Monday, February 1, 2010

Google Adwords

Well, this has become a sensitive topic in my house these days. How odd does that seem? I've been doing a lot of research and work on advertising my new website. I will go into some specific details when I learn more. It's a lot of work since I know so little about it. But one thing I learnt very quickly, don't use Google Adwords. And if you do, don't depend on it. People have lost their entire businesses from depending on Google. It's craziness. One thing that does make me happy though is that I'm reporting about this using Blogger, which is the Google software to write blogs. Neener. Not that I'll make a dent in their bottom line. LOL. If they cared about what little old me had to say, I wouldn't be having to say it.

Ok. What is Google Adwords? It's a PPC advertising vehicle. PPC means pay per click. If you use google to do searches, you probably notice along the right side of the screen that there are little boxes with advertisements that are similar to what you searched for. Anyone (theoretically) can run these types of ads for their business. You just go in and create an account, create your ad, then pay for it. In my case, I had a $50 credit to use from the place that is hosting my new site. You say how much you want to pay per click. I set it up to pay 20 cents per click, and to spend up to $10 a day. I wanted to kind of test the waters with my free credit, then decide how much to spend after that.

Nope. Now before I go further, let me show you the actual ad I created. This is exactly what I created. The only difference is that in the actual ad, the first line would be a link to my website.

Highly Scented Candles
Pillars, Votives, and Tarts
Perfect for Valentine's Day
www.lmfcandles.com

Well, I've never done this sort of thing before. Internet advertising is new to me. So I wasn't real sure if I was reading the reports correctly. I was nervous about the account going over the amount I could spend, and also excited to start getting some traffic to my site. Even if the clicks don't end in sales, at least it gets me some traffic, which helps with my ratings. But maybe I'll even get lucky and get a few sales in the process. Well, a day went by and nothing seemed to be happening. I literally spent hours between setting up the ad, then trying to figure out what was wrong with it. Another day went by, nothing. Meanwhile, an account that I had with Bidvertiser, another PPC site, was working just fine. So after puzzling over it for a couple days, I finally emailed Google. Turns out that my account was under review. They made it sound like it had something to do with the credit card I used. Ok, whatever. Inconvenient, since I had wanted that traffic over the weekend, but if they are working hard to keep my info safe, then I could wait for them to verify it.

Today I got a nice email telling me that my account was suspended due to a violation of the terms and conditions. I've read that entire document three times now, and hubby has read it for me too. I can't find anything that I could possibly be in violation of. It's a little three line ad. None of the stuff I use is copywrited to anyone else. Nothing I sell is illegal. I used valid information when setting up my account. Everything is normal. So I sent an email asking them for more information so I could fix it. The response I got, and let me actually copy and paste this because my jaw dropped when I seen it. I so could not believe it.

"Our support team is unable to provide any further information. Please do not contact us again."

So I'm beyond upset. Trying to get the internet segment of my business up and running, and getting black balled by google before I even have a chance to get started. I've been searching, and it turns out that this is a very common problem. Tons of people have had the same exact experience as I have. Or for those more devastated by the problem, they've been running ads and have built a decent business and depended on being able to run their ads, then suddenly had their accounts suspended for "violating terms and conditions" without being able to get a real reason, and then being told not to contact them again.

I really just wish I could get it fixed. And I'm probably going to be wasting my life all week trying to figure out how to get it fixed. It's obviously a mistake. I know how to read and follow a contract. My last job entailed reading, interpreting and enforcing contracts. I can read and write legalese with the best of them. If there is some term or condition that I'm breaking, then it absolutely isn't obvious.

I'm also going to be filing complaints with the Better Business Bureau, and the Federal Trade Commission. I doubt it will get me anywhere, but I have to do something. I mean, I can't exactly boycott google. But I also don't want to have to sit around for the rest of my life getting pissed off everytime I have to do a search.

But my point, other than venting some of my frustrations . . . this can and does happen to anyone for any or no reason at anytime. If you do decide to use google adwords for your business, be sure to build up other marketing strategies at the same time. If they would give us reasons, it would be easier because you could just read a list and say, ok, I won't do that. But without a reason, who knows why they're shutting people down? It could be because I'm a woman. It could be because a cross referenced search has shown them that I have a mental disorder. It could be because they have an aunt that makes candles and they don't want me competing with her. Who knows? I suspect it's because I have a $50 credit on my account that they don't want to honor.

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