Google Speaks!

WOW! I actually heard back from Google! I still hate that more and more companies consider it "customer service" to send out form letters without any thought to whether they make sense or not... but I give huge credit to Google that, when you say "Your form letter makes no sense!", they have a real live person respond with something that you can actually understand!

So, Kudos to Google!

What was the problem? Well, here was their response:

Hello Eric,

The language we were specifically referring to was: "So, if you're into
giving your opinion for money (i give mine for free :)) go ahead and click
on the ad :) Questions, problems, worries? Go ahead and post a comment.

We felt that it is misleading to your users as the most prominent ads on
your site are from Google.

Now, before you think that my wife is some evil person who's telling people to click on Google ads... here's the actual post in question (which we've now removed from Ruth's blog to appease the Google gods) -- and just a hint that the sentence you're looking for is at the very bottom:

Real survey money! Who'd a thunk it?

If you're a regular to this blog, you'll notice a new banner ad for American Consumer Opinion (on the right . . .flashing green). I was going to recommend this anyway and then I found out they had an affiliate program, hence the new banner. Anyway, if you're into making free money off the internet this is an EXCELLENT way of doing it. I joined about 6 months ago. Here are some things to know:

1) You get paid for answering survey questions online so companies can make their products better.
2) You will not get rich or get an iPod or a laptop or whatever, because this is a legitimate business that really does pay you for your opinion. What you will get is a little bit of money. So far I've earned $18 and a free month of feminine hygiene products to try out. The $18 came in the form of 2 real live checks. One for a $12 survey and one for a $6 survey. In both cases I knew how long the surveys would take to do and how much I would get paid.
3) It doesn't cost anything to join.
4) They do ask for personal information like how many people are in your family (to figure out your demographic) but they don't ask for anything that could hurt you (like your credit card or bank account numbers).
5) They don't send out SPAM. With the exception of a eBirthday Greeting (which I thought plain old nice) every e-mail I've received from them has been survey related.
6) They don't send tons of e-mail period. I'd say I hear from them about once a month.
7) They don't sell your e-mail address to others. I have a unique e-mail address for them and the only e-mail that comes to that address is from them.

In general, I've been very happy with them, which is why I'm recomending them. So, if you're into giving your opinion for money (i give mine for free :)) go ahead and click on the ad :) Questions, problems, worries? Go ahead and post a comment. :)

Remember that American Consumer Opinion isn't PPC (Pay Per Click) -- performance on the ad is based on whether people sign up or not, so the company is perfectly happy to have people click on the ad itself as much as possible. That means there's nothing unethical with Ruth telling people "Click on the blinking green American Consumer Opinion banner".

Personally, I think the context of the post was pretty clear and people weren't very likely to get "confused" -- and it's especially moot considering this is a year-old archive page that gets almost no traffic.

But, as I say, I'm extremely impressed that, when pressed, Google came up with a quick and coherent response in less than 24 hours. You don't see that much these days!

(If you're curious, the page where this reference appeared was Sleeping Toddler - Allergies to properties: July 2005; when you see how much other stuff is on there, you'll understand that one passing reference to a non-Google banner is a surprising reason to claim a violation of Terms of Service... but, hey, they make the rules!)


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