Google AdWords Automatic Payment Declined

[ad#toppostleft]Had a first this afternoon, apparently Google AdWords notified me that my bank denied the credit card on file for automatically making Google Adwords payments.  This denial of payment immediately put my currently running ads on pause and put my account in default until action was taken.  So, I immediately contacted Fifth Third Bank to see what was going on.

According to 5/3 Bank my they authorized the transaction and confirmed that the payment had went through.  After a brief conversation I also confirmed that my account was in good standing and there was no reason to put my account on hold, all transactions have been authorized and would be so in the future.  Keep in mind, this account has used the same payment method for over a year, payments going off without a hitch every month, but now supposedly declined.  Time to call Google.

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Don’t Buy Affiliate Espionage

Affiliate Espionage was a phenomenal tool a few months back, which helped the user track advertising trends amongst competitors in Google Adwords.  It provided research on search trends, money spent on campaigns, and which campaigns worked, so the user wasn’t throwing money out the door.  It assisted with the tried and true test, test, test method of spending money on Adwords.  Alas, Affiliate Espionage has closed it’s doors and development on the FireFox plugin has come to a hault.

It’s been a looonnggg time since I last sent out an email to you
but a lot has been going on and unfortunately as a result I have
some bad news to share with you today.

With much thought and struggle, I have decided to close down
Affiliate Espionage.

It has been a fun ride and the feedback and response to AE has
been fantastic over the past 18 months but things have reached a
point where I had to decide which direction to take my business
and focus my efforts and I did not feel I would be able to
provide the support, service and time required to do justice to
the Affiliate Espionage Software while tackling the major
project I will be working on this year.

Effective March 1st 2010, Affiliate Espionage will be taken off
the market.

All existing customers will still have full access to the
Member’s only Site indefinitely to access all software, videos,
and manuals.

There may be occasional software updates but there is no
timetable or schedule (or promise of) these updates.

This has not been an easy decision especially since this project
has been part of my life for well over 2 years now.  I
appreciate your support and understanding.

You can still contact our support desk until March 5, 2010 to
address any questions or concerns you may have.

So, it looks like it’s back to studying trends  the old fashion way and spend lots o pennies on testing Adword Campaigns.  But that’s ok, because everything the Affiliate Espionage Plugin did can be done on your own manually, just takes a little bit longer.

If you are looking for alternative revenue streams, please check out my Chitika Review.

Keeping Adsense Legal

I’m not sure if a new inspection crew started working for Google Adsense late last year, but it looks like my websites are getting more attention than they used to.  My guess is that my increase in traffic, coupled with high click throughs, raised some sort of a flag.  At the end of last year I was notified by Google to remove the large square text ad from the top of my blog posts on my automotive blog.  Adsense was disabled on my domain until I complied.

Thankfully the people that I had contact with at Adsense were understanding, gave some direction, and allowed me to fix the problem instead of banning me.  Apparently, the large square at the top of posts blended too well with my content.  In my opinion nothing was blended, it was applied almost exactly like it is on Blogspot blogs, only on top of posts, rather at the bottom, or mixed in with the next post.

Nevertheless, I have learned over the years not to argue with the hand that feeds.  So, after complying with their requests, within 48 hours Adsense was again running on my site.  Currently my clicks have dropped considerably and revenue in tow.  I’m hoping to come up with an different ad placement that garners as much attention as previously or perhaps use a diff type of ad in the old location.  This will take some testing and the patience of my regular readers of the automotive site. 😉

Chrome Conspiracy Theory

Maybe it’s the fact that AdBlock Plus has started cutting into my profits, maybe it’s the fact that I’m starting to like Chrome and faith that it will reach it’s full potential, or maybe it’s because I watched a 90 movie on the JFK assassination last night.  Either way, I’m starting to wonder if the Google Chrome Browser wasn’t created to preemptively stop add-ons like AdBlock Plus.  Why wouldn’t Google want to protect it’s paying AdWords users from a potentially dehabilitating browser add on that is growing in popularity?

As you know, as of now, there are no add ons for Chrome.  Sure, there are tweaks, and lots of options to configure, but no real meat and potatoes for add ons, which are available for FireFox.  Now, I strongly believe in a future version of Chrome there will be some opening up to 3rd party addons and stronger in house addons developed.  However, I think they will be tightly monitored and those that couldn’t potentially hurt Google’s interests will not be allowed.  The best way to nip this in the butt, to start gaining market share now, to control the flow of change progress interruption.

I hope I’m wrong, because the slippery slope means bad things for the open source community.  But I just get the nagging feeling that Google is attempting to control the browser market so that they can eliminate potential 3rd party threats to their business models.

When Will Adsense Catch Up

This post is not meant to bash Adsense, nor am I writing it because I’ve found a better alternative.  The point of this post is to illustrate how the advertising marketplace is changing and it appears to be adopting methods to fight ad blindness, yet Adsense ads have remained largely unchanged since day one.  I think that there is more money to be earned by publishers and advertisers if Google would decide to place images next to their text ads.

It Works

Not too terribly long ago it was a method used by Adsense publishers to place their own small images next to their Adsense text ads.  This greatly increased the CTR (click through ratio) in almost every single case.  However, because publishers were adding their own images, Google was unable to moderate the implied related content.

A few bad apples ruined it for the rest of us when they started placing questionable images next to their Adsense Ads.  Probably having a bigger impact was that publishers were placing unrelated images next to the Ads in question.  Then an unsuspecting visitor would click through on an add expecting something else and then immediately bounce out.  Obviously Google doesn’t want to piss off Advertisers by sending them unrelated traffic.

