Google Adwords Still Getting Owned

by Jeremy Schoemaker on February 4, 2008 · 110 comments

Almost 4 months ago I talked about how ringtone people were dominating Google Adwords and its amazing that it is still going on. To the point where it really makes you LOL.

(screenshot from today)

All of the sites redirect to (cpa empire owned site) which then redirects to Looks like an affiliate but hard to tell with CPA Empires super shady background. Could also just be a good cover. I think they have more open investigations then all other companies combined. Just doing a search for tracking101 reveals tons of complaints of spyware/adware/cookies/popups.

I am more surprised Google Adwords has not gotten a grasp on this. This violates many of there rules and its been going on for months and months. For one thing sites like this are supposed to be banned in Google Adwords. Not to mention you are not allowed to have multiple accounts going to the same offer.

I think it stems from the whole coupon and voucher issue. For example… if CPA Empire is buying Google Vouchers for $200 for on $5-10 and paying someone $5 per account they make for them… then deposit $5 they only have a $15 cost for $200 in Adwords spending. Even at paying $2 (decent price for a high volume keyword) per click you would only need 1 in 96 clicks to convert. From my experience in this market and with PPC I would estimate they are converting 1 in 10 at the worst. If the offer paid them $20 (probably a fair estimate for a large provider price) then that would means they are making 9 conversions ($180) for only a $15 investment. AND these accounts are burning up the $200 in probably less then 30 minutes. So if you could burn through those in 30 minutes (while this might sound crazy for people who do not do PPC trust me you could burn it up in < 1 minute) and if CPA Empire is burning up 2 Adwords accounts per hour then that would mean they are profiting at least $330 per hour or just $8,000.00 per day or even 250,000.00 per month. So in 4 months you are talking about a possible 1 million dollar profit. Just keep in mind these are pretty modest estimates but you see quickly how lucrative dominating Google Adwords could be for a company willing to push the limits with Google Adwords.

Course If Google gets a good engineer involved with the Adwords bot and follows header redirects… bans your whole affiliate company’s domain… then it may not be worth it… but that is a big IF.

In the end its really no skin off of Google’s nose. The money is not coming out of there pockets. Its really mainly hurting people who are not gaming the system as they are spending 20x more on pay per click and trying to compete. As far as illegal, immoral, ethical… Well I am pretty sure its not illegal. As far as the immoral and ethical stuff. I am nobody to judge that.

The one thing I know it is – PROFITABLE

full disclosure

About the author...

– who has written 2895 posts on

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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1 Bathroom Hero

actions like this can give search engine marketers a bad rep. PLEASE STOP!

Shoemoney 2 nick

Shoe – just FYI the last several good articles in Search Marketing Standard magazine all seem to be almost exact mirrors of your posts. What do you think of that?

3 domprofesor

Wow, that’s some really biiiig money

4 Tyler Dewitt


I’d have to agree!

5 Internet Marketing Strategy

The problem with penalizing sites in this case is that if they ban someone for doing something like this, another one will take its place. I think engineers would rather turn a blind eye rather than dealing with kind of cycle.

-Gyutae Park of Winning the Web

6 Wes Mahler

Yeah I’m sure whomever is behind all the madness, leads are coming in in truckloads.

7 CPA Affiliates

I am just more surprised that it is still happening.

8 Hustle Strategy

They might ruin some of the fun for others. Making it so blatent is crazy. I do not understand how google hasn’t caught on to this. Seems they sould just dedicate a resource to watch it all the time to make sure they do not have it happen…

9 Andrew Wilkes


thanks for the info. Now I am more than ever convinced to avoid Adwords spend.

10 samo

Damn! i’ve never tried adwords — but this makes me want to! Just the talk of profit shoe mentions. 8k a day. If its Unethical just depends on the person. Off i go to DP and the old shoemoney posts about Arbitrage and Affiliates with adwords. “tally ho”!


“Its really mainly hurting people who are not gaming the system as they are spending 20x more on pay per click and trying to compete. As far as illegal, immoral, ethical…”

Kinda sucks if you do not know all the tricks of the trade.

12 CatherineL

Interesting stuff. I just don’t understand why all these ring tones are so popular. If I didn’t have an ordinary ring – I’d never hear the damn phone.

13 Steve Poland

The big problem is, how do you ban those sites/domains? What if a competitor was creating adgroups for their competition — using these sly techniques… and Google bans the domain, which in reality, the owner of the domain had no clue this was going on.

