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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Google could care less about double serving

As long as the credit card of the offending party is not declined.

If you're an AdWords advertiser odds are you are aware of the double serving policy. In short, you are not supposed serve more than one ad for your product service. Some advertisers try and bypass this policy by creating multiple AdWords accounts and using various destination urls that are all owned by one company/individual. It's a policy that needs to be in place, and enforced. Without it we could end up with a single advertiser dominating the majority of ad positions in their respective market.

Over the past few months I've noticed more and more double (not to mention triple and quadruple) serving than I ever have before. What really caught my attention is that after I started watching it I realized that not only were new violations popping up daily, but old, reported violations were still alive and kicking months after they had been reported. Some that I noticed and reported 2+ months ago are still live as of right now. When I say I reported them I didn't just fire off an e-mail to some random Google address - I picked up the phone and called my rep and followed up with numerous e-mails. As of today, nothing has been done about any violation I've reported - ever.

I decided to test out for myself how easy it was to get around this policy - and guess what - it's easier than I thought. With a few hours work and the help of some friends we managed to lock up 6 paid ad spaces on Google's search results for multiple search terms. I kind of wanted to make it easy for people to catch it so we left the same company name and contact/copyright info clearly visible in the footer of all 6 landing pages. We kept it going for about 2 weeks and I have to admit I was bit surprised that we never heard a thing from Google.

Step two was to have someone report our violation - which we did - 4 times in 5 days. 3 weeks after the first report and not a single person from Google had contacted us. I honestly feel the only reason the ads are not running today is because we turned them off. Our little test had shown me all I needed to see.

I understand that people can and will bypass the system and try and play outside the rules. What I don't understand is why it appears that Google could care less about enforcing this policy after clear violations have been reported. I know they get paid regardless but come on - find the balance between profitability and maintaining the integrity of your advertising platform.

Has anyone ever reported a violation and actually had Google do something about it?


At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have exactly the same problem. One advertiser is even taking up 6 spots for the same keyword! This has been reported to Google by us countless times and we never hear anything back. Not only do our complaints seem to be ignored but the situation has got worse since we first began complaining (more ads than when we first complained). For a company who prides themselves on providing the best search results in the world I don't see how the same company selling the same thing appearing multiple times is a reflection of this.

At 4:41 AM, Anonymous andy said...

we also have this problem, namely with 4 amazon adverts in the top ten for almost every keyword we bid on, reported to google 6 times, even had an email to say the offending adverts had been "dissaproved" but 2 months on nothing has happened, i even emailed them back with the quote from their email about being dissaproved but they just email back the same response, usually starting with "we appreciate your frustration"! No they don't appreciate my frustration at all and couldn't care less as long as they are getting paid! I am considering building ten websites and pushing amazon out of the top ten, see how they like it!

At 8:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My agency has had zero success with logged complaints to Google. Some cases have been running for 9 months with regular followups! Clearly it's all talk and no action.

At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get a life, snitch. Stop crying, defeatist. Can't beat them, join them and Conquer. Adapt, improvise and overcome.

At 1:04 PM, Blogger Jeremy Mayes said...

I always find it amusing when "Anonymous" leaves the aggressive comments.


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