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Old 09-19-2006   #1
helen
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Unhappy Does Canada Really Exist?

As well as a request for suggestions, this is also a rant.

Yes, I know that Canada is a real place in the real world, but I'm starting to think that it doesn't actually exist on the web.

We recently tried to apply to be a Qualified Company in the Google Advertising Professionals program. According to their site, and the rep who emailed us, you have to be in the U.S. or in a EMEA country. We were informed, very politely, that we can't qualify because we are located in Canada.

Yes, despite the fact that I could literally leave my desk right now and walk to Google's Toronto sales office, we don't really exist in Google's eyes.

Perhaps we should consider relocating to Azerbaijan, Botswana, Eritrea, Bosnia, Kazakhstan, or Iran, where Google would be happy to have us as a Qualified Company. Perhaps we should join with the thriving online community in Nigeria, from where Google would also welcome us. See for yourself - here's their list of qualified countries .

/rant


If anyone has any advice on how we can qualify for this program without resorting to setting up a U.S post box, we here would all be very grateful.
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Old 09-19-2006   #2
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Wow, that IS really wierd.

I'd really like an explanation about this, as well.

Since I have a US company, I never really paid attention to this until you brought it up, but now I'm rather annoyed, to say the least!

Andrew Goodman, one of the most knowledgable people on Adwords I know (and literally wrote the book on the subject) is a Canadian, as are many of the top SEM's in the world. I'm rather perplexed here.

I'm having a hard time believing they could remember Somalia, a country that doesn't even have a formal government, and forget Canada, so I'm thinking it was on purpose, especially since they actually came back and refused you on the basis of the list.

I'm not happy. Insulted, actually.

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Old 09-19-2006   #3
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I wrote about this today as well. I had the same reaction, I thought it couldn't be true. So I went through my AdWords account, and sure enough, no Canadians allowed.

Also, South American countries, as well as those from Mexico, cannot become a qualified company either. Really, really odd, IMO. And I'm not very impressed to say the least!
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Old 09-19-2006   #4
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Thanks Ian and Jen,

We also thought it must be an oversight, which is why we emailed them. They responded:

"Thank you for your email. At this time, only companies located in the U.S. or an EMEA country are eligible to become a Google Qualified Company."

They seem happy enough to take our business and our clients' business, though.

AWR, are you out there?
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Old 09-19-2006   #5
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This rules out Australia & New Zealand as well...
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Old 09-19-2006   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcanerin
Wow, that IS really wierd.

I'd really like an explanation about this, as well.

Since I have a US company, I never really paid attention to this until you brought it up, but now I'm rather annoyed, to say the least!

Andrew Goodman, one of the most knowledgable people on Adwords I know (and literally wrote the book on the subject) is a Canadian, as are many of the top SEM's in the world. I'm rather perplexed here.

I'm having a hard time believing they could remember Somalia, a country that doesn't even have a formal government, and forget Canada, so I'm thinking it was on purpose, especially since they actually came back and refused you on the basis of the list.

I'm not happy. Insulted, actually.

Ian
Oh, it's retarded alright. I suppose that's one of the reasons we're not all madly passing the test right now. For company/agency level folks, it's insulting to be told that all you need to do to be qualified is to write a test that any old individual could write. But when you can't even qualify as a group, that's even sillier.

Fortunately I've only ever had one prospect ask about the certification and s/he was not the type of client we would have taken on (being a certified lunatic and off-topic ranter).

That opens up the larger issue of what Google is thinking in setting up this accreditation program. "We don't want unqualified people advising people on AdWords." Well, guess what...

I'm sure it is just a matter of time for the Canada program to come out, though. I'm not moving to Somalia just yet.

On a happier note, I've been corresponding with a college instructor who is teaching a course specifically on SEM and part of the practical aspect involves real businesses agreeing to have the students run their campaigns. The students write the silly test as part of the course, too. I'm looking forward to meeting them this fall and hopefully speaking to a few of the issues in the SEM industry that go beyond rote-like rule-following. In the real world, you can do all the right stuff, and still fail. And face an angry client. Yep, it sure is easy to write tests compared with helping real businesses succeed. Anyway, Google's been quite helpful in supporting that course with AdWords credits and other resources. So to have them overlook us in terms of agency qualification is just mind-boggling and I really feel like they owe us an explanation at this point.
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Old 09-20-2006   #7
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Well, I sent a note to the AdWords people and received this polite but useless reply:

Quote:
Thank you for your email. I apologize for your frustration. At this time, only companies with mailing and billing addresses located in the U.S. or an EMEA country are eligible to become a Google Qualified Company. We are working hard to make this program available to as many advertisers as possible and thank you for your patience. As you may know, employees of your organization are certainly eligible to become Google Qualified Individuals. For your reference, I have included the requirements for Google Qualified Company status below.