How To Fix The Problem

Google could implement their own program to allow Advertisers to upload their own authorized images to be displayed next to their ads.  This way Google could moderate what images were being used before approving the ad and know that these were not being changed by the publishers to drive unrelated traffic.

Who’s Doing It Before Google Adsense

Already there are a number of publishers that allow images to be uploaded and used along text advertisements.  The two that stand out the most are Chitika and Facebook Ads.  Both of these programs have already proved to be wildly successful for both their Advertisers and Publishers.

Facebook Ad w/ Image
Facebook Ad w/ Image

I’ve used them both and can attest that as an Advertiser I don’t mind spending a bigger budget with lower cost per clicks.  And if I’m controlling the images then I know that the traffic can be just as interested in buying what I’m selling.  I forsee Google making some changes, soon, to adjust to this change in the online advertising marketplace.

We have to fight ad blindness somehow.

3 Favorite Features of Google Insights

Google Insights
Google Insights

I just got around to reading the blogpost on InsideAdwords and man, even in a short few days I’ve really been missing out.  The announcement of Google Inisght for Search will be a priceless addition to any CPC campaign user.  Hell, I’ve already picked up a handful of new keywords to add to my Adwords campaign.  My initial thoughts are that paid services that are already in this market will quickly become obsolete.  Second, here are a list of 3 of my favorite things about Google Insight for Search.

  • Incorporation Of Google Trends – To be honest it was a bit cumbersome using Google Trends and as such, I never really used it as much as I should have.  But now, I can search my keyword and get a trend for the past 5 years.  This trend for seasonal search keywords is already becoming invaluable as I ramp up my campaigns for the summer rush.  Furthermore this trending graph will allow me to plan for slow times in the year or adjust my campaign accordingly.
  • Rising Searches – This handy little feature on Insights allows you to see related keywords that are rising in popularity.  Although it does not directly give a numerical figure to how popular the search keyword is, it does give you the percentage increase in search frequency.  This obviously becomes important when looking for sub-niches or seasonal changes to an Adwords campaign.
  • Categories – This may seem like a ho-hum addition to most people, but not affiliate marketers.  Hell, most of the products that I market online I don’t know a thing about, I just know keywords.  So the category section of Google Insights gives me areas that I can explore within the keyword and how relative my keyword is to a specific niche.  For example, on golf carts, I now know that most searches originate within the Sports Category rather than Automotive, which I had originally been targeting.

Without a doubt I will be spending a lot more time on Google Insights in the upcoming weeks.  This new tool by Google will allow me to flesh out some more keyword ideas and fine tune the Adwords Campaigns I already have running.  Thank you Google for such a great free tool, but curse you in the same sentence for creating more competition in the fly-by-night domain of affiliate marketing.

Ramping Up Adwords Campaign

I think I’ve finally worked out some kinks in my latest Adwords campaign and it’s got an ROI that I wouldn’t sneeze at.  So, for the next month I plan on doubling my campaign spending limit every day until I reach the ceiling.  If the ROI remains, why not shoot for the moon.

What’s great about Adwords is that if you notice your website not converting, something weird going on with your affiliate program, or whatever, it’s simple to sign in and pause a campaign.  Likewise it’s easy to resume the previous campaign and start off right where you left off.  Hopefully that means running a tighter ship and losing less campaign funds if you have a down server or a down affiliate program.

The only downside as of right now, is that I’m losing focus on other projects.  As the budget gets bigger I’m going to be keeping a closer eye on my server response and conversions every 24 hours.  However, I don’t feel that this work is in vain and it will eventually allow me to find a ceiling, level out, and set this bitch on cruise control.

Finding The Holy Grail of Adwords

I’ve been involved in the online marketing game for a little more than 2 years and in those 2 years I’ve improved exponentially almost daily.  It amazes me at just how much free and valuable information is available, if you can spare the time to educate yourself.  But don’t misinterpret what I’m saying, taking valuable information and applying that same knowledge is two different things and that is often where the breakdown happens.  I myself have just recently been able to break the Google Adwords conundrum, after playing around with it for almost 1 year.

Time in the past could have been better applied to perfecting the balance between on-site optimization and attention to page quality score.  Just now, in the past 2 months I’m realizing the benefit of optimizing my page score and finding the right balance to get my bid on keywords to an all time low.  This my friends is how it’s done, this is how people are becoming profitable, and this is how you turn a costly investment into a comfortable daily expense.  In a matter of months I’ve been able to turn keywords I would normally pay $.36-.45 per click for, into $.06 per click opportunities. Apparently my optimization in regards to getting cookie credit was not the problem…it was the cost of getting those visitors to my site.

In the grand scheme of Pay Per Click advertising I’m still a little fish, but what I’ve learned these past few months is opening up more doors than ever.  Furthermore, it’s knowledge that is freely available IF you teach yourself how to apply it.  Thankfully I have some capital built up in my business, so trial and error while costly, did not break me.  Perhaps that is the key, not going upside down in the quest for lower paying keywords.

Could I tell you exactly how to do this for your site and niche? No. I’m not being elitist when I say this? No, because there are so many factors, that no one could possibly write out a step by step scenario to answer your woes.  No one is feeding you bull when they tell you to study your niche, focus on lower competition keywords, and start optimizing your site.  It works, but it takes time and dedication to be done right and consistently.  The payoffs for when you do find the right combination however is enormous and nothing hardly a thing feels better than watching that affiliate revenue rack up throughout the month.

Let this be my motivational post for the month.  Good luck.