Great Ways to Waste Money on Google Adwords

Adwords: How to Pay For Useless Clicks

What follows is a recent experience using google and noticing how several companies were wasting ther money and my time on poorly designed adword campaigns.

I was doing a brief search on google for a free webinar hosting service. Free, yes, free. I wanted to try out a Webinar service and not pay for the trial.

A webinar (if you don't already know) is an online seminar or workshop hosted through the web. There are a variety of different services, but what I wanted was a way to show some powerpoint slides to my participants as well as show some software applications. My participants would be online, on their computer and following along, asking questions as needed.

After typing in "free webinar" the results appeared on google. There was a pay-per-click ad for a company called Webex near the top of the page. The title read, quite clearly:

Free Webinar
Reach hundreds of people at once. Host a Webinar with Ease. Try It!

After clicking the ad, I could see nothing free and no free trial or free account so I left. I then clicked another ad and had a similar result. Both these companies paid for a click that - by definition - could do them no good. They are wasting money. If they (or their consultants) knew what they were doing, they would put a "negative keyword" in their google adwords campaign. This would make it so that their ad would not show up when someone types in the word "free."

Think about it. If someone is not looking to buy something from you or your company do you really want to be paying to bring them to your website?! I sure as heck don't. I made a similar mistake a year ago and it cost me several hundred dollars. Webex is probably wasting several hundred dollars every week.

The next ad that I clicked said:

Your operating system is incompatible with our service. You will need Windows.

Fair enough. So next, I typed in "Free Webinar Mac." And again I clicked on several ads that said "Your operating system is incompatible with our service." Another great example of wasted money and time.

If their Webinar system is not compatible with a Macincosh Operating System, then they should probably not be paying for clicks that bring Mac users to their website, do you agree?

Adding some negative keywords, such as "Mac, macintosh, apple" will save these companies from paying for useless clicks. This will increase the effectiveness of their adwords campaigns, save them $$$ and help give them a positive return-on-investment or ROI.


  1. Hi Ryan, thats something which I see quite regularly, in your above example, it’s possible that they’re using dynamic keyword insertion to return your search query in the first line, as the subsequent ad copy doesn’t mention ‘FREE’.

    Very Poor campaign management as you mention, and inexcusable now with the search query report in Adwords.

  2. hey ryan,

    free webinar or webconferencing? i need this too and i found yugma ( you can show to and switch between up to 10 other people – all for free. it’s off the subject, but since you were looking for one, i thought this may be helpful. and it works really well for me and my friends. and is super easy! it’s worth a look.

  3. Yugma looks pretty good. It looks like they can record my webinars but I would not be able to export them as QuickTime or other video formats (so I can sell them later).

    I think I am dreaming about getting everything that I want for free! Ah well, perhaps it’s time to get out the credit card.

    TelSpan Teleconfering looks pretty good. Anyone using them?

    cheers – Ryan

  4. Thanks for reminding me to make ‘free’ a negative word when using ad campaigns. – Great idea!

  5. So…did you ever find a webinar hosting service that provided a “free” trial. We’re looking into the service right now and I ran across this entry on your blog. Any advice?

  6. Sarah – Great to hear from you. Although it was not free, I did use Telspan for a while. Great service, but too expensive for my needs.

    I have used Yugma for several 1-to-1 coaching Webinars and it worked perfectly. Tried hosting on both Mac and PC.

    The real test will be when I do a webinar with 10-15 people. If it works out I will sign up.

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