For the longest time, I’ve admittedly been one of those search marketers that’s always praising the almighty Google. Every new product was the best thing ever, and the mantra of “do no evil” rang true. This infatuation even bled into my mindset concerning the other search engines. Because I was courting Google, Yahoo! and MSN became second rate hacks that deserved my scorn. Well folks, the honeymoon is over. Now I’m eating my words.

I won’t contest that I get the best PPC results from my AdWords accounts, or that the overall potential of the program is top-rate. But some recent events have caused me to lose faith. The biggest event actually had nothing to do with Google. I launched 2 new campaigns in Yahoo! last week, both of which got hung up in the clunky YSM editorial review process. Where the glimmer of hope shone through, however, was in my Yahoo! representative. He stepped up to the plate, flat-out told me that they were having a staffing shortage and were admittedly behind on pushing things through. He went on to elaborate that in addition to the lack of capable staff, the back-end of the editorial review for ads was experiencing some technical difficulties. Despite these shortcomings, my rep. was on the phone with me every day for 5 days trying to work through the kinks until finally everything was a-ok.

Despite my anti-Yahoo! rants of old, a little bit of honesty and hard work served to alter my opinions. Now, let’s progress to this past weekend (and the bit about Google). Unbeknownst to me, on Friday evening, one of my AdWords accounts literally stopped serving ads. It sat idle all weekend, and I was greeted with an email from my newly acquired client asking why his ads were not showing on Google. I logged into the account only to find that EVERY ad in the account was disapproved for a non-working URL. I double checked the URLs (they all worked) and even called my client to ask if there were any problems with the website on Friday (of course, there weren’t). So, because I was confused to the point of aggravation, I called my Google representatives. They didn’t have any answers. No one could tell me what happened. They turned my ads back on and that was the end of the conversation!

The fun doesn’t stop there, either. Last week I linked one of my AdWords accounts to a newly created Analytics account. In my experience, when this process takes place AdWords data begins to populate in Analytics rather quickly. On Monday, I discovered that my AdWords visitors were still being lumped under organic traffic. While I can work around this (I just segment the data by landing page), I shouldn’t have to. I contacted my Google reps who stated that they would get with the Analytics team. This morning I was greeted with an email response: “Let the campaigns run for a couple of days or so.” What? My boss said it best — Google can scan, process and record millions of web pages faster than anyone around, but they can’t figure out how to get their own data to populate in their own software? Do you know what that tells me? I was given the brush off in hopes that the problem would correct itself.

Why can’t Google give me a straight answer? If there’s a problem, I would be OK with knowing that it may take time to correct a problem. But that requires being forthright with information, something which Google is notoriously bad about. Can anyone say, “Quality Score?” I just want a little bit of honesty and signs that the Goog is working hard for my business.

Disappointed. That describes how I feel. I still love Google, and will continue to use their products and be excited by their advancements. But no longer will I jump on the Google-love-train blindly. I will remember that customer service can sometimes sell a product better than the product itself. And I will remember that while Yahoo! and even MSN can really rub me the wrong way, I shouldn’t dish out scorn by default. Instead I will take the mentality of “work with what I have.”