#GoogleGate: Always Follow the Money

I’m not a fan of CSI, but it’s not hard to pick up a common thread from shows like that: “follow the money”. When the wife suddenly inherits millions after her husband dies? Yep, maybe she’s a suspect. ┬áSadly, it’s the same with marketing, money is the motivator.

Google AdWords Google Gate

Enter #GoogleGate, an incident this week where Martin McDonald caught a “Google AdWords Rep”, that didn’t realize he was still being recorded via voicemail, ranting and swearing because his account didn’t upgrade a feature through him. The rep goes on to say that now he will have to pitch sitelinks and call extensions, which are more profitable ways of getting search users to click on a paid ad instead of clicking an organic result.

Google wants to make money, I know, this is a shocking revelation. The company that makes $29 Billion a year, would like to keep that trend going. They do that via these “AdWords Reps” who call and encourage website owners to try additional PPC features that might result in greater click volume for the user, but also greater profits to Google.

I got a similar call yesterday from Tony, a telemarketer paid by Google to sell me on the Google AdWords Credit Line, basically a credit card for Google Ads so that you can borrow money from Google, with interest, to buy your online ads. They even offered to give me a free “$499 Nexus 10 Tablet just for giving it a try” (quoting from Tony’s e-mail that he sent me even after I said I wasn’t interested).

This is an issue that we encounter all the time, and frankly it is why Image Freedom has never had a sales staff. I know very well that I am leaving money on the table, lots of money, by not having a crew of cold callers and sales people that help us sell SEO. That said, the cost of adding that sales staff is having folks who are motivated purely by generating revenue, a goal that we don’t share across the company.

We’re SEOs, I’m an SEO, I do exactly this because I want to. It also happens to be a great way to make a living, but that’s along the lines of Do What You Love, And The Money Will Follow. If I had a sales staff, and I’ve dabbled in it once or twice, but the fear is always that they’re more interested in the dollar value of the deal and not as interested in what the client needs, what their marketing needs.

The reputation that we’ve built over these last four years has been all about solving needs, people come to us and they get the honest truth about what they need to generate more sales, and it’s different for every client. So how could I trust that process to sales folks who don’t share that goal? Our business has grown, not because I’m a sneaky salesman, but because we listen, and companies spend more with us year after year because they know they’re going to get that honesty and attention to their results… but you still shouldn’t take me at my word.

W. Edwards Deming said, “You can’t expect, what you don’t inspect” and this whole #GoogleGate mess is no exception. It’s sad, but business owners need to be very cautious at everything they read, everything someone tells them, and of anyone that could profit off of them. This is an excellent example of the “buyer beware” market that we’re in, because what works and what doesn’t is so vague, and you could just as easily do more harm than good to your website (especially over the long haul) you have to exercise great caution and hire someone you trust.

Always follow the money, who profits? What will the Return on Investment be? Is this worth my time to try? Is it worth my money? There ARE worthwhile efforts out there for your marketing, and search has been a part of hundreds of thousands of website success stories, but it always pays to use caution. It’s a jungle out there!