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Old 12-27-2007   #1
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 82
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Site Exclusion: Are you affected?

What happened:

Before 24/25th Nov 2007
Because Adwords inability to target my content ads accurately, I have many site exclusions on my campaigns and have complained to Adwords regarding difficulty in submitting click quality reports as the click quality web form is miniscule and not friendly towards submitting the data that is required for their investigation. Everything works fine except the rare few clicks a week that site exclusion failed to filter and got through.

24/25th Nov 2007
MAJOR SITE EXCLUSION FAILURE causes large number of clicks from excluded sites to get through, depleting daily budget and causing lost opportunities. Submitted to click quality team all data as required but received message that delivery has failed. Submitted email to support to complain that I'm unable to submit to the click quality team. Separated data into 2 emails and submitted to click quality team.

30th Nov 2007
Received an email from click quality team that says "The links only show the ads under sponsored link but it does not prove anything. If you believe that the click shown are from excluded sites, please submit campaign, ad group, keyword, matching, url of excluded sites, date and time of exclusion, date and time of click and web referer logs". Worked long hours to dig for all information, make sure they matched, double checked if I missed any and submitted a load of data.

2nd Dec 2007
Received email from click quality team that their technical team has not resolve the issue yet and received credit amounting about 33% of my daily budget. Can't say for sure if the amount is alright as no information is available as to which clicks has problems, how much they cost and how they come up with the credited amount. It's like "OK, I'm giving you this amount, that's the end of the story and you gotta trust us". So I asked how they came to this amount. No mention of my losses because of site exclusion failure.

4th Dec 2007
Got an email from click quality team "We credited you for all clicks that you've received from the websites that you just reported, minus the clicks that we've already credited you for from these sites in your previous emails.".

6th Dec 2007
Email from support "Our investigating team has found a bug which caused the site exclusion not working as expected. I am happy to report that the issue you reported has now been resolved. Thank you for your patience, and I apologize for any inconvenience caused."

Emailed them back saying that I'm not happy hunting bugs for Google. It has taken many man hours compiling a report and other than just a refund I expected some goodwill credit also.

7th Dec 2007
Email from support "We apologized for all the inconvenience caused here. I truly understand your frustration. In fact, I am currently working with the investigating team to see what we could do for your case. I sent you a reply earlier to let you know about the bug because I didn't want to keep you waiting for answer. Nevertheless, I'll keep you updated once we have the decision finalized."

13/14th Dec 2007
MAJOR SITE EXCLUSION FAILURE AGAIN, despite email from above saying the bug has been resolved.

15th Dec 2007
Opened up Adwords Editor (AE) and prompted to upgrade, clicked yes. After upgrade, AE only shows excluded sites for one campaign while the other campaigns listed no sites excluded. Went to Adwords web interface and confirmed all excluded sites are there. However, when you click to view your excluded sites, some site URL are truncated on the web interface (Campaign | Edit Excluded Sites). Thus AE having failed, and web interface showing truncated sites, I have no access to sites that I have excluded.

Not having access to excluded sites means that I cannot check whether if I have previously excluded some sites. This is critical as I cannot re-exclude a site because Adword will say "You exclude this site only today, so it's natural clicks appear yesterday". Without access to excluded sites, new non relevant sites continue to wreck havoc on my ROI in addition to major site exclusion failure and emails were frantically shot off to support for these.

16th Dec 2007
After repeatedly trying to download the complete account, AE finally shows all my excluded sites. Complained that the previous case has yet to be "finalized" and now I've got more data. Took me 3 days to compile the report and submitted to them (support).

17th Dec 2007
Email from support "We would like to credit into your account the charges of clicks accrued for the sites excluded but we're waiting for our technical team to work on this and come back with further information before we could proceed. I therefore ask for your kind patience while we work on this. For your information, we have several advertisers affected in addition to yourself. Hence, it's going to take a while. Please allow some time for us to work on this complicated matter and we will come back to you once we have further details."

They insisted that I can see all my excluded sites on the web interface despite me providing images of truncated URLs. They mentioned that you can hover your mouse on these truncated URL and then see your excluded sites. I've got more than 2200 excluded sites and they dare to ask me to hover my mouse over them in order for me to check if I have previously excluded them.

18th Dec 2007
Email from support "Secondly, regarding the current status of the site exclusion issue, our engineers did upload a patch recently to fix the problem and have reduced the number of affected accounts. Unfortunately, some accounts slipped through and didn't get fixed. Your account is probably one of it. Therefore, our engineers are trying to work backward, replay the history at different window times to see what happened. It's a long and tedious process, which again I ask for your kind understanding and patience in this matter."

