Google Reads PPClab, and You Should Too.

Maybe they should put me in charge of Google, well at least their Content Network department. Last year I went on a little rant regarding the poor quality of Google’s Content network and the fact that Google loves splogs and a year later Google announces plans to clean up their Content Network by starting to shut down Made-for-Adsense (MFA) sites. A step in the right direction for sure but by no means the purification of the content network.

I applaud Google for finally taking an action rather then completely and consistently turning a blind eye to it all but they still have a ways to go. There are tons and tons of extremely low quality sites out there that are not participating in Adwords Arbitrage but are too poor in quality for me to ever put my ads on but they continue to display Adsense ads.

So go ahead and put me in charge of the Content Network division and I’ll show you how to really clean it up. Now if I could only get my dogs to listen to me like this!

Search Engine Watch: Hear MY Plea

I read this little piece on SEW today that was a complete blasting of Microsoft adCenter and in my opinion, completely unnecessary. Sure, MSN has had its ups and downs with the recently launched adCenter but don’t you expect that from nearly every early version of just about any product? I understand that it is slightly different because it is more directly dealing with money, but MSN has been quick to take care of any financial errors the system has encountered. Its growing pains 101. I’m sure that $500 Dyson vacuum you bought your wife 3 years ago had its issues, but did you completely throw it out the window? Why should Microsoft be held to any different standard? For people are who are the early adapters and must have the first generation everything, you’ve come to expect bugs and less then perfect performance. In an ideal world all first versions would be the final version but this is not the case and some things require a bit of patience and understanding.

Ahhh thats an interesting word, “Understanding”. Let’s take a look at Mr. Wright’s complaints and see if I can understand.

First MSN’s explanation:

* Microsoft may use matching criteria other than keyword searches to display your advertisements.
* Microsoft may display your advertisements on its network of advertising channels operated by the Microsoft network of participating Web sites and other distribution outlets.

to which Mr. Wright responds:

Ummm. Ok, let?s recap. Now AdCenter will be serving my ads based upon some mysterious criteria that is most likely top secret and designed to increase revenue for Microsoft ? and most likely decrease revenue for my clients. I have no idea when an ad is going to be served in AdCenter?s contextual network, and I have no control over the bids in this contextual network, nor the ability to track the effectiveness of the contextual ads. And I was notified of these changes on the day that the changes took place, leaving me with no time to consult with clients and make budget adjustments accordingly. And if I don?t like it, I should take my ball and go home.

Man, this really sounds shady, the search engine bidding on words for me that I have no control over, completely unfair. This does sound kind of familiar, oh yeah, Google has been doing this for over a year now. Like I always say about basketball refs, if you are gonna call a foul than call the foul, just call it both ways. If you are gonna call out Microsoft, be sure to point your finger at Google as well.

So we all understand what MSN and Google are doing, but what can we do about it other them e-complain on our blogs? Thankfully one of the search engines offers us a way to control this advanced keyword matching. In the reporting center, one of these engines offers you a way to capture the exact query a user typed in. Want to guess which one? If you said MSN you are correct but you don’t win anything. MSN allows a query string parameter that you can insert into your destination URLs in order to pass the query information onto your analytics software. This information can then be used to adjust your bids and campaigns in order to actually SAVE you money. Pretty nifty eh? I can’t wait for Google to offer us this type of information.

Regarding the second part of Mr. Wright’s complaint about MSN putting your ads on their partner sites and not having control over this, everyone does it. Google puts your ads in Gmail, Reader, among the millions of made-for-adsense sites in their content network (re: Google Loves Splogs). Yahoo puts your ads all over the place. And as for MSN, they put it on MSN controlled sites only. Maybe it is just me but that does not seem like an issue to me, at least we know the quality of the content is high quality and not splog worthy.

This post may seem like I am an MSN homer, but I am not. I have no affiliation with them and in fact have ripped them several times on this blog, but I don’t like to see anyone unjustly attacked in a public forum such as the SEW article. I applaud MSN for not taking the easy route that many have suggested and just mimic Google Adwords but have created a very powerful tool that will continue to mature and get better with age.

New Adwords Editor….Still Incomplete

I fired up my Adwords Editor this weekend and was prompted to update to the new Adwords Editor Ver. 3.5. I quickly got excited b/c the AE is one of my favorite tools but this update didn’t include much to tickle my fancy. That’s not to say there aren’t some cool updates included (official release notes) but they are not features I will find particularly useful outside of the drag and drop functionality.

Version 3.5

New features:

* Image ads: View, add, and update your image ads on the new Image Ads tab.
* Drag and drop: Copy or move items by dragging them to their new locations.
* Region and city targeting: Choose additional location targeting options for your campaigns.

Other updates:

* New keyboard shortcuts are listed in the Data menu.
* The Delete Multiple tools and Add Draft Campaign are now accessible via the tab tool bars.

Also, miscellaneous fixes and improvements.

All of those are fine and dandy but I have my own Adwords Editor wishlist:

  • Import from CSV – The lack of ability to make mass changes within the AE interface forces this one to be the top of my wish list. Have you ever tried changing 10,000 URLs at once within AE? Its not fun. At one point I was able to use the add update multiple listings feature, but when you paste the same keywords in with URL or other changes, AE ignores them because they are considered duplicate keywords, even when you select the override option.
  • Position Preference settings – Pretty straight foward, I’d like to be able to set my position preference for keywords / ad groups within AE.
  • More Stats Options – Right now you have 3 options for viewing your stats, yesterday, 7 days or 30 days. Some more flexibility would be nice.
  • Better Layout – No doubt that the AE provides a ton of useful info but the layout is extremely cramped and rearranging column sizes is a PITA
  • Thats it for now. I’m sure I’ll put more in as I stumble across them. Do you have any suggestions for the AE team?