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Old 04-30-2007   #1
Discovery
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Matching criteria other than keyword searches

I'm not sure if MSN has been keeping up to date with what has teed SEMS off in the past. Opt out content networks, and "ultra inclusive" keyword matching criteria; ie YSM Dynamic keywords.

------------------
04/30/2007

We're writing to notify you that your Microsoft adCenter Terms and Conditions are updated. The changes take effect on April 30, 2007.

Some of the key adjustments to your Terms and Conditions include:

Microsoft may use matching criteria other than keyword searches to display your advertisements.
Microsoft may display your advertisements on its network of advertising channels operated by the Microsoft network of participating websites and other distribution outlets.
The payment and reporting terms in your adCenter agreement have been clarified to describe your rights.

To review the new Terms and Conditions online, follow these steps:

Sign into adCenter: https://adcenter.microsoft.com/
Click the Advertiser Terms and Conditions link on the footer of the page.
Review the document.

If you do not consent to these revised Terms and Conditions, you may cancel your adCenter program relationship with Microsoft at any time through our Microsoft adCenter support team. Your continued use of the Microsoft adCenter program will be deemed your consent to the new Microsoft adCenter Terms and Conditions.

Please contact our adCenter support team if you have any additional questions.

Thank you for using Microsoft adCenter.

Sincerely,

The Microsoft adCenter Team
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Old 04-30-2007   #2
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This sounds like bad news to me...
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Old 04-30-2007   #3
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This concerns me too.

Microsoft may use matching criteria other than keyword searches to display your advertisements.

Microsoft may display your advertisements on its network of advertising channels operated by the Microsoft network of participating websites and other distribution outlets.

The reason that ppc is popular is because it's extremely targeted advertising - I decide which search terms / ads are working and continue to refine them. I do not want Microsoft to 'use matching criteria other than keyword searches' WITHOUT my opt-in.

After their update this weekend, I logged in this morning to try to run a keyword performance report. Guess what? It ran, and ran, and ran, and ran - until I canceled the report. Then I tried again, different date range - same problem. I fail to understand why MSN cannot seem to get something as simple as reporting to work 100% of the time for their advertisers. Since the beta of their new ppc service, the reporting (and user interface for that matter) has been far less than functional.

And, to top that off, ads running under the same keywords as those on Google and Overture are consistently more expensive.

I think I'm about done with MSN. It's too bad because I really had high hopes for their service when they broke away from Overture and offered an alternative.
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Old 04-30-2007   #4
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Yes it is too bad. MSN had performed better than I had expected initially, then all of a sudden, it went to pot.

I'm curious as to why the AdCenter Rep hasn't said much to this, or previous posts.
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Old 05-01-2007   #5
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Hmm. I read this and figured it was meant for the Content network, which by definition doesn't necessarily use keywords as criteria for displaying ads. Since they didn't have content when AdCenter launched, and since everyone was auto-opted in to content, I figured they were just playing CYA by adding this language and getting their TOS up to speed with their current offerings.

In re-reading this, it's not clear that that's the case. If MSN is indeed planning to lump content in with search and/or start showing search ads based on something other than keywords, there is definitely trouble ahead.

As Discovery said, they seem oblivious to the hot buttons that tend to set off us SEMs.

Melissa
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Old 05-01-2007   #6
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MSN is in the Garbitrage business

Ugh, they're definitely showing SEARCH ads based on something other than keyword searches. I was just reading a content site that had those awful Intellitext ads on it. I hovered over one and saw it was for Live Search (aka MSN). When I clicked on it, I was taken to a Live Search page for one of our PPC keywords, with our ad on it. BLECH.

I wondered why we had a pocket of keywords with huge leaps in clicks and no resultant increases in conversions. This sucks. Is MSN really so desperate for traffic that they've resorted to running crappy ads for their own search results???

What this amounts to in my book is MSN running their own garbitrage ads. You click on an ad and get a page with more ads on it. This is bad, bad, bad, folks.

Melissa
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Old 05-01-2007   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mel66
Ugh, they're definitely showing SEARCH ads based on something other than keyword searches. I was just reading a content site that had those awful Intellitext ads on it. I hovered over one and saw it was for Live Search (aka MSN). When I clicked on it, I was taken to a Live Search page for one of our PPC keywords, with our ad on it. BLECH.

I wondered why we had a pocket of keywords with huge leaps in clicks and no resultant increases in conversions. This sucks. Is MSN really so desperate for traffic that they've resorted to running crappy ads for their own search results???

