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Called Google AdWords Support (866.246.6453). Was connected to a customer service rep almost immediately. Faster than I had anticipated. “Andrea E.” confirmed that my particular issue was atypical. Words to the effect that she hadn’t come across this particular issue before. She also addressed the perpetual “Under Review” issue. She mentioned the 1-3 day promise, but when she accessed my account she saw that these ads had been “Under Review” for weeks.
Hello David, Thank you for calling regarding ad scheduling and your ad reviews. I do have an update on both issues for you. Ad Scheduling: I talked to a specialist on our team and they have reset your time zone to Pacific Time as it was before. If you could please try using the Ad Scheduler again and let us know if it works. If you continue to have issues we can investigate this further but we would need your permission to try to recreate this problem in your account. This would require making some changes to the Ad Scheduler in your account. If this is the case and you would like to give us permission, simply respond to this email stating so. Ad Review: I have submitted a request to the Ad Review team to let me know the status of your review process. As soon as I have an answer from them I will let you know. Sincerely, Andrea E. Google AdWords Team
Is Google Too Big To Care?
I’d been a Google fan for years. I had set it as my homepage, tried all the apps, talked it up to my friends and when I began transitioning into SEO work, I gobbled up as much of the voluminous free info that my pea brain could hold.
There are a multitude of reasons why Google has become the financial behemoth it is today, not the least of which is AdWords. AdWords, of course, is the Pay-per-Click web advertising tool Google offers.
Earlier this month I started a new ad campaign. I’d been working with AdWords for years. It took maybe an hour to create the campaign and come up with approximately 15 text ads.
Is It A Bump In The Road, Or A Rod In My Spokes?
Six of the Ads are “Under Review”, no problem I think, so I head over to the help page and read that Ads typically take 1-3 days to get approved. I can live with that I think…
1 WEEK LATER…
I wasn’t rushed to get this campaign online, so I figured before I spent anymore time on it, I’d let the ads get approved. Still “Under Review”? Okay, a little disappointing, but I’ll tweak the campaign a little and get started anyway.
First thing is to schedule when I want the ads to run.
The message says I can’t schedule ad placement until I set my time zone in billing preferences.
So I figure, “damn, how’d I miss that”, scratching my head…
I DIDN’T MISS IT!!
Over the course of the next several hours I begin the arduous and ultimately unsatisfying task of trying to get an obvious Google screw up fixed.
Typically you’d expect a “Contact” page would provide you, the paying customer, an opportunity to actually CONTACT the business. Especially if it’s a technical issue in which the customer has no control.
Google’s “Contact” (in the loosest possible sense) page does not have email addresses, phone numbers, instant chats nor even a stupid form to that goes directly to Google.
No, instead they have a “Forum”. Now granted, I acknowledge that most of the time this method to solve simple problems is sufficient.
BUT NOT IN MY CASE!
2 WEEKS LATER….
Still “Under Review”?!? What? Really?
Now I’m getting angry. The putrid answers I received to my “Forum” queries directed me back to the beginning of the Help gauntlet. Huh?! Are You Not Listening? Did you not read what I asked? It was fricking Rod Serling-esque.
With a little digging, you can find a number to call, check out this post:
And I’ll update this post after I attempt to contact this horrible example of American business customer service.
Google WILL DIE if it continues to treat it’s customers in this manner. I have begun using BING and YAHOO, although heretofore I’d abhorred using anything Microsoft-related because of the inherent frustration due to their forced proprietary strategy.
But at least they run my ads.
“There’s a sucker born every minute” – unattributable
So, the guy said my site would get page one google results in one month. I said “AWESOME”, I need that kind of exposure. I sat back and started fantasizing about the millions I was going to rake in.
I mean C’mon, there are nearly 7 Billion potential customers at my fingertips. I don’t need all of them, even half of one percent will make me rich, and surely I can attract that with page one results!!
Yeah, that’s it, that’s the ticket, one-half of one percent of internet users. All I need is page one search results….
Three months, six months, a year – Why isn’t the money rolling in?
So the truth is a geek can spout off a litany of technological terms, and you’ll smile and nod, and have no idea what the f**k he/she just said.
Don’t feel bad, you’re in the majority.
This new type of marketing your business, which becomes more important everyday, is still completely foreign to most.
The funny thing is, that even though it’s a new language (and it is global), the principles that drive the success are the same basic, good practices business approach that people have been using for centuries. There really isn’t anything new under the sun.
The Problem is (and typically is) that scammers have identified yet another way to separate you from your money with very little effort. At this juncture in the evolution of internet marketing, John Q. Public is clueless. That will change, eventually, but what do you do in the meantime?
