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Interview with an Internet Marketer

Donald saw the last time an office from the inside in 2006. Ever since did he work online for himself in all different kind of coffee shops from Cambodia to Tuvalu Islands. He started to get into serious trouble when AdWords Banned his account of the blue.

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Oliver: Nice to meet you Donald, how are you?

Donald: I am really suffering. Since Adwords banned my account I am suffering from sleeplessness, depression, fear I might never be able to get my business back. This must be the worst crises I ever experienced in my life. This ban to advertise on Google made my doctor describe me very strong antidepressants drugs, so I can deal with all the stress.

Oliver: Did AdWords provide you with any reason why you got banned?

Donald: Excellent question. No they did not. The only told me I was not in compliance with their Terms and Conditions for AdWords users. Their T&C are like 600 pages, I think it would take me weeks to read them all through and even then I might know what went wrong. To be honest with you, I think I just got very unlucky. Building a business around AdWords is like playing Russian roulette. You never know if you  get hit with a ban or not.

Oliver: Did you ever try to open a new AdWords account.

Donald: After fourteen or fifteen failed attempts I just gave up. There algorithm is so far developed that you really would need some professional to help open a new account.

Oliver: What kind of things did you promote with AdWords?

Donald: We sell shoes and clothes. No brand names. We import them from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Its a low margin high volume business. After this Adwords ban, we have all that inventory we can not sell. Trends are so fast in fashion industry that we might not be able to sell that clothes in 1 or 2 months. Thats why we need to get back as soon as possible. We have no choice.

Oliver: Did you ever conceder AdWords alternatives such as Yahoo, Facebook, Bing, eBay or Amazon?

Donald: We tried them all after we got banned from AdWords. Yahoo and Bing are a joke in terms of traffic they are able to deliver. I wish there would be more competition in the online search market. But we know its all controlled by the big evil G. Facebook ads are ridiculous, they traffic they send is worthless.  Conversation are low as hell.

Don’t get me started with eBay and Amazon. They run their market place like some evil communist regime like North Korea. Those sites used to be good to sell, now it got very difficult and a lot of sellers actually spend more money on the fees for than what it cost them to buy the product they sell.

Oliver: Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, we really appreciate it.

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Has Google a Monopoly?

We sell all kind of computer and camera accessories online. We import goods from China and sell them here in the states. I started this business back in 2002 with a friend of mine. We have almost 100 employees in our back office as well warehouse.

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You can imagine we spend a lot of money every month on Advertisement with AdWords. We actually even have a dedicated Adwords sales manager who is taking care of our account.

Out of the blue without any warning our Ads stopped appearing. Within an hour we received an email that our Adwords account had been banned.

I first thought that might be some kind of bad joke. I called our Adwords sales manager concerning that ban. He seemed to be surprised as well. He promised me to speak with his supervisor and get my account reinstated within 1 hour. First hour past and our Ads still did not appear. Every hour our ads did not show we were losing a lot of money. You cannot imagine how nervous I was.  After 2 hours I called our incompetent Adwords guy again. His voice sounded so weird, he explained that his manager declined to reinstate my account.  I got really furious, how could they just ban my Adwords account. So I ask why did I get banned from Adwords?

He admitted he had no Idea. Again he promised me to appeal that Adwords Suspension decision and get back to me.

In the meantime I tried some Adwords Resellers. First I thought that might be a solution to get my business back. I tested 3 different companies. Their fees were so ridiculously expensive, it basically eliminated my profit margin I had on my goods.

I tried Yahoo, Bing, Facebook etc. It was just shocking how poorly the little traffic they send converted.

1 week has passed, I tried all kind of Adwords alternatives without any success. I still had no reply from Adwords why they banned me. I just go so angry, and called again. I had my account manager again on the phone. He spoke very quietly; I almost could not hear him. He explained I got banned because my account is associated with some other suspended Adwords account.

I told him, what the f**k? This account was the only Adwords account I had all my life? How could it be connected to some other account?

I soon realized that account manager had no power in influencing Google’s decision to ban my account. He is like a nanny taking care of the high volume Adwords advertisers without any competence. The issue with Adwords is that they have a monopoly on online advertisement. There are no alternative to Google.

Facebook does deliver a lot of traffic, but its low quality. Yahoo and Bing combined can send me 15% of traffic Adwords can.

In my opinion the Adwords and Google monopoly should be broken up. It’s never good for society if one company controls an entire market. There is a reason why they created those antitrust laws.

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Adwords Monopoly

A lot of friends who know the horror stories I experienced with Adwords always like to ask me, do you hate Adwords? The answer is yes and no. As long as you can use Adwords and you not get in trouble with the department suspending accounts it’s the best place to advertise on the planet.

It is not cheap, but still the return on investment is just amazing. I tried to use Facebook, Bing and Yahoo as an alternative for Adwords, without any success. The issue with Facebook is people are not looking or searching for information, they mind is focused on interacting with their friends or playing games. So it is very hard to sell to people who are not searching for anything.

Yahoo and Bing even combined don’t get enough traffic to even be considered a competitive force to our all mighty God of the internet Big G.

I am a big believer in the free market. I hate monopolies, but unfortunately online advertisement is owned by Adwords. People are just so used to use Google to find stuff on the internet. It’s very difficult to break this habit. However, there is hope. If Facebook manages to turn some of its 1 billion users to use the search feature of FB, Google and Adwords could get serious competition. Mark Zuckerberg should change the user interface of FB in a way which stops people leaving FB and going to Google to search.

FB search is powered by Bing, and my impression is that the search results delivered by Bing are now actually allot better than what Google is showing on its search result page.

Google’s Adwords is to the internet what Microsoft used to be 10 years ago to computers. Windows used to rule the world. People were scared of monopoly Microsoft had. We all know things have changed. I am strong believer that in 10 years Google will not own the internet as they do now. Google tried to so hard with Google+ to compete against Facebook without a lot of success. The only thing Google is making any real money from at the moment is it’s Adwords business.

The challenge large corporations are facing is that the bigger they grow the more inflexible they get. Startups are like young adults. They are creative, they are eager to learn new thinks; they just have the mindset to invent new stuff. Once they get older the mindset changes. The loose the ability to see things from a different perspectives, the whole mindset changes.

In multinational companies such as Google even if some people have great ideas, in most cases they are lost in the hierarchy. The bigger the companies grow the more arrogant they get. A good example would Apple, Microsoft and even Google. The arrogance G shows it’s Adwords customer is sometimes really hard to grasp. In many cases advertisers had their account unfairly suspended.

In most cases appeals to reconsider the suspension are ignored. I personally sent a very polite email to Adwords to reinstate my suspended accounts. The response email I received did not answer any of my questions I had ask. The customer service representative must have come to the conclusion that instate of actually doing some research and replying my email it might be easier to just choose the “don’t contact us again template” and close the case.

After years spending every month thousands of dollars with Adwords I felt very insulated. In my opinion only companies, who have a monopoly on the service they are offering, can afford to treat customers so arrogant and offensive.