|By Jim Bruene on June 1, 2009 4:24 PM | Comments (2)|
It's not often I see an unfamiliar name amongst the top bidders for "online banking" at Google. But today, the sixth advertiser on the right-hand column (number nine overall), was an ad supposedly from CenturyCU.org (see ad right and search results page below).
The ad had a seemingly clear call to action, Visit Our Credit Union Today For Online Banking! However, when I clicked on the link, it lead to a .info page full of ads unrelated to the legitimate Century Credit Union (see second screenshot below).
While this doesn't appear to be a phishing attempt since it's not displayed on searches for "Century Credit Union" or "Centurycu.org," it is a bit disconcerting. It's clearly a violation of Google's terms of service and shouldn't have made it past Google's filters, but they are not perfect.
But my bigger question is: How does a spammy .info site make it to the top-10 advertisers on this popular banking term? Are there really so few serious bank or credit union bidders in the area? Or is it that the Google AdWords ROI just isn't there right now?
Other than a regional Chase ad on the top <chase.com/washington>, it wasn't until the fifth page of results that another Northwest financial institution made an appearance, Coastal Community Bank advertising its BancVue/FirstROI-powered high-yield checking account (landing page here).
Search results page for online banking (1 June 2009, 3:20 PM from Seattle/Comcast IP address)
Landing page for the fake CenturyCU.org Google ad (1 June 2009)
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