Wasting Money

As I was browsing around I saw a Google ad that looked interesting to me and decided to go and check the advertiser’s site – only to see the “Problem Loading Page” screen. This is not the first time I see this happen and of course this is common sense but I thought I’d still post about it.

The ad was for quite a competitive keyword on a site that gets plenty of traffic. High CPC times high clickthrough rate (due to extremely good targeting – the site is very relevant to the ad)… you get the picture, 0 ROI and a lot of money thrown away for nothing. That server being down could really cost a lot to the advertiser.

Of course, rule number one for any PPC advertiser would be to turn off the ads if the server goes down to stop losing money. But in real life, not too many site admins spend day and night watching for the server downtime – this resulting in PPC money getting wasted for some period of time until the problem is discovered.

This got me thinking: is there a tool anywhere that could ping the server every so often and in case of the server going down turn off the ads display in the advertiser’s AdWords (or Yahoo Search Marketing, to that matter) account? In theory, this shouldn’t be too difficult to build, and with the number of PPC advertisers using Google or Yahoo or both, the market is pretty large.

(Next possible steps for me: run a little research to find out what’s going on in this market, write an e-book, advertise it through PPC, see what ther esponse is, invest into building the tool, market and sell it. I’m not sure tho I am interested enough in this project that can turn pretty huge and time consuming. So instead, I decided I’d just blog about it and see if there’s any response in the form of comments.)

So what are your thoughts on this?

P.S. I know I have shifted a bit towards PPC in my recent posts, I promice we will return to our usual program soon 🙂


  1. Irish-

    Host-Tracker runs a free service, which we find to do a pretty decent job (unfortunately our provider is not so great), so we turn off adwords whenever we see significant down time, provided it’s not the middle of the night..

    Could this be done for high volume clients? Using the the Adwords API and a similar script I don’t see why not.. My only question is: Is there a market for it? (I usually read the blog through netvibes, so drop me a response on syndk8 or something)..

  2. Montastic offers free site monitoring for up to 100 servers. Based on past experience, Google is pretty good about deactivating PPC campaigns if your server goes down. I don’t know how fast the response time is, but they *do* deactivate PPC campaigns if your URL is down. They’ll send you an email informing you that you must have a “fully functioning URL,” or something to that effect.