AdWords needs some sort of verification of URL/Domain ownership… but even then, affiliates [or sleezy competitors] could do these tactics for a domain that has an affil program, in order to get the url/domain banned.

It’s a tough situation.

14 Simlock verwijderen

Oh my god, I want to risk my Adwords account to make $8000 a day. And $250,000 a month is good enough for me.

15 iBT

It is just Shoe’s generous guess..I don’t it will convert 1:10 with their kws. I am not sure he is same guy or not but there is one with Azoogle offers..he used to own first 10 spots like sprint ringtones, etc.

16 No Country for Duplicate Content

if they get shut down, they’d prob just do it all over again. At $8,000 a day I’d say the risk is worth the reward. Undoubtedly they are taking a big risk, but big risks also mean big profits!

17 Derek

The fact that this has been going on so long makes me smell a rat… Disgruntled Google employee not happy with their salary maybe? :D

18 Jeremy Schoemaker

This is not the first report of this we have gotten. I guess we can just consider it flattery?

19 sean

once again another google vulnerability comes to light. google will overreact and under communicate

20 Ruck

Some dude came into Wicked Fire awhile back claiming to be the bandit here. Who knows really. Just doing some research though, whoever it is, has an army of domains and keywords just destroying the paid results.

21 RacerX

They could nuke ringtones in a fell swoop. The could start selling exclusive licence to words for big bucks, and then they could verify…But they won’t. Google is making bank here as well.

22 RacerX

OK…Let’s say they get 50% of that…I am stll in :)

23 James Hayton

This is happening alot with some credit card and credit report related keywords too. Exact same thing.

24 Mubin

thats whats wrong with this world

25 nickycakes

Pretty retarded of you to point the finger at CPAEmpire and say they’re personally doing this when you know damn well it could be any one of their thousands of affiliates. I seriously doubt you’d be saying the same thing if it were an Azoogle tracking link.

26 Mubin

Does that mean making 2 new adwords accounts every hour?

Thats kind of a biatch.

27 Alex

It seems like everyone is in a situation of “If I could I would”, lets not even start the conversation is Google good or evil? also note it isn’t CPAEmpire buying the traffic it’s an affiliate doing so almost like another Shoemoney out there doing it. Much like if Shoemoney were running the same to Azoogle Ads is Azoogle to blame or Police? Much like Shoemoney points out including their “super shady background” Just because Azoogle paints a pretty picture as a poster boy doesn’t mean that with few minutes of searching one can’t find Azoogle’s “Super Shady Background” just Google azjmp.

Ultimately 2 points here:

1) Readers: A network (CPAEmpire / Azoogle) is only as good as its publishers and advertisers
2) Shoemoney: With great power comes great responsibility

I think there are several fundamental flaws with this post. So either Shoe is extremely Naive or there is something else going on here…


28 Jeremy Schoemaker

you must be new here…. I have probably been the hardest on AzoogleAds

Shoemoney 29 dean k

look at cpa empires trackrecord newb!

10 million dollar lawsuit for spamming myspace
4 million dollar settlement with Microsoft for spamming
Scott Richter (CEO) proclaims himself the spam king on TV Interview
CPA Empire in multiple investigations for deceptive advertising.

I would say this is spot on.


lol at shoe still hating on Cpae…. get real nigga…

31 ghoti

The first time Shoe posted about this, the links in the ads were to Azoogle. It’s only recently that he has switched to CPA Empire — or maybe it’s someone else now that’s gaming Google.

32 SEOMaster

Hello, I agree!

33 browie

I’m wondering (maybe i missed something) how come you’re assuming that Empire is the one doing this? Why wouldn’t it be an aff. marketer just direct linking that offer?

34 browie

Ah, I just read other comments on here… scratch the last one.

1 more thing – i don’t see those ads anymore, when was this taken? Looks like it’s been cleaned up.

35 Josh


I doubt that CPAEmpire is behind this, as there were also Azoogle ringtone offers running on the same type of ad this weekend. Odd thing, but the same guy’s ads for Ringtones and Grocery Coupons (yes, odd niche to bombard) were also showing on random terms such as “online dating” on Saturday.

36 Alan Johnson

While the fact that they are not perfect is understandable, it’s quite surprising that they haven’t taken any action in 4 months, interesting to say the least.

