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Google Adwords rip off!

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 1
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I run a small window cleaning business. I noticed $500 came out of my bank and it was Google Adwords then noticed less than a month before that there was another $500 taken out and before that there was $250, so i rang them. My clicks on my ad were around 20/day thats around 140 potental clients per week, so how many jobs did i get and was my phone ringing its head off?...NO I GOT NO CALLS in fact its that quiet ive had days off. So who has been clicking on my ad to make this unreal cost of $500 per month. Can i get a refund at all? It all smells a bit fishy id say.

Re: Google Adwords rip off!

Badged Google Partner
# 2
Badged Google Partner
Jason C

I am sorry that you have had a bad experience with Adwords. Did you set up the account yourself? Was it managed by someone else? Was it an Adwords Express account?

Ads are triggered by Keyword query that are set up. If the Keywords that are used to trigger the Ads are very broad in scope they trigger ads for irrelevant searches.

For example:
If you sold Nike Shoes, and your Keyword was "Shoes". Someone looking for Black Dress Shoes or Wing Tip shoes, could see you ad, and click it. Since you only offered Nike shoes, it would be irrelevant to the End user and not produce a Sale, or service inquiry.

The first thing I would do, is do an audit of your account.
Do you have Login Access?
See what keywords and Ads were created.

Were all the keywords Broad Match?
Did you add any Negative Keywords?
Did you Limit the Geo- Targeting to just your Service Area?
Did you Use Call Extensions and Google Forwarding number trackers?
Did you have Analytics installed on your website to see and track the "Keyword Terms" that triggered the Ad's.
Did you log into the account and Check, Adjust, and monitor your Keywords, Quality Scores and Click Through Rates?
Did the ads run 24/7 instead of modifying the time schedule to not show say after 11 PM and start back say at 7 or 8 AM?

As far as a refund. if there were fraudulent clicks you can request that the security team review the account. But Adwords does a great job automatically detecting Click Fraud.

Understanding the platform and the many nuances can mean the difference between success and failure. Adwords is not a Set and Forget opportunity, It needs as much management as any other aspect of business.

Once again sorry you had a bad experience.

Re: Google Adwords rip off!

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 3
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Eric, that's the problem right there isn't it, look at your reply, he's a window cleaner.

Google fail to realise many of it's customers are small businesses that do not have employees to run this over complicated monster every day.

So what's there other option, outsource? more expense for a one man band business.

Re: Google Adwords rip off!

Explorer ✭ ☆ ☆
# 4
Explorer ✭ ☆ ☆
Why doesn't Google try some good HONEST old fashioned business. Why must Google cheat the little guy? Shame!

Re: Google Adwords rip off!

Explorer ✭ ☆ ☆
# 5
Explorer ✭ ☆ ☆
Google wants it to be complicated. Google is dishonest.

Re: Google Adwords rip off!

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 6
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As another small business with a few accounts and campaigns I absolutely agree. It used to work well but has been deliberately changed to complicate and disguise the rip off.

Have had a complete nightmare in the last few days trying to find logic and testing things that no longer work. There is no logic...just designed to extort money.

Customer service, called twice today, can't even find any logic...(different reps have different solutions - none that work) so how is anyone supposed to get to grips with it.

Unfortunately it is no longer for the small business...they just don't care. Large corporates have more money than sense and factor what they lose into the equation. They can afford it.

I am disgusted!!!

Re: Google Adwords rip off!

Explorer ✭ ☆ ☆
# 7
Explorer ✭ ☆ ☆
I feel you dear. It is all smoke and mirrors, the shiny object in the room to distract you from what the other hand is doing. The other hand is stealing your money while not even giving you advertising for your money. Google will tell you that ranking is the factor they use, and that ranking is increased by clicks on your ads, however, when they only show the ad on the sidelines your ad will never get clicked, therefore never increasing your ranking. Like I said, smoke and mirrors.

Re: Google Adwords rip off!