What this amounts to in my book is MSN running their own garbitrage ads. You click on an ad and get a page with more ads on it. This is bad, bad, bad, folks.

Melissa

So they started showing MSN adCenter ads on content sites, while at the same time reporting has not been available? How convenient!

Honestly, I would say that MSN search is the worst run company I have ever come into contact with. And I mean ever in any part of my life. Between the absurd AdCenter interface (I am still baffled as to how a company like MS could actually have designed and released this), the garbitrage ads, the spam, the poor customer service, opting everyone into content and now this. Seriously, what a waste of the valuable asset they have in that they actually drive quality traffic. At this point, I'd almost question whether there was someone high up at MS who is deliberately sabotaging their search business as there is just no way they could be this incompetent. The sad thing is as long as I am getting decent ROI, I will continue to advertise there. Though with moves like this, I feel as though those days might be numbered.
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Old 05-01-2007   #8
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Well, Ask is worse...But that's not saying much.
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Old 05-02-2007   #9
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Although I too am a little disappointed, I know that the adcenter team does read this forum and does react to it. So with that in mind I want to focus our comments and concerns into concise questions and requests in hopes that they will come out and address them for us.

I for one absolutely must have a 3rd legit ad network to hedge G and YSM with. It is my hope that Adcenter will find this little pocket of experienced SEM's a valuable resource of constructive criticism which will make the offering better for all of us.

So my specific requests are:

Real Traffic Traffic Traffic from search and not content, and not garbitrage as Mel66 pointed out (SEM History101: Ask.com, Findology.com, ABCSearch.com) . If there is no traffic, then who cares about the rest of the features and offerings?

Full control of including (targeting) and excluding (Drop kicking) publishers within the content network. This means we also need full access to run reports on who these publishers are and where they are driving traffic from - no cloaking. (SEM History101: Syndication.google....)

We can deal with just about any UI if the traffic is there (SEM History101: DTC) however it is clear an adwords style editor is a requirement for the moderate to power users of PPC. Nothing is more painful than taking 20 minutes to go through a single campaign set up, when we know we can set up 20 robust campaigns on Google in the same amount of time.

Correct the Max CPC. I don’t know exactly what is wrong here, but I can tell you that I should not have to be setting my bids at $28 for terms that I bid $2.75 for on Google & YSM and still achieve top positions and great traffic.

Lastly but still important – Timeline. These items above need to come to fruition quickly. SEMs have been waiting well over a year for MSN to kick into high gear with a prime time offering. The longer it takes the more doubters you will have and the harder it will be to win back marketers (SEM History101: DTC and Panama)

Discovery
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Old 05-02-2007   #10
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Hi everyone,
Thanks everyone for your feedback. First off, I hope to clarify some confusion around the new adCenter Terms & Conditions. We’ve updated our T&Cs in order to more efficiently deliver new adCenter services to our advertisers. Some of the text in the new T&Cs ("Microsoft may use matching criteria other than keyword searches to display your advertisements" and "Microsoft may display your advertisements on its network of advertising channels operated by the Microsoft network of participating websites and other distribution outlets") allows you to participate in current and future adCenter services, such as Content Ads. As we develop and launch new products, you may need to modify your adCenter account to adjust your participation to your desired level (i.e. turn-off participation, modify bids, etc.). We intend to keep you informed about new ad products or services and any significant changes to your service. For example, as we continue to offer our Content Ads product to new participants, we will email advertisers in advance to notify them about how they may turn-off content advertising.

As for your concerns about poor results, if you could please send me screenshots or a list of search queries where this is happening, I can forward this on for investigation. You can PM me if you want to, because we want good results as well.

Discovery, RE: publisher exclusion and reporting for where clicks are coming from - I don't know the answers for these, so I will try to get some answers for you about these requests.

In regards to offline campaign management software, we are working on developing something for the future although I don't have an ETA yet.

Max CPC overestimations - I would need to look into cases of this individually, as this isn't a known issue on our end. Anyone this is happening to - please PM me and include Support ticket # if you've got an open ticket on this issue.

RE: timelines - We definitely hear your concerns on this. We're constantly working to iterate the tool to add more features and implement ideas we've heard from customers - the latest release includes more import options, improved navigation & campaign management, and demographic targeting organization, which are features we heard about from customers and forum participants. I can't speak to timelines other than to assure you we've got maximum resources working to steadily improve the product. We aren't done yet and we're still working.

I hope this helps. Please keep your feedback coming so we can continue to communicate your concerns to the engineering & product teams here at adCenter.

