Adwords Coupons Coming Back to Haunt Google Adwords

by Jeremy Schoemaker on December 20, 2007 · 95 comments

Adwords CouponA while back I showed a example of people gaming adwords. I got a lot of emails from people asking how 1 person can have so many Adwords accounts and how could they possibly be making a profit on this.

I believe there is a big problem going on right now with Google Adwords in regards to Virtual Credit Cards mixed with Adwords Coupons. A person could get a Virtual Credit Card for less then $10 (if not free) then use $25-$250 Adwords coupons. Here is a link for free $50 in Adwords (from Yahoo Small Business) for new accounts. So if you make a new account with a Visa Gift Card with $5 on it then use a $50 Adwords voucher x 20 accounts you have $1100 to spend and have only invested $100..

I will be honest with you I have not tried the above method. It just seemed to make sense. Recently people all over the web are selling loaded Google Adwords accounts (charging $5.49 for a $50 account) with the coupons already applied. AND they are giving volume discounts………. And they are EVERYWHERE.

So perhaps a little chink in the Google Adwords Armor here? How long can you bid against people paying 1/10th your price?

full disclosure

About the author...

– who has written 2855 posts on ShoeMoney.com.

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of the ShoeMoney Blog, Elite Retreat Internet Conference, & the PAR Program. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 Amazon Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. Jeremy currently lives in Lincoln Nebraska with his wife and 2 daughters.


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{ 88 comments }

1 Matthew J.

Yup big problem especially when you can get vcc’s for $3.00… $3.00 x 1,000 = $3,000.00….. 1,000 x $50.00 = $50,000.00….. That’s a guranteed ROI, good luck getting away with it for to long though Google is very quick to catch them now, trust me…

2 tyler dewitt

Interesting if your still making money then why worry about it :)

3 Matthew J.

Mos t of these accounts are getting suspended as fast as they are getting made. The workload is not really worth the hassle to be honest, unless you are talking about $100.00 accounts or higher.

4 Joost de Valk

“How long can you bid against people paying 1/10th your price?” Still depends on your conversion rate, doesn’t it? :)

5 Hexfire

Would be interesting to see what people were using the Adwords accounts for promotion wise, and then seeing if their affiliates sent them nasty emails like Yahoo! did for you.

6 Kiley

Dude, you have got to stop blowing up spots.

Like myself when I first started, most people don’t have deep pockets to test PPC campaigns, so this method is a nice way of not loosing a grip.

I respect you Jeremy, you are an inspiration to us all. But you are on top, you have already made it, and while I’m sure Google reads your blog anyway, really putting this out there like this is not a good thing for the little guys that are struggling using whatever methods they can to get ahead, much like I believe you have at certain points in your journey, *cough* Scraperville *cough*.

First Ringtones, then the Azoogle/Blockbuster deal, now this.

7 raymond

Ya shoe please quit posting such informative posts. I want to read the same regurgitated “how to make money online” that I can read everywhere else ! 8)

8 Hustle Strategy

I can see your point, but at the same time, he is helping other little guys that might not know about this and that are paying to much for spots. But I do see your point…

9 Hustle Strategy

Is there a certain bin range for these types of cards that google reject? Seems that most companies would have that ability. I would also think google could get merchant responses back to let them know whether to accept or not. This should be fixed within the hour, if google is on top of their game. We will see though. Google if you need help, hahaha

10 Dave

that’s what in south italy call omerta’. it means that you know but you don’t say a word to protect you interests. this spot is actually illegal and it damages people who honestly bid on adwords. so i’m glad Jeremy talked about it in public.

11 Kiley

Understood. Thats not the point. The point is, when you are on top, like Jeremy, a certain amount of tact should be applied in situations like this.

Paul x Facebook POWNED, anyone?

12 Dave

that’s exactly the point. that was (is) an illegal method for bidding on Adwords.
Jeremy makes $XXX,XXX per month using it, i’m only in the low four figures and knowing that who bid more than me do that in an illegal way it pissing me off. I got there without big money and without cheating… of course, the illegal way is always the easiest and the fastest, but it’s wrong.