I’ve been asked numerous times about how to obtain Operating System (OS) software for free. Here’s how:
Be forewarned, we are treading on morally and/or legally questionable ground here and taking advantage of this particular technology has the propensity to infect your machine with all kinds of ugly little beasts if you’re not careful.
In a classic application of the “Good News/Bad News” cliche, let’s explore…
The Good News
You’ll be able to download, install and enjoy almost any software, movie, music or other digital property for free. With few exceptions, I’ve found every application I could ever use, for Windows and Macintosh, and thousands upon thousands of movie titles, music albums, audio books, photographs, etc.
The good news is easy, next;
The Bad News
The nature of this type of technology is questionable. Many, namely the major movie studios, record companies and software distributors, consider it illegal.
The technology is peer-to-peer (P2P) and started with applications like Napster, Kazaa, Morpheus and Limewire. Bittorrent is considered the 3rd generation of P2P and is not only more efficient, but also more elusive from a legal standpoint.
Without getting into too much detail, when you install a bittorrent client, like Vuze, you enable the bittorrent protocol which allows you to download very large files from multiple sources simultaneously. The source of those files do not reside on a server, which would be copyright infringement, but rather on a network consisting of millions of personal computers.
When you initiate a download of a particular file, the protocol searches through the network of computers, locates the file, then downloads the file a small piece at a time from each computer in the network and reassembles them in order after the download has completed. The ambiguous nature of the download presents a challenge, legally, and while there are efforts to close this gap in the law, as of this writing nothing with teeth has come about.
(Please also keep in mind that much of the software downloaded requires serial numbers and activation. Very often the tools required to activate the software are provided with the files. Serial numbers and activation codes can be generated by programs called “Keygens” and files or programs called “Cracks” are also used to make the software fully functional.)
On the face it would seem obvious that downloading a movie you didn’t buy is wrong. But what about software and movies that you have purchased?
There was a time when Microsoft included full-install disks when you bought a computer with Windows installed. With Windows 95 you could install that OS on as many machines as you wanted. As greed and time progressed, less features were offered by the software behemoth, and now if you’re hard drive fails and you only want to replace that, you conceivably are forced to purchase another OS disk from Microsoft.
So the morality of P2P is subjective, and many industry techies not only endorse using it, many use it themselves.
Virus, Trojans, Questionable Material
The last caveat is the sites where torrents are available. They are often cluttered with ads for pornography and a good percentage of the files themselves are either infected with little nasties or are fake downloads to begin with.
Should you decide to try this out, Demonoid is the safest place to do it. In the beginning you could only register on Fridays, but this seems to have loosened up a bit. Demonoid does not allow pornography, nor does it advertise pornographic sites or products. One really great feature about Demonoid is the comments sections.
Before you embark on a torrent download, read the comments section to see if it works, and whether or not there are any virus’ or trojans associated with the files.
Pirate Bay has a rich history of scoffing at legal threats from the largest corporations in the world. Go HERE to read through the letters and responses, very funny stuff. Pirate Bay has lost some of it’s luster since the original owners sold the company to a Swedish software firm, but at least you don’t have to pay for the service.
Isohunt, Btjunkie and hundreds of other tracker sites is where you’re exposed to porno ads and a higher probability of infecting your machine with above mentioned nasties. To add insult to injury, many of these sites want you to buy a subscription so that essentially you are paying for what they got for free.
If I bought a computer with Windows installed on it and something happened that required I reinstall the Operating System, I am not given the proper tools to correct the problem. As we Windows users are well aware, updates, patches and security fixes are a regular part of our computing experience. It is also well known that the Windows OS gets messed up after regular use.
Since Microsoft admits, by insisting on constant updates, that their product is flawed, why do they not include a full install disk with your purchase?
The simple answer is that they don’t have to, because they monopolize the market. They force us to either re-purchase the OS or seek other means to obtain it. Installing Vuze and downloading the OS from Demonoid is one other way to obtain it.
Convenience, and pursuit thereof, will ultimately kill us all. Well, either that or incessant safety measures.
But online purchases are more than just convenient, they will also save you money when properly executed. Problem is, there’s always a catch. Within any relatively new market there are the naive newbies and the bottom-feeding exploiters effortlessly extricating the hard-earned cash from their doughy fingertips. In reality, both have co-existed throughout history and this is simply, bluntly a different medium.
With that in mind, how do you buy stuff online and not get ripped off?
FACTS, UNSETTLING AND OTHERWISE
The Big Guys
Target, Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, etc., are large, well-known corporations with corporate offices located somewhere, so when buying from one of those guys, chances are you’ll get what you paid f or with some degree of certainty and some kind of warranty attached. These guys have been at it so long and are so big that their brand of deception is 5 moves ahead of what most of us think is sly.
