Microsoft AdcenterFirst of all I want to say Natala, Carolyn, Molly, Kim and other people at Microsoft you guys rock. I know you are always very receptive to feedback and I think I have given you a ton over the last year.

Its almost been 1 year since I started using AdCenter. When they started it was pretty bad. Lots of random errors and downtime and very little browser support (took them 6 months just to add Firefox compatibility). So just to use AdCenter I had to remote desktop from my Mac to a PC and use Internet Explorer to upload keyword lists. When it launched it was pretty much all bells and whistles and really lacked on functionality.

Maybe that is a company slogan at Microsoft… you see it in most MS products. They look really awesome but functionality wise its very lacking. I think that model works really well with a operating system where bells and whistles will get you a one time sale but with AdCenter its something I use constantly and well… I need functionality.

Now one year after launch I still do not think Microsoft gets it. They have no API available (which for me is crucial), their reporting is still super sub par, and their functionality in regards to keyword management is…. well its not good. At best.

Check this out… here are some emails telling me my account needs to be changed.

wtf adcenter

So I need to make changes to my account… and I have 30 emails that tell me that… the thing is this account was setup over 6 months ago… and I get these emails about once every other week. I have talked to other publishers and they say they just setup a mail rule to delete all the AdCenter emails they get just because its not even remotely helpful. All the emails say the same thing, you have x amount of keywords that are not acceptable.. ok great.. it doesnt tell me which ones. Even when I access the site I cant make changes…

Google gets it with Adwords. Its a dream interface and making mass edits to inactive keywords is so simple…

Again functionality… c’mon Adcenter.

By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

70 thoughts on “O rly Microsoft Adcenter – Day 2 of 3 Rants”
  1. Hi,

    I had the same thing happening until the ads and keywords were tottally shot down and i had to make other modifs to put them up again… weird

  2. I’m definately small potatoes compared to you, but Adcenter is a piece of crap IMO. I started off with Adwords so naturally I guess I expected YSM and Adcenter to be similar. Yahoo seems a little overly complicated, but I just started on Adcenter about 2 weeks ago with a free $100 and when I signed up and started using it I was like “What the …. are they serious?”

    Manipulating keywords..well, functionality is pretty much non existant. I put in over 400 keywords (mostly misspellings) and didn’t notice the match type options..Oops. So there I was with keywords say “meatball sandwiches on whole wheat” which probably cost 5 cents for top position getting no impressions because it was set to broad match and everything was being picked up on “meatball sandwiches” costing 50 cents for an average of 4th place. OK so I go Doh! and go to change it. I can’t believe that you can’t apply changes to your entire list of keywords, I had to go page by page, uncheck broad match, click exact. 20 minutes of wasted time, would have been faster to just have deleted the campaign and restarted it from scratch, except I didn’t save a text copy of the keyword list… But seriously, there’s some real basic stuff missing there.

  3. I just wish they would fix their email system so their emails were relevant and helpful. Telling me keywords are removed or declined for a campaign i have on pause is just stupid. I think with some minor changes, some of the ones you mentioned, and of course realtime or semi realtime the day of stats in the front drop down instead of having to run a report (just call me lazy).

  4. I agree, they can still improve a lot. The Email thing doesn’t really bother me all that much, they just get moved to the trash and that’s it. But not being able to edit/delete your keywords in any way is just plain stupid. I can’t believe it’s been online for so long with such a huge usability problem. So great, I can search through my keywords in the overview, see my CTR, clicks etc. But editing them? Hah, have to go to that useless page where you have to scroll through 100+ pages to actually find the keyword? Not going to happen.

    I’m glad they at least offer the bulk upload, now if only they would let you create multiple orders with one spreadsheet ..

  5. The thing that pisses me the most off about Adcenter is they train their techs to be so damned patronizing. “I understand that {PROBLEM} is frustrating” gets annoying about the third time they say it to you.

  6. webprofessor

    Try MS Word for spelling issues. Use a blast horn on the smart A## tech support

  7. Yeah the daily messages from Adcenter saying I have had keywords requiring change is beyond annoying. Not to mention the process of removing keywords from a campaign could not be any worse if they tried. When i see the same campaigns getting hit every week for a few more keywords it makes no sense, and there is very little rhyme or reason as to what is going on.

    They do catch some off-topic keywords which is fine, but then there are some perfectly on topic, but even if I wanted to remove the words I have to go and look for them manually and delete them. You can’t even search through the list where you can delete words from.

  8. How much volume do they generate for you, comparatively speaking (vs. G & Y!)?

    I see their organic referrals are so slim that I wonder about the PPC side. DO you find AdWords even worth the time with longer-tail stuff?

  9. lol, I gave up on AdCentre. I thought it was me just being dumb and not taking the time to learn it properly.

  10. Yeah, it’s annoying getting those emails from Adcenter. Their editors/auditors are over-active and nitpicky.

    I’m even more annoyed with YSM’s new system. Yahoo’s been doing this a lot longer, and touted their updates as a huge usability & customer experience upgrade. “Quick keyword activation” ain’t so quick, perfectly fine keywords & ads removed for no good reason, adding negative keywords is awkward to add and limited to 50 for some reason, and I seem to get a lot of misc errors.