13 Farmer

It’s not just google, over a year ago that’s how I got my cash to start out. I just set up tons of accounts on all three using prepaid cards with the coupons. I would burn through the credits I had and never use that account again.

This is nothing new and you can set up three accounts on one card. So all you have to do is apply enough to set up 3 accounts on each one, use your coupon, burn through the coupon, close account.

I did that to start and learn…nothing new and sure they all know about it because I did contact one of them to see how many accounts I can have on one card.

14 Kiley

Find me the part in the Adwords TOS that says having multiple accounts is illegal.

15 Kiley

Dude, don’t even start to climb up on your soapbox. Bottom line, this post is BS!

It f@#ks it for the Adwords account resellers and people that are using multiple accounts. Everyone is just trying to make a buck, regardless of the method, Dave, you can’t tell me for one second, now that you have read this post, that you haven’t thought about using this method.

I guess once you hit a certain point, you don’t give a s!@t about anyone else trying to come up, there was a time where I looked forward to meeting Jeremy, that went down the toilet with this mornings deuce.

16 marketing relationship

Interesting post…you seem to have been inspired from the yahoo ordeal, in any event this is a large issue and I am sure they will get it resolved…scamming does not benefit any industry as it poses credability issues, those who are making money from adsense will see less $ in payouts if conversions go way down…in the end its all about the conversions…I am sure google will implement some changes..

17 賃貸 大阪

Here is what it says:

Individuals advertising for themselves or for their own businesses may only have a single AdWords account. However, your account may contain multiple ad groups and ads triggered by the same or similar keywords.

Only client managers (such as third parties or search engine marketers) who use a My Client Center can have multiple AdWords accounts.

Can I have multiple AdWords accounts?

I am not sure what this means. I can have multiple accounts as long as they are for mulitple sites?

18 Dave

first of all i’m pretty sure that Jeremy didn’t bust anything. do you think google doesn’t know about Digital Point and other places where people is exchanging accounts like baseball player cards?
second: if you really thing that “Everyone is just trying to make a buck, regardless of the method,” so why don’t you deal drugs. trust me, there is a huge market out there. the point is that you only rely on illegal methods it means you are not a good marketer.
last: if it’s not illegal (as you say) so there is nothing wrong with making it public. I’m pretty sure that what you learned it’s thanks to somebody who blew up a spot for somebody else…

19 Dave

ps.
I apologize for my english, it isn’t my first language and I know it sucks.

20 Andrew Johnson

Dude, grow a pair of balls. Who gave you an exclusive right to a particular hole in Google’s system? A lot of big PPC spenders are pissed at this stuff right now…

21 Dom

You’re complaining because Jeremy wrote a post on how it’s possible to cheat the system?

If the only way you can make money is to cheat and you’re reliant on others not knowing your technique, then there’s something wrong with your strategy. After all, how did *you* find out about it? And were you as vitriolic with the person who originally shared the information with you?

22 Dave

finally somebody supporting me

23 Kiley

Points taken from all parties. It is what it is. Carry on.

24 Help Save Santa

This will certainly be fixed – Google can’t continue to operate like this and expect people to keep paying them. Legit advertisers are getting hosed by people using shady tactics.

25 DotDriven

I’d be willing to bet this is why you got banned from yahoo Jeremy. Someone (a lot of people?) took this method from before and used it like crazy (65%?) and you are the one that got the attention because you were the only way to connect them to someone most likely because they signed up from your site.

Although I haven’t done this myself yet I don’t think it is all that bad. But there is always that complete arsehole percentage that will rape every last bit out of something and kill every possibility of things surviving. I assume that is partially why the “gurus” rarely share real tips because they know that set of asshats will come in an kill it in days.

26 jim

funny that yahoo small business is tied to adwords…

27 jim

first, even if it were in there, it’s not illegal, that’s the purview of gov’t. it nothing else, it’s unethical.

