Thursday, March 27, 2008

AdWords and AdSense Customer Support: Are Dark Clouds Moving in Over Google

I've written in the past about problems with AdWords customer support, and now I'm having problems with AdSense combined with AdWords.

For those who don't know, AdWords is a service Google offers where users can put ads up on the internet. The most prominent way you see these ads is when you do a search on Google. On the right side and sometimes on the top, you see ads called "Sponsored Links." You can also have your ads display for search results from websites that use a Google search box, and on "content" pages on websites as well. Sites that wish to have such ads can host them through Google's AdSense service. We do this on our traffic court directory. When someone clicks on an ad, the advertiser pays something to Google, and the site owners gets something like half of that money.

Despite occasional complaints, I have generally been very happy with both AdWords and AdSense and recommend both. From my experience, AdWords is the most effective form of paid advertising there is. I've used TV, radio, newspapers, other print publications, and yellow pages. AdSense has been an easy way to generate revenue. For our traffic court website, it is not the most valuable advertising. Directly selling ads to attorneys is more valuable, but it takes significant effort to find advertisers. In places where we do not have advertisers, AdSense ads are somewhat easier and still generate decent revenue. Both AdWords and AdSense have some learning curve to use them effectively, but it's well worth the investment.

Years ago when I first started advertising on Google AdWords, I created an account with an old e-mail address. For no particular reason I continue to use that account for AdSense, even though I stopped using it for AdWords. Recently AdSense has been prompting me to migrate my account to a gmail address. When I try to do so, it indicates that I can't because of something related to my old e-mail address. Thus ensued a lengthy exchange with "support" for both AdSense and then AdWords. Excerpts below, supplemented by comments from me today IN ALLCAPS.

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From: wredlich@gmail.com
Subject: Moving to my gmail address
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2008 08:51:47 -0700

When I log into AdSense it prompts me to merge into my Google Account. I enter my gmail address and password, and then get this message:

"A user with the email you specified already exists Please select a different Google Account login to access this account."

I tried logging into AdSense with my gmail address and it says there's no account.

Help!!

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Hi Warren,

Thanks for your email. I'll be happy to help you update your AdSense login to wredlich@gmail.com.

As wredlich@gmail.com is associated with your AdWords account, I have created a temporary login for your AdSense account - temp+wredlich@gmail.com.

You need to use this special URL to login the first time: ...

Once you have created your password, you would be able to login to your AdSense account immediately at:

https://www.google.com/adsense/premium-login
Login: temp+wredlich@gmail.com
Password: The newly created password

Once you login to your AdSense account using this email address, you can update this temporary login to wredlich@gmail.com using the following instructions.

...

This should successfully update your AdSense login to wredlich@gmail.com.

If you are unable to access your account using your original login or have any trouble transitioning your account, please reply directly to this email.

For additional questions, I'd encourage you to visit the AdSense Help Center ( http://www.google.com/adsense_help ) or the official AdSense blog ( http://adsense.blogspot.com?utm_source=txft ). Alternatively, feel free to post your question on the AdSense Help Forum ( http://groups.google.com/group/adsense-help?utm_source=txft ).

Sincerely, Dia
The Google AdSense Team

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[SEEMED ODD, BUT OKAY, I TRIED]
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... I got a little further and then got this message:

"Sorry, a Gmail address is not allowed to be the primary address of this account. "

Could you guys find some way to make this a little easier? Look. I've got an account -- wredlich@gmail.com. I use it for lots of stuff .... Can you just make my AdSense account work with my gmail account??

Warren

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[HERE'S WHERE IT STARTS GOING DOWNHILL]
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Hi Warren,

Thanks for your email.

Please write back to us with the password that you created for your temporary login (temp+damonpace@gmail.com) and your Google account password for damonpace@gmail.com.

Once I receive your response, I'll update your AdSense login to damonpace@gmail.com.

Sincerely,
Dia The Google AdSense Team

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I don't have an account named damonpace@gmail.com

My account (as you should see from this message) is wredlich@gmail.com

Please confirm that you are paying attention to my situation.

Thanks, Warren

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[NOW 3/17]

Hi Warren,

Thanks for your response. I apologize for the miscommunication in my previous email.

In order to help you update your AdSense login to wredlich@gmail.com, please reply to this email with the password your created for the temporary login - temp+wredlich@gmail.com, and your Google account password. I can then make the change in your AdSense account.

Thanks for your patience.

Sincerely, Dia
The Google AdSense Team

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[3/19]

The password for my temp+wredlich@gmail.com account is [OMITTED]

Please change my warren - at - redlichlaw.com AdSense account over to wredlich@gmail.com.

Thanks, Warren

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Hi Warren,

Thanks for your response. I've updated our system to allow you to change the login.

Please login to your AdSense account with username 'temp+wredlich@gmail.com' and password '[OMITTED]'. Once you have logged in, please follow the steps to migrate your AdSense login to wredlich@gmail.com.

If you would like me to go through this process for you, please send me your Google account password associated with wredlich@gmail.com. I will then update your account.

Sincerely, Dia
The Google AdSense Team

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I got this message:

"A user with the email you specified already exists Please select a different Google Account login to access this account."

This is the same problem I had in the first place. Would you please forward my problem to a supervisor?

