A C|Net writer pointed me in the direction of a thread at WebmasterWorld named AdRank, Affiliate Marketers and Max CPC. In that thread, a disgruntled AdWords customer discusses his disappointment with a sudden drop in rankings due to the new AdWords formula. Basically, like when you change your ads in anyway your CTR figures are wiped out, thus affecting your overall rankings in AdWords. When the new program launched, many AdWords customers that secured strong positions in the sponsored results, lost those results in a matter of a second. This particular AdWords pro, did everything he can to improve those results, even bumped up his CPC prices to $100, but it didnt work. Why?
One suggestion is that a Google AdWords employee is competing against him and is privy to the secret sauce of the new AdWords formula. Personally, I highly doubt this is good for Google and Google would allow a person internally with that level of information to use AdWords - bottom line, it is evil. But not all agree with me in the thread. To make matters worse, the way the official Google AdWords representation, AdWordsAdvisor, replied initially [[msg#19], got people really thinking, that it can be a possibility.
By policy, AdWords employees may certainly have AdWords accounts. Please rest assured, however, that they are thoroughly monitored and governed by a list of requirements as long as your arm - designed to ensure no conflict of interest.
AdWordsAdvisor then followed up [msg#50] with a more detailed explanation on policy, including;
* In order to understand the AdWords system from the advertiser's perspective, sometimes AdWords employees are AdWords advertisers. I do believe it is really important for folks who are designing and supporting a system to be users of that system, and this serves to substantially improve the product.
* Not every AdWords employee is an advertiser, however, by a long shot. Contrary to the impression that I seem to have given, it is not policy that employees must have an account. Policy merely allows for it, for employees who wish to know the product inside and out.
* What I didn't make clear (and in retrospect, I certainly wish I had) is that the vast majority of such accounts are very small - and amount to test accounts, or 'sample' accounts as slamthunderhide called them.
* A literal handful of employees advertise 'for profit', and these accounts are subject to an exceptional level of approval and scrutiny. Employees in this category tend to be people who were AdWords advertisers before they were AdWords employees - and they continue to advertise under strict guidelines and oversight. Evidently bttmfeed met one such advertiser at a merchant meeting.
* No employee advertising on AdWords, regardless of level, is able to 'beat the system' in some way. They advertise on the very same system, and are subject to the very same guidelines and policies.
* I do regret the level of upset that my comments have caused, and I've painfully learned something about the danger of posting on the fly towards the end of a long day.
To close, I am aware that simply saying that we are an ethical company will not convince everyone. Frankly, I know it won't. But as someone who has spent on average 12 hours a day at AdWords for more than three years, I am deeply familiar with what goes on here - and I know that we operate with ethics as a touchstone. And, while I know that many will remain unconvinced, I do stand behind that.
But you can see from the thread members are still not happy with Google AdWords employees having accounts. But what about Google employees running Web sites, like Matt Cutts and having his page rank #2 for bacon polenta in a matter of days. ;) It is a tough position, should AdWords employees have AdWords accounts?
My thoughts, keep the ranking formula privy to a select few engineers and those engineers do not have rights to start an AdWords account (they should get paid well enough not to discuss it). Have strict policy for AdWords employees (which they say they do) whom have AdWords accounts. Personally, I think there is nothing to these allegations, but I have no way to prove either way.