Explorer ✭ ☆ ☆
# 8
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The only people that called me were competitors fishing for my pricing information. I did not have a single lead or call in 2 months. They say ads were clicked, but if they were it was not from prospective clients. Clearly I do great work and have competitive pricing. If prospective clients had actually gone to my site I would have had calls and emails. I traced some of the clicks back to a competitor, so that was some of the clicks, but the rest are Google mysteries. I wouldn't recommend giving them any more of your hard earned money. What type of business are you in, and what is the location? Do you realize that Google is giving the leads to firms that gather lead information and resell it to the service companies? If you will pay attention to the ads that come up at the top of the search results for your business you will find that there are always the same lead harvesting companies at the top. Google will always suppress your business leads to ensure they go to the other guys. In fact, Google Capital financed one of those lead harvesting companies. So if you are in the service business of any kind, be it window washing, handy man, maid service, carpentry, entertainer, anything in the service industry, you will see lead harvesting companies at or near the top of Google search EVERY time. Things that make you go hmmmm.

Re: Google Adwords rip off!

[ Edited ]
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 9
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆

Another thing that happens I am not sure Google tracks or could is competitors clicking on your ad to drive up your costs so you go away... Its a bid auction, if competitors drive up the bid so much, their competition cannot afford to run ads, they win two fold. They burn up the competitors budget, make them dislike Google, and then the competitor can keep running their ads with reduce competition saving them money. I have seen that and you have to have a large enough budget and tolerance for pain to let your competitors know I am here to stay. So either we keep wasting each others money, or you back off, and we bid on clicks normally.

 

You can still waste money, having nothing to do with competitors. I use the free popcorn example, but free money might be even better. If I ran an ad for free popcorn or free money, I would get tons of clicks, and may or may not have business as a result. You have to make sure the clicks/keywords and stuff your paying for is specific to your business. It is VERY easy to get lots of unwanted traffic with AdWords and blow allot of money. It is considerably easier to LOSE money with Adwords than it is to MAKE money with AdWords. It really requires time, learning about adwords, analysis of performance, tweaking, etc.

 

On average for most any business it takes ~3 months to see a ROI. That is with a minimum spending of $500+ per month, any less do not expect much of a ROI and/or very little. I have seen AdWords be completely ineffective below that threshold. Clients spent $300 a month, no management, and got not benefit. Increased to $500, with management, and sales ended up around $5k. Then closer to $1k in advertising sales topped $10k, so cost of ads went down in relation to revenue, 10% at $500 ads, $5k sales, but at $800 we got $12k in sales. Never got to find the ceiling. But that was NOT the case for other clients, more clients were turned off by their expensive adwords gamble that did not pay off at all... For others like the previous case gross revenue doubled 2 years in a row going into the recession and I lost the client as a result.

 

The average small business owner has little chance of AdWords being profitable of them. Since Google has no affiliate or other programs. Any help comes out of the Advertisers pocket/budget, not the company who is profiting from the Advertisement directly. AdWords Express is trying to bridge that gap. Some clients that self managed their AdWord campaign and were turned off ended up with an AdWord Express account. Which is EVEN WORSE for the small business owner from what I have seen. It is an attempt to make things better/easier for the small business owner, but it basically creates automated adword campaigns, adgroup, ads, keywords. If you ever see the bad suggested keywords in Adwords for your campaigns, its like that but you can't pass on the bad ones. They get added automagically...

 

AdWords can be very profitable, IF setup right. Which getting AdWords setup right can require several hours, or a few days. In addition to the initial setup it does require 1-2 hours per day of administration/management. Sometimes you can get away with every other day, or weekly at the most. The more time you spend with AdWords the better your chance of success. But it takes a while, its still advertising which is a form of gambling, not a sure thing. So you have to be a smart bidder, or should I say bet'er.

 

AdWords is eBay, an auction. You have little chance of getting deals on eBay if you bid and walk away. If you wait till the last minute and bid, you might get a deal. Thus you need to spend time with AdWords, and sometimes the more time you spend the more benefit you will get from AdWords. However if the small business owner has to spend more time trying to figure out if sales are increasing and AdWords is providing a ROI. Then most assume it is not, because of the work they have to do to prove its working. Most deem it to not work and walk away.

 

The time I saw AdWords really work is when we could track from click to on-line sale via conversions. There are ways to track phone calls, but they will not be 100%. Many will call that did not click or something, so no way to connect that they clicked and then sometime later called, etc. Only a few ways to actual track click to call. Now click to walk in the door of a retail business, no clue how you track that. Clients ask their customers, but they have no clue, they will say google if it was a search ad, etc. Its not very accurate or any better than other forms of advertising on performance tracking. So tracking AdWord performance and proving that your getting a ROI can be difficult if not impossible, if your not doing it entirely online from click to sale with conversion tracking. Unless business revenue increases substantially and no other factors or variables beyond adwords could be responsible for that. Like in the original post, spent $500 and phone didn't ring. Pretty obvious it did not work. But if it did ring, how do you prove what calls came from the ad and came in via other means. Its quite difficult.

