Google’s Back Breaking Straw Is Out There Somewhere

The Butterfly EffectI know it exists somewhere. That small, yet butterfly effect straw, placed on the unsuspecting camel’s back inviting closer scrutiny, congressional hearings, government intervention or a huge class action into the affairs of the mothership Google, is out there. All the little flags keep popping up, one more business ruined, many more cases of click fraud, one more tweak in the algorithm that damages commerce, one last utter absurdity that drives someone important to the brink of insanity.

Or maybe it will be the one hack or mistake that releases too much personal data or one sensitive government database indexed and opened to the public in an attempt to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” and the tool we use every day to find information in this vast library known as the internet will get the colonoscopy they deserve.

If I weren’t so anti-government, and the US government weren’t so inept at what they do, I’d be championing the cause. Why? Because Google is an unyielding monolith that exists only to organize that which has already been created and is working as diligently as possible to mold the world’s information and our access to it as they see fit.

If you think the notion of a Supreme Star Chamber of 9 black robed men and women deciding law for an entire nation seems absurd, what must you think of a single company that controls nearly 50% of what the entire world searches for online and the order in which they are able to find it? And what must you think of that same company who takes in 25% of all advertising revenue spent online, yet doesn’t have to clearly define what they actually expect of their advertisers? What must your average legislation writing bureaucrat think of it?

If you haven’t guessed it by now, I’m on a rant. Another run in with the absurdity that is Google Adwords is the cause. I often wonder why I continue to even try to to business with a lifeless algorithm and equally lifeless canned responses to email inquiries once I actually make contact with a real human. Oh, that’s right, I do business with them because they’re virtually the only business in town.

The latest judgment by the almighty algorithm came as I was attempting to set up a PPC campaign in two different Ad Groups, bidding on nearly identical keywords, sending traffic to the exact same landing page in both Ad Groups. Not similar pages, the same page, with the same url. The only difference was the tracking sub-id so I can tell which keyword is converting. Both groups ran for 5 minutes and I get an email alert from Adwords telling me my landing page url is wrong in the second Ad Group. No, it’s not wrong, how could it be, it’s the same url? Please, I’m losing my mind, can I get a human being to look at this.

So in an attempt to humor the lifeless entity disapproving of my advertising, I switched the .us ending of the url to a .com and get another 5 minutes to run my ads until they’re again switched off for the same reason. I then switch back the url to the correct .us suffix thinking that maybe a human will take a look at it this time and only end up getting another 5 minutes of ad time before the email once again lets me know of the supposed url error. At this point I’m livid enough to start swearing, drinking and writing bad checks and have to walk away from my desk before I end up on YouTube in the next computer and office destroying video frenzy.

I find it beyond amazing that it takes only 10 minutes to disapprove my ads twice with the effect of shutting down half of my advertising, but it takes 3 days to answer an email inquiring into what is an obvious error. Of course there will be no easy resolution as the first email I see hopefully from Adwords tomorrow will be the usual nonsense response that won’t even deal with the issue and instead will be a rehash of some policy found buried deep in the bowels of Google’s Adwords help files.

After 3 or 4 emails traded between myself and the helpmeister from somewhere near the molten core of our planet I’ll probably just decide that’s it’s better to do my own landing page and be done with the whole thing. Or maybe I’ll just spend my money at Yahoo instead.

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11 Responses to “Google’s Back Breaking Straw Is Out There Somewhere”

  1. Actually, there are 535 non-robed men and women who decide SOME of the laws (federal, not state) for the entire nation.

  2. Hey Alan,

    Just a quick question – I think you did this to win the Mac Air prize (congrats btw). Do you still find article marketing a good way to increase Search engine rankings?

    In your opinion, do you think article marketing to ezinearticles etc., would be a good way to get my site ranked higher? or is there a better method vs use of time for increase my rankings via SEO?

    I have some PPC but I’m finding the niche I’m in could easily be handled via some link building because I’m not competing against too many people

    Whats you thoughts?

  3. This my friend is why I won’t do affiliate marketing for a living.

    Attack a niche and build a brand. Think outside of the box like radio, TV, newspaper, and old time media. It can really work wonders and I never hear the online communities talking about it.

  4. Is the only way to trick Google with organic traffic?

    On another note a Paris court today ruled today against eBay in a lawsuit.
    A Paris court has ordered eBay to pay out around £30m for allowing fake designer goods to be sold on the auction website
    The luxury firm Louis Vuitton and its sister company Christian Dior as well as four of its perfume brands – Dior, Guerlain, Givenchy and Kenzo – sued the website for “culpable negligence”.

