Several fake stories attempting to capitalize on the bad economy with an almost plausible story about Google offering thousands of work from home jobs to anyone who fills out a form and gets their $2 adpack.

While many of the details are false, the program wasn’t set up by Google, and Google doesn’t have a “Google Adwork” program, but Google doesn’t seem to be doing much to stop the scam either.  Normally Google is amazingly tenacious about the use of their trademark, I know several Gadget related sites that got some fairly harsh cease and desists sent to them for the use of the word gadget in ways that Google thought was too close to GoogleGadgets.  But after several of our sites were plagued with ads reading “Work from home SEO” and “Earn money with Search Engine Ads” we attempted to get a hold of Google to notify them that scam ads were plaguing our sites.

No response.  We have our suspicions why.  While Google may enforce their brand pretty heavily they look the other way when something is good for the bottom line.  The work from home scams are buying 100’s of thousands of keyword phrases through a lot of accounts and buying all of the penny click ad inventory.  This drives the ad price up on all of the legitimate ads. 

Our Client’s’ Adwords spends that were also capitalizing on cheap penny clicks are getting undercut, which many of our clients were willing to up from a penny to two cents.  While this sounds like an insignificant amount of money, if you are buying 100k ads a day at 1 cent per click and you change to 2 cents you doubled your spend.  Google does hundreds of thousands of dollars a day on these ads at less than 5 cents a click and so much like penny trader stocks small increases can be big money for them.

Blocking too many advertisers in your Adsense account that Google doesn’t think are competitors to your content can get you kicked out of the Adsense program.  Putting verbiage on your site not to click work from home ads can also get you kicked out of the program. Since Google provides no method to report ads which are inappropriate, fraudulent, or violate their trademarks on their landing page as a publisher you are “stuck” with them.

Google is currently plagued with ads which hurt publishers, but Google looks the other way on because they’d rather have the money.  Some of the most famous being for Evony, an online game which runs ads from multiple domains featuring a barely clad woman with a knife at her throat, which is entirely unrelated to the game, and not likely appropriate in most workplace environments.

BlackWater Clients have seen anti-competitive practices happening via adsense as well.  A competitor creates an image ad which is very unlikely to get clicked, something ugly with poor syntax and grammar selling something unrelated to the keywords it is bought against.  These ads drive the target sites income way down, but also makes the quality of the site look low, as the lack of quality ads implies a lower quality of content.  Again all a site can do is block the ads, but we were running in to 2-3 new domains being used a day making it a task clients had to perform 2-3 times a day, and because the sites would use Geo filtering often the bay area would not be included in the ad targets nor would the home state of the target site, making them all but impossible to track down.

And again with no means to report this behavior.  We came to a conclusion, Microsoft PubCenter.  Our headaches are far less and we can get someone on the phone in minutes to answer our questions, complain about an ad, or get something explained, or even get answers to questions like, why does your code not show any ads to this guy on the other side of the Bay, but does for me.  The best part, the earnings are competitive, running neck and neck with Google on Google’s good days, but the ads look nicer, and the reports are more detailed.  The only “down side” Microsoft has a higher standard for the quality of site they will accept so a few of our online stores don’t meet that thresh hold.  One might say even that was a win for Microsoft.

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