28 nickycakes

The dude who has been dominating all the spots for ringtones has posted on forums that he doesn’t do anything illegal, but he has found a loophole in the system.

29 jim

hahah, ultimately, if a $50/acct scam is what you need to make a buck, you need to improve your skills. im with you dave

30 VacationGuy

the first time I saw those coupons I thought it was a bad idea on thier part – even if you buy a new go daddy url you get $25

31 Farmer

It would be fraud if you rack up a lot of charges and don’t pay.

It isn’t fraud if you just spend the coupon and that’s it. There is no requirement to spend anything after the said coupon amount. You pay the 5$ set up fee and burn through the coupon and that’s it.

The only way to eliminate this is to not give out vouchers for new accounts and only make it applicable if you spend XXX amount first.

32 Farmer

It’s not just adwords…all three have vouchers and it can be done with them all.

The best is when adCenter had a ton of $200 vouchers out there…

33 SonicReducer

That is just way too much work. I just concentrate on building up a really high quality account so I still blow these guys out of the water with lower bids.

34 Affiliate Confession

It sure would be nice if Google offered $50 promotions to people who already use Adwords.

35 Dan

There are actually people who used those prepaid cards legitimately and only have one account. There is no way for a vendor to tell the difference in a prepaid card and a regular debit card as they are the same thing, just instead of your money sitting in a bank accross town, its sitting in a bank in the islands or somewhere in Texas.
Sure, there are always and have always been ways to game the system, be it adwords, yahoo or msn. The problem is not the prepaid cards, the problem is the free money being given away to anyone who wants it without any requirements.

36 Steve!

I wondered what the problem was.

37 GeorgeB

WTF are you morons talking about??? MOST marketing tactics are finding inefficiencies or holes in the system and using them to your advantage.

So to say someone is not a good marketer because they found a good tactic that works does nothing more than highlight the fact that you don’t know what you’re talking about and should be ignored by most readers here…

Let’s face it, they are using the SAME PPC promotion methods you do they just found a BETTER way to do it… Disguising your jealousy with snobbery makes you look silly…..

Sure most of use know how to build a viral site and market it. Sure any of us can read webmastertools and apply good seo practices. But looking down on someone who found a smart way to not have to spend as much as you reeks of wishing you had the balls to do it… poor you.

Call it illegal all you want but unfortunately for you, that doesn’t make it actually against any law you can cite now does it ;)

38 Contest Beat

Yeah that’s a massive point with virtual credit cards…

39 corey

the vouchers are provided by these companies to encourage sign ups. if they were causing a problem they wouldn’t be offered.

40 Failure Sucks!

If you are not signed up through a My Client Center and you open two accounts, both will get banned and they will not let you back in.

I had my account closed years back but based on my ad spend (and the fact that Google had not become the borg yet) they reinstated me and closed the duplicate accounts. I simply did not know.

Now people with even 7-figure spends are getting banned and can’t get back in. So don’t try to open a second account unless using the G approved client center.

41 Kiley

Thank you, George. I could’ve said it better.

42 Reverse Funnel System

Very nice coupon i would ike to have one

43 Ringtone Man

Although I have not posted, or replied to, discussion threads about my advertising methods, I wish to dispell some myths on how I’m doing it. To start, I once was a compliant advertiser, however, after seeing my competitors violating the rules constantly, I had a choice to make, either find a way to compete and dominate them, or quit. I do not give up that easily.

First, I have never, nor will I, participate in criminal activity. I do not use stolen credit cards/numbers or identities. Also, I do not use “automation” or hacking tricks to fix the quality score. In most cases, quality or always better than quantity, but not in this case.

Over a four-month period (between June and September of the year) I reversed engineered a system to overcome my competitors, which I’m now using. Although I will not “spill the beans” about exactly how I do it, I can tell you that the quantity aspect of the process was needed to find out what works and what doesn’t. At first, I was always looking for a way through Google, when I should have been looking for a way around Google.

