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Old 04-07-2008   #1
Discovery
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Click Click... Avon Lady here...

Okay, probably showing my age, but in the 70's the MLM revolution had an Avon Lady knocking at our front door every week, then Amway, hoover, and others. It frustrated my parents spending time telling these folks we didnt need their products, but this is nothing compared to what online marketers are getting hit with today.

Fast Forward 30 years
We were concerned about how many clicks where being generated by our competition. We studied it for 2 months and had surprising results. Yes, certainly our competition has been very click happy, but we also found that companies that solicit our business have been nearly as click happy.

Sales representatives from Credit.com clicked our ads a total of 75 times in a month costing us nearly $206

Isaac Davis has about the same and there are at least a dozen others companies with over 15 clicks/month according to matching our phone records with web data. These are just the companies that stand out, but there are likely many more that have clicked only a few times and dodged our initial tracking filter. All in all this very well could amount to 3-5k across all campaigns and SEs.

Competition clicks:
Our vertical has become heavily saturated with mortgage folks abandoning their vertical for ours. This has resulted in a huge increase of copy cats, research clickers and straight out competition clicks (Run up your cost to push you off the top). Not to mention claims that would make a get rich quick pitchman blush.

Sales Solicitation Clicks
Add on top of that businesses now using adwords ads to find and sell to their target customers and you have a lot of inefficiency in PPC.

Full disclosure: Both Credit.com and ID have been contacted and have agreed to stop contacting our company via PPC.

Without adequate tools to combat this activity will PPC as we know it today reach a tipping point? Will this illegitimate click activity push profits into the negative, or force price increases that are not tolerable in the open market? Can it render PPC ineffective? Just as spam emails are essentially free to send, so to is clicking on PPC ads to find new customers. What stops companies from using adwords as a prospecting tool?

Have you had similar experiences?
What have you done to mitigate the situation?
Should Google start to look at searcher exclusion features?

Discovery

Last edited by Discovery : 04-08-2008 at 09:38 AM. Reason: Replaced Adwords for Adsense
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Old 04-07-2008   #2
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Re: Click Click... Avon Lady here...

This is a great post mate... and something people need to be aware of.... have you tried excluding them from the ppc
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Old 04-07-2008   #3
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Re: Click Click... Avon Lady here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Discovery View Post
....Sales representatives from Credit.com clicked our ads a total of 75 times in a month costing us nearly $206....Discovery
Unusual times. Given the turmoil in today's credit markets they are probably looking for jobs
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Old 04-12-2008   #4
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Re: Click Click... Avon Lady here...

What am I missing? Google already offers IP Exclusion, in the Tools area of AdWords.

https://adwords.google.com/support/b...y?answer=61492

They also point out geo-exclusion as a helpful filtering feature.
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Old 04-12-2008   #5
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Re: Click Click... Avon Lady here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewgoodman View Post
What am I missing? Google already offers IP Exclusion, in the Tools area of AdWords.

https://adwords.google.com/support/b...y?answer=61492

They also point out geo-exclusion as a helpful filtering feature.
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IP exclusion? Wow. Be very careful how you use this. It can have all sorts of unintended consequences. I never use it.
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Old 04-13-2008   #6
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Re: Click Click... Avon Lady here...

Not if all you are doing is blocking competitors so their clicks don't impact your price... plus they do not see you there when checking ads at work
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Old 04-14-2008   #7
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Re: Click Click... Avon Lady here...

Yes, certainly IP exclusion can be and is being used. Its best for competitors with a large number of employees, where it is more likely their sales team would research and click on the ads.

Okay, so I get to choose 20 companies to exclude their IP.
Now what about the other 300?

What about the MLM's that are running around and touting Google as the best resource for free leads to sell their MLM goods? Just click on ads and call your prospects...FREE

The tactic is not all that different for the thousands of SMB's trying to reach their target audience. IP exclusion is just not going to cut it.

Accurate reporting with unlimited IP exclusion will help.
What else can be done?

Discovery
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Old 04-16-2008   #8
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Re: Click Click... Avon Lady here...

Sorry to say this, but this is akin to a sales rep using your 1-800 number to solicit you. Unless you can prove that a particular vendor has abused your PPC ads...and attempt to recoup your losses, you may need to just absorb the costs.

This isn't going to help you with your current situation.But this is an example of where Google should consider offering an additional type of ad on AdWords. Instead of CPC, they should offer up an alternative CPA based billing method. Something like this would curb click fraud...just a thought from a relative newbie.

AWR, are you out there to comment?
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Old 04-16-2008   #9
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Re: Click Click... Avon Lady here...

A legal action is not likely and nearly impossible to prove. However the point is more about this tactic becoming wide spread. If a large number of companies make using PPC a way to solicate businesses then it dilutes the effectiveness of PPC, thus it would get Googles attention. Just as the junk click issue within content has gained their attention and they came out with site topic and page type exclusions.

There are a number of differences in regards to 800 numbers meant for general use to communicate with a business and a PPC ad that has a clear and specific intention/purpose which is being abused by these companies.

People used to say click fraud was "just the cost of doing business". To some degree it is, however that didnt stop the SEs from finally attacking the issue to ensure the validity of the PPC model.

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Old 04-16-2008   #10
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Re: Click Click... Avon Lady here...

I guess that's what I'm getting at; user intent when clicking on an ad. If Google offered an alternative method of billing advertisers based on an acquisition of a user such as a sale or a lead, this would lessen the likelihood of click fraud, including your solicitation example.

I'm sure clients out there would be more willing to use AdWords if they knew they'd only pay if they convert a customer. There's a whole slew of issues such as landing page conversion rates and such, but there are enough brainiacs in Google to come up with a creative measure.

Last edited by undercoverseo : 04-16-2008 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 04-17-2008   #11
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Re: Click Click... Avon Lady here...

The Click Quality Council is working on these issues
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Old 04-17-2008   #12
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Re: Click Click... Avon Lady here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by undercoverseo View Post
... If Google offered an alternative method of billing advertisers based on an acquisition of a user such as a sale or a lead, this would lessen the likelihood of click fraud, including your solicitation example....
They do, and have done for quite a while. AdWords calls them PPA ads. I tested them last year, as did others. They flopped, mainly because the publishers did not endorse them. The publishers much prefer PPC, and I don't blame them. As with many AdWords formats, no publisher endorsement, no success. As far as I can tell PPA's time has passed.
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Old 04-17-2008   #13
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Re: Click Click... Avon Lady here...

It wasn't entirely that publishers prefer PPC but mostly Google not having a ghost of an idea on how to implement a PPA product. If G ever figures out what other successful PPA and affiliate programs did many years ago it might have a chance; it's not like it has to reinvent the wheel.
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