Pay Per Click Code of Ethics Proposed

Search Engine Marketing Pay Per Click Code of Ethics proposed:

I just read an interesting article over on that describes a proposal by SEMPO.  This proposal is a call for delegates from Search Engine Marketing groups to frame a pay per click code of ethics for SEM professionals.  While such a “code” sort of exists from Google with it’s “Third Party Policy” that requires re-sellers to share certain information, sadly most giant re-sellers don’t adhere to Google’s own policy, and Google doesn’t effectively enforce this policy.  A publicly supported independent “congress” laying out a code of ethics for pay per click professionals might be the proverbial nail in the coffin for notorious over priced, under managed ppc campaigns from the giant corporations that I lambaste on this blog.

A code of ethics that reputable companies can adhere to could help to ensure that the customer (mostly small businesses) is not getting ripped off.  If there were already such a code of ethics in existence for SEM professionals, and all companies followed them, then this blog would not exist.  Of course, with revenue being the driving force behind companies like Dex, REACH Local, Hibu and recently added Intuit Demand Force there will always be a need for a blog like this.  These companies are kind of stuck being the leaches that they are.   They may have good intentions, but the fact is that under funded, poorly managed PPC campaigns will always be a complete and total ripoff for the small business.  PPC has such a low conversion ratio that when it is combined with bad management, you are doing nothing more than flushing money down the toilet.

The irony here is that if these companies started putting the customer first – their revenue’s would take care of themselves.  Unfortunately, when it comes to the world of pay per click, giant corporations can’t put the customer first because the amount of work required to make a PPC campaign successful is cost prohibitive.  There are 2 ways that giant corporations running SEM campaigns can deal with this.  They can raise their markups (which are already staggeringly high at between 40 & 60%), or they can lower their costs.

To the detriment of their customers, most have chosen to attempt to lower their cost.  How do you lower your productions costs if you are a giant corporation?  Several ways:

  1. You pay people less
    • this has resulted in outsourcing for some companies, because good SEM professionals are worth their weight in gold and won’t work for pennies on the dollar
  2. You overload your workforce
    1. I have heard for years how PPC managers working for DEX, Reach Local, and Hibu are known to have 50 – 100 accounts (or more) assigned to one professional.  This is an impossible workload to manage effectively.
  3. You automate Pay Per Click
    1. Software is a helpful tool, but if let loose to run a PPC campaign without human intervention, it will eventually do wonky things.  You must always have a human looking at, and questioning the PPC reports.
  4. A combination of the first 3 – pay people less, overload them, but give them software to help lighten the load a bit.
    1. To my knowledge, this is the route that most companies have chosen.  This results in a workforce with low morale.  An unhappy workforce that does not really like, or care, about their jobs will not do a good job managing your PPC.  The end result is the small busienss get’s low, to no R.O.I. from their Pay Per Click.

<Begin Shameless Plug>

The end result for DEX, Reach Local, Hibu, and other giant AdWords resellers, is a substandard, overpriced, and under performing PPC campaigns.  This is why I boldly proclaim that I ALWAYS crush PPC campaigns by any large corporation.  I pay personal attention to each account, do my research, learn my industries, and closely mange my PPC accounts.  This results in less wasteful spending (eliminating low performing keywords and ads), and a higher conversion ratio which ultimately = a much higher R.O.I. for my customers.  There are hundreds, if not thousands of guys (and gals) out there like me that kick the crap out of Dex, Reach Local, Hibu,, and all other giant Google AdWords resellers.

<End Shameless Plug>

But I digress!  I love the idea of an independent code of ethics for SEM professionals and I hope this idea gains enough steam to become real.  Hopefully there are many more SEM professionals out there that will buy into this idea as the end result will be greater ROI for small businesses.  In the end, isn’t that the ultimate reason why we should all be in this business?

I wholeheartedly welcome a code of ethics and would love to see the day that giant corporations adhere to them.


2 replies
  1. Ravi
    Ravi says:

    I am surprised to know that this happens in US as well. I am based in India, and my last company recently won the award for Premier Google Adwords SME Partner. They have thousands of accounts with them. Except there is one problem – They are a fraud, just like the companies you mentioned above. I ended up quitting in frustration and disgust.

    Modus operandi is very similar:
    – Account access is not provided to the clients.
    – A software sends automated report instead with basic metrics like clicks, impressions.
    – They charge a flat 40% markup on every click, which the client is never made aware of.
    – This results in almost 80% failure rate with campaigns, resulting in extremely low client retention rate.

    The name of this Agency is PensaMedia Pvt Ltd.

    The owner is from a sales background, perhaps that’s why he doesn’t care about delivering any value. But PensaMedia is a comparatively new agency as compared to the ones mentioned by you in this blog. I wonder if this is where he got the idea.

    I applaud you for exposing these fraud companies, who are ruining the PPC market for everyone. Good luck.

    • Muskrat37
      Muskrat37 says:

      Thanks for the kind words and the heads up on yet another company that isn’t delivering. I will look into them more and possibly do a write up about PensaMedia Pvt Ltd in the near future.



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