Abusing Google AdWords still possible
Where money can be earned people tend to bend the rules to earn more. Normally, using Google AdWords you’re not able to have a different display URL from the destination URL in an ad group. If you do have a different destination URL from the display URL the ad will be disapproved, which makes sense. Note however that I mean the root domain and extension. This means that normally the ad as created below would be disapproved.
However, there is a very simple which does enable you to have a different destination URL from a display URL. Since it seems that Google checks the actual destination of the destination URL you could simply redirect to the URL that you have entered as the display URL and it will be approved (for a certain time). Normally there is no reason to do but there are ways to use this ‘trick’ for your own benefits.
Imagine you are an affiliate publisher with wrong intentions. You get paid by the sale and want to increase your income drastically. You could use AdWords to promote your own affiliate website, but that doesn’t really help. So, why not pretent to be the be the actual shop and only bid on branding words?
You could simply bid on those words, have the merchants domain name as your display URL a domain of your own in the destination URL. The thing you’d like to do next is redirect to the domain of the shop. Otherwise your ad won’t get approved. If you place your affiliate cookie when a visitor visits your website (by the AdWords ad) the merchant will think the visitor has come from your website meaning you get paid and have very few spent on a cheap AdWords branding campaign.
Do I advise you to do so? Absolutely not! I actually dislike the fact that it’s possible. For several clients I work for I notice that people are doing this for their own benefits, while I have a branding campaign running. Meaning that every time a branding ad from the publisher with wrong intentions is shown, my ad isn’t. Also meaning my AdWords campaign isn’t running at full potential and extra costs occur by the cheater who gets paid. Of course those cheaters aren’t stupid and mainly have their campaign running outside the office hours when they are less likely to get caught.
What I’d like most is that Google simply checks the filled in Display URL and Destination URL and checks those. Not only the destination URL after one or more redirects… Even more because this is still possible since several years, but isn’t solved.