Conflicted Advertising Agent?

Before the Internet, a business would never hire the same person or agency as their local competitor employs. Today its any everyday thing.

How did that happen? Since when is that OK?

Chances are if you are a local car dealer you have a website vendor (or ad agency) that has hundreds if not thousands of other dealers for clients. You do know they employ cookie-cutter programs so that you all look alike, don’t you?

Why in the world is it now considered OK to hire the same vendor as your nearest rival? It is insane to give up this competitive advantage to “be different” from your competition.

So why are you trying to look just like your rival by hiring their agent?

In the legal trade, the agent (lawyer) would have to recuse themselves from practicing with one or the other client. Its the law! Doesn’t that make sense? Well apparently to many in the local digital advertising sphere, its the land of unicorns and rainbows and anything goes. Like I said, insane!

( As always, PLEASE, Please comment if you disagree. I would love to hear how I am wrong. )

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The Downside of Hiring an Agency to Manage Your Adwords PPC

This may cause eyebrows to furrow, but here is something every client should think about before setting up Google Accounts in general, but Adwords in particular.

Who Owns the Account?

(or…Would you let your CPA setup your bank accounts in THEIR name?)

Google wants agencies to sell their biggest money-making product Adwords. So Google is not going to tell you about the conflict of interest embedded into most client-agency relationships. That conflict of interest is who owns the Account?

The agency is not going to tell you that they own your account. When you stop paying the agency, everything is gone. Would you let your CPA setup your bank accounts in their name, then when you switch CPAs, all your money is gone?

This is not a superficial problem that goes away when the agency relationship is over. The code that has been embedded in your website still calls Google every time a page is loaded. (and your next agency may not remove the old code!) And chances are the agency CLAIMED your business in Google Webmaster Tools (as the owner of your business). And when you or another agency try to setup a new Google Account, Google has a duplicate in their system that causes other problems (beyond the scope of this post). Also consider, the agency relationship usually grows to include other services, that have accounts with passwords. Who has those passwords?

If you need a reality check, just look at one example in the Google Forums: My Google Analytics Account was deleted. Note the lack of responses; because there is no recourse.

The Right Way

Day 1, Job 1, setup the accounts in the name of the owner. Google is silent on the issue because there are more incentives in doing it the wrong way, there are simply more dollars passing though agencies into Google than there are small firms and individuals doing it the right way.

Once in their program, an agency has every reason to build a wall at your exit. But is that really how you build trust in a very trust-based business?

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