An AdWords Agency – 2008 – June
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An AdWords Agency

Systems & Marketing Solutions

Because Next is Now

Archive for June, 2008

Join SMS’s CEO at the Central Coast Code Camp

Posted by Bob Dumouchel in Code Camp, Geek Dinner, PPC, SEO, Softec, speaking

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

The Central Coast Code Camp has invited me to speak at their event on September 27-28. This is an annual event that last year attracted 120+ attendees to listen and learn from some of the region’s best technical minds. We are honored to be speaking on “SEO versus PPC a technical discussion.” Last year the event drew 40 speakers for the two day event. Speakers last year came from all over California and included technology leaders like Amazon and several other leading names. The event is supported by the San Luis Obispo .Net User Group and Softec the leading technology trade association in the region.

The event includes the now famous “Geek” Dinner, Saturday Night, September 27th, 6:30 pm at the Embassy Suites.

The original Code Camp was a conglomeration of ideas by many different people across the development community. The idea was simple provide an off hour forum for the development community to speak and share ideas for them to come and enjoy. The results have been astounding with many events at many different cities across the nation.

Web Experiences – the Next Generation

Posted by Bob Dumouchel in my dream web site, the future, web experience

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

What will the next generation of web sites look and act like? Advertising, SEO, and many other things can create traffic flow to a web site but only the web experience can transform traffic into customers. That makes the discussion of what the next generation will be critical to all businesses that use the internet to promote their business, deliver their services or products, or control their logistics.

SMS works with a wide range of designers and we see lots of different approaches. The evolution we are seeing is that successful web sites are becoming more intelligent and the web experience is more customized to the visitor. This is nothing new, industry leaders like Amazon and Dell have been working on this strategy for well over a decade. Dell is one of my favorite examples because from the second you land on their site they are constantly trying to figure out who they are talking to and route you to information that fits you. Dell has a complex product line but they do a good job of talking to the different types of customers. Not perfect but one of the better models out there.

Pushing back against this trend is the rising cost of developing more intelligent web sites. The struggle between content and results is alive and kicking. I would love to come down on one side of this argument or the other but the truth is that it’s a balance question. Great content is expensive to create but nothing other than great content can convert a visitor into a customer.

The next generation of web site is changing a dialog model. In the dialog model you ask questions and the conversation is driven by the answers. Dell, as the example, has done a good job getting started with this but they are still closer to logical routing without real dialog ability.

My Dream Web Site

My dream web site (DWS) works remembers everything I ever told it and never asks me the same question twice. It then uses this personal knowledge to advise me and give me exactly the information I need, nothing more and nothing less. My DWS also keeps me up to date with things that change that are important to me. Not just sales notices but things that actually matter to me. The system requirements to do this are not insignificant but the rewards of delivering this to your customer base could be incredible. Anyone who has worked with artificial intelligence knows that getting a system to a simple conversation level is not a simple task but it is the next level.

Even the longest journey starts with a first step

Let’s say for the record that 99.99% of the businesses on the web are not at my DWS level, because it’s probably true. It’s also fair to say that it’s unlikely that you will go from your current web site to this level in one jump. So what can most sites realistically do? The answer is plenty. If your traffic is coming from Adwords and your campaigns were built right you should be able to keep the path in line with what they have already told you. They are coming to your site using a search term and you know what that term is so, as they say, “Listen”.

The next model – People talking to People!

How do you handle it when a new person that knows nothing about your business asks what you do? Do you spew tons of details telling them about each individual product until you induce a coma? Of course not. You have a broad description designed to get some response from the person. Let’s call this response a clue about where their interests might be. Once you receive that clue you ask the next question as you filter the person down to the item that you can help them with. Just shut your eyes and listen to the phone calls in your business. This is a natural process of communication, yet for some reason on the web the person tells us that they are a small business and we present enterprise solutions that clearly do not fit. It’s a classic case of TMI (Too Much Information) or more correctly information that the audience just does not care about.

Walk in the shoes of your Customer

Conduct a search for a product and walk through the experience and see how you feel. Visit the competitors that come up in the same search and compare and contrast the experience. Who would you buy from? Was the experience intuitive? Was it consistent with the brand you are building? Then take it one step further and bring in a person who might reasonably be a prospect for your business and have them do the same thing. We recently did this with a new client web site and the test subjects failed to be able to order the product! The one constant in the internet marketing world is that one barrier and the prospect is gone in just a few milliseconds.

Test, Improve, Repeat….

To evolve your web experiences fix what you discovered and repeat the process. Do this on a regular basis and your web site experience will evolve and if my guess is right it will start to become more of a dialog and less of a presentation. There is nothing like watching a person who knows nothing about your business trying to interact with your web site. The experience can be enlightening.

No Adwords for You! Prohibited Adwords Item Rundown

Posted by Rob Dumouchel in adwords, google, prohibited

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

You can sell almost anything with Adwords, almost. So what exactly can’t you sell on Adwords? Turns out it’s a lot of stuff. Some prohibited items aren’t surprising and others are shrouded in plenty of grey area. Basically if it’s illegal, unethical, too much fun or any combination of the above you might just be out of luck.