Also "As for the second web logs that you sent on 16 Dec, I've forwarded it to the Click Quality Team. In future, it will be faster if you log the case directly to the Click Quality Team."

I was furious for the above statement. Naturally I had wanted to talk to the click quality team directly all along. But I was not allowed to contact the click quality team directly because the only way to contact the click quality team is through the web form. The webform has miniscule fields which fails to hold all my data and will result in a delivery failure. Separating all my data and repeatedly entering through the web form will open up multiple tickets while my initial ticket has yet to be "finalized".

19th Dec 2007
Email from support "However, because we value you as an advertiser and your goodwill, we've applied a one-time, $XXX courtesy credit toward your advertising charges". Amount equivalent to 3 days daily budget and personally, I consider the case on 24/25th November to be solved. I have yet to receive any indication at all about the site exclusion failure on 13/14th Dec, including any admission that such a failure has occured.

23rd Dec 2007

24th Dec 2007 (Christmas Eve)
Need to work and submit report to click quality team.

Email on the same day from support "The 'site exclusion' issue is NOT SOLVED yet so it could recur, as mentioned in the earlier email. Our engineers are working on it.

The Click Quality Team is also working on crediting back the clicks accrued from the web log reports you sent. We have already credited $XXX into your account as a courtesy because we appreciate you advertising with us. As the site exclusion issue is not solved yet, you may want to move your budget to search network and opt out of content network for now while our engineers work on solving this."

Now this pisses me most. This is the month where we have the best sales (tis the season). The site exclusion failure only affects some and I'm a lucky one. Because of Adwords inability to get their side of the bargain working, I've not only encounter depleted daily budgets, but also lost opportunities and sales. Meanwhile some of my competitors are laughing to the bank and they dare to suggest that I go off content network altogether. Gives me an impression that support does not understand at all what they are talking about.

25th Dec 2007 (Christmas Day)
ANOTHER SITE EXCLUSION FAILURE, though not as major, probably due to reduced traffic on this day.

Question: What should be my next course of action and what would be a fair thing for Adwords to do?

I've kept all logs and emails required to proof that the above is the truth.

Last edited by thomas68 : 12-27-2007 at 03:26 AM.
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Old 12-27-2007   #2
Jerry Nordstrom
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Re: Site Exclusion: Are you affected?


Take this suggestion knowing that I completely understand your experience and I state an.. agree, agree, agree to all of your points. Google needs to correct the click "fraud" junck click submission process. With that disclaimer I would suggest taking a quick look at another tactic; and it’s not necessarily a pleasant one.

Many times in business I find that although I might be losing money in one area the cost of my time and resources to address it does not make financial sense. I don't know how much money these unblocked site clicks have cost you. However, I would add the total amount of money returned to you and then divide that by how much time (and emotional effort) you’re putting into this. Are you making a decent return? Could you have put that time into a more profitable area? The cost of foregone opportunities can be very expensive.

I am completely guilty of pursuing certain issues based mainly on emotions - I'm pissed! Again, I suggest you do a gut check, is this battle worth waging from a financial standpoint? Can you minimize your time commitment to arguing these refunds without leaving too much money on the table? How can you get 80% of your returns with very little effort?

On our part we mostly eat the onesie and twosie clicks from http://www.brittneyspeasrsillegitima...exc we find in our referral reports and instead have an extremely aggressive method for generating "quality traffic" which can significantly reduce the number of these sites and resulting Junk Clicks. (I hear you loud and clear, this won’t work if Google’s site exclusion mechanism fails - point taken)

Right or wrong, we take responsibility and control of this problem on our side of the equation as it seems G is not going after it on theirs. We go to an extreme with highly targeted campaigns/adgroups with tight and small keyword lists, extremely detailed negative keywords, landing page content optimization, and an aggressive site exclusion process. For the most part if clicks get by our pro-active defense and Google's filters we eat the click(s). It is not worth our time to fight through Google's or any other search engine's return process.

I understand that your issue is with a technical "glitch" on Googles end which has cost you money. But your post suggests to me that if you are submitting a lot of refund requests then perhaps you could take some pro-active steps to shore up the traffic you are attracting and then perhaps you can back off on the time and effort you're putting in to asking for returns. Not only could this save you time, but a lot of emotional effort as well.


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Old 12-27-2007   #3
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 82
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Re: Site Exclusion: Are you affected?


A very helpful and insightful reply indeed. I really appreciated the reply, and effort put into it, thank you.

I've to admit the emotional response was high initially but has waned lately and I've got a script written that can generate reports to be submitted, so I don't spend too much time on this. I also discarded the one or two clicks that goes through, and unless it's major, it's not worth it.

I have to improve on my side, our ability to control these wayward clicks better and thanks in no small way, the enlightment from you. Thank you again.
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