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Paid Search Industry Boom Quickly Becoming Haven for Scams

Ok, SemGeek is a little perturbed by some unpleasantness that he discovered about some companies who are giving the search industry a bad reputation. So, I am going to calm down, take a deep breath and start the conversation.

I have had two instances where I had to explain to potential clients that they not be taken for a ride when a company guarantees #1 placement on Google, nor the idea that if you pay them $200 you get unlimited clicks. Wasn’t it just 5 years ago it was the Ultra Black Hat Crooks of TrafficPower with Organic Search, now we are starting to see similar "too good to be true" gimmicks and scams for PPC and it aggravates the hell out of me.

In order to be a good search marketer, you need to be upfront and honest. These companies, for which I am not even gonna give them the satisfaction of naming, are hurting the integrity of everything that we do in the search community. You cannot guarantee anyone placement nor position on the engines. If you want #1 position in PPC, even though we may have recommended them not to, you must explain to them they have to $$ pay for it and work very hard to attain the Quality Score Relevancy to keep the clicks lower and position higher. I would even go as far as to
explain how the algorithm works, even if it’s a "dumb-downed" version of it. The agency or consultant must set the right expectations based on industry averages and even do some forecasting and predictive modeling, but NEVER promise something that cannot be guaranteed.

Also, these companies are "twisting" the realities of search marketing, meaning Terminologies and guaranteed higher ROI for those businesses. The last thing the Industry as well as the public needs is to have different terminologies of what the search industry has already labeled (CPC, CPA, ROI, PPC, Search Network, Content Networks, etc..) and promises of a high ROI when in most cases it’s the conversion elements of the website which is contributing to the poor ROI.

The only clue I am throwing out to you all reading this post about one of these companies is the term "Site – Placement" which is what the rest of the industry calls Paid Search or PPC. This is deceiving because we all know we have Site /Placement targeting which is entirely different that traditional "keyword based" search marketing. Aye Vay!

In conclusion:
As search marketing professionals, we have an obligation to stop these crazy scams taking place in OUR Industry, because if we DO NOT bring attention to it, it will give us all a bad rap and devalue all of our skills, talents and experience. Perhaps we should create a black-list of these companies for the public to be aware of. We must stop companies who do not follow the "traditional" best practices (I am not saying they have to be Ultra Goody White Hats) just don’t scam the clients into something they don’t understand. At least if we identify them, the prospects will appreciate the honesty. My 2 cents!

Filed under: Paid Search in General

One Response to "Paid Search Industry Boom Quickly Becoming Haven for Scams"

  1. Tom Hale says:

    I agree. This is an increasing problem, and is getting worse.
    The long term solution is of course education of the marketplace. That is proving to be a slow process. PPC has to fight decades, maybe centuries, of Madison Avenue “bigger, brighter, better” kind of broadcast indoctrination that worships at the feet of exposure rather than relevance.
    I like the abstract idea of a blacklist. The problem being of course, who sets the criteria for placement on such a list? Who decides when such criteria have been met?
    Who is the judge? Who holds the judges accountable?
    -Tom Hale
    AdWords Specialist

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