37 Alan Johnson

Indeed, people who take advantage of situations such as this one while they last can’t be blamed, since it’s only natural that they want a piece of the action. G however should have paid more attention since 4 months is definitely a lot.

38 Alan Johnson

What surprises me as far as this entire situation is concerned is the fact that they haven’t overreacted in almost 4 months :)

39 Jeremy Schoemaker

I have heard the issue has been delt with ;) (for now)

40 Hustle Strategy

Generally when google does things through precedent it becomes standard or in this case TOS. Are they thus encouraging this type of thing by not stopping it? It almost seems that it is being encouraged.


Google is big enough to have someone “google” ringtones every 20 minutes to see if they all link to the same place and ban the offenders quickly (or contact them to see what is going on before banning). This is embarrassing or maybe they like the shoemoney attention.


not a big risk when you just create a new account every few minutes…


A phone call of some kind before the ban or something. I agree that people can try to get their competition banned, but this seems like a big enough problem to atleast take some action.


i agree that they should communicate something about this, but i would probably be the last one to hear something.

45 Paul

The top sponsored links are sold for like $1500 a year. Maybe MSN can get some money if they take over Yahoo.

46 Start Blogging

Sneaky sneaky.

47 iBT

It is called “Outsourcing” They create account, put their vitual CC, put $200 got yourself $195 free money, for $5-$10 per account. $3-$1 per still get 100 clicks per account..3-10 convert , around $100 profit per account..







49 getting pwnd

Shoe, not sure, but i think you might need to get a life and start marketing yourself. looks like you really missed the boat on this one ;) maybe another chance will come around and you won’t be so quick to judge so negatively but rather take advantage of the findings and maybe make a little money. just my 2cents.

50 Affiliate Confession

Google just keeps the lame faucet going full blast lately.

51 Affiliate Confession

Maybe they’re making too much money off of it.

52 MatthewJ

Someone’s a hater……….

53 MatthewJ

stop crying…..

54 Joshua Wexelbaum

I actually took the trouble to create an entire Youtube video about this guy.. Check it out here:

55 JH

Ringtones … LOL

The human race is really in big need of a life.

56 Harrison

any legit search marketer wouldn’t do this, they would recognize the repercussions for all search marketers /how he fucks everyone else’s campaigns up.

57 Keith Cash

Brilliant analysis

These are some very smart people do this. Looks like the are making lots of money. It is surprising that Google or Matt Cutts have not come down on this like they did everyones PR a few months back. Now that Microsoft might be a major competitor, I think they will clean up some of this.

Just a thought, how does Shoemoney understand what and who they are doing it.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I wish I understood it better.


58 Will

I see this all the time. even for keywords that aren’t related to ringtones.

59 Will

maybe they just don’t know what to do without hurting other advertisers as well? :o

60 Dallas Web Designer

Has this “Loop Hole” been corrected? My search on the same keyword shows no gaming involved. But, maybe I am missing something?

61 Brent

There’s a ton of shady shit going on in and around the ringtone biz…glad I’m not in it.

62 Vern

Hi Jeremy – I’m going to stop reading your blog unless you look up the proper use of they’re, their, there and (then and than). Please – have someone review your posts or run grammar check. You’re a big dog. Write like it. Just a pet peeve.

63 Jeremy Schoemaker

you should stop now. Its been going on for 3 years and its not likely to change.

64 Mubin

You just cost someone 8 Million a Year SHOE!

65 Mubin

Sorry, meant 3 Million a year!

Still, thats alot of cash.

66 SEOContest2008

That’s one interesting video Joshua. 3 pages of continuous ads are too much!!!

67 SEOContest2008

Great work Shoe! The poor guy must be sulking now ;)

68 SEOContest2008

Actually quite a few people have problems in proper use of these words, but on the internet these can be ignored, as there are quite a few bloggers who don’t have english as their first language.

69 Andriy

heh, ShoeMoney, looks like you have spyware installed….

70 sean

Thanks for the info, Jeremy. The mysteries of Adwords never cease to amaze me.

71 Feed Flare

Thats a funny clip of there search engine, which is supposed to be so perfect.

72 Niro

Very True… But in another aspect is all about competition. Only thing is the big fish wins all the time. I recently did a small campaign with my pocket money. Well yea for a third world country student like me even a 5 cents for a visitor is big… Someday I too want to conquer this arena.

