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Google Responds To My Request For a Landing Page Review

Discussion in 'Google AdWords' started by richa65, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. #1
    I called last Friday and asked for a manual review of my site. My site basically asks for the user to fill out his preferences regarding new housing in a metro US location and promises to connect him with a real estate agent who will send a daily email with all of the relevant home listings based on what he puts on the form. I have a CTR of about 8% averaging about 6th - 8th position. I have a conversion rate of 23-24%. I have been advertising for 2 years and have spent in excess of 30,000 over that time with Google.

    Here is the response that I just received from Google. I am absolutely appalled at the answer. Google is setting themselves up for a very large class action suit, IMHO.

    Hello,

    Thank you for calling in today. You wanted to know the status of your site
    quality review. I wanted to let you know that our specialist team
    concluded their review, and maintained the current status of your site.

    They explained that there are currently a number of people providing free,
    unfettered instant access to MLS listings. Our goal is to provide a user
    with the best possible results, and it is not clear from your site what
    makes your solution one of the best options for the end user.

    We don't typically give recommendations about what to change/add as we
    can't guarantee it will help improve your site quality score. That said,
    you may consider adding content such as:
    - more information about what distinguishes your service service and how
    you provide the best solution.
    - information for home buyers - things to consider, how to pick a real
    estate agent
    - information about real estate - median home value, common issues
    to watch out for (like termites or mold), etc.

    Please note that we re-evaluate landing pages on a regular basis. Once you
    make improvements, monitor your minimum bids because improvements in your
    landing pages are reflected in minimum bids. If you make drastic changes
    to your pages, please contact our support team again and we'll review
    those new pages

    We look forward to providing you with the most effective advertising
    available.

    Sincerely,

    [Name Deleted]
    The Google AdWords Team


    So, let me draw a parallel to this if I may:

    -----------------------------------------------------
    I own a restaurant that's in a transitional area of my city. I think it's quaint. I have been advertising with the phone company in the yellow pages for 2 years spending $18,000 per year on a 1/2 page ad on page 7 of the restaurant section.

    One day I get a call from the phone company and they say that in their new edition of the yellow pages, I will not have the option of advertising on page 7 at the page 7 rate. The reason is that they had their site reviewer drive by my restaurant. They feel that it is not in a neighborhood that really promotes the phone company's image. Furthermore, they feel that there are other restaurants in the city which offer a trendier - more 2006 facade. As a result, they feel that their customers have other dining options which provide a better overall dining experience. Those establishments will be allowed to continue advertising on page 7 at page 7 rates.

    However, they are willing to overlook the issues that they have with the look and location of my restaurant if I am willing to pay a rate that is 20X what I was paying. And therefore, they are graciously extending the offer to me to advertise using a full page ad on page 1 of the yellow pages restaurant section for $360,000 per year.
    -----------------------------------------------------

    So, am I taking this too personally as I seek an attorney willing to take this on as a class action? Is Google well within their rights to play God and decide to shut down 67% of my leads on a whim simply because they don't think that providing a daily email is as good as having instant access via the internet? Who do they think they are?
     
    richa65, Jul 18, 2006 IP
    Fahd and ResaleBroker like this.
  2. MrCritic

    MrCritic Peon

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    #2
    No, you're not taking it too personally. Google is being "arbitrary and capricious" by not posting clear instructions on what they are looking for...we/they really have no idea how to please them this month, and they won't tell us. Plus, it is not the job of a publishing company to decide how advertisers run their businesses. They can refuse the ads altogether, such as for a porn store, but not descriminate by charging some stores more than others to advertise. Especially if they don't really SAY why they are charging one store more than others.

    I think we've got a real case here and we need to pursue it. If we give in on this, they will just continue to tighten the reigns and we will be handing over to them more and more of OUR business decisions. It's just not right.
     
    MrCritic, Jul 18, 2006 IP
  3. T0PS3O

    T0PS3O Feel Good PLC

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    #3
    I think you are lucky you got such a lenghty non-canned reply out of them but yes, I agree, it's a load of rubbish. From you story it sounds like the customers are exactly getting what they want, they don't advise about how to buy a damn house - it could be the case they're looking for their 12th property! They want to cut to the chase and that's exactly what they are offering. If they want advice, they'll go click some other ad.

    I've been lucky to not have been affected by this nonsical bullshit (yet) but this example really convinces me they're up to no good and deserve to be slapped.
     
    T0PS3O, Jul 18, 2006 IP
  4. richa65

    richa65 Peon

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    #4
    I should have included my ad copy as well. Here is the standard ad that I promote my site with - I of course change Anytown to whatever keyword I am bidding.