To say the least, I’m a symptom of a larger problem regarding advertisers’ abusing Google’s policies and looking for ways to beat the system. Maybe I figured it out, maybe I didn’t.

I simply wanted to say my piece regarding stolen credit cards and/or criminal activity. In closing, Google has a loophole. Finding that loophole was the hard part for me. My practices are no different from the noobie looking to gain an edge in search marketing, it is just on a different scale.

Anyways, hope that cleared up some discussions regarding the abovementioned.

44 commandos

HAHAHAH

45 Affiliate Marketing Podcast

Ha, that is quite random.

46 Nicholas James

Whats the point of that? They are making money of the users within the system now, so its only applying to new users for them to make more money ;)

47 Shaun Carter

I was also wondering why they don’t just use the accounts for their own promotion rather than sell them for pennies on the dollar. Unless Google caught on to what websites they promote and then shut down any new adwords account advertising those sites with coupons.

48 Web Cosmo

This may cause a temporary problem to them. But I think Google is way much more smarter to figure a coupon problem.

49 Affiliate Unleashed

This is a great idea, a bit unethical I suppose. I hate to see google’s response to it.

50 Affiliate Unleashed

Because you can make more money. :P

51 Affiliate Confession

If it were illegal or against Google’s TOS they wouldn’t let people do it. They must not care that this loophole is there.

52 Erik

Hello, I just created my first ever google adwords account, using the link to the free $50 in ad credit, but I am not seeing the $50 ad credit show up anywhere. Do you have to go ahead and pay for the $5 activation fee before the $50 ad credit will show up? How do you even know that it will show up, so that you don’t waste your 5 bucks. Thanks.

53 Mike Huang

It’s easy to take advantage of Google if you know what you’re doing. I used their $10 off $10 coupon over 20-30 times to get hundreds of $ of items a couple months ago. I mean, sometimes wouldn’t you think they deserve it? That plus I don’t have any money lol

-Mike

54 TylerC

If you cant beat them, why not join them.

55 Dave

I was just thinking today that ole shoemoney has been making some quality posts recently….then I realized it’s more because rkelly, patel, and pamcakes aren’t making their lame ass posts anymore.

56 Daniel

This is done quite often…. I’m sure Google knows about it. They don’t mind, apparently.

57 soundofgold

Revealing post, thank Jeremy. Just one question: How exactly or by which law is this illegal?
Assuming that everyone is assumed innocent until proven guilty (well in most parts of the civilized world) if one was to get free virtual credit card and use it somehow to activate a $50+ AdWords accounts who is to say that those funds are to be used “maliciously”?

Sure they may have a “competitive edge” (marketing talk huh?) on the people who don’t have free coupon but thats about it. For arguments sake don’t any of your sites have a significant competitive edge over others? And was it always achieved by all ethical means?

Either way Google has put the coupons out there for to grow their own profits (ie. greed :) ), I don’t think it was forced on them. And that some people found (as always) a way to exploit is is another matter.

Imho you as Googles AdWords customer should blame them for providing your competitors with what you deem is an unfair business advantage.

Note: I have never used or purchased any discounted Google coupons since I don’t reside in the US. I have also never bough/sold any such already activated account.

58 Monty

“Only client managers (such as third parties or search engine marketers) who use a My Client Center can have multiple AdWords accounts..”
It takes one call for you get an MCC, Google will happily join all your multiple accounts together for you, there is no “criteria” to get MCC status other than calling up your rep and asking for it. The accounts can all be bidding on the same keywords and point at the same domains as well.

59 What is going on, blog

So much drama on the Shoemoney, it’s kinda hard being W-I-G-O single B. I don’t think this so much a chink in Google’s armor but rather Google recognizing that everybody that knows a thing or two about PPC, keyword bidding, PR, and SERPs uses adwords and are just selling stuff to each other, while in the other hand you can YSM and get more of a general audience that enjoys reading the yahoo.com front page and enjoys searching to buy things like a regular customer at a department store. Yahoo usually has the casual internet browser that will impulse buy products and services that they want or need and not usually the savvy browser that looks for deals from places where the browser can get even more of a discount. I hope Google gets the airwaves in Jan. so they can get every type of browser to their SE.

