If you are an AdWords user Google may be overcharging you.

I am a London based advertiser that has spent over £400 on Adwords since April 2004.

When viewing my stats recently I discovered that some keywords had generated just one impression (view) but this resulted in two clicks. The CTR (click through rate) registered at 200%.

Following several communications with Clare from Google AdWords (UK and Ireland Team) gave me the following explanation,

“In circumstances such as this, what has usually occurred is that the user who
generated the one impression clicked the back button on his browser window,
and then clicked on your ad a second time to reach your page again.”

I figured that anyone seeking to drive up my advertising costs could do exactly as was described. However, I was assured

“Google strictly prohibits any method used to artificially and/or fraudulently generate
clicks or page impressions and closely monitors clicks on Google AdWords ads to
prevent abuse.”

My next communication to Google:

“I have frozen my advertising because your explanations are not adequate.

Google has now lost two days revenue because they have refused to reimburse
me for around 50p [note: in my rage I forgot the full figure – it hould have been 57p!]
What kind of a sloppy customer service is that?

I will be moving my business elsewhere”

Clare responded,

“If someone is clicking on your ad repeatedly to drive up your spending, our system
will automatically filter out these clicks and you will not be charged for them.”

It is interesting to note that Google Adwords has a customer service program so poor that even when you give them the chance to realise they are losing money and spreading badwill among customers they don’t take the opportunity to improve; instead they take the opportunity to contradict themselves again.

Draw your own conclusions but I’ve stopped using Adwords. What’s worrying is that I only noticed this because a keyword had just one impression. Most have more than one and so this is usually undetectable. If anyone else has encountered this problem I would love to hear from them; reply to this thread.

In the meantime I will be sending the UK & Ireland team a link to this post and will keep the board informed of future developments.