An article in Search Engine Land today describes how “Ask.com Plays The Google AdWords Arbitrage Game“:
Rather than promoting its own product (as with the Cashback example), or drumming up some incremental searches for its site (as with the apples example, or by saying something like “New Hampshire Hotels? Try Ask.com For Better Results”), Ask is using specific text to make you think you can conduct and conclude a purchase at their web site, when you cannot. Instead, what you are far more likely to do is click on a Google ad that Ask carries, earning Ask money (and almost certainly more money than they paid to get your click from Google).
It’s clever, though pretty clearly in violation of Google’s AdWords policy. And at best it strikes me as a short-term play: it will annoy users–that is, if Google doesn’t shut this down sooner. But I am morbidly fascinated by this race to the bottom in the online advertising business.
2 replies on “AdWords Arbitrage”
We wanted you to know that this was an isolated incident that was incorrectly managed by one of our SEM agencies. We’ve already taken proactive steps to eliminate it and to ensure that this doesn’t occur again. Our policy is to have our ad creative provide a clear and accurate description of the search results that are generated for each and every query. Thanks, Jennifer
Jennifer, thanks for the clarification, and kudos for rapidly addressing the incident.