Attaining Qualified Company status helps to demonstrate that the company employs AdWords-adept individuals and has experience with the product.
Companies that meet the following requirements can achieve Google Advertising Professional Qualified Company status:

- Have a billing and mailing address in a U.S. state or territory or in an EMEA country.

<snipped>....
In short, rather than explaining why companies from the US's largest trading partner (and fellow member of NAFTA, NATO, etc, etc etc) is apparently arbitrarily excluded from being on a level playing field with the rest of the world (along with, I may point out, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand), all I got as a reply was, "sorry, that's the rules".

The reason can't be:

1. That countries with lots of SEM's already are excluded - UK is in there.
2. That countries with few or no SEM's get added - Somalia is in there.
3. I don't think it's political, since the countries excluded are usually considered friendly, and list includes both friends and opponents of the US.
4. It can't be based on population, Mexico and Brazil are excluded but several small countries are in.

The only thing that fits is actual geography - North America (except for the US), Central and South America, and Oceania are all consistently out. Further, the list is ordered and worded in a geographic style.

The problem is that makes no sense for an internet company. And certainly no sense if the US is excluded. I know some Americans don't consider the US to be part of North America (there is another thread about that elsewhere in this forum) but I'd like to believe most Google employees have at least a high school education and took geography at some point.

So although there appears to be a pattern, the pattern is apparently meaningless and therefore arbitrary (it's like excluding companies owned by women, or starting alphabetically with "A-C" - it's not relevant to an internet business and has no other apparent usefulness).

I thought for a moment that perhaps these countries were getting their own programs, but then including countries like the UK doesn't make sense - they should get a custom one, as well, if that's the case.

Nope, it's apparently geographic only, and, to be frank, it's stupid and insulting.

How can a potential client looking for AdWords Company Qualification know whether a company in Canada, Oceania or Latin America is actually qualified? Right now, all I can say is that my company is qualified for everything but geography (which clients would often ignore, since they tend to understand the internet is not geographically bound).

Worse, I could say that and NOT be qualified, and how would the client know?

How can I recommend to people that being Adwords Qualified is a helpful designation when it can't possibly be at this point? The "you can get individual members" response is not helpful to clients looking to deal with stable companies, not individuals who can come and go. If that was an acceptable response, then why have the company qualification at all?

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Old 09-20-2006   #8
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Hi all,

This isn't new. Back on Feb 1st 2006, Google emailed out to GAPs & said:

Quote:
.....we are refining our Google Advertising Professionals naming in order to reduce confusion between our two qualification levels: Individual and Company. (Company level qualification was previously only available in the United States.)

......we are pleased to announce that, as from this month, companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) are eligible to become Qualified Companies
i.e. prior to 31st Jan 2006, - it was only SEM's in the US who could get company level accredition. In Feb they expanded it to EMEA region.

Which is frustrating for Australians, as well as Canadians.

Of course, SEM's in Botswana, Ethiopia, Slovenia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan were all overjoyed by this decision.

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Old 09-20-2006   #9
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With such a large proportion of the SEM/SEO community being in Canada you'd think Google would be all over that potential income...
I've never had a client request GAP certification - I think most are completely unaware it exists.
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Old 09-20-2006   #10
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To be fair, Google may nonetheless be seeking out the agencies out there and offering them enhanced service/relationships.

To me, the real problem is that the reality on the ground ("unqualified" companies can still potentially have a good relationship with these vendors) is different from the official accreditation programs.

Yahoo's got its Ambassador and various "levels" of relationship, Google's got Qualified Companies and Individuals, but then there are other things going on with spend levels, and who knows who or who gets to speak to whom.

It does make you think twice about the certification programs as some firms and individuals overpromote them to the extreme.

Could it be that those making the most noise about their qualifications or certifications are (a) actually less qualified; (b) in some cases not acting as independently as they should, being more friendly to the revenue needs of Yahoo/Google/MSN?

