The Biggest Adwords Fiasco Yet

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If you’re an Adwords advertiser, you must know about Friday’s technical glitch that caused minimum bids to go to $10 for many keywords. This “glitch” was devastating to some accounts – although the full effect is still unknown.

For us, it looks as though impact on orders was minimal – although we had over 300 keywords with $10 minimums on Friday, many of which were our top traffic and conversion-driving keywords. I did hear that Google was showing ads for some of the keywords despite the $10 minimums, so maybe that’s what happened to us. I am very glad we didn’t lose significant business as a result of this “glitch.” Today, we only have 11 keywords at $10 – and they were $10 before this whole fiasco happened.

All that said, communication from Google throughout this crisis was very poor. I discovered the issue at about 9 a.m. Eastern on Friday. Knowing that Adwords customer service doesn’t come in till 10 a.m. Eastern, I immediately emailed my Adwords rep with the news. Then I started running reports to assess the damage. Then, at the stroke of 10, I got on the phone. My rep wasn’t sure what was going on – understandable, since it was still early in Mountain View. She emailed me a couple hours later, asking for time to investigate. Fair enough.

At this point, I checked Search Engine Watch and Webmaster World. Everyone was abuzz – people were freaking out, saying they’d be out of business by the end of the weekend if something wasn’t fixed. (Note to those folks: if all your eggs are in the Google basket, I suggest you diversify immediately.) AdwordsRep finally chimed in around 4 p.m. Eastern to confirm that it was a technical glitch. I finally got an email from my rep at 6:30 p.m. – long after I’d left for the day.

Let me make it clear that I’m glad this got fixed, and I’m glad we didn’t get hit in the pocketbook as a result. However, I’m disappointed in Google’s relative lack of communication on the issue. The Inside Adwords article didn’t post until late this morning – 4 days after the issue popped up. Couldn’t something have been said sooner? I know it’s not good practice to talk out of turn without having all the facts, but people on the forums were going nuts. Throwing them a bone as soon as the problem was fixed would have been nice, instead of waiting till we all figured out on our own that the storm had blown over.

Let this be a lesson to all of us:
* Check your accounts daily for oddities. If you find them, start asking questions.
* If you’re Google, please keep advertisers posted when something like this happens. We pay you a lot of money and it’s not acceptable to keep us in the dark for days, or even hours in a case like this.
* Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you were waiting to try Yahoo, MSN, or any of the other PPCs, now is the time.

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  1. Great post Melissa, just came across your blog today wile writing an update to my AdWords QS update post.

    Isn’t search marketing fun:-)


  2. Thanks, Jeremy! Ditto for your post on the subject, and your blog in general – I’m a regular reader, so your compliment means a lot to me.

  3. Your comment;

    “* If you’re Google, please keep advertisers posted when something like this happens. We pay you a lot of money and it’s not acceptable to keep us in the dark for days, or even hours in a case like this.”

    Really hit home for a lot of people I work with. I don’t think people who are not heavily involved in AdWords day in and day out realize just how big of an issue this was.

    When you’re managing multi million dollar spends and things go wrong they go really, really wrong:-)

    Click on!

  4. I have given up on adwords as i do not have the staff to ploice thier billing they screwed me last summer billed me an extra $13,000. I am still fighting with them

  5. Evidently it is still going on because I just had my cpcs jump from $1 to $10 about 20 minutes ago

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