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December 8th, 2010

AdWords Program facing “technical difficulties”?

by Amrinder Arora

As I cover in the Organizational Efficiency seminar, we must value both the idea and its implementation.  Google owes its success to at-the-time-innovative idea (pagerank and crowd sourcing of relevance etc) as much as it does to the engineering marvels of its later years when it was the only search engine that was able to keep up with the publishing speed of the world.   At the end of the day (read 2002), it wasn’t its innovative algorithm, but the engineering that stops other starts ups from building search engines.  The idea provided the spark, and the engineering/implementation provided the ongoing fuel.

So, how is it possible that Google is letting its prized possession (97% of revenue) go through having “technical difficulties”?  This is the 3rd time this month (we are only 8 days into it) that as I try to navigate from one tab to another, AdWords just barfs and gives me this “down for maintenance” junk.  (And by the way, don’t you think this fake “performing maintenance” at 10 AM EST, actually sounds worse than the truthful “technical difficulties” message?)

AdWords is down for maintenance at 10 AM EST on a week day

Anyhoo, technical difficulties are what they are.  But I am a computer scientist damn it, and I am sure I can figure out what did I do to make AdWords suddenly go into the maintenance mode.

So, this is what I did:

I clicked on Billing, and tried to enter my credit card.  That is it!  I tried that one more time, and thankfully, Adwords was back from its maintenance and allowed me to enter the card information, but when I click “Save”, it gives this message:  “Authorization failed: Invalid credit card details”.  Hmm, something is not right.  The card works at Micro Center bricks and mortar store.  It works at microcenter.com.  It works at Amazon.com.  But, Google, wouldn’t take it.  What could it be?  This “help article” may have a clue: http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=29244.  So, is it true that Google just doesn’t take credit cards?  Seems a bit ludicrous, I am sure there is more to the story than meets the eye.  In either case, it would be a major faux pas for Google in case it doesn’t really accept credit cards, but allows the users to try to enter them anyway.

As my good friend Bob would put it – there is something fishy in here. (Image courtesy – Bob’s friend cbhuster.)

Bob Silver Salmon

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