 

It is VERY easy to prove that you are not getting a ROI. Because once again its easier to lose money via AdWords than to make money, sadly. So if you spend a bunch of money, do not see sales, do not get phone calls, no one visits your physical location. Then its easy to say it did not work. But proving it does work can be difficult.

 

Knowing its not working and making the changes to make it work is the key. But that is NOT trivial, and not a guarantee. You could have the best company creating the best AdWord campaigns ever for your business. That is NO guarantee you will get business from it. Its advertising, not buying customers. Most advertising is pissing money into the wind and hoping it comes back. Though usually can see the impact and if there is one you got a ROI and continue to advertise. Advertising does work, all businesses do it. Even Google advertises Chrome, Android, etc.

 

How the average small business owner makes Adword work for them, without requiring outside experienced assistance, is beyond me. I think the vast majority will conduct a brief experiment, likely not dialed in. They will waste/lose money, get little if any benefit, and be very turned off to AdWords and Google. I lost clients over this, some that I had for 10yrs, and I am not in the ad management business. It was favors that cost me clients. I got nothing from sending Google lots of business, some cilents got ROI others did not, either way I lost them ROI or not. Had I never messed with AdWords, the clients some would not have made considerable money, but I would likely still have them as clients. At least they can blame me some what, instead of Google entirely. For others that go straight to Google such as the original poster, they just have Google to blame, and rightly so to an extent.

 

Also the end of pre-pay only makes it even worse for the small business owner. I had clients that would fund X amount of dollars to see if they got X + Profit back. That was a decent metric, but even after months when they felt there wasn't profit, just X loss. They stopped and no longer consider AdWords as a viable means of advertising because it did not work for them. In that case it was a well managed campaign, so not always will you get a ROI with AdWords as I stated, even if setup and dialed in perfectly with daily management.

 

There are lots of factors that go into play, competitors clicking on ads, less than ideal campaign settings, keywords, etc. Much less the unpredictable human nature. So many that the odds are stacked against most. I do believe AdWord works, Google gets most their revenue from AdWords. But I do believe a large percentage of people who experimented with AdWords, to account for some of that revenue, were turned off and dropped off. Only the new business made up for that. I have to believe some have gotten long term benefit and kept things going uninterrupted. Google always has profits from advertising, and I think growth every quarter. So it must be working for more than it is not.

 

The question is, Does Google care about the business that AdWords does not work for? Those are 100% Google customers, with 100% of their advertising dollars going to Google directly, not shared or split with anyone. End of day Google really should care, but in my experience, they do not. Heck even the maybe $5k a month all my clients combined sent Google. Its a drop in the bucket to their billions in revenue. Eventually it will catch up to Google, and when it does anything Google does might be to little way to late. Given how many business owners are turned off thinking AdWords is a rip off, ineffective, etc. That will eventually hurt the reputation of AdWords no matter how much success. Maybe someday Google will care about that, but that is likely no day soon with some 70-80% of the advertising market online...

 

 

Re: Google Adwords rip off!

Explorer ✭ ☆ ☆
# 10
Explorer ✭ ☆ ☆
Well even if you research and find the perfect keywords, make sure your keywords are relevant to your landing page, keyword in the title page, keyword in the keywords of the page, keyword in the page description, and keywords in photographs, good page content relevant to the keyword, write a relevant ad, enter negative keywords to eliminate searches you do NOT want keyword included in, and make first page bids...you are still not likely to make it to Mainline Ad placement, because then Google tells you your ranking isn't high enough, then go on to tell you that ranking is obtained through clicks, but then again your ad is on the sideline column where nobody ever looks so you will never get clicks, or at least not legitimate clicks. The ugly cycle continues until you eventually spend enough money that they may possibly lift you a bit higher in the ad placement. It is bad business, and dishonest business. They can feed you all the fuzzy logic they want to on their ranking bull, but I've seen with my own eye what they are doing. What they are doing is giving prime ad placement to the information harvesters that then resell the leads to the small businesses that should have received them in the first place.