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Warning: Google Adwords Phishing Emails

Posted on by Mike Poserina in Google AdWords

With Google’s latest announcement about “AdWords Comparison Ads”, it”s beginning to look like Google is taking a step away from just providing listings, to instead qualifying potential customers and providing leads.

AdWords Comparison Ads, which is currently limited to just a couple financial services, will let searchers compare multiple offers for similar services, potentially based on specific qualifications or needs of the searchers.

In the ad creative, the services provider can ask qualifying questions in a radio button format, such as whether the searcher is looking to refinance an existing mortgage or take out a new mortgage.

Google will also use a form of call tracking so that the advertiser will be charged if the user either clicks further to the site or calls from the Google page.

It will be interesting to see how the conversion rates play out under this format. In some ways, this could do away with landing pages in areas where conversions rate prove to be high.

Last month my CTO came across a great blog alerting Google AdWords users about recent encounters with phishing emails. And of course just days later one of my clients received a suspicious looking email from Google AdWords.

I sent this off to our Google Rep and he confirmed that it was indeed a phishing email. I could go into all the details; however, there are really only a couple important things you need to know in order to protect yourself.

The main idea here is to treat these emails with extreme caution. Pretend they’re associated to your bank account and this should deter you from casually handing over any information.

The links within these phishing emails will lead you to sites that look identical to the Google AdWords login page. By simply putting in your login and password you’ve given the bad guys enough information to control your account, steal your credit card, and take your money. Thus I’ve come up with 3 simple rules:

Rule #1 -Don’t give out any kind of information.

You wouldn’t give your social security number to anyone online (hopefully). The same goes for user names and passwords, account numbers, credit card info, etc.

Rule #2 -Don’t be lazy.

If you receive an email from any of the search engines that you’re advertising in, then open a new browser and login to your account separately to find the so-called issue. Or pick up the phone and call Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing or MSN adCenter for assistance. You can easily find their customer support phone numbers on their sites. Just in case, I’ve added them below for you. Remember, don’t click on the links within the email and give these scammers what they want.

Customer Support #s







Rule #3 – Stay Active.

Don’t be fooled by these emails. They’re becoming more sophisticated and official looking but more often than not they’re fake. Many times you can spot the inconsistencies if you”re actively looking for them. Go with your gut, if the copy is written in poor English or appears overly anxious with catch phrases like urgent or mandatory, this could be a major hint. Also, hover over the links in the email and check the URLs. Usually you can easily tell if they”re bogus. This is the actual destination URL masked by the seemingly official display URL in the email above (

Although these rules are not bullet proof, at least you’ll be one step closer to staying safe.


Google AdWords campaign is focused on maximize the cost effective of each campaign and try to attract many companies and users to use it. A lot of SEO agencies will tell you that SEO is far more cost effective than PPC in getting qualified customers to your site. Why pay for clicks when you can get that traffic for “free”?

Ask a lot of PPC agencies and they’ll tell you that PPC is far more cost effective than SEO in getting customers to your site. Why spend your limited marketing budget chasing elusive search engine algorithms when you can much better control your visibility and ad creative?

Unfortunately, what both arguments ignore is the important revenue side of the debate – which visitors are likely to convert at a higher rate and spend more when they reach your site – visitors that clicked on an organic listing or a paid listing?

We just completed a 2 year study looking at the value per visitor based on traffic source:

  1. Organic listing
  2. Paid listing
  3. Direct access/bookmark
  4. Other referrers

You really need to read the study to grab the full story, but in summary, the average value per visitor when arriving from a paid listing is $1.95 versus $1.35 for visitors from an organic listing.

Of particular note, though is the value of visitors who arrive via a bookmark or by typing the URL into the address bar -> $5.89. Since the only way a visitor could arrive via bookmark is from a previous visit to your site, a primary reason supporting these findings is that any of these visitors in the direct access/bookmark category have visited the site previously, and were probably familiar with the company product or service offerings.

These results reinforce the importance of providing reasons to compel your visitors to return often to your site.

Now this battle between PPC vs SEO has some evidence that will come to an end!

Download the study here.