When it comes to re-sellers of Google Adwords, there is a “strict” set of requirements that we have to follow but for some reason (cough, cough – MONEY), it appears as if Google turns a blind eye to the largest of the re-sellers which begs the question “Why”?
The first of these “requirements” that Google seems to ignore is the requirement to share, at a minimum, “AdWords costs, clicks, and impressions”. (Notice the distinction between Cost & Price here) I have covered this topic thoroughly on this blog and the Pay Per Click Truth website so I will not bore you with that info here.
This post is to write about the other way that large re-sellers violate the rules that that rest of us have to follow.
AdWords Violation #2:
Google clearly states on it’s AdWords support forum that “The display URL in your ad must match the domain where users will land when they click on your ad” but if you look at my examples below – you can see that Reach Local and Hibu are exempt from this requirement. (Dex does something even worse)
(click image to enlarge)
In the first example (a Hibu PPC campaign) the display url is for the customers website, but when you click the ad it takes you to Hibu’s cloned version of the customers site (which happened to be down when I clicked on it). This cloned website sits on HIBU’s servers @ Hibu’s domain “clickforward.com” NOT the customers servers for his domain “greenplanetplumbing.com”.
In the second example (a Reach Local campaign) the display url is for the customers website “www.oneillplumbing.com” but when you click on the ad it takes you to Reach Locals cloned website for the customer which is sitting on Reach Locals domain on Reach Locals servers at “reachlocal.net”.
Why is this bad?
A) Because it violates the rules that all the little guys have to follow. Is it really an advantage? Probably not – but this is an example of how Google let’s big AdWords resellers bend the rules. To me, that’s very relevant in establishing a pattern of behavior for both Google and the big re-sellers. Especially when you look at how re-sellers break the rules with regards to disclosing the actual AdWords cost, and they get away with it.
B) This hurts the customer (which is why I believe that Google has the rule in the first place). From Google: “Account history is a core component of AdWords Quality Score”. This means that if you were to leave Reach Local, Hibu, or Dex – you would have NO ACCOUNT HISTORY and would be starting over from scratch. By default, your Quality Scores would be lower than they might have been, which will cost you money in the long run.
The bottom line is this – why on earth would you let someone that breaks the rules run YOUR AdWords account? (these accounts belong to you, not the re-sellers). Why pay someone thousands of dollars and not have access to all the information, pay a huge markup, and then if you leave (eventually you will), you get no credit with Google for the thousands of dollars that you spent with them already? It just makes no sense.
Here’s where I will undoubtedly lose credibility with some people: (if you question my motives, I request that you read my “bashing the competition” page)