  11. Glad I’m not the only one. I was saying the same thing when I signed up – If you’re sending me an email to say that keywords were rejected, why not tell me which ones and why? The emails I have sent to Microsoft have gotten responses, but they didn’t always make much sense. I had a campaign where like 9500 out of 9600 keywords got rejected. When I went to see why, the site said that there were problems with the destination URL. Yet, the other 100 or so approved keywords (using the same destination URL) were okay. So, if the destination URL is bad, shouldn’t the ad get rejected, not the keywords? And if it was bad for 9500 of them, why was it okay for the other 100? Microsoft responded that the first 100 or so were approved, while the rest were still pending. So if they are pending, why did I receive an email stating that they were rejected? Adcenter is an interesting platform, to say the least. I can only imagine how interesting it would get if their traffic flow started to match Google’s. In fact, I think their overall lack of traffic (compared to Google) is the only reason these types of quirks are allowed to persist. You’re not getting the traffic you’d get at Google, so they don’t have to make it work as well as Adwords.

  12. In my accounts, the traffic is almost non-existent. You have to have TONS of keywords to get a little traffic and as Shoe says – it is too hard to handle large lists of keywords

  13. OMG, my email box looks exactly the same this morning. They must have went on a keyword deleting frenzy last night. I have talked to everyone I can at Adcenter about crappy interface and how its just not workable to upload a new campaign with multiple adgroups. I keep getting “in the next few months” everyone will be on a new interface. I can’t tell you how much money they are leaving on the table by not having a good mass upload tool.

  14. I just started using AdCenter on a small scale this week. And I have to say that their buggy interface really sucks. Frequently I click a link and the page just gets stuck. The bottom frame will be completely blank and the top will just have their “Processing” bar in motion forever. Several times I have had to close my browser and login again just to check basic stats.

    And I’m using IE7 on Windows XP, so it’s not a compatibility issue–it just an issue that the AdCenter site sucks in general!

  15. Anyone else notice that Adcenter delivers lower traffic than G or YSM but bid prices are almost always higher?

  16. OMFG I have been fighting with them over the very same thing for a week now. I swear they are idiots over there.

  17. My other favorite bug..

    download their keyword template in csv or xls and then try to upload it to your compaign you can’t. It won’t work unless you resave it as an XLS on your box.

  18. This is like a support group. So happy to know I’m not the only one either!

    I know this is a totally *CRAZY* idea MSN, but maybe you could tell my WHY my keywords have been deleted sometime.

  19. I ran two weeks without getting one of those emails…I’ve changed nothing with my keywords/ads and in the last couple of days I’ve recieved emails on every campaign I’m running. Pain. But all I do is go in and change my ad ~ not a big change I just change a letter, like take “s” off of “blogs” I save it ~ Then all my keywords go to pending then I change it back ~ next time I look they are all approved again. Sometimes the stay that way for several days and the last time was a good 2 weeks.

    A huge pain and reports on there…I don’t even bother.

  20. Adcenter sends you emails?

    *^Subject: .*Your adCenter ads or keywords require changes.*

  21. I got it to work again last night in the beta control panel, only using IE, and only using XLS format that was saved on my box.

  22. yeah its hilarious.. did you know if you reupload you poor performing keywords it resets their quality score ?

  23. The thing that gets me is that I set a budget for 5K a month and the damn thing only spend $33 of it in a week with 2000 keywords and a decent bid on each. I mean WTF they don’t want my $5,000 a month??

    Adwords at least finds a way to spend my money and send me the clicks I’m asking for.

  24. Brent, they just don’t have the volume. If I could spend $500,000/month I would. You need a bigger keyword list, and better ads.

  25. yeah i too receive the crazy emails as well as not have the ability to spend the budget that i set my account at…

  26. Thanks I’m working on that. I add new keywords every day but have been slacking on creating new ads. Someone from Adcenter is calling me Sat. to help with some things, but I’ve talked to them on the phone 3 times and they keep trying to get me to raise my bid price. I raised it quite a bit one day as a test, and the clicks went up (along with my spend) but the conversion rate dropped like a rock. I guess I’m still looking for that balance.

  27. AdCenter has a very good API, the only thing is you have to have a premium account to get access to it. If you spend a lot you should be able to get one.

  28. interesting…. I was told from adcenter reps that less then 10 people have access to the API. I guess I am not one of the chosen

  29. I have two MSAC accounts and spent 15 minutes cleaning up mine this morning because “my adCenter ads required…”

    First, I don’t see nearly the amount of traffic I see with AdWords (10-1).
    Second, the keyword x boogaboo.
    Third, big one, the back space key. Click the back button in firefox, logged out! Urgh!
    Otherwise, MSAC is neat because the keywords are cheaper than AdWords (less traffic), but the captured market is defined.

  30. Another effing thing.. way to disable the back button you jackasses. They got so effing revved up about AJAX they forgot people actually use back buttons and like to link in to things.

