The FTC Pressures Google to Dramatically Change Their Policing of Google AdWords Customers

Many of you have at least heard about how Google has tightened the reigns on internet advertising. Well for some they’ve come down hard, “big time” since the end of August 09 with little warning or explanation. The background is pretty interesting regarding what motivated this change and how it came about. If you’ve been affected then understanding why and how to react accordingly definitely will help your business marketing effectiveness.Google was backed into a corner and the changes were made as a direct result of pressure put on by the FTC. Pressure specifically brought to bear by David C. Vladeck who was appointed by Barack Obama to head up the Bureau of Consumer Protection within the FTC.One thing to remember is that the FTC approved Google’s acquisition of Double-Click last year which many argued was a clear tossing aside of anti-trust laws in vertical market mergers. It has appeared that they are far more aware of ramifications born from that controversial decision seemingly recognizing that it essentially created a big advertising gorilla that didn’t effectively police itself. So, much like when baseball enjoyed so many HGH induced home runs while MLB turned a blind eye; the government felt they needed to flex their lawmaking muscle a bit. With that being the case and with a new sheriff Vladeck in town, the stage was set for some major changes to be made.The concern stems from the far-reaching freedom of any company or individual to make any claims based on their product or service they wanted to as long as they had a disclaimer at the bottom of their site. Such disclaimers would routinely begin with such verbiage as “The claims made on this site do not guarantee that you will experience the same results. Individual results will vary greatly and in accordance to….”. The truth is that this does not protect the potential customer and actually allows the advertiser to essentially have a green light to use unverifiable claims – especially when used in business or business opportunity advertising.In his first 90 days Vladeck had gone on record as saying that the industry’s attempts to police itself were not good enough and met with industry execs to talk about the issue. In fact in his first six weeks on the job, he asked Congress for a bigger budget and for a streamlined way to create regulations. He also stated that he would hire technologists to help analyze online marketers’ tracking.The end result was the FTC brandishing their big “whooping stick” to put pressure on Google to reign in their biggest moneymaker. Given the fact that approximately 95% of Google’s revenue comes from advertising, it says a lot about the leverage they feel they have (ie we made you a Goliath by approving the merger and we can take you out).So what does that mean to all of us in the advertising community? Well, if you are advertising a business opportunity that uses large or (what appears to be) unsubstantiated compensation claims, a website template hosted by such a business opportunity without original content you are getting flagged, slapped or suspended all together (aka The Google Slap). The problem is that there are legitimate companies that are being drastically affected because they are being misidentified as being the same business opportunity animal. I know of several affiliate marketers that were spending over $100,000 a month on Google AdWords advertising whose accounts are presently suspended altogether. Ouch!From what I hear, if it happens to you you’ll find the quality score of your keywords will immediately drop from good or excellent (7+/10) to poor (1/10) due solely to being determined to have low website/landing page quality. Your ads will then rarely be shown if at all.Personally, I think Google is taking a hard swing to show they are taking the FTC bullying seriously and then as dad has his back turned, focusing on other troubled children in the business playground, they will then slowly ease off. But make no mistake, I believe these restrictions are here to stay they just wont be as militant about it. The famed Google Algorithms will balance out and find a happy medium but still keep out those that might give internet marketing a bad reputation.The bottom line is that even though I abhor government intrusion, the original motivation was to keep much of those in our industry who muddy the waters and which my friends, is actually a good thing. The problem is that it has been poorly executed creating collateral damage.Those that have been “‘flagged or slapped” need to retool their marketing strategy. If you’ve been drastically affected then you don’t need anyone to tell you that you’ve put too many eggs in the Google AdWords basket. You have to diversify your marketing methods! They must also closely examine their site content, where the site forwards too, who hosts it (ie web templates provided by their business opportunity). This will force many to rethink their business relationships and chosen business opportunities, especially if it is MLM or Network Marketing in nature.Change ALWAYS presents opportunity. If you can retool, regroup and adapt you will be positioned properly to capitalize on that opportunity because unfortunately most become discouraged, lose heart and do not. For ideas on diversifying your advertising strategies, review my article “Hit Your Target When Advertising Your Business Online”. There you’ll find 11 options available for you to take advantage of that will allow you to better diversify your marketing strategy.

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