    Anytown MLS Listings
    Our Realtors Send Daily Customized
    MLS Listings For Anytown, USA


    My point is that I am advertising exactly what I am delivering. Anyone clicking on this ad thinking that they are getting instant access is not reading very carefully. Furthermore, my site goes on to promote the fact that by using the service, you are alerted of new listings within 24 hours. That is not a feature of going to a website with a live MLS Feed unless you are disciplined enough to go there every 24 hours.
     
    richa65, Jul 18, 2006 IP
  5. MrCritic

    MrCritic Peon

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    #5
    None of it makes sense...don't try to figure it out. As I said, it's "arbitrary and capricious" and therefore unethical if not illegal.

    Here's one that got disabled for me:

    Flying Widget Pro 8.0 $109.95
    Major Magazine Says Flying Widget 8.0 Is The Best Widget Available
    www.flyingwidgets.com

    When you land on the page, it's a page that sells one product, Flying Widget Pro 8.0. That page has tons and tons of text information about the product, a photo, customer reviews, and an order button. It was very successful and had little competition. Now they want $10/click. ​


    The customer got exactly what he wanted, so it's very insulting to me that Google says the user's experience was substandard. Clearly it wasn't if the conversion rate was good (it was).

    Only continued complaints to FTC and AG and maybe a class action suit will have any impact.
     
    MrCritic, Jul 18, 2006 IP
  6. Entrep

    Entrep Active Member

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    #6
    If Google want more people to pay for SEO to get higher organic rankings, because they dont want to be robbed of $10 per click, then let 'em.

    That seems to be the way this will go.
     
    Entrep, Jul 18, 2006 IP
  7. MrCritic

    MrCritic Peon

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    #7
    What's funny is my clients usually show up on the first page in natural search for the major keywords they sell products for...but their minimum CPC is now $10 for those same keywords.

    Proving, once again, there really is no logic to this whatsoever.
     
    MrCritic, Jul 18, 2006 IP
  8. legal-nurse-consultant

    legal-nurse-consultant Peon

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    #8
    I have been lucky enough not to experience a problem yet.
     
    legal-nurse-consultant, Jul 19, 2006 IP
  9. int_josh

    int_josh Peon

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    #9
    I'm just not sure... does this violate fair business practices statues at all? Cuz it seems like it might be discriminatory practice based on arbitrary descisions.

    That's like a taxicab driver not picking someone up because of their race.
    Google not picking up advertisers (or overcharging them) because of landing page.

    So much for "do no evil" moto.
     
    int_josh, Jul 19, 2006 IP
  10. MrCritic

    MrCritic Peon

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    #10
    It seems "arbitrary and capricious" and therefore unethical if not outright illegal.

    "Absence of a rational connection between the facts found and the choice made" --Natural Resources. v. U.S., 966 F.2d 1292, 97, (9th Cir.'92).

    "A clear error of judgment; an action not based upon consideration of relevant factors and so is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion or otherwise not in accordance with law or if it was taken without observance of procedure required by law. --5 USC. 706(2)(A) (1988).​


    I posted the analogy below in another thread, but here it is again:

    You want to take out an ad in your local newspaper promoting your pet supplies store. Your competitors are mainly the big chain stores; we'll call them Megapets. You go see the paper's advertising dept. and they give you a rate card. Then you go to your graphic artist, who designs you a killer, camera-ready ad with a coupon. The paper starts running the ad and you get a lot of business...the ad pays for itself and then some.

    Two weeks later, the publisher calls you and says, "Thanks for the ad, Bob. Very nicely done and professional looking. I'm glad it's working well for you. "However, I drove by your store today and saw it was in a bad neighborhood. Your door was painted red when all the others were painted earth tones. The paint on your building was faded. The sidewalk was cracked. I called the phone number and it went to voice mail. Even if they're buying from you, I think it's causing your customers to have a negative experience.

    “Megapets doesn’t have these problems, so I'm afraid we're going to have to raise your rates. We'll still run the ad, but you need to pay us 100 times more for it; otherwise, we won't accept it. Have a nice day."

    Or, it could be worse. The publisher says, "Yes, we know your store looks as nice as MegaPets. It's in an even better neighborhood, too. However, for reasons we can't tell you exactly, our computer has decided your store is providing a worse user experience than MegaPets. Therefore, you will have to pay us 100 times more than MegaPets does for the same sized ad."

    Of course, you ask, "Well, I note that MegaPets advertises in ALL 100 of your publishing company's newspapers...they are one of your biggest clients. Could that have something to do with it?" And they answer, "We're not able to answer that, Bob. Have a nice day."

    To which you respond, "OK. Expect to hear from my attorney, the FTC, and the state attorney general's office shortly. Have a nice day."
     
