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Old 6th May 2015, 06:27 PM   #1
bhartzer
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Default Small Biz Owner Says Google Crushed Him

An interesting article about how Google has crushed a small business owner's business. He apparently really has done nothing wrong.. but over 12 years of doing business online, Google's organic traffic to his site went way, way down. And the he got crushed on Google AdWords because competitors were bidding on his trademarked name.

Here's the original article:
http://businessowner.com/becoming-a-...siness-owners/

I then went an interviewed this small business owner and got his version of what has happened to him, posted here:
https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/sm...le-crushed-me/

Has Google crushed you? Has your site been online for a while but am now struggling to get Google to rank your site in organic results? What about PPC?

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Old 7th May 2015, 11:39 AM   #2
torka
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So, Google was his primary viable source of traffic and his only available channel for advertising? Why did he continue to throw that much money at Google for two years while not pursuing other marketing channels?

I'm sympathetic to his plight, but you know -- if something isn't working despite your best efforts, you have the choice of continuing to beat your head against the brick wall or of trying something else. What else did he try?

If I read your interview article correctly, he spent just under a million dollars ("7 figures") on AdWords. That's a lot of money to spend on one advertising channel. I know I work for a mid-sized company (about 60 employees) and we don't have that kind of an AdWords budget.

And he claims his competitor could outspend him by 10,000 times, which is why they were able to outrank him for his trademarked name in AdWords. Even cutting that by an order of magnitude to account for hyperbole, that means he thinks his competitor was spending nearly a billion dollars just to advertise on his trademarked name? Seriously? Even assuming they're just barely outspending him, that still means he has a competitor who's willing and able to drop a million dollars just to bid on his trademarked name. That must be one heck of a valuable trademark.

Look, any company that can afford to spend a million dollars in two years on AdWords can afford to hire a professional company to manage that AdWords campaign. In fact, I would argue if you're spending that much on AdWords, you don't have any business trying to manage that account yourself unless you yourself are Google Certified. Any certified AdWords professional should have the right knowledge and contacts to get some answers if the campaign doesn't perform up to snuff.

Honestly, we don't know if his campaign wasn't bringing the results he wanted because he was bidding on the wrong terms, because his landing pages sucked, because his expectations were out of line with any possible version of reality, because his ads were poorly constructed... or if it really was simply because a nasty competitor outbid him.

But the reality is, even if you're as big as WalMart, there's always going to be somebody out there who's willing to do what it takes to get ahead of you. They'll outbid you on your favorite keywords. They'll undercut you on your prices. They'll poach your best customers and steal your content.

The thing is: what's important is not what they do. The important part is what you do in response.

And any company that's so dependent on organic search they feel they have to spend that kind of cash on PPC to shore up their declining traffic, should also have enough money (and motivation) to hire a professional SEO right away, as soon as they notice a definite downward trend. And they should take that as their wake-up call that they might also want to divert a bit of that cash toward developing other sources of traffic.

Instead, this guy apparently spent two years beating his head against the brick wall, trying to do it all in-house? And somehow this is Google's fault?

Of course, we're just getting his spin on the story. There are likely many other factors entering into it that he either didn't consider (not being an SEO or AdWords pro) or that he doesn't want to acknowledge (because they don't paint him in the best light).

To me, I'm sorry, but something just doesn't add up with the story so far.

--Torka

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Old 18th May 2015, 12:14 PM   #3
bhartzer
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Hi Torka,
Thanks for your comments.

Regarding AdWords, I believe that he's generally up against some large companies who have been bidding on his Trademark.

I took some more time to interview him, and posted a follow-up here:

https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/in...hed-by-google/

I'll reach out to him again to see if he can come on here and comment.

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Old 18th May 2015, 02:03 PM   #4
izoot
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Default Response to Torka about Bill Hartzer's post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by torka View Post
So, Google was his primary viable source of traffic and his only available channel for advertising? Why did he continue to throw that much money at Google for two years while not pursuing other marketing channels?
Hi Torka … first let me say thank you for taking the time to post about this. But I need to correct you on something and will reply to the rest best I can.

Google was one of my primary sources of organic traffic … but not the only one. As an exclusively online business Ticketstub.com needed/needs to be visible to the highest number of interested and qualified viewers. Over the more than a decade of being in business Google has always been the most viewed and used search engine. Bing and Yahoo were used as well as "real world marketing" but Google always performed best. So as a business person why wouldn't I use and favor what worked best?

