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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Do NOT Sign Up for Google AdWords Hosted Business Pages!

Hosted business pages by Google are a bad idea, because they're only available for AdWords Starter Edition. While the concept of a starter edition is a good idea as is the idea of a simple web page for a small business that doesn't have a web presence, do NOT sign up for a hosted business page! Why? You won't know what you're buying (it's contextual advertising as well as search engine advertising). You'll pay more than you expect. You'll be exposing yourself to click fraud. The problem is that AdWords Starter Edition, as designed, is actually not a good choice for a new advertiser. Here are some reasons why:
  1. You can't opt out of the content network (contextual advertising)
  2. You can't set lower bids for the content network
  3. You can't exclude low quality content network sites
  4. You can't run different ads for different products/services
  5. You can't opt out of the budget optimizer
  6. You can't create an effective local ad campaign
To see what I mean by #6, you really need 2 different ad campaigns with different settings to target your local Google ads. There's no notion of campaigns in AdWords Starter Edition. Regarding the budget optimizer, even Google's help text seems to indicate it's a bad idea: "Please note that we don't recommend the Budget Optimizer for advertisers focused on measuring conversions or values of ad clicks." Huh?

In order to minimize click fraud, advertisers need to be able to manage search engine advertising separately from contextual advertising. By combining these in the starter edition, Google is exposing new advertisers to a higher risk of click fraud. That's not a good long term strategy for them, particularly as click fraud is a hot topic right now. If, as a first step, the starter edition was modified to NOT include the content network, then I might suggest trying a Google AdWords hosted business page. Right now, avoid them.

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Blogger Ian F. said...

I absolutely agree Rich. AdWords is already overrun with people who have no idea what they're doing and this new functionality will open the system up to a whole new level of people with no idea how to use AdWords! Oh well, at least it will help pay for all the perks in the Googleplexes around the world.

Fri Dec 08, 06:05:00 AM EST  
Blogger Richard said...

Yeah, Ian, I think this is one of those cases where something looks great on the surface but if you dig a bit deeper, it's a really bad idea.

Fri Dec 08, 11:53:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Rose Sylvia said...

It looks like Google listened. Their help file indicates that Starter Edition accounts CAN now opt out of content. See

Tue Jul 10, 12:21:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Rose Sylvia said...

That said, I totally agree with you that I cannot recommend the Starter Edition for all the reasons you sited and then some.

A post in the SEORoundTable forum indicates that at least as of March 29, 2007 you also cannot link a Google Analytics account with the Starter Edition.

Tue Jul 10, 12:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Richard said...

Hi Rose. Thanks for the Google AdWords help page link. Don't you wish they'd put timestamps on their help pages? ;-)

BTW, thanks for recommending my blog via StumbleUpon! I'm trying to provide "open source" AdWords information. I know you provide lots of useful, free PPC information, as well.

Tue Jul 10, 01:41:00 PM EDT  

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