Searching Beyond the Paid

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Google Adwords Domain Traffic: The Discussion Continues

Back in December, I posted the news that Google Adwords was now allowing site exclusion for parked domains - sort of. AdWordsRep came in with the official word that site exclusion for domain parking was indeed available on both the content network and the search network. However, it appears this may not be working the way PPC marketers thought it would work.

There's a great thread at Search Engine Watch forums called "Adwords for Domains Garbage Traffic." The thread was actually started in Decembe 2005, but it was revived a couple of weeks ago by poster ApogeeWebLLC. For one thing, ApogeeWeb and others have found that attempts to exclude sites like "searchportal.information.com" have not stopped Adwords traffic from that referrer. This is disconcerting.

Others have asked about conversion rates on domain-parked traffic, to which I replied that yes, we do get conversions from some of these - with the emphasis on some. Some of the domain traffic is awful - which is why I keep asking (begging?) for exclusion at the site level, network-wide.

Also, ApogeeWeb posted a link to his free tool which parses out the actual referring site from the content network. So instead of seeing "pagead2.googlesyndication.com", you can get at the actual referring site. I haven't tried the tool, because it's complicated and I haven't had time, but it looks pretty cool.

Today, I noticed a new development in our referral analysis from Atlas. Starting sometime in January, we've been getting traffic from:

domains.googlesyndication.com

What the heck is that? SEW forum moderator Discovery and I surmise that Google may be trying to add a classification for domain traffic, distinct from Search and Content. Is that the case? Or is this another attempt by Google to cloak or mask their traffic and make it less transparent? And why is this such a touchy area for Google? They've been responsive to click fraud accusations, trademark complaints (TOO responsive on that one, if you ask me), and numerous other advertiser requests - why is this domain thing shrouded in mystery? Why the silence and backpedaling on the part of Google?

I think I know the answer: BIG MONEY. I believe there is huge money being made on this traffic. In fact, I bet it makes click fraud revenue look like yesterday's pocket change. I know we pay for a lot of clicks from stuff like this, and it's not all good.

Keep watching - I feel this is going to be a hot topic for a while to come.

1 Comments:

  • domains.googlesyndication.com is the url you will get when the click originates from a Google parked domain. Google has a program named AdSense for domains, where people with "a large number of domains" can have Google park it, and serve the ads. I have written an article regarding this program on our blog. As far as I know, there is no other way than to manually exclude the sites when you find them. Our company offers a tool to easily detect and exclude the bad content sites.

    Bernard Gallet
    President, Adisem.com

    By Blogger Bernard, at 3:15 PM EST  

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