Global in Theory, Village in Practice
Here at Advent we manage Google AdWords accounts for clients all over the world. Principally our clients are in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK. We even have a few clients here in Spain (gasp!).
One would think that this would be just the kind of business that Google would welcome - the global village in action.
Strangely, however, it seems to be a case of do as I say, not as I do.
Google send out promotional coupons to prospective clients, and they give us - members of their Engage program - coupons to pass on to clients. These generally amount to "you spend $x and we'll add $y" or a similar permutation.
Over the years Google had massive problems with fraud. The main reason was that up until last year the policy was more along the lines of - "here's $x of credit to get you started". Of course, what happened was that some scrupulous marketers opened a new account, ran the ads on the credit and when it rant out, opened another account and so on. For years. And on Google's dime.
Most of these schemes (read scams) depended upon such a small return that any level of spend required to get the credit renders them useless. Thus with the introduction of the minimum qualifying spend the fraud issue has been practically eradicated.
Despite this there are some serious hangovers that are preventing bona fide AdWords management companies being able to apply coupons to their client's accounts.
The coupons are country specific. You are only supposed to apply a coupons to an account whose billing address is in the same country as your Google Engage account.
So, you want to apply a credit coupon to a client in Australia.... well, you can't - unless you are a member of the Australian Engage scheme.
I applied for membership of the Australian engage program and was told I could not join because I am not based in Australia.
Catch 22? Sounds like it to me.
Luckily, after writing to them to explain the situation, Australia accepted me as a member (echoes of Groucho - I wouldn't want to be a member of any club that would have me as a member) - and I now have a little treasure chest of coupons for Australian clients.
But I have to log in to the system from a specific email - and fight with the system that keeps trying to redirect me to the Spanish version of the site (aaaaargh!)
Previously, I was simply able to ring my country reps and tell ask them to apply a coupon to a client in another country - they now tell me they are no longer able to do this.
So why not simply use my Spanish codes for overseas clients? Well, I've been told that if I do this my client's account runs the risk of being suspended for fraudulent use of the coupons. also there is a small issue of the currencies although this always seemed to "translate" itself away when the reps added the codes manually.
Surely, in this day and age, Google could give their partners "international" coupons which could be applied to any country and currency.
The idea that Google - possibly to world's most international enterprise - has such local limitations, frankly, beggars belief.