Secondly and very importantly … I didn't continue too "throw money" at Adwords once the decline hit me. I specifically stated over the previous 9 years and have the Google data to support this. Once the decline took hold I haven't spent another dime on Adwords or for that matter any other paid ads since I no longer have any budget to do so. If I wasn't clear on this my apologies but I thought it was clear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by torka View Post
I'm sympathetic to his plight, but you know -- if something isn't working despite your best efforts, you have the choice of continuing to beat your head against the brick wall or of trying something else. What else did he try?
This statement above is premised on your thinking I kept spending money on Adwords. Which I didn't do at all after trying a Adwords management company for the first 6 months or so in hopes of bringing traffic and sales back up. That was also done on a fraction of what I used to have for a budget and cost me a fee as well. When it didn't produce any positive effects and my funds became even more scarce I ended that and tried more real world marketing and word of mouth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by torka View Post
If I read your interview article correctly, he spent just under a million dollars ("7 figures") on AdWords. That's a lot of money to spend on one advertising channel. I know I work for a mid-sized company (about 60 employees) and we don't have that kind of an AdWords budget.
Torka … no offense but you didn't read this correctly. During the period before Google made me "collateral damage" my revenue did support what I spent over that previous 9 years. Tho I have to say I could have done a much better job on my campaigns and if I didn't have to chase this mega competitor bidding on my exact match US trademark just to stay close to there #1 position roughly 96% of the time it would have been much more effective. As to trying something else … if speaking of ads … as mentioned above I did. If you're speaking of getting out of this business and into another … why should I be run out of a business I was successful with/at for a decade and no reason under normal circumstances couldn't be again? I also do other things as well … domain consultant, product design and illustration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by torka View Post
And he claims his competitor could outspend him by 10,000 times, which is why they were able to outrank him for his trademarked name in AdWords. Even cutting that by an order of magnitude to account for hyperbole, that means he thinks his competitor was spending nearly a billion dollars just to advertise on his trademarked name? Seriously? Even assuming they're just barely outspending him, that still means he has a competitor who's willing and able to drop a million dollars just to bid on his trademarked name. That must be one heck of a valuable trademark.
Again … your calculations are incorrect as your basing it on a spend that wasn't made during
the time frame you apparently think it was. Also, from what I understand this competitor spends approx. $700k a month on all their ad campaigns. Not just on my trademark but on all of their ads as well as those other trademarked businesses they infringe on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by torka View Post
Look, any company that can afford to spend a million dollars in two years on AdWords can afford to hire a professional company to manage that AdWords campaign. In fact, I would argue if you're spending that much on AdWords, you don't have any business trying to manage that account yourself unless you yourself are Google Certified. Any certified AdWords professional should have the right knowledge and contacts to get some answers if the campaign doesn't perform up to snuff.
Again, I didn't spend almost a million $ in the last 2 years. It was over the PREVIOUS 9 years to becoming "collateral damage" and again … I can support this as well as not spending anything more in the last almost couple years on AdWords. I repeat this because it's a MAJORLY incorrect statement concerning myself and my business.

Quote:
Originally Posted by torka View Post
Honestly, we don't know if his campaign wasn't bringing the results he wanted because he was bidding on the wrong terms, because his landing pages sucked, because his expectations were out of line with any possible version of reality, because his ads were poorly constructed... or if it really was simply because a nasty competitor outbid him.
Again … the statement is inapplicable since you aren't discussing what the reality was/is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by torka View Post
But the reality is, even if you're as big as WalMart, there's always going to be somebody out there who's willing to do what it takes to get ahead of you. They'll outbid you on your favorite keywords. They'll undercut you on your prices. They'll poach your best customers and steal your content.
The issue isn't that they and others were outbidding me on my "favorite keywords" it's that they were crushing me on my exact registered US trademark. Which the whole point of trademarking your brand/business is to protect it's misuse and abuse by competitors. If these other companies were bidding on other keywords like "theater tickets", "sports tickets", "concert tickets" or other generic keywords and I couldn't compete that is totally fine … that's how things work. This company at one period went as far as using my exact trademark as the header link of their ads where something like "buy concert tickets here" would go. Then them being number one ad at the top of the page completely misled those people searching specifically for me into clicking their ad implying they were Ticketstub.com. You should look up trademark law on companies doing things like this. It's called infringement under normal circumstances … but Google calls it "being competitive". It's easily to allow this and more profitable for them to let this go on. You can bet they don't allow their competitors get away with it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by torka View Post
The thing is: what's important is not what they do. The important part is what you do in response.

And any company that's so dependent on organic search they feel they have to spend that kind of cash on PPC to shore up their declining traffic, should also have enough money (and motivation) to hire a professional SEO right away, as soon as they notice a definite downward trend. And they should take that as their wake-up call that they might also want to divert a bit of that cash toward developing other sources of traffic.
Again … the above is premised on your incorrect assumption of that money being spent over the last 2 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by torka View Post
Instead, this guy apparently spent two years beating his head against the brick wall, trying to do it all in-house? And somehow this is Google's fault?
Again erroneous assumption and statement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by torka View Post
Of course, we're just getting his spin on the story. There are likely many other factors entering into it that he either didn't consider (not being an SEO or AdWords pro) or that he doesn't want to acknowledge (because they don't paint him in the best light).
Again erroneous assumption and statement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by torka View Post
To me, I'm sorry, but something just doesn't add up with the story so far.
Torka … you're very correct about all of the above you've posted since you premise it on not being accurate about what was spent on adwords over the whole period of Ticketstub.com's existence. Which none of that money was spent on Adwords over the close too the last 2 years and was spent on things like business expenses, paying bills for my home and health bills and a good portion spent helping to pay for my fathers assisted living expenses. I haven't taken a salary for the last 2 years due to this. Which EVERYTHING I've said and can say about this experience with Google can be fully documented going back at least a decade.

Again … thanks for your post but I needed to make clear the errors that you made.

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Old 18th May 2015, 02:05 PM   #5
izoot
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhartzer View Post
Hi Torka,
Thanks for your comments.

Regarding AdWords, I believe that he's generally up against some large companies who have been bidding on his Trademark.

I took some more time to interview him, and posted a follow-up here:

https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/in...hed-by-google/

I'll reach out to him again to see if he can come on here and comment.
Bill as you're aware and which I've replied to Torka's post ... I haven't spent a dime on Adwords for almost 2 years now. The rest is addressed in the response waiting to be approved. I hope this clears things up ... and if not I will be happy to address pretty much anything else.

Thank you for sharing your article on this.

Ira

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