73 Alan Johnson

It is indeed embarrassing and, while a shorter period would have been understandable, 4 months is not.

74 CBR

Once upon a time we spent a lot of money on adwords and on a legit site. It’s now at the stage where we are just winding the whole thing back as google “disables” that particular business model… We’ve been playing y the rules and watching cheats come in with multiple sitesand destroy it for the genuine players. Time to go back to organic SE spam I think….

75 Nicholas James

Basically they’ll probably have tried just haven’t tried hard enough to do so in stopping people from pwning their system

76 Nicholas James

Basically, they get their content from here ;)

77 Nicholas James

They’ve seen the opportunity cost….they know the reward is much greater ;)

78 Nicholas James

No way….google are loosing out here with the token scams.

79 Nicholas James

Check previous posts, you’ll retrack your statement ;)

80 Nicholas James

Because google employee’s are too lazy to fix this and try and avoid the issue.

81 Nicholas James

Yeah and its not only leaving the legitimate users out of pocket but google too.

82 Nicholas James

They saw the blog post…they fixed give it a couple of hours ;)

83 Nicholas James

Its the advertising area not the main area so technically your comment is incorrect ;)

84 Mike Huang

Maybe Google is using them as a marketing technique ;)


85 Kiley


Your virtual cock-blocking has got to the point where you might consider hiring security for trade shows from now on. Not a threat, just a thought.

Your blog has went down he drain, it provides no real content anymore, some would say it never did. It’s just a big landing page for SHOEMONEY.

Hey look at me, I’m Shoemoney! Look what I did! Look what I know!

Pack it up, Jeremy, you are losing the respect of your industry peers.
You may beat most web marketers to the bank, but if you don’t have respect from you’re coworkers, so to speak, then you’re all by yourself, in a sea of sharks.

Hop in your Hummer, and ride of into the sunset with your AuctionAds check.

86 Christian

Funny, did a post about this not more than 10 days ago.
I know it’s in Danish but i think the screenshots speaks for themselves..
check it here

87 Mr 15

I don’t see why its a such a problem. They are not stealing money from other advertisers. they are smart enough to get their ads show up in multiple spots.
oh am I missing something

88 blair

now i am starting to think that i wish i have started something like this. why didn’t i think of this before.

89 Jonathan Volk

I figured out how to do the All Caps in google! :)


90 Erica DeWolf

So why is Google essentially allowing SPAM to dominate the paid search columns? Especially when they are so tough on other issues….

91 Erica DeWolf

Hmm. It sounds like a few people are getting lazy.

92 Erica DeWolf

I agree. Situations like this are why some more traditional marketers don’t want to switch to search marketing….they don’t want to SPAM!

93 kim

Shoe. It was real bad on your part. Seems like grapes are sour. I never expected you to go so low. The guy wasnt doing anything illegal. Regarding unethical many of tricks that you follow can be considered unethical by others. Still there should be some respect for a fellow publisher.
Since you cant beat him, to earn a few brownie point, you reported to google (thats how you have been told that problem has been taken care of). It is indeed a very bad business practise and one of the most unethcial behavios considered in day to day business. I run a restaurant. If a competitor come across and is more succesful i wil l never spy on him and go to authorities complaint against him. Instead I will try to learn why he is more succesful than me.
Shoe accept it, this time you were a big failure and ultimately landed up licking G balls.

94 Instant Community

Google should honestly do something about this, really. Its out of hand with such ads.

95 Car Games

nice article..

96 Emo Girl

Wow, I remember reading about this on DP but didn’t quite get it, now I see what they meant :o.

97 Smok

I know from a reliable source that this guy is not making as much money as one would think.

Clever guy, but still a LOSER.

98 Blog Advertising Network

I think Google should take some actions to prevent this to happend.

99 domprofesor

Lazy people are lazy.

100 oakling

Goddamn, that is so ugly-looking and insane!

101 Atlanta apartment

Yes, they are getting away with it now, but it will most likely be short lived and deterimental for the company in the long run. However, if they are only looking to make a quick buck, which they probably are, well done. However, they probably could have taken the same energy and created a company that would last and be profitable in the long term.

102 Syed Balkhi

wow … this is insane.. This is one of the quick traffic but i dont know if google will cut their revenue and actually be sensible… but again no one can predict google.

103 bathroom mirror lighting fixtures

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