15 January 2009
Filed under Google
In recent weeks there have been concerted attempts made by Google to cajole search advertisers into spending more money on PPC advertising. These include reintroducing gambling related sponsored advertising (later amended to include affiliate advertisers), allowing ads to display on “hard liquor” search terms, moving news results to the top of the SERPS, offering PPC ads before a search query has been completed in Google suggest and making greater use of local business results. The aim of these changes is to help shore up the Google coffers in a time of global economic slowdown although Google would argue otherwise.
Yahoo have gone one step further than manipulating the SERPS to encourage greater PPC spend. Instead they consider the easiest way is to get their current advertisers to spend more on PPC is to log into existing PPC accounts and increase the CPC’s and add more keywords. Obviously some bright spark at Yahoo must have thought this was some sort of masterstroke but it has been roundly condemned by those who have had the misfortune of a Yahoo “pro active optimisation”. As Patricio Robles from E-consultancy put it…
“Yahoo has reserved for itself the right to proactively ‘optimize‘ Sponsored Search and Content Match campaigns as it sees fit. And it’s a bit of a worry, for some people.”
One advertiser, John Wieber, was allegedly lumbered with an additional $4,000 in click charges as a result of the meddling. Yahoo are allowed to modify client accounts because of a change in their T and C’s made in the middle of 2008. Andrew Girdwood of bigmouthmedia said that many Yahoo accounts were badly set up as they have been constructed by media planners (presumably as opposed to search specialists). He went on to say that…
“Yahoo is daft for so bluntly announcing that they would ‘fix’ accounts whether the account holder wanted them ‘fixed’ or not. All Yahoo has managed to do is further endanger the trust and fragile confidence search marketers may still have in the engine.”
In short, these “pro active optimisations” are a PR disaster for a company that already has a dwindling market share of sponsored search advertising.