone anything.

2. This week I know someone who had an adwords campaign going and google disabled a bunch of keywords saying that they had to raise their minimum bid to $5 on those keywords if they wanted to continue serving ads. Then, a few days later, after that person didn’t change the bids to $5, adwords changed the bid to $0.50 to activate the bids. Were they trying to get him to bite at $5 to try and make some extra money when the market only bears $0.50? Who knows…they don’t tell anyone anything.

3. A few weeks ago a class here at BYU had a project going where all the students ran adwords campaigns for local businesses. Right near the end of the semester Google shut down a few of the adwords accounts with no warning! Now, I know google doesn’t really care that an adwords account is for a class or what, but they didn’t give any warnings or anything. I’ve heard of google shutting down adsense accounts for click fraud, but not adwords accounts. Can you abuse adwords? Can you do something to warrant shutting down an account? What could the students have possibly done to warrant their accounts being shut down, and one of them being permanently banned from using adwords? Google didn’t tell them why their accounts got shut down. They don’t know. Nobody knows….google doesn’t tell anybody anything!

4. About a month ago I had 3 adsense accounts shut down for users on writingup.com. Google didn’t say anything to them other than their account was shut down. They wouldn’t answer emails, and of course there’s no other way to contact google. I KNOW those 3 people hadn’t committed click fraud, because I knew them all personally, and they didn’t know each other. That’s a big deal when it takes a social security number to create an adsense account. If they mistakenly shut down your account and don’t let you appeal or anything, what the heck are you supposed to do? You can’t just open another account, you only have one social security number! It took for ME to appeal the accounts for the three of them before google would look at re-opening their accounts again. Why did they shut them down? Again…do you really think anyone knows? Of course not…google doesn’t tell anyone anything.

5. This doesn’t have much to do with wall street, but what the heck is up with googles adsense ads recently? Months ago I took adsense off my car insurance site because they were serving ‘driver safety’, ‘seat belt laws’, and ‘car specs’ ads on the site. There wasn’t any reason I could tell. I mean, the site was #1 on MSN for the search word ‘Car Insurance’, and one day they just stopped serving car insurance ads. The ctr went from 14.5% on the adsense to about 1.5%.
This past week the ads on writingup.com have been all over the board. There have been days where the ads looked like they were purposefully off topic. It wasn’t that google couldn’t determine the topic of the pages, because they were obvious. It was almost as if they were trying to deter people from clicking on the ads. Maybe they were testing for click fraud, the logic being that if they serve ads that are off topic, and someone still clicks on them, then it’s likely click fraud. I don’t know, but of course, they didn’t say anything to anyone about it, and they won’t respond to inquiries. Again, they don’t tell anyone anything.

6. This one does deal with wall street. It’s not a complaint, but it’s different treatment for different people. We have an adsense account that makes a significant amount of money. I’ll just say we receive our check by fedex from google. We had a few sites that accidentally had something on them that was against the adsense TOS and kind of told people to click the adsense ads. The person who created the templates didn’t know the adsense rules. Well, instead of shutting down that adsense account, one which makes them a bunch of money each month, they nicely sent us an email saying that they had permanently disabled serving ads on those few sites that were in violation of their TOS. Don’t you think if it were someone who wasn’t making very much money for them they would have shut down their account, no questions asked? I do.

I have other examples, but that’s enough writing for now. I know a lot of people are ticked. I’d like to hear some other peoples experiences/abuses/good things that google has done recently.

Right now I’m rooting for yahoo/msn. Contextual advertising isn’t going anywhere, it leverages the power of the internet to automate things. Yahoo did a poor job with their publisher.yahoo.com program. I believe it will improve over time. I believe MSN will do a good job with theirs (at least I hope they will). I hope that’s the reason why they haven’t come out with it yet, they’re watching all the other garbage that’s going on and they’re going to do a good job with theirs when they release it.

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