Thanks!
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Old 05-03-2007   #11
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AdCenter411, thanks for your reply.

How can I turn off participation in the Intellitext ads? We are not opted in to Content.

I will PM you with screen shots of this, assuming they're still live on the publisher sites.

Melissa
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Old 05-04-2007   #12
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Thank you Mel66 for sending me the screenshots. I sent these on to the team and found out what's going on with these ads. The examples you sent me were part of a marketing campaign to drive trial and interest in Live Search itself. The campaign was designed in a targeted way for a particular subject matter, such as the topic you were reading, and executed through a Live Search query. This is another query to Live Search that was not done through a search box but via an embedded link.

We are not syndicating adCenter ads on 3rd party sites at this time.

I hope this helps.

Thanks!
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Old 05-04-2007   #13
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Thanks, adCenter 411. Here's my issue with this campaign: we've found that visitors coming from this type of advertising tend to behave more like content network visitors than search visitors. In other words, they ran across the ad while reading an article on a content site, and are just idly browsing -- they're not in "buy" mode like someone who purposefully went to a search engine such as Live.com and typed in a query. And these visitors convert about the same (for us, anyway) as content visitors.

However, the ad they were clicking on in this case was our search ad, with bids based on search economics. All of a sudden, our ROI on that keyword plummeted as a result. If these were content ads, I'd have been fine with it, because I'd have set my bids accordingly.

I just think this is a really gray area and that these visitors are not really search visitors, and it is a disservice to lump this campaign into the search network. My opinion. I'm curious what others think.

Melissa
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Old 05-08-2007   #14
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Tony Wright lays it out there on SEW

http://searchenginewatch.com/showPage.html?page=3625778

All I can say is, wow. Right on, brother.

Melissa
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Old 05-09-2007   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mel66
I just think this is a really gray area and that these visitors are not really search visitors, and it is a disservice to lump this campaign into the search network. My opinion. I'm curious what others think.
Great discussion and I'm jumping in a little late

I don't see it as a grey area at all. Someone who types a word into a search box is completely different (in terms of intent among other things) than someone who clicks on a word on a webpage and is served up a set of results.

Last time you were going to make purchase via search did you go to your search engine engine of choice and type in what you were looking for or did you cruise around the web until you found a link somewhere that matched what you were looking for?

As much as I try and remain positive I just can't justify this - to myself and in turn my clients.
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Old 05-10-2007   #16
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You're right, Jeremy. I was trying to give MSN the benefit of the doubt by calling it gray, but it really isn't, is it? This is not search, plain and simple. In fact, this is even less "search" than the domain stuff that G and Y lump into their search networks. At least that traffic comes from type-ins on a search engine. In the case of MSN/IntelliTXT, nobody typed anything in except MSN when they created their IntelliTXT campaign...

Numbers don't lie, either. These visitors behave like content visitors, not search visitors. Twice the clicks, no additional conversions - not good.

Melissa
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Old 05-10-2007   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mel66
Numbers don't lie, either.
That's the key. When the data is there to support my recomendations clients will typically follow right along without any issues. If this traffic was converting I would still have an issue with the auto opt in and you can't opt out practices but would be a little more willing to deal with it...kind of like the Google search network 12 - 24 months ago.

Who in the adCenter group is responsible for coming up with these tactics? Do they read the feedback on the web? Have they ever managed a paid search campaign? This kind of stuff reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where Kramer is working in a office...even though he was never hired or being paid. He hands in hist first report and the boss looks at him and says "I don't know what to make of this, it's as if you have no business experience at all".

Again, trying to stay positive but this kind stuff makes it difficult to say the least.
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Old 05-10-2007   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuyFromChicago
Who in the adCenter group is responsible for coming up with these tactics? Do they read the feedback on the web? Have they ever managed a paid search campaign? This kind of stuff reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where Kramer is working in a office...even though he was never hired or being paid. He hands in hist first report and the boss looks at him and says "I don't know what to make of this, it's as if you have no business experience at all".
LOL @ the Seinfeld reference -- but again, you're right. I've often commented that it's clear to me that the people making the decisions for adCenter know little to nothing about paid search and its history. There's just no other explanation for stuff like this.
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Old 05-10-2007   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mel66
LOL @ the Seinfeld reference -- but again, you're right. I've often commented that it's clear to me that the people making the decisions for adCenter know little to nothing about paid search and its history. There's just no other explanation for stuff like this.
Maybe they're from another planet? All kidding aside, I'm just as befuddled by them as you.
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