It's very frustrating to have this problem mishandled. It's been going on for a week. My website earns Google about $X/month, and I spend around $X/month on AdWords. That puts me up around $XX,000/year or more. Maybe Google should recognize I'm worth having a $50/hour employee take a look at the problem for a half-hour.

Warren

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[NOW 3/20 - AND APPARENTLY BUMPED UP TO A HIGHER LEVEL]

Hi Warren,

Thanks for writing in. Dia forwarded your email to me and asked that I take a look at your account.

I've searched our system and found that you have two AdWords accounts and one AdSense account.

1. Customer ID 638...., with payee name 'The Redlich Law Firm' is associated with the email address wredlich@gmail.com. This is a separate AdWords account.
2. Customer ID 139...., with payee name Warren Redlich is associated with the email address warren - AT - redlichlaw.com. This AdWords account is also linked to an AdSense account with the same login.

I understand that you'd like us to update the login for your AdSense account to wredlich@gmail.com. However as this AdSense account is already associated with another AdWords account, we're unable to update the login to wredlich@gmail.com. Our system doesn't allow two AdWords accounts to have the same login email address.

If you'd like to close your AdWords account with customer ID 638.... or change the login for this account to a different email address, then we can update the login for your second account to wredlich@gmail.com.

Please let us know if you'd like to do this and I'll give you further instructions on how to proceed.

Sincerely, Tony
The Google AdSense Team

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[3/21 - TO ADWORDS CUSTOMER SUPPORT]

Please close the AdWords account associated with warren -AT- redlichlaw.com. I thought I closed that years ago. Once it's closed, please transfer my warren --AT-- redlichlaw.com AdSense account to wredlich@gmail.com.

Thanks, Warren

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[3/26 - FROM "THE GOOGLE ADWORDS TEAM"]

Hello Warren,

Thank you for your email. With reference to the correspondence you have had with the Google AdSense team, we are sorry to hear that you wish to close your AdWords account (login ID warren -AT- redlichlaw.com). However, I wish to inform you that we cannot cancel your AdWords account from our end. You'll have to log in to your account and cancel it yourself.

[DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS OMITTED FOR BREVITY]

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[MY FRUSTRATION STARTS TO SHOW ...]

I just don't understand what is going on with Google these days. I logged into my AdWords account and it shows that it's already canceled.

"Account Cancellation This account is cancelled. Warning This account has been cancelled. The ads in this account are not running. All other account activity has been stopped. Any edits you make here will take effect only if you reactivate the account. "

Why don't you guys check my account before you send me these e-mails.

Can you please bring this issue to the attention of a supervisor? As I said before during my problems with the AdSense team:

> > It's very frustrating to have this problem mishandled. It's been going
> > on for a week. My website earns Google about $X/month, and I spend
> > around $X/month on AdWords. That puts me up around $XX,000/year or
> > more. Maybe Google should recognize I'm worth having a $50/hour
> > employee take a look at the problem for a half-hour.

We're going on 2 weeks of this nonsense. Get someone working on this who knows what they're doing and is willing to put the time in to get it right!!

Warren
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[3/27 - TODAY]

Hello Warren,

Thank you for writing us. I understand that you have already canceled your AdWords account (login ID warren -AT -redlichlaw.com), and I sincerely apologize for any frustration or confusion that my last email may have caused. I wish to confirm that your AdWords account associated with the login ID warren -AT- redlichlaw.com was canceled on January 3, 2006.

Your account with login ID wredlich@gmail.com is still active.

Please reply directly to this email for any further information on AdWords that you may require. Else, please reply to any email by the AdSense team or Dia to get more information on your AdSense account, and how you can link warren -AT- redlichlaw.com AdSense account to wredlich@gmail.com AdWords account.

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[BACK TO ADSENSE - THIS IS THE LAST MESSAGE IN THE CHAIN]

Attn: Tony

In an e-mail on 3/20, you told me to contact AdWords to get my AdWords account for warren -AT- redlichlaw.com. I checked with Adwords support (see below) and then checked my account and found (as I thought) that I had already canceled the warren -at- redlichlaw.com AdWords account.

Since it appears you are unable to resolve this problem, please forward my message to a supervisor.

Frankly, I am disgusted by the quality of customer support on this. You should be too.

Warren

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THAT'S THE END OF THE MESSAGES ... NOW BACK TO OUR REGULAR REPORTING ... :-)

This is just one more example of the problems in large corporations and how they treat regular people. Here I am, a regular customer, and you would think at the levels I spend, a substantial one. I know I'm not Coke or Pepsi, but if I'm generating five-figure revenue per year or more for them, isn't it worth spending $25-50 in labor to resolve the problem. Instead, they've got me bouncing back and forth for two weeks.

This doesn't mean I'm leaving for another company. Overall AdWords and AdSense are better than the alternatives, who probably have crappy customer service too. However, I am prone to some degree of customer loyalty. This experience greatly diminishes that feeling. Sooner or later I will probably find a decent banner ad provider for the website and will dump AdSense. I may reduce my spending on AdWords as well.

These negative experiences suggest that Google is losing touch with its "Don't Be Evil" motto. Not that anything here is evil, but it's still a long way from what you would think the company's founders wanted in how their company would treat people.
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