  31. Your timing with this post is funny. I just finally set up a filter this morning to delete emails from adCenter because I’ve had it with them. I just love how they don’t have any way for you to turn off the email notifications.

    I made a post about my adCenter gripes a few weeks ago on DP. I was so pissed off at the time. Microsoft is REALLY on a downward spiral. Time after time they’ve proven that they don’t really listen to their customers input and needs.

  32. Actually the upload problem seems to be a firefox issue for me. I have to use Explorer to upload .csv files, they just won’t take in firefox any longer.

  33. I got those emails saying there was a problem with my keywords – so I logged in and looked at them and tried to edit them – but couldn’t figure it out, in fact I couldn’t really see what was wrong – so I contacted support.

    They were really helpful and told me it was on of my ads, not the keywords – so I logged in to look at the ads and sure enough one was disapproved – so I went to edit it and couldn’t find a problem with it – so I contacted support again, who were still helpful and they told me that the ad which had disapproved by it actually was approved and that I should be looking at my approved ad as this was the one which is disapproved!!

    I just turned off my computer and went for a beer.

  34. Yes! I’ve got keywords and ads for a very small niche that get around 1000 impressions a day with a click through around 5-6% minimum (yes, no decimal) and pay around 30 cents for roughly #2 spot, on Google.

    Adcenter has given me about 1000 impressions for the same KW over the last *two weeks* with a CTR of about 0.4%, and they’re charging me an average of 47 cents.

  35. You took too long, but you finally did the right thing. The best thing to do with adcenter disapprovals, is ignore them.

  36. Marking them as spam is not only stupid, but destructive. You’re making it harder for the bayesian filters to pick out what really is and isn’t spam.

    Next time, make a rule that dumps them to a folder, or deletes them.

  37. Negative. It isn’t working with XLS or CSV on either IE for FF on Windows. Seems they have 2 separate parsers, as the error message is different if you use xls or csv.

  38. I have been using it since it was released. I cannot imagine trying to use their horrible UI to manage my accounts. I don’t think I could handle it actually as I would have a heart attack from yelling at my screen.

  39. And the problem is when you go to clear the refused keywords you can do this only from ‘Manage keywords page’ but the column with Status field of the keywords is empty (????), so you need to regenerate the keyword list again (without refused one) unless you remember them from the other page which shows the status ‘rejected’, but dosn’t allow the delete them or correct them. Thats terrible usability. And you can’t select and copy the list.

    I spoke with the guys from MSN Adcenter at SES London this week and they assured me this is being fixed at the moment. It was very funny when was logging to my account and it takes almost 3 minutes – they said ‘The internet connection here….’, and I said – ‘Wow, its the same everywhere i do that…’ Honestly – the MSN traffic is small in volume but with highest quality and conversion rate, maybe the reason for this is the hassle advertisers see to expand with MSN Adcenter.

  40. Why you guys are obsessed with the UI?, its the ROI that matters!…I will go further to say the horrible the UI the better. it keeps the competitors away :).

  41. All of you should stop using Adcenter. Those who haven’t used it, don’t start. That way, I can have all the competitive keywords for 5 cents!!!! Woohooo!

  42. Also, when you download the CSV, the columns with percentages are not formatted properly (not in decimal form) and I HATE having to reformat them for client reports. I should just be able to hit “format as %” in Excel like I do with Yahoo and Google.

  43. They took 10 days to approve my campaign, only after I emailed them and asked them to get on it after a week. This is unacceptable, my promotion was based on current events and they missed the boat – google and yahoo made good coin off me in the meantime. I doubt I will use adcenter again, unless they change a few processes and maybe their interface too.

  44. Interesting post and your feelings reflect the majority of people here in the UK too. However, I have no idea why, I find the interface and supprot from MSN to be far superior to that I get from Google. It appears that I am the only one who favours MSN!?!?

    Totally agree with you on the ‘Rejected Emails’, but have since built in a message rule to trash them. They really need to investigate this area, and quickly.

  45. I literally exported from one account, into another, both in beta. Still broken.

    Sadness accrues.

  46. yeah I have the same problem.
    – I have to export it
    – then resave with excel on my machine
    – then upload it

  47. Thanks for the post Shoe. I was wondering what was happening, as I keep getting the same messages over and over as well. It’s obvious I am not alone. I was just ignoring the messages, as I dealt with the keywords the first time MS sent the message. I keep wondering how you get a TON of keyphrases into Adcenter, seeing that their tools are difficult to use.

  48. […] 30 emails for the price of 1. See Shoemoney’s rant. He also laments the lack of an API and the really bad user […]

  49. Situations like this make services like Adbrite seem even more of a paradise for publishers and advertisers, when it comes to convenient, quick and easy interfaces.

  50. Im a noob and I started using Adcenter and Adwords at the same time. But I agree completely Adcenter seems to be dying. Has anyone found any good niches only availabie on MSN?

  51. Who can compete with almighty gooooogle ad? Lets wach the game between the big boys in the Ad World

  52. That’s funny! I called Tech Support and all of a sudden I get a bill from Adcenter! I do not have a web site to advertise!

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