Google Adlinks: Selling User Trust on Bait and Switch Targeting

I have not tested Google Adlinks on many of my sites much, but there are other sites that talk about me in threads.

I was sorta curious how Google picked "Aaron Wall SEO Book" as a link topic and wanted to see what ads they display for it.

I have so many relevancy points for those types of searches:

  • I rank #1 for either phrase or them both together

  • My conversion rate for those searches is amazing and I have Google Analytics enabled so they know how amazingly high the conversion rates are.
  • If you search for either of those phrases (or the phrases together) I am at worst #2 on AdWords (am typically #1).
  • I have AdSense content ads enabled with a wide variety of those types of terms in it and am nowhere near my daily budget on that ad campaign

and yet when I clicked that Aaron Wall SEO Book adlink I did not appear in the ad search results. I also clicked the SEO Inc. adlink and their ad was #9 for their own trademark name.

I realize to Google it is all just math, numbers, money-in-the-bank, yada, yada, but if it is wrong for competitors to use trademark terms in ad copy how wrong (and perhaps even a bit unethical really - since search engines want to push the bullshit ethics angle) is it for Google to create adlink searches using trademarked terms to drive them and potentially not list the trademark sites or any editorial search results?

Is that legitimate comparative advertising? What would Sony think if Google delivered Playstation adlinks that delivered ads for nothing but XBox games. What happens if Yahoo! sells a link named Google that leads to transexual porn ads? Where is the line drawn in the sand?

Is everyone that develops a legitimate brand forced into paying Google through the nose for Adlinks on their products or brands so they don't have Google flush their brand equity down the toilet?

I bet if you search around there are probably some interesting adlinks that are complete bait and switch on trademark terms. Is there any cases associated with the liability of doing that? Should there be?

I am a big believer in aggressive advertising, but is it deceptive for Google to use a trademark term in a link to drive a query to a bunch of ads that may have nothing to do with that topic?

How is this Google adlinks technique any better than typosquatting?

Published: January 5, 2006 by Aaron Wall in contextual advertising


January 5, 2006 - 2:39pm

Ouch, busted!

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