60 seo audit

I’m curious to see if Google will stop this Adwords Coupons thing.

61 m07

will google continue this coupon thing????

62 Dustin

I honestly wonder how much these people make selling accounts like this. You said many sell $50 pre-loaded AdWords accounts for only $5.49 (or around there.) That’s a $0.49 cent profit which has got to be the worse business module in my opinion.

63 Disguised

Thanks for my link in the blog post , I am happy to see my thread link at homepage of my favourite blog .TO say thanks to Jeremy and the members of this blog i am offering this activated account for 5$ . Just mail me and mention the code “shoemoneygr8″ to avail this offer . Limited time only .
my mail address is admin at forumsposting dot com

64 Matthew J.

ya like when they are paying $.12 on the dollar or less, lol

65 Joeychgo

It’ll be interesting to see how Google handles this -

66 Disguised

come on guys avail this dynamic offer which is only for shoemoney subscribers .

Cheers Jeremy

67 Jeremy Schoemaker

lol

68 Smith

google would know about this id say

69 Nicholas James

Nice way to increase business ;)

70 Fiction

Is this still going on? Google still has the link but I went to Yahoo Small Biz and I don’t see that offer anywhere.

71 Jim

But the real question is how can we get all of this money to Ron Paul?

72 Joeychgo

anything that gets people talking about google, helps google.

73 mike

I hope that Google is collecting those that are abusing the coupons. I am seeing it happen as we speak in the vacation travel market. kill them off in one swipe i hope they do, Every $10.00 in the vacation travel can generate about 60.00 if you have a great landing page and are real good at the keyword phrase. I saw my 4 word keyword phrase go from 1.25 to 3.50 in the last 2 days and I could not figure out why ( in my specific market the rates change around November 15th with a 30% -60% increase and 3 or 4 more advertisers, but not 200% )

74 Insurance

lol

75 halfa lump

What do you mean, “if it were in there”? It’s written right into the offer:
Offer is non-transferable and may not be sold or bartered. Offer may be revoked at any time for any reason by Google Inc. ONE PROMOTIONAL CREDIT PER CUSTOMER.

76 softmanya

when will they end ?

77 Fiction

I don’t see the reference to Yahoo anymore for this. Is it still going on?

78 Affiliate Confession

Google makes it so da*n difficult these days to get a decent PPC campaign going without losing your butt. If someone finds a way to take advantage of this loophole, then power to them!

79 Rantitorial

Wow. I can’t believe Google is letting this happen…unless they want to practically give their advertising away.

80 MonetizeYourBlog

hmm, sure not if you’re doing everything by hand

81 MonetizeYourBlog

yes but even then your conv. rate could be 10times better..

82 طفل سعودي

where is the best place to get VCC ?

83 RacerX

The problem is that it punishes the little guy trying to do the right thing. It isn’t the big scrappers that support this, it is big business. Once the ROI is gone they will pull out.

84 buy ebook

Actually,I started to use it when 2006,Apr.I get many accounts with vcc/coupon.But this method is expired in 2007,Sep.while Many accounts were banned by google.I told the method to many people,ideally,they tested and it dones’t work.I am in china

85 Carol Servulo

how i can get a coupon from google?

86 buy adwords vouchers

Hello, all the time i used to check blog posts here early in the break of day, because i enjoy to gain knowledge of more and more.

87 Raffy Don

I found a site that offers free $100 adwords coupon that really works!.This coupons are only valid in the USA. Check out the free coupon at http://jsainteractive.com/100-google-adwords-coupon

88 Violette

Over time this will help improve a credit score substantially
after many payments on the accounts have been made.
Then you will have to look at several offers for products and services before you are allowed to proceed.
Finally, work in any miscellaneous expenses that you have each month.

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