I'd caution the public to beware of what certification may or may not entail.
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Old 09-20-2006   #11
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one thing I have noticed personally (visiting extended family in Canada) is that Canada up until recently (last 5 years) has not had that big of a role in internet commerce period. With the CIRA (canadian internet registration authority) trying to reserve .ca for Canadians only, it is very difficult to get gain a Canadian specific web presence. When we think typical North America, many folks actually forget about Canada, similar to pork's "the other white meat" slogan. So much of their gov't has kept Canada in a pacifist state, I don't think NAFTA is real sometimes. It shouldn't prevent a company that has a non US or non EMEA mailing or billing address from participating if they can do business online anywhere in the world. I think that in the next couple of years, legislation in Canada and other formal trade and import/export agreements will facilitate the internet trade and online programs growth and development. I think the biggest thing besides forgetting about Canada, is assuming they are just like or an amalgous body to the US.
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Old 09-20-2006   #12
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Just wondering

Well, many of us in the Far East also have the same question.

I came across a page explaining promotional credits and Canada appeared to be in the list.
Quote:
These credits are one of the ways we help you bring in new business. Members of the Google Advertising Professionals program who operate businesses in the United States, Canada, UK, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey, Korea, and Israel are eligible for these credits, which are available through your My Client Center's 'Pro Center' tab.
Could this be an outdated page or just does not matter at all?
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Old 09-21-2006   #13
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That's the rub - as a Canadian, I can be (and am) a Qualified Professional, even with my Canadian billing and mailing address. So is one of my employees. As such, we can get promotional credits as individuals.

But my company can't be a "Qualified Company". I could fill it full of "Qualified Professionals", but apparently that doesn't count

It just doesn't make sense to allow people in a country to be qualified, but not companies from a country to be qualified, based solely on geography, rather than laws, or some reason actually related to doing business. That's what's confusing and annoying.

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Old 09-22-2006   #14
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Hello Ian and crew,
Good to see that this is being brought up... we were looking at this for our company not long ago but found the whole system very confusing to say the least.

Not to Pile on the Google folks in TO but to be honest we recently had a presentation from Google in Calgary not long ago talking about Google and its services

Needless to say the Google presenter didn’t even know what features / services were going to be implemented by Google and when questioned about them made the person asking the question feel quite small and (I cant speak for everyone at the dinner) but I felt like the person from TO didn’t know a freaking thing about Google or the Internet for that manner.

If I need anything from Google I phone the folks down south - I never have received any real service that is measurable from the TO office.

But enough of the Rant - IMO Google does some really great things - But this Canada thing kind of stinks ... I believe we just slipped through the cracks here and should take too much trouble to fix.
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Old 09-22-2006   #15
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Does Canada Really Exist?

I know I am a bit late getting this in, but there is another train of thought to be considered. Perhaps the laws of doing business in the countries mentioned, have issued restrictions and reporting requirements that Google does not wish to follow. As all of you already know, Google has a tendency to pout when put upon or dictated to, and often retaliates when she doesn't get her way. You might want to review the laws in Canada for doing business across the Canadian border. Just a thought.
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Old 09-22-2006   #16
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Yahoo is on the way

I've just moved to Yahoo Canada from Sympatico/MSN, specifically to launch an in country management and operations team for Yahoo! Search Marketing. We will launch in Canada soon (just can’t say exactly when right now), Canadian businesses will be able to advertise to Canadians with us, we will have a Canadian email address and we will have a Canadian phone number that will be answered by a Canadian.

Martin Byrne
Director – Yahoo! Search Marketing Canada
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Old 09-23-2006   #17
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I'm certainly glad to hear that Yahoo acknowledges Canada's existence! Thanks Martin, and welcome!

Maybe Google lost Canada. They should use a search engine or something to find it. I hear Yahoo's is pretty good...

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Old 09-24-2006   #18
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Quote:
Maybe Google lost Canada. They should use a search engine or something to find it.
They are afraid. Very afraid.
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Old 09-24-2006   #19
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ROFL! Nice find.

That'll teach 'em...

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Old 09-25-2006   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dixie
I know I am a bit late getting this in, but there is another train of thought to be considered. Perhaps the laws of doing business in the countries mentioned, have issued restrictions and reporting requirements that Google does not wish to follow. As all of you already know, Google has a tendency to pout when put upon or dictated to, and often retaliates when she doesn't get her way. You might want to review the laws in Canada for doing business across the Canadian border. Just a thought.
As Jiminy Glick would say, "Hi, Dixie."

As this is a rather open-ended directive ("review the laws in Canada for doing business"), I think I'll save time and ignore it. It is just possible you may be whistling Dixie.

In the meantime you may wish to review some of the known information about the Canadian Conspiracy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Conspiracy

Be very afraid.
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