    MrCritic, Jul 19, 2006 IP
  11. homeofficeblues

    homeofficeblues Peon

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    #11
    I still don't understand why they get to make this decision instead of the market. Free markets by definition are supposed to be the most efficient way of separating the good from the bad. If the customer wasn't interested in your product or service you would eventually go out of business.
     
    homeofficeblues, Jul 20, 2006 IP
  12. onmarketing.de

    onmarketing.de Peon

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    #12
    As more I read such a kind of stuff like this, as more my wishes getting stronger and stronger Google will get the bill for this presumption.
    People working there have´nt any idea how the business of the advertisers is running, ´cause they believe to be all-knowing and that will be fortunately the beginning of end. In the future I will try yahoo and others much more often.

    Regards.

    Ralf
     
    onmarketing.de, Jul 20, 2006 IP
  13. dougadam

    dougadam Active Member

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    #13
    I would let it go, and just go with yahoo or msn.
     
    dougadam, Jul 20, 2006 IP
  14. docluv

    docluv Guest

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    #14
    Count me in on the Class Action Suite. I have been considering this for a few days and knew someone would start it up.
     
    docluv, Jul 20, 2006 IP
  15. number54

    number54 Peon

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    #15
    This part is daft to me. Irrelevant to what you customers want.

    I often wondered if it would help for people to complain here (need to enter a security code).

    http://www.bbbsilicon.org/commonreport.html?bid=214105

    Probably make one feel better.
     
    number54, Jul 20, 2006 IP
  16. richa65

    richa65 Peon

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    #16
    Yeah, I was all fired up about this, but after spinning my wheels for several days, I have accepted that there is little I can do other than to SEO my site in it's entirety. I believe that this is the problem that Google has with my site - not so much the lack of content on the landing pages, but the lack of content on the entire site. Since it is just a PPC website, I never saw any need to worry about it.

    I've learned a lesson - one that I already knew - but I got lazy with the great success I was having with Adwords. Don't get too dependent on ANYONE when it's your livelihood at stake. Well learned. So now, I'm SEOing my site with the intent to get my ads running again in the short term, but in the long term, to replace all of my PPC leads (plus some) with natural result leads. And replace them such that 50% of these leads are coming from MSN and Yahoo. Then, when I save my $24k per year on Google expenses, I'll feel even better. :)

    I'm still pursuing the class action, but I have had little interest shown from the attorneys I have been communicating with. Somewhat surprising, but perhaps what they are doing is legal here in the US. Who knows? They knocked me to the canvas, I'm spitting blood, and my right eye is swollen shut, but I'll get back up - eventually.
     
    richa65, Jul 20, 2006 IP
  17. eameschair

    eameschair Peon

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    #17
    Sounds like you all would be better off advertising in the phone book rather than on Google.
     
    eameschair, Jul 25, 2006 IP
    aeiouy likes this.
  18. nachoninja

    nachoninja Peon

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    #18
    nachoninja, Jul 25, 2006 IP
  19. aeiouy

    aeiouy Peon

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    #19

    Haha, Rich asked for a review and the told him flat out why he is downgraded and it is because he is basically selling a product that others are giving away without the same amount of hassles.

    How much more clear could it be? They also even gave advice on how to approve the site.

    This just supports Google's postion on the whole thing, not weakens it. Is clear they will work with people and provide feedback on a manual review.

    While I understand the Yellow Page analogy that Rich used, you also got to understand businesses are reviewed for appropriateness and category in the yellow pages. If your ad was in the white pages you might have a good argument. Someone using the yellow pages is looking for a business. Someone using Google is not necessarily looking for a business or to buy something, so it is an apples and oranges comparison.

    What you want is for if someone goes to the library and asks for resources on woodmaking that the librarian opens up the yellowpages to woodmaking and shows them the ad. Problem is that is not what they wanted.
     
    aeiouy, Jul 25, 2006 IP
  20. aeiouy

    aeiouy Peon

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    #20
    Tops that is silly. You even used the word customers. People clicking on ads are not customers. They don't go to google to necessarily buy something. Most people are NOT customers. That is the whole point.

    Newspaper ads are clearly displayed as advertisements. Even ads that try to appear like text are denoted that they are ads. There is no such distinction with the Google Search ads. You can't have your cake and eat it too, and you analogy is invalid because Google search ads and newspaper ads are not viewed in the same way by the reader. If they put a big red box around the right hand column and had it say advertisments, your comparison would be valid... But they don't.... So make your choice. Either the ads have to be clearly denoted as ads, or you got to clean up your act.

    if a newspaper sold ad space as articles and made no mention that they were paid for but just presented them as a source of information that the newspaper covered, how long would it take for that newspaper to have no readers if the content of those ads was not up to snuff.

    Come on.


    They get to make the decision because it is ThEIR visitors they are selling. Why should the freemarket dicate the experience their customers get to experience. Seriously. Why don't we let the free market dictate what the visitors to your website gets to experience? If that is the case they can be blasted with pop-ups, pop-unders, viagra ads and casino gambling every 3 seconds.

     
    aeiouy, Jul 25, 2006 IP