I managed Google Adwords at a very high level for nearly 9 years managing a monthly ad spend of $200k+ per month. Think of the ramifications if you didn't recoup your ad budget with that type of burn.
Today, I'm looking at live website traffic via Wordfence and astounded to see how much Google Adwords traffic is coming from doubleclick and parked domains.
Under my campaign settings, I'm set for Google search and search partners. One would assume that this would be premium traffic from legitimate mobile or desktop searchers landing on Google.com or a partner website. (whatever that really means)
In my opinion, parked domain traffic is some of the worst potential traffic and Adwords customers should not be paying a premium for clicks coming from parked domains. I put these types of domains up there with the "Display Network" traffic. While some publishers try to make money by running Adsense or DoubleClick and creating great content to draw a real audience, others have mastered the art of "click fraud" on parked domains and similar Adsense sites.
With the Display Network, you can monitor conversions and even block domains that don't generate conversions at your targeted numbers or CPA. With parked domains running under Google's "Search only and search partners" you have no way of managing these sites...and I think Google is keenly aware of this. I'm hoping at some point Google will create a distinction between "Search only" and "Search Partners" so you can turn off "search partners" if you choose or manage the conversions that come from search partners.
The only way you can catch this activity is by monitoring live traffic coming to your site or a third party analytics tool...not "Google Analytics".
So Google...if you by chance happen to catch this short write-up, I hope you'll consider giving Adwords advertisers more control over what types of traffic we get via Google search only / partners and the ability to block or turn specific types of traffic off.
Here's my final thought. I think Google knows very well that by keeping the curtains closed on search only partner traffic they have a better ability to dial or tweak the type of traffic a specific advertiser receives. This allows them to send more direct search traffic from Google search while less important advertisers get a blend of search only and partner traffic.
What are your thoughts on the quality of traffic coming from Google search only partners?
PS - When talking to Google Adwords rep, I asked him the difference between Adsense traffic (Display Network) and DoubleClick traffic (Search Only / Partners) traffic. Supposedly, DoubleClick is for high-end advertisers / clients with big budgets. So if that's the case, why would DoubleClick be involved with parked domain traffic?