Google takes action on AdWords scams
Tuesday 07 July 2009 | By Heidi Scott, Gosh! Media Copywriter
Search Engine Marketing guide SearchEngineWatch.com reports that Google has at last suspended accounts running AdWords scam programmes. A large number of these 'get rich quick' AdWords schemes have come to light, with scam victims filling the pages of relevant web forums, seeking advice on how to recover lost money.
Late last month, renowned author and founder of the SEOBook website, Aaron Wall, called on Google to take action on PPC ads promoting bogus moneymaking schemes that suggest a misrepresented affiliation with Google. The scams – notably, Google Money Tree, which has no link whatsoever with Google – had been running in AdWords during various searches, tempting Internet users with the offer of making cash by arbitraging search and reselling basic information that can be found on line for free.
Google has now written to the scammers with the following message:
"It's come to our attention that you have submitted ads that promote Google Money Tree or ads that promote a misrepresented affiliation with Google. Due to multiple complaints from our users and publishers, we've made the decision not to accept these ads. This is a notification that your account has been suspended due to the submission of these ads and your ads will no longer run on Google. Please note that future accounts you open will also be suspended."
Google is reportedly targeting not only the Google-branded scams but also other potential scams advertised through the Google AdWords system. This rather tardy action comes after the US Federal Trade Commission's lawsuit, announced July 1st, against companies trying to take advantage of people by offering everything from non-existent jobs to phony grants, investments and moneymaking schemes. The FTC accused Google Money Tree of getting consumers to divulge account information with promises that a $3.88 kit could help them earn $100,000 in six months, yet without revealing the fact that signing up for the kit automatically triggered monthly charges of $72.21.
Unfortunately, Google's action seems to have created some more victims. In a post on the AdWords Help Experts site, Kim Clinkunbroomer notes that there are a number of angry members visible in the AdWords help forum, many of whom claim not to have been aware that the affiliate programme they signed up for was a scam. What's more, some other traders appear to have been caught in error, with a number of complaints from advertisers claiming that they are not promoting anything remotely resembling a moneymaking scheme.
Gosh! Media welcomes this long overdue action from Mountain View and urges Internet users to remember that old adage, "There's no such thing as a free lunch" – or, for that matter, a really cheap lunch!