Recently launched a new campaign in Google for search only. A brand new URL that was recently purchased and being used in Google only with Content network turned off.
I did a search for the URL string in the Google results to see if the page had been indexed yet.
Strangely, there were 2 results. One for my domain and another for the domain ChamberofCommerce.com (slimeball is good anchor text methinks) which has nothing to do with the US Chamber of Commerce or any other local COC for that matter.
So I went to the page (I am not showing up on the page I linked to…) and found a long list of sponsored results for which my ad was showing up amongst them. No Ads by Google link or anything. Just some scraped content (everything I copied and pasted from the site I found on other scraper type sites…) and then a huge list of sponsored results…
I had never seen a Google Ad group with 10 ads so this immediately got my attention, since not only are my ads only running on the Google network, but they are not running on content..So I investigated further…
I right clicked on the ad and clicked properties:
hotkeys.com/leadtracking?id=…ask.com (appended so it fits on the scree) which was then followed by a huge string of numbers….
Ask.com…I don’t advertise on Ask and never plan too after several experiences where they were distributing my ads outside of the search traffic, through Clicksor ads. I am a little pissed at Google that they will syndicate my ads and then allow that entity to re-syndicate them.
I immediately contacted my Google rep and explained the situation. They investigated and responded that this ad was not being served by Google, rather that it was being served by Akamai, which was not at all affiliated with Google.
Google was adamant that this was not a Google ad despite the fact that it landed on the proper URL, even going so far as saying it was possible someone was running this and not charging me….
What I had not told Google was that since I had rotating ad copy, that my ad was showing up differently each time I hit the refresh button. I asked the rep to hit refresh and the response was “we are not serving this ad, but we will see if there is some way that someone could know to rotate your ads.”
Even with pretty convincing proof of Ask.com serving my Search Only ad in a content setting, Google was unable to accept it. Now Ask is probably more important to their business than I am (and who am I kidding, I am not gonna quit Google…) but even when shown a blatant example of them intentionally re-syndicating ads in an improper manner they just do not seem to care.
Overture feeds are the single biggest problem at Yahoo. Google’s largest issue is the parked pages and that they seem to think the quality of traffic from excite, ask, & myway is the same quality as you see from AOL or even the Google network itself. Yes, I know you can go Google only, but I have tested it and even with all the fraud and junk clicks I am still better off than otherwise.
Google - you recently gave us insight into Content, but I think you need to follow that up and give us insight into the search network. Let me know where my ads show, give me a way to track it without having to use Google Analytics, and allow me to opt out of anything in your network, or set proper bids for individual traffic sources and I will pay you far more than I do now, because I will be able to weed out what does not work and concentrate on getting as much of what does work as possible.
Unfortunately, search engines seem to be in a race to the bottom, and quality suffers. They are falling all over themselves to give syndication deals to crappy engines with huge fraud potential. Google states they want to be about quality user experience, but seems to fail to recognize that the most important users are those footing the bill, what about the advertisers experience?