For every advertiser, PPC advertising plays a great role inviting the customers making the conversions. It is probably the shortest way to let people know that they exist and then make sales over the internet. But there are a lot of problems in PPC itself. One of them is its expensiveness. Another is the competition for it. Not every business might afford to conduct PPC campaign the way advertisers have desired. At those times, advertisers take the advantages of few flaws in the PPC advertising systems and abuse it to make things on their side. The abuses of these flaws and doing PPC the wrong/illegal way is called black hat PPC.
Black Hat PPC can be done in many ways. However, there are three most used black tactics that are used by the advertisers to make their campaigns go successful.
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1. Multiple Ads of same product (Multiple Accounts):
It is not allowed to display the ads of a same product more than once for a same search term in a PPC campaign. For example, advertiser ‘A’ has bid for search term ‘school’, then his ads will be displayed somewhere ( depending on the competition). Now the same advertiser cannot bid again for the term ‘school’ and wish to display his ads multiple times.
So, advertisers who practice Black Hat tactics create different accounts (with different company name, credit card and address off course) and bid for the space for a particular search terms multiple times. If the advertisers win the all top bids, then the results are displayed on the first pages and the advertisers can easily get a profit from that.
2. Copying the ads of competitor:
PPC is all about the competition. If, for a particular search term, you are the only one bidding, then you drive the whole traffic. But what if there are lot of competitors? The traffic obviously gets shared. But the advertisers who practice Black techniques know to wipe the competitors (off course the illegal way). One way to do that is create a fake account and bid for the same search term your competitor is bidding. After winning the bid (off course you will have to bid more than your competitor), then use the URL to a site where there are negative reviews about the competitors’ products. This way your competitors lose market, trust, reputation and credibility making you the champion in the market.
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3. Creating Non-Compliant Ads:
One flaw in the PPC system is that the advertisers can have a different display URL than the actual Click through URL. For example: Advertisers can choose to show abc.com URL as Netflix.com. Doing so obviously generates a lot of traffic. But this one is difficult as someone can easily know and report to the search engines.
4. Manipulating Trademark terms:
There are many service providers working as a third party company for a brand like Nokia, Norton, Blackberry and etc. and to attract searchers they try to manipulate the trademark terms in Ad copies but at the end it will not give you better response because if you manipulate Ad copies then your quality scores will go down and your CPC will be high.
How can Black Hat PPC be controlled?
Doing Black Hat PPC surely is illegal. If you do it, you will be banned from the ad programs for sure. But the problem arises then when your competitors try these Black PPC tactics and you are the one to fall in the trap. Well, that can be really bad. But you can control that to some extent by doing the following:
- Checking the ads for that particular search term for which your ads are also displayed. If you find something fishy, you can always report it to the search engines.
- Always be fair and ethical. Know what business is and what its ethics are. Go by the rules and regulations. If you don’t do that, you may lose your reputation, brand and even whole business.
As an advertiser, if you enter PPC world, you will have to be very wary of your competitors too. Their tactics can destroy your reputation and business. If you are the one trying to practice Black Hat PPC techniques, then don’t do it. It may be profitable (may be) at the beginning, but it is surely going to hurt you in the long run. On the other hand, doing business with ethics and rules will not only increase your reputation but also will help your products/business become a brand.