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Monday, April 23, 2007

AdWords Search Engine

I've been working on my AdWords search engine for a few months now adding pages & site sections that have solid AdWords info. My intent when I started working on it was to build a search engine - just for AdWords related stuff - that eliminated all "make money while you sleep" type crap that filters it's way into the normal results.

Over the past few months I've been very pleased with the results it returns. typically I test it a few times a day with AdWords related questions that are posted in various forums. The majority of the time the AdWords search engine gives better results (ie - the actual answer) than any of the major search engines...which was the intent.

If you have a second and don't mind leaving me some feedback, search for something AdWords related and let me know what you thought of the results set. What I'm looking for are queries that did not return what you were looking for on page well as any "spammy" type AdWords stuff that's managed to sneak it's way in.

Leave any feedback in the comments.


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adCenter Ads Far From "Quality"

Since I shut off my adCenter campaigns last week I've been watching the paid results at MSN for the term "gold watches". The results were being overrun by MFA's last week (which all appeared to be owned by the same person/company) and shortly after I posted the results *appeared* to be back to normal.

I looked again this morning to to my dismay the same junk is back in the back in the paid results. Check out the # 1 result for "gold watches":

Of course clicking on the ad doesn't actually bring you to You end up at httX:// Nice ad text too...

What really irks me about this is how many legitimate (ie - killing on other search engines) ads I've had denied in adCenter over the past year. I understand that things slip through and people try and game the system (happens at Google & Yahoo as well) but to me this seems so blatant and obvious that I'm amazed these ads are still making it to the top spots in adCenter.

I've really only been looking at one term...would hate to think what I could dig up with a few hours of research. If you're using adCenter are you seeing this same junk in your vertical? If so, has it impacted your traffic levels or conversion rates?

Related: Does MSN Get It?

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Google Pay Per Action (PPA)

I've been testing Google Pay Per Action ads for a little over a week and wanted to report on my early experiences and opinions of the PPA service.

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. If you're already comfortable with AdWords and conversion tracking you can get your first ad setup in a few minutes. I setup "regular" ads as well as 6 or 7 text link ads. To date, I've only seen impressions on the "regular" ads which at least to me is a little surprising. I thought the text link ads, which I designed so they could fit nicely into almost any content on the subject, would see at least some action early on.

Anyway, here's how my impressions have trended since I launched the campaigns:
I've yet to see any clicks or conversions but assume as more and more publishers are invited to the beta all the important metrics will increase. At this point I'm sure the number of approved publishers, especially in certain verticals, is still relatively small.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

adCenter’s New Quality Based Ranking has Issues

On April 16th adCenter introduced "Quality Based Ranking".

Since then, like others, my traffic has dropped. Looking at what adCenter is now showing for ads makes me wonder if this "quality based ranking" update is a complete flop. The ads I'm seeing being served by adCenter now are the worst I've ever seen...on any search engine.

I'm not going to post 100 examples (just search on MSN/Live yourself and you can find plenty of your own) but did one to post at least one example query to demonstrate just how messy the paid results are right now.

Term: gold watches. (screenshot here as ads may change)

Paid result # 1 - display url ( does not match destination url (

Paid result # 2 - display url ( does not match destination url (

Paid result # 3 - display url ( does not match destination url (

Paid result # 4 - display url ( does not match destination url ( ). The actual landing page is 3 blocks of adsense and some garbage text.

Paid result # 5 - display url ( does not match destination url ( The actual landing page is 3 blocks of adsense and some garbage text.

Paid result # 6 - display url ( does not match destination url ( The actual landing page is 3 blocks of adsense and some garbage text.

Results 7 & 8 go the same kind of garbage landing pages.

I'm seeing this same stuff - and a lot of the same sites - across dozens and dozens of search terms. I even checked a few places where I'm competing and my ad - which actually includes the keywords and brings people to real pages with real content - sits in spots 6 - 8 behind some of the same sites highlighted above.

adCenter team, I hope what I'm seeing is part of what appears to be a failed quality based ranking update that can be rolled back or fixed quickly. I can't even justify leaving adCenter active at this point as I don't want my ads/services associated with the garbage that's showing up the paid results right now.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Detailed Reports for the Content Network

Following up my February post, Transparency Coming to the AdWords Content Network, it looks like this feature is being activated in select accounts. I personally haven't seen it yet but there's a screenshot and some info here.

It's too bad this doesn't apply to the search network too....that's where the real money is being spent. I suspect Google realizes by looking at the data that people would be opting out of A LOT of the search network sites if given the choice. And considering those are full price clicks...

Discuss at Digital Point.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Redesigned AdWords Campaign Summary Page

Noticed a new look this morning in an AdWords account. There was a message at the top of the screen when I logged in:

"Cleaner look, more data. This new Campaign Summary layout makes it easier to show the date ranges and account information you want. And it looks pretty, too."

In addition to grouping the data by media type (which I think looks nice) there's a summary box at the top of the screen that looks like this:

The help link included in the message links to here.


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