You Can’t Sell Blatantly Illegal Items with Adwords

Shocking I know. Also if I may point out, if you’re selling this stuff online at all you don’t deserve internet access. “They’ll never catch me now that I’ve posted my address and phone number online along with the fact I like to break the law for profit… oh wait…” The following items are not only totally illegal but also prohibited from being sold via Adwords:

Drugs & Drug Paraphernalia
No selling weed, crack, meth, magic mushrooms, LSD, or any other mind-bending substances via PPC. You also can’t sell bongs, glass pipes, and other getting high accessories… except for black lights, those are still ok.

Fake Documents
No fake driver’s licenses, social security cards, diplomas, immigration papers, etc.

It’s probably best that you can’t easily get your hands on Austrian horse steroids online.

Hate Groups
No hate groups, anti certain ethnic or religious groups, or groups that encourage violence against certain peoples.

Counterfeit Designer Goods
No fake purses, jeans, leather goods, shirts, shoes, etc.

You really shouldn’t bother trying with this one, that’s what Craigslist is for… and it’s free!

If it’s Illegal in Most States or You Have to be Over 18 Just to See it, Chances are You Can’t Sell it with Adwords

Things that are age restricted, have a tendency to cause moral outrage, or have the possibility of poking an eye out are generally prohibited from Adwords. Be advised this one has some grey areas to it.

No promotion of casinos or online gambling is permitted. You also can’t promote sports books, lotteries, bingo, poker, gambling software, gambling tutorials, gambling eBooks, gambling affiliate sites, and even play for fun gambling sites.

Porn (sometimes)
This one is tricky; you can promote porn with Adwords. However there are a lot of off limits areas and you have to be very careful with your keyword strategy. You must stick with very specific queries that would only bring up adult results, and I would recommend phrase and exact matches here.So what porn topics are banned? Anything having to do with kids, teen pornography (even if the models are 18+ and the site is legal), anything denoting youth (school girl, etc), and non-consensual material or implied non-consensual material. I’m going to guess there’s more that’s banned that Google would prefer to not spell out. (Note: even though you can promote porn we don’t. We don’t have that kind of time and you probably don’t have that kind of money)

Certain Weapons
Guns, bullets, parts of guns, switchblades, butterfly knives, brass knuckles, and other weapons with malicious intent are a no-go. You can however promote more utilitarian things like hunting knives, pocket knives, kitchen knives, and archery gear.

Cigarettes, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, snus, cigars, and anything else full of nicotine that will make you smell bad and slowly kill you is prohibited.

Alcohol (except wine and champagne)
No beer, no hard alcohol, but wine and champagne are cool. Weird, I know.

If it is supposed to explode on purpose you can’t promote it. In all fairness you shouldn’t really ship fireworks anyways; the post office gets a little skittish about explosive packages.

No Cheating!

Academic Cheating Services
This includes test taking services, paper writing services, and anything else that is academically dishonest.

Drug Test Cheating Services
You can’t sell “cleansing” teas or your little brother’s clean urine with Adwords, sorry.

Illegal Traffic Devices
Radar jammers, plate blockers and traffic signal changers are all prohibited. Radar detectors seem to be ok however.

Miracle Cures
This doesn’t cover miracle weight loss pills so much as a magic pill with a suspicious resemblance to a tic-tac that may virtually cure AIDS and Cancer.While we’re talking drugs and pills, prescription drugs are allowed -if- you are an Adwords approved pharmacy. You can also sell over the counter drugs but this isn’t a good place for Adwords beginners. There is an extra layer of scrutiny when you’re trying to promote OTC products so you have to factor in extra work and administration time.

Prohibited Scams, Tech, and Marketing Items

There are a lot of scams out there that Google has isolated to be dropped from the Adwords programs. Also any software of services that have an adverse effect on Google or its search results are not allowed either.

Scams, Phishing, Data entry affiliate sites, e-Gold, Dialers
If it’s a known scam do yourself a favor and don’t waste your time. If you’re bent on promoting a scam you’re going to have to come up with a new one, so you might as well put that energy towards a legit business idea.

Bulk Marketing (E-mail Spam) Products
If you have a great e-mail list of thousands of e-mails you scraped from sites around the web you can’t promote with Adwords.

Hacking & Cracking
You can’t promote sites that teach you to illegally access software, servers, websites, cell phones, unlock copyright protection, descramble cable, and anything else illegal and hacker-y. You can promote hacker skills if they are for white hat defense purposes.

Automated Ad Clicking
Adwords rule number 1, don’t mess with Google’s wallet! Automated ad clicking is a good way to get your Adwords and Adsense accounts shut down in a hurry… oh and they have a word for this -click fraud.

Made For Adsense (MFA) Sites
Honestly I’m not sure how enforceable this one is, but it’s on the books for good measure.

Copyrighted Material You Don’t Own
Adwords is not the place to try and sell your pirated DVD collections. Stick to hastily set up card tables on street corners and at flea markets.

Webmaster Guidelines Violations
Don’t openly promote with a Google service services to screw with Google, not smart my friend.Phew, that’s a lot of prohibited stuff… I hope this was educational for you all. Remember if you can’t bring it on an airplane, do it in front of a police officer, or tell your mom about it you probably can’t use Adwords to promote it. And now that I think about it I’m probably on some kind of government list after all the drug, weapon, and explosive related searches I just did to make sure my list was correct… the things I do in the name of science.

One last thing I’d like to point out is that you may be able to get away with promoting some of these items for a very, very short period of time. However your account will in time be somewhere between banned, blocked, or canceled.