Questions and best strategies for developing profitable ROI from campaigns at Google AdWords, Yahoo!/Bing Network, Facebook Ads, etc. ... any type of advertising you pay for including paying other sites to sell for you and you pay them commission (i.e. your own affiliate program).

Moderator: Stephen from Monroeville

#1386569 by Kathryn from Blackwater
Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:14 am
Hey all. About a month ago I was on Day 4 doing keyword research using AdWords. I followed the instructions in the Action Guide to use AdWords to check on whether my keywords had potential. I created an ad campaign based on a non-existent URL so that the ad wouldn't run. I did my research, downloaded the keyword list, and was on my merry way.

Imagine my surprise when two days ago I received a bill from AdWords for my advertising campaign!

Per their own criteria, the ad campaign was disapproved because the URL didn't exist. However, that didn't keep them from running the ad for what looks to be five days, and thus running up my tab. I have sent a note to their help group contesting that charge because the URL never existed, and I had expected to need to say "yes, make the ad go live NOW", which didn't happen. However, it's entirely possible that not only with the charge stand, but also that I'll be blacklisted for participating in AdWords from this point forward.

For anyone who uses AdWords to do their research, I would strongly encourage you to go back and delete all the hypothetical ads you created as part of your research, ASAP. Don't count on AdWords to cancel the ad even though the URL doesn't exist. I'd also ask the fabulous tech writing people at SBI to make an addition to that section of the Action Guide, cautioning people to make sure they delete their ad campaign as soon as they've downloaded their keywords list. The amount of money I was charged was thankfully not a budget-buster. But I really would have rather spent that money on other things.
Last edited by Debs from SiteSell on Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: moved from Monetize to here
#1386602 by Margit from Gosbach
Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:58 pm
Hi Kathryn,

Sorry to hear about your unexpected AdWords experience. I hope they won't blacklist your account. As you said the charges weren't high, and if you've paid them, I don't see why they would do that.

I've worked a few years at Google, in their AdWords support team. The ad approval process is highly automated. It depends where you want your ad to run, but if you selected "Search Network" (which is the default for text ads), then the ads will start to run before they have been checked by their tools. Depending on the amount of ads they need to check, it could take a couple of days before an ad gets disapproved for URL not working.

I was wondering why the Action Guide / Get Google $ help would advise to create ads. So I checked the help file and I believe this is the relevant part...

"You'll need to have a website. Since you're in DAY 4 and have not yet registered a domain name, you don't have a URL. So use Google Sites to create a free one (no strings attached). Go to this URL to create your new "site"...

https://sites.google.com/site/sites/sys ... e-new-site

Copy the URL of your Google Sites site, and then paste it into the Google AdWords account setup page."


It doesn't say there that you should create ads. You only need the free website URL to create the account. Once you've created the account, skip the campaign creation steps (which I believe the interface suggests), and go directly to Tools > Keyword Planner.

I've already reached out to the Content Team to look into it and modify the help to make it clearer.

Do you remember any other part in the Action Guide or help files that would have suggested to create AdWords ads as part of your research?

Best,
Margit
#1386615 by Kathryn from Blackwater
Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:16 pm
Thanks for your reply. I do recall that specific set of the instructions, and I followed that link to create the free URL. I also recall noticing that the layout of the AdWords control panel had changed significantly since the Action Guide was written. The print screens in the Action Guide didn't match anymore at all. I tried to use the newest AdWords control panel and then opted to use the "classic" control panel, and even that looked different than the Action Guide. Ultimately I had to cast around a lot to find the Tools>Keyword Planner. It may be that I inadvertently created ads while looking for that Tools>Keyword planner.

I'll keep everyone posted on whether I'm blacklisted or not. I have AdSense up and running on my other website, so perhaps that's where I would get notification if my account in general is being closed down for any reason. I originally contested the AdWords charge through my bank as a fraudulent charge, because I didn't recognize the entry in my bank account. It took me several days to realize it had come from AdWords. The bank told me that it would take 10 days or so before I heard any resolution to their investigation. That was late Tueday afternoon. Given the upcoming holiday it might be the first of December before the dust settles and I figure out how this all will be resolved.
#1387221 by Kathryn from Blackwater
Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:38 pm
Well, the last few days have been busy in regards to this situation:
First, I got a reply from the support team at AdWords. While they sympathized with the situation that I had specifically used a nonexistent URL to avoid having any ads go live, they said that I had agreed to pay for any ads which inadvertently went live, whether the parent URL was real or not. They also pointed out that it is possible to use the keyword research features without creating ads to go live, without specifying how to do so. I have a few things to say about that but I'll hold off for a moment.

Second, I was notified by my bank that they had successfully cancelled the transaction, such that the funds were returned to my account. The funds are still sitting there while I weigh what to do next.

Third, this morning I got a nastygram from AdWords that my account had been suspended because of filing the fraudulent claim with my bank (which I did before I realized that it must have been the AdWords research I'd done a month prior). The nastygram did "invite" me to pay the fee I owe, THEN file an appeal. As far as I can tell, that suspension has not affected my AdSense campaign on my other website. Yet.

I'm really debating what to do next. On the one hand, I'm annoyed at AdWords for a few reasons. First, as part of the account setup, they require you to give you a debit card before you can proceed with even setting up an account. They promise you at the time that they won't charge you until you have ads go live. While that sounds safe enough, they don't bother telling you that your ads are about to go live. The whole time I was in AdWords trying to figure out how to do the keyword research as described in Day 4, I had no idea that I was in the process of creating ads which would then automatically go live. Nor do they provide much in the way of instructions for how to do this or that task on their new control panel. They just seem to assume it's all obvious. It's not. I am usually able to navigate pretty well through account setup websites and control panels for various accounts, to find what I need or get help. Not so with their panel; it was infuriating to work with. So when they say I "should have known how" to avoid costs, after requiring me to give those debit card details, and then not telling me the ads were about to go live, that felt more than a little like fraud to me. In other words, "you can't play in our sandbox until you give us your money, which we won't tell you we're about to spend, but apparently there's a way to avoid giving us your money, which we won't tell you about either."

On the other hand, apparently a lot of folks have been able to go do the AdWords research and navigate the new AdWords control panel without getting into this kind of predicament. So maybe I was having a clueless day? Maybe I was tired or frustrated with the new AdWords control panel layout, couldn't find what I was looking for, and accidentally/unintentionally created an entire ad campaign without realizing it? I suppose stranger things have happened.

I have considered paying the money and appealing, because I do feel like I should have had some warning that the ads were about to go live, while I could have still done something about it. I have considered paying the money and just letting it go, to keep Google happy. I have also considered keeping the money and never dealing with AdWords again. That last option is tempting. But I keep thinking that while I may never use AdWords again, Google is one of the biggest names in the biz and I have to continue to "play in their sandbox" in some form. So I'll probably pay the stupid amount. Maybe appeal, maybe not. In any case, that's where the situation stands at the moment. I'd be curious to know if anyone has any similar experiences, suggestions, cautions, etc.
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