Is Google an AdWords Hypocrite?

By Steve Bryant  |  Posted 2006-07-24 Print this article Print

Google wants advertisers to clean up their landing pages, even though the company is cluttering parked domains with ads. What gives?

Earlier this month, Google made changes to the way AdWords values landing pages. Google made the changes to combat MFA (made for AdSense) sites that attempted to garner clicks by gaming Google's search. Some keywords increased in value, effectively pricing would-be MFA click-fraud spammers out of the market.

Some Webmasters bemoan those changes, saying Google's sweeping changes erroneously affected some legitimate sites and advertisers and leading another form of SEO spam to reappear: scraper sites.  Others say Google's changes are a much-needed salve for the contextual ad market, which is losing 15 percent of its business to click fraud. And a recent independent report (PDF) on Google's click-fraud efforts says Google's overall efforts to combat click fraud are reasonable.

So what to make of Google's AdSense for Domains program, then?

One well-trafficked blogger is crying foul that Google--which argued that Webmasters needed to increase the quality of their landing pages--has partnered with GoDaddy to place ads on parked domain pages. (Parked pages are pages shown on domains that are not in use.)

To some, those ad-laden pages decrease the user's experience, thus giving the lie to Google's moralizing about user experience and landing-page quality. Others point to the fact that ads on parked domains have a high click-through rate.

The argument comes down to a single question: Who defines user experience? Google, or Web search users?

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel