Google Adwords Rip-Off

Every business wants a 1st place ranking on Google. More leads and more business, what business wouldn’t be tempted by that.

Before Google’s advertising program ‘Adwords’ appeared on the scene, creating a Google friendly website and targeting the free organic listing was the only option. In stepped Adwords, this offered businesses the opportunity for a page 1 ranking in no time at all, albeit a paid option.

Google Adwords sample listing
(The adwords listings appear in the red boxes, the organic listings in the Google box)

Now Adwords management companies can deliver first page results and plenty offer a great service in doing so.

However over the last couple of years I’ve spoken to quite a few people and clients that have been offered Adwords management and 1st page rankings from companies claiming they are somehow associated with Google, and are authorised Adwords resellers when clearly they aren’t. The sales pitch is misleading and the service that they offer although it sounds like a great deal isn’t quite as good as it seems.

The pitch usually includes:

1. First page on Google permanently over the duration of the contract

2. Unlimited clicks for the traffic that will go through your website

3. 24 hour, 7 days a week listing.

4. Buy in bulk keyword offers

Number 4 is a falsehood, and if you’ve a daily budget then the others are clearly untrue as well.

I was recently speaking with someone who ran a campaign with one of these companies.

Google Reseller

He was originally offered 5 keywords for £99 pounds for the 1st month and a small set-up fee of £30. For good measure an additional keyword was thrown in and the set-up fee waived.

The cost of the clicks came out of the £99, which was a nice sweetener. But hold on isn’t there an obvious conflict of interests here? the less clicks you have the more money they make.

The keywords were also very low competition and the number of search also very low.

I had a look at the report and what’s interesting is that atleast 4 of the keywords were pure rubbish, not just long tail keyword but non-existant terms that would never drive more than a couple of people to the site over the course of a year. The 2 major keywords according to Google estimates could be in position 1-3 for 4p, and with only 4 or 5 ads showing for those terms a top 3 placement isn’t going to break the bank. In fact if there was more than a few pounds of traffic through the pay per click adwords I’d be absolutely amazed.

When I had a look at the report, I noticed that nowhere does it mention clicks, it actually mentions impressions!

In the print in the email with the report it states ‘Impressions are the number of people that have actually seen your advert in google.co.uk’.

So when someone does a search on one of those 5/6 keyword terms that counts as an impression even though there’s no click thru to the site. It’s all bull.

With impressions for the month just over 100, even with a click thru rate of 5% that’s 5 clicks. Looking at Google Analytics for the main term and the only one that has a change of driving any traffic at all there was just 5 clicks, and the time spent on the website was minimal.

The report also noted that the terms were exact match, and that extensive keyword research had been conducted (ha ha).

It sounds like a good deal to an unsuspecting client but it’s Limited Adwords without the keyword research, campaign management and accountability.

I understand that for a £99 pound Adwords campaign the company can’t promise the earth, and that they have their costs, but atleast some amount of honesty and visibility might not be too much to ask for. The value the client was getting was also very poor.

You can find a list of authorised Google Adwords Resellers here.

Interestingly when you conduct a search on the name of one of these companies a listing comes up for from Google to ‘use an authorised’ reseller.

Use a Google Authorised Reseller



36 Responses to “Google Adwords Rip-Off”

  1. Richard HearneNo Gravatar Says:

    I think there’s some very high level activity over at Google in response to this particular company. They’ve also featured in a number of press stories about their sales techniques and false claims. Here’s some background on other similar companies – http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters/thread?tid=5a04565d4afe39d7&hl=en – and there are quite a few private threads going on about this issue.

    Also try searching google news for matchmaker – http://news.google.com/news?pz=1&ned=us&hl=en&q=matchmaker+marketing

    Rgds
    Richard

  2. MichaelNo Gravatar Says:

    Richard, they certainly seem to be causing quite a stir. Here’s another couple of posts http://www.irishbusinesswomen.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=12530
    http://www.ukbusinessforums.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=88096

  3. HermanNo Gravatar Says:

    Interesting post, keep the good stuff coming, good content appreciated!

  4. David HopkinsNo Gravatar Says:

    Very interesting. I have heard a lot about these AdWords resellers in the forums. Thought they would probably be bad news. It is easy enough for people to manage their own Adwords account with a bit of training.

  5. MichaelNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi David,

    With a bit of training website owners could certainly get more value for their money than the poor service that many of these companies are providing.

    How hard could it be to set up and run a 5 keyword phrase campaign, fire everything at the homepage and do no or very little conversion testing, monitoring, reporting and so.

    They can get away with it as sounds like a great deal ‘Page 1 of Google….in minutes’ and the client is non the wiser.

  6. Jordan McClementsNo Gravatar Says:

    Michael, I have heard from at least 2 other people who have been taken on by a very similar scam. In this case it was ‘Lavora Search Marketing’.
    (And they were surprised when it generated no new business for them in the first month!)

  7. MichaelNo Gravatar Says:

    Yes I’ve read a few forum posts about the company that you mention.
    All sounds good to those that don’t know any better, but dig deeper and it’s not quite the offer that is promised.

  8. Johan whiteNo Gravatar Says:

    I have worked for this kind of companies and just wanted to add a new one on the market: storm media in spain. be aware….

  9. Matthew RochfordNo Gravatar Says:

    We have used Storm Media – they ripped us off for £364 and only got us 5000 IMPRESSIONS (in one month), I couldn’t believe how bad they were and how stupid I was!

  10. Roger OverNo Gravatar Says:

    I had a sales pitch vie telephone out of Span from a guy called Reggie from StormMedia.eu They tried to say they were an Authorised Google Reseller. I asked them to prove it and they backed away very quickly saying that anyone with a Google account could claim to be a Google reseller. I then read their terms and conditions. Google is not mentioned anywhere. I then ran their terms and conditions through copyscape. Very interesting results 🙂 If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

  11. Mark - SEO SheffieldNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi Michael, great article. I’ve tracked it on my blog so my readers can take note – valuable read.

    http://blog.thedesignloft.co.uk

  12. £99 Google Adwords Reseller Scam - Are Your Clients Affected? | The Design Loft Says:

    […] out Michael’s Google AdWords Rip-Off article for the full breakdown of his […]

  13. MichaelNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi Philip,

    Sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately you’ve gotta be on the ball with some disreputable companies.

  14. JohanNo Gravatar Says:

    Watch Out!!!!!!
    Stormmedia changed company’s name!!!!
    BAMBOO-MEDIA. web site:bamboo-media.net –
    same people -same rip off- moved out but still in Spain same area. News to be spread in order to prevent them to carry on with the missales. Johan

  15. Nina GreavesNo Gravatar Says:

    My advice is to try adwords yourself by popping into SEO forums for advice and learn from scratch with a small budget as a trial. It really is easy. Otherwise, try contacting an independent SEO consultant not a large company who are hell bent on targets and ripping people off when they have no idea about the difference between organic search and paid search (PPC)

    I have spent time reading about these guys on the internet and I was shocked over and over again with the response. I will be linking to this article thank you for taking the time to write this.

  16. MichaelNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi Nina,

    Thanks for the comments, just had a sneaky look at your blog and it looks interesting. Will pop back for a good read.

    cheers,
    Michael.

  17. Will WilliamsNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi Michael,
    Good to create awareness on this subject. I wrote a similar page on my site (http://www.willwilliamsmarketing.co.uk/adwords-marketing/the-adwords-cold-calling-companies). I even had some angry calls from the companies in question – who I gladly argued with. They have really interfered with the publics perception of AdWords – relentless cold calling has left people associating AdWords with something tacky and dishonest – which is a shame.
    Best regards,
    Will

  18. Johnny BravoNo Gravatar Says:

    just spoke to http://www.bamboo-media.net and doing a whois lookup shows that they are infact storm media, incidently they actually deny that they are affiliated with them although their websites are almost identical and both registered to storm media (alarm bells), the spanish manger(woman) on the phone was extremely bolshey and arrogant when i confronted her, i was transfered after a rather well spoken english phone sales person didnt know what to say after i bought up “scam”. They where also reluctant to give me a companys address or vat number, the woman infact said that i didnt even need their vat number at all. :S lol. Its a good job i researched about the company before i got trapped, it seems they do offer you the first place google adwords for a while from what ive read but then make it very difficult for you to end the inital 30 day contract.

  19. Matthew RochfordNo Gravatar Says:

    Yesterday I had a call from “Platform Media” offering google positions. They sounded dodgy and very Storm Media like. I asked her if they where related to Storm Media, she said no. Same con though.

  20. BobNo Gravatar Says:

    If they call, ask for a price on the keywords ‘storm media adwords ripoff, SEO snake oil’ for your new anti scammers blog. Simple.

  21. IanNo Gravatar Says:

    Great article, I work for one of the 7 authorised resellers in the UK and help SMB’s generate business locally with a solid ROI based PPC strategy. I’ve met so many business owners that have been sucked in to the type of product you’re talking about. Unfortunately, the “top of Google” marketers are draining the PPC credibility from the small business owner…once bitten, twice shy and all that. By the way the link to the authorised reseller list has changes, you can now find it here: http://www.google.co.uk/intl/en/adwords/reseller/directory.html

  22. JonathanNo Gravatar Says:

    It’s quite easy for these companies to sound confident and convincing on the phone, plus only one month commitment gives people the ‘suck and see’ idea to try it out once so even if they get a month out of each customer they are still making money but providing poor service…which anyone can do once, then you just walk away. The key is to carefully research each of your sales avenues on-line and off-line. A mixture of approaches will tell you what works best for your money. But getting back to the point – set up your own basic AdWords campaign first is a good idea and you can set your own budget. Ease yourself into the whole concept and learn a little. Take note of the 7 current offical resllers for AdWord campaigns folks! Thanks Mr Wall for the forum post and background!

  23. loganNo Gravatar Says:

    Ive worked for alotof these companies iv working sales for 5 years im from manchester uk there about 10 major companies in manchester & hundreds setin up each day i worked for jump up media/top spot marketing/ rank right thelist goes on lol
    most of these companies are sales target driven there not in partnership there in compatition with each other lol
    9/10 of them dont have a clue about adwords & saleman are makin a livin so dont blam them there told wot to do when i first entered the industy i believed we were helping business but there not there destroying them .
    there are sum reliable companies out there there not all the same which is a shame coz this sort of behaviour kills off an market. in regard to authorised or credit ressellers most of theses comapnies are now linking qualified indivduals to there company to look more creditable who you gonna trust
    iv now passed one of my adwords test and doing the rest soon & im gonna set up an honest ppc company but wud any1 believe me? doubt it lol

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  25. TracyNo Gravatar Says:

    Here’s another one Jump Up Media.
    The worst thing is I refuse to speak to cold callers at all in my personal life, so why I chose to at the start of my business I wil never know. The truth is a smooth talking guy on the phone with seemingly the answer to my prayers. I should thank them my £99 has paid for my Google Ads education I now have confidence and understanding enough to manage my own Google Ads campaign its also paid for a short sharp lesson, which will not need to be repeated, I receieved a telephone conversation this morning from another cold caller, different scam but I didn’t fall for this one. The real damage to start up business owners is not the money, its the feeling foolish when you realise you’ve been had. Put it behind you, warn as many people as you can through these kinds of sites and then move on.

  26. WatchNo Gravatar Says:

    FYI the link of Google Adwords Resellers does not seem to work any more.

  27. JohanNo Gravatar Says:

    hi, its me again..last news on the costa del sol!
    bamboo Media changed again its name with Online revolution..same people..same rip off the thing is they are working only woith France and spain and I dont know how to post a blog for the future tempted customers there…could some one help me? they will never stop…itys incredible…a big very big rip off

  28. MichaelNo Gravatar Says:

    Thomas, I presume this is Adwords rather than SEO.
    It always helps to have you own Google Adwords account, so that you can view your account, see what your paying for, what the management fees are, how often there are updates to the account etc.

  29. lisaNo Gravatar Says:

    I was silly enough to do business with Jump Up Media, their cleverly worded sales spiel led me to believe i was talking to google themselves at first. The salesman then told me they deal with ‘all googles page 1 allocations’ but after further research this would seem to be a complete fabrication and in fact what they are offering is nothing more than an adwords campaign anyone can set up for a fraction of their £99 plus VAT and a ‘google activation fee’. Jump up media hounded me for 2 days to fill his ‘exclusive allocation’ however when i wanted to contact their customer service dept in order to cancel my service with them they were rather elusive to say the least, telling me they will call me back asap on numerous occasions. Avoid dealing with jump up media at all costs, save yourself a lot of money and just set up your own campaign with google directly.

  30. Happy ChappyNo Gravatar Says:

    Jump up Media – miss sold me Google Ad words. Shame I didn’t see this before. Basically they lied about the service. I had to contact them 17 times before they would give a call back – and then only because I said I wanted to cancel. A sales rep tried to peswade me to take more services – when I told him I just want to ensure I don’t auto renew and know who to complain to. He got rude and shirty – told me he didn’t need to tell me anything and he would cancel my advert with immediate effect (and hung up). So basically the’ve already taken full payment for an advert – which they don’t need to pay for (as he cancelled it). AVOIED “Jump up Media” the’re just sell hard through lies. No service support behind that. I also contacted Google Ad words – and they simply say they’re not respondible for any of their “Approved suppliers” all that means is they’ve bought some training from Google. Can’t be right can it ?

  31. taylorboyd1No Gravatar Says:

    I had a terrible experience with this Jump Up Media who cold called me and were very nice but rushed me into buying key phrase advertising on google and a website and every subsequent call I made was met by rude sarcasm and nastiness, when I complained I was met by more rude sarcastic comments. When I called to cancel I was put on hold for lengthy periods with no sensitive apology and when I voiced my concern about previous rude comments I was met by more. I asked not to be called by the company again, to which the customer services advisor retorted something about me being ‘snotty’ so I promptly hung up and hope NEVER to come across them again! Please, please avoid this company!!!!! They really upset me as well as took £300 for nothing! I can’t believe I was taken in I am usually really careful!

  32. PoppyNo Gravatar Says:

    Have just been scammed by Jump Up Media ie Talking Fast Ltd. I agreed to 6 months of search optimisation, then 6 months later got a call demanding £148 for a further 6 months as I hadn’t cancelled a self-renewing contract. When I refused to pay, they were very abusive, said they were immediately adding £300 costs, 8% daily interest and were taking me to court – very distressing.

  33. Oliver J.S McMullenNo Gravatar Says:

    I had a call from these people today. They claimed they were Google UK partners and could get me number one placing on Google’s search engine and would also design a website for me. All to good to be true of course. They talked me into giving my payment details. But when they put me on hold – presumably so they could get hold of my money – I started to look them up on the web. As soon as “Calum Jones” came back I told him I had changed my mind as I felt I was being rushed. He then passed me off to another very aggressive character who kept telling me not to interrupt him. I quickly realised this was just another pressure technique and hung up. I immediately contacted my bank – too late to stop the payment – but hopefully they will be able to get my money back,

  34. james blackberryNo Gravatar Says:

    Any mention of unlimited clicks or Google Reseller = Fraud. Their staff have no idea how google adwords works. Google has nothing to do with this company. Steer clear.

  35. Elliott WarrenNo Gravatar Says:

    Just had a call from someone offering the same service. €210 for the month. Didn’t catch name of the company but sounds like Jump Up Media as described by previous posters. So be aware they are still out there scamming.

  36. CABGNo Gravatar Says:

    Had a message on my Answer-phone 4 days ago from Jump-up Media demanding a sum of £475.31, ‘due since 23rd September ‘ and that as I was avoiding them, a daily rate Interest of 8.5% would be added since that date. The matter would be passed to Debt Collection.

    Having paid for a year’s service initially, I said told them that I would like to cancel the agreement as I had not noticed any benefit. The card Inhad used had been cancelled due to unrelated fraudulent activity, so they were unable to draw money and I thought that was the end of the matter.

    I had this same exact call from the same man 6months ago, who frightened me so much that I eventually paid up. For nothing! I Could not believe what he was saying, never having received an Invoice, a Statement of Account, or a request for monthly payments.
    Nothing in writing, is there a reason?

    Now he is back for more! I tool legal advice, was told this was a serious Scam, informed the Police so that the matter us now on record.
    I am now trying to let anyone who might investigate the Company know what an illegal operation it is, involved in criminal demans for Money with Menace.

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Michael Wall

Michael Wall is an experienced web developer based in Belfast N.Ireland currently running his own web design company.

Michael Wall is available for Internet Marketing, Google Adwords PPC and SEO work. Please call Belfast 02890 225729 or use the contact form.

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