The thing to watch out for with them (not necessarily the ones listed above) is indirect. Newsletters, product alerts and other sneaky spammies like the cookies they dropped on your machine whilst you were transacting with them, special offers or check boxes that sign you up for stuff you never wanted and could get billed for later.
Nobody reads the TOS (Terms of Service) agreements, I mean c’mon, those things are purposely dry, boring and insufferably long specifically for that reason. But, those aren’t the problem. I’m telling you to watch out for special discount offers and anything else that either requires leaving the page you’re currently on to confirm, or 3rd party software in sneaky check boxes you miss as you excitedly click-through the prompts. PAY ATTENTION.
And for goodness sake, clean your cookies regularly (the cookies those sites dropped onto your machine are transmitting your web surfing history data as we speak, no lie). For more info on the discount scam checkout Clark Howard’s report.
The Wild West
Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, and a growing number of sites just like ’em present a whole different set of potentially hazardous circumstances. First, there are no guarantees. I don’t care what the text says, the truth is, you don’t really know where they are, who they are or how far they will go to reach into your wallet or purse. You don’t know whether they are on the up-and-up, scammers or in some cases even worse.
That being said, I’ve probably made hundreds of purchases online and have NEVER been disappointed. Below are a few simple rules to follow:
eBay & Amazon
The sellers are you and me and there is very little you can do in the way of recourse should you experience mild or even extreme dissatisfaction with the purchase. The fate of your investment rests solely on the seller. Preemptive strategy is mandatory.
- Research the item – Google new and used price estimates and model numbers. Match your info with the item that’s listed and any pictures that may be available.
- Don’t buy large ticket items that are out of driving range – It’s a lot like gambling, so if the item is worth more than you care to lose, make sure you can drive to where the item is supposed to be located.
- Don’t buy anything from a different country – Look, if it’s a $5 pair of headphones and the seller has made hundreds of sales, big deal, go for it. But there are a lot of fakes out there, and I’m not pointing any fingers but lots of them come from China and Japan.
- Check the sellers history – How many sales have they made? What’s their rating? Read comments from previous customers.
- Try to communicate with the seller – Ask a specific question about the item. If they don’t get back to you in a reasonable amount of time, or they give some funky answer, well…that’s a red flag.
Craigslist is one of my favorites. They’ve kept the site simple and the ads are either free or very affordable. However, in that the ads are free and there is virtually no accountability nor qualitative measures taken to verify a sellers veracity or even identity, the risks here are greater.
Actual verbal conversations with sellers here are highly recommended.
Again, ask specific questions about the item.
Be very, very careful with items that cost beyond several hundred dollars. Look, you’ve got a bunch of cash in your pocket and you’re meeting up with a total stranger.
As a Craigslist seller, don’t bring the buyer to your actual residence. Arrange to meet them in a familiar public place, preferably with plenty of people around and in the daylight.
As a seller, don’t take checks and look carefully at the bills you’re getting. Counterfeiting does still exist, here’s an article about what to look out for.
Do some cyberstalking. There’s nothing wrong with Googling a name or email address to see if you can find out who you might be dealing with.
There are some great “safe” sites to purchase from as well. For anything computer/tech related – Newegg.com and Microcenter are two of my favorites. Both have detailed information about specs and Newegg’s customers regularly leave comments about the items.
Generally, a business that has a physical, traceable address is a good sign and using Google Street View you can even see what the building looks like in many cases.
Again, cyberstalking comes in handy here, google the name of the business and add, “scam” or “rip-off” or something similar to the search term and see what you come up with.
Stay local when possible. Obviously companies that are local are preferable geographically speaking, but oft times especially with larger companies, items are warehoused in different locations. However, you can still drive to the store or business should issues arise.
THE GOOD NEWS
Purchasing online will save you in time, money or both. The overhead for online stores is significantly less and in most cases the savings are passed on to you. Security encryption is improving, but you don’t have to use your bank account or credit card if that freaks you out.
Paypal ( a subsidiary of eBay) has been a trusted online payment option since 2000. You do link a credit card or bank account with a Paypal account, however when purchasing an item, the seller has no access to your personal accounts. They only see the Paypal account.
Green Dot Prepaid Cards – Relatively new, you can buy or add cash to a Green Dot prepaid card and use it for purchases and it’s like paying cash online. No personal information whatsoever. A great option for those concerned about exposing personal data on the internet.
Overall, with the proper precautions in place, purchasing online is a great way to buy. No pressure from salespeople, no driving and tons of information and reviews.
Just be smart about it and use some common sense.