    They accused the site of putting on sale fake handbags, clothes and other luxuy goods and of illicit sales of perfumes in a case that began over a year ago.
    Does this have an impact on the BANS builder? How could one tell if goods offered were conterfeit? I realize that the sellers of counterfeit goods have violated the terms of service, but how does this effect affiliate marketers? Or does it?

  5. In Google’s defense, I must say that we, as a culture, have come to expect the impossible from companies like Google and Yahoo while at the same time benefiting from the massive productivity they have given us.

    I think we all instinctively know that if Google were to disable their automated checks in favor of real humans, they would cease to be profitable overnight. Or if they were required to have humans respond as fast as their automated systems, they would become the number one employer of slave labor in the world – and we’d all be screaming about that, too (I hope).

    I recently had to contact Google about something very unique (as I’m sort of a unique guy with very unique issues – ha ha). Emails did take a day or so each time to go back and forth, and each time I dealt with an entirely different person (mostly from “that” part of the world, if you know what I mean). And I have to say, they professionally and carefully solved my problem, my very unique problem, in a matter of four emails over a one-week period.

    It wasn’t the fastest in terms of calendar days, but on the plus side, I spent very little time on it (in terms of billable hours) because all their reps personally moved the issue a little further down the pipeline toward resolution, did not regurgitate company policy to me (you know the kind of emails I’m talking about), and treated my case as if it were important. So, when I got a response back, it was an informed intelligent response.

    Personally, I can’t praise them high enough. I’ve been meaning to post up a blurb about them. In my opinion, this is how monstrously big companies should conduct their email resolution teams: carefully, diligently, and with eventual resolution.

    It may not be the fastest, but it resolved my complaint with no more than 20 minutes of my time overall. If I had to call an 800 number, I would have been frustrated, had to wait on hold, and then explain my story four times – plus deal with the language barrier.

    Although I fully sympathize with your concerns over Google’s near monopoly on certain aspects of the internet (I even switched to Yahoo as my primary search engine last week), I’m glad you haven’t resorted to calling for government investigations into Google. Nearly everything they do, they are providing for free or at such a low cost, that it has made many, many people (ahem! including you!) to have the ability to make money that they could never do without Google’s partnership.

  6. Kunal,

    Yes, article marketing is a very good way to get links and ezinearticles.com is my favorite site to post them to. Here’s a post I wrote about article marketing:


    I have to admit I’ve benefited tremendously from Google, in fact my post tomorrow will be about my best ever month with Adsense. On the Adwords side of things however, is where the trouble starts. I’ve had Adwords reps flat out lie to me and tell me a certain ebook is not allowed to be advertised through Adwords and then I go and find 30 examples of ads for that specific book.

    Nearly every ad campaign I run I am astonished at the clear violations of Google’s display url policy that they seem to do nothing about and then they gig me for something that’s perfectly legal only to realize they made the mistake, but it cost me 3 or 4 days advertising time.

    I also see huge discrepancies in the quality of landing pages someone is sending traffic to and getting away with compared to what I’m trying to do and being arbitrarily slapped with $10 minimum bids. My only conclusion at times is that they must tweak things to keep little players out of a competitive market.

    And maybe it’s not that, but when you see the things I do on an ongoing basis, week, after week, after week, it begins to get utterly frustrating. My mind then begins to wander to what just might be happening in some of those late night meetings, supplemented with gourmet trail mix and Perrier of course, at the Googleplex.

  7. Google is so big that it is impossible for them to keep on business without automated process, we must accept that. But the most annoying point is the one you referred to, Alan. It takes them few minutes to cut your wings but days to solve their own mistakes (mistakes that damage customer’s campaigns and budgets) and to reply support emails.
    I contacted them twice or three times by mail and I had to wait so long that when I got response I got surprised because I had forgotten the issue.

  8. Terry,

    That does pose an interesting question. European courts, especially those in France, tend to be a lot more liberal than US courts so a decision such as this isn’t entirely unexpected.

    I don’t think many courts are really able to understand the workings of the online world though. Laws made for commerce in the physical world don’t really work for ecommerce. I wonder if the Paris court has any earthly idea how difficult it would be to police something like this.

    I might turn this into a future post.

  9. Nice anti-government rant, and I love the jab you took at the Supreme Court. :-)

  10. I agree – Google drives me nuts sometimes, but it’s not like you can make up the volume anywhere else. As much as I hate it, I still find myself going back time and time again.

  11. […] for some reason, you are one of those conspiracy folks who think Google is trying to take over the world, you might want to use Yahoo’s new and […]

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