Google Responds to Adwords Quality Score Variable Leak

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Yesterday on Search Engine Journal, Eric Lander posted some screen shots of Google openly serving confidential advertiser information in their AdWords results, such as the max CPC and quality score variables such as thresh and Pscore.

The sharing of max cost per click numbers by Google has sparked concern from some advertisers, fearing that their competitors can reproduce the variable numbers (if they weren’t lucky enough to catch them yesterday) and find out how much their competition is paying for Google clicks.

According to Google, the search results which include the quality score numbers cannot be reproduced.

A Search Engine Journal reader sent this response from Google on the issue of these quality score variables publicly being served to Google users yesterday morning.

Yesterday, a technical error caused ad ranking information related to a small number of advertisers to be displayed alongside a limited number of ads served. We won’t share what the variables or numbers that were shown mean, but in conjunction with information that was not shown, they are related to ranking. It wasn’t possible for a user to systematically reproduce the bug, and capture the
displayed information on a large scale so in the end there were few occurrences of the ranking being displayed.

The problem was resolved this morning, and our product team is taking steps to ensure this does not occur in the future.

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • Michael VanDeMar

    If it can’t be reproduced, then how are they going to do enough debugging to know that they’ve fixed it…?

  • Adam

    They said it wasn’t systematic – it could be that one datacenter had a debug copy of the code put on it by mistake. The load balancing across datacenters would then make it appear randomly. Remove the bad copy and problem solved.

  • RandomJohn

    Google a lot of news: a new quality parameter, pagerank up:)

  • George Davis

    I wouldn’t put much stake in the statement. I think it was made to calm the ignorant and confuse the educated.

  • Jaan Kanellis

    The statement sounds a lot like goobledegook