Stupid Google Adwords Tricks

Ian Lurie

Burning American money with Benjamin Franklins face appearing on fire on a one hundred dollar bill.
Yup, it’s ranting time. Why are the biggest online players the worst online marketers? I don’t know the ‘why’ but I can sure prove the ‘what’. Here’s a story of Yahoo and GoDaddy wasting pay-per-click dollars like they owned their own mint. It’s also a great story of what not to do.

I was searching for a .ca (Canada) domains registrar today for a client, and got this query result (click here) on Google. At the time of this writing, Yahoo and GoDaddy are number 1 and number 2.

Do they sell .ca domains? Nope. They’re spending about $4.00-6.00 per click, and $30-50/day (I checked) to get clicks for a product they don’t even sell.

May not sound like much, but over a year that’s $11,000. For $11,000 you could carry on a campaign on four or five second-tier pay-per-click engines, take out a targeted banner ad, or fly to three or four trade shows to talk up your services.

Mr. Yahoo marketing exec, Ms. GoDaddy marketing exec, don’t listen to the defensive stammer of your online marketing manager when they try to explain this. There is no explanation.

Don’t advertise for a product you don’t sell. It’s the oldest rule of marketing. Break that rule on the Internet and you’re burning money you can use other ways.

Ian Lurie
CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at

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