Are You Throwing “Raving Fans” Under The Bus?

It takes years to build brand loyalty but only a few seconds to destroy it, case in point that I have recently gone through.

Back in 2005 when I ran the RadarBusters.com network my monthly Adwords spend was around $40,000.00 a month. Around the fall of that year my monthly spend doubled and I suspected that I was a victim of click fraud.

I called my Google rep and we discussed my account and she asked me to forward my log files to Google’s Click Quality Team (notice that they do not use fraud in their title) for an audit.

A few days later I received a telephone call back and Google’s auditor who related that after reviewing my account and log files they had not noticed any suspicious activity offering a possible explanation as an increase in traffic because of early Christmas shoppers.

Not satisfied I realized that I had to find a solution to this problem and fast. A few months prior I was introduced to the ClickTracks program at a Stomper conference which promoted a feature that would interface with your Adwords account to identify and segment out traffic it felt was fraudulent.  I called their sales rep who took the time explaining their analytical program in detail.

Even though the program’s initial $5,000.00 price tag was more than I expected, I signed up for a year of service.

Within two weeks of my install, I went to the click fraud area of their program, pressed a couple of buttons and it generated a spread sheet of suspect traffic that totaled over $10,000.00!

I forwarded this report to my Google rep and one week later I received a $10,000 credit back to my account. Subsequently my monthly Adwords spend also decreased an additional $12,000.00 from my normal monthly ad spend!

I was hooked and converted into a “raving fan.” Here was a program that not only paid for itself in only two weeks, but also saved me over $20,000 a month!

I promoted this product to other members of our Internet marketing community, gave a presentation about it to fellow Stomper’s and even gave a testimonial at the Las Vegas PubCon!

I was such a fan that I paid an additional $1500.00 for their advanced training to become a “Click Tracks Professional”

After selling my RadarBuster’s network I again stepped up and purchased their multi-level program that allowed me additional licensees and used their program on my clients’ websites.

After running a ClickTrack’s fraud report on one my first client’s sites we identified that over 30% of their ad spend was click fraud. We submitted the ClickTrack’s file to their ad rep and within weeks they were issued a $20,000.00 credit!

Last year ClickTracks was acquired by Lyris and in the beginning did not notice anything different with the level of support or the quality of the program. However around October I had a problem importing a new client’s Adword’s campaign and called support.

The technician that I often worked with was able to resolve my issue in a short period of time; however I noticed a certain tone in his voice that seemed a little ominous. I’m sure you have also had this same feeling when you suspect that something is not right, like they are trying to keep something from you.

I expressed my concern and my tech friend related that Lyris was making some major changes to the ClickTracks program, that they were going to bundle it up some sort of corporate package deal and that the relationship I had built with their team would perhaps change.

Sure enough change did happen and as far as I’m concerned for the worse. ClickTracks became part of a bundled package offering a whole slew of different programs and services that my clients or I didn’t need or want.

And their “Click Track Professional” program was thrown under the bus ending the relationship that the original founders fostered with our professional Internet SEO community.

Puzzled, I called and emailed their corporate executives and asked these simple and direct questions:

  1. Over the past three years I have taught web analytics to students in my search engine training workshops. In this class I demonstrate the benefits afforded by your program over the free Google analytics program. If a student was interested in only your ClickTrack’s program could they purchase it?
  2. As I was certified to teach your ClickTrack program under your ClickTrack professional certification program and now that this program has ended, will you be replacing this with something else?
  3. Your company once offered a partner program that offered financial and advanced training programs, do you still offer this?

Each person I called or emailed couldn’t answer, saying only that they would forward my concerns to the top guy, Stephan Blendstrup.

Last week I wanted to get a final answer to my concerns prior to this weekend’s Stomper conference. So I made my fifth call to the ClickTracks corporate office and I was funneled through to Matt Esparrago an account executive. I explained to Matt my frustration and he related that he would E-Mail my concerns directly to Stephan and he would cc me.

Well it’s been over a week and I’ve even sent Matt and Stephan a reminder message yesterday and have heard nothing back!

And quite frankly unless something drastic happens my four year relationship with ClickTrack’s has come to an end. They took a “raving fan” that used and promoted their products to thousands and threw him under a bus!

Will I promote ClickTrack’s or any of Lyris’s programs this weekend at Stomper, heck no!

Will I teach ClickTrack’s at my next Search Engine Workshop, heck no!

Will I recommend ClickTrack’s to others? Would/Will You??

I’d appreciate your comments on this article in the comment box below;

Certified Master SEO Instructor by the Search Engine Academy and CEO and founder of SEO Training SW.
Roy Reyer
Roy Reyer
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5th March 2009 5 Comments

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