Dear Google,

charity example

Image Credit to

I think it is quite generous of you to have a program, Google Grants that provides grants to non-for-profit organizations.  I truly do commend you for it.  Allowing non-for-profit agencies to run ads on your network for free is awesome, not only is it a nice gesture, it makes the world a better place for many.  It is so kind of you to bid $1.00 dollar on keywords in Google Grants accounts in the name of charity.  It is even bigger of you to set such a large limit of this cost to you at $10,000 per month.  Charities and Foundations are in your debt.

Why are Certain Keywords even Charged?

At the same time though, I wonder why certain keyword related terms are so expensive to bid on, and why you even deem it necessary to make money on certain keywords.  I understand that the current market sets the standards, and therefore the pricing, but why can’t certain terms’ cost be set at $1.00 so that all charities and foundations are all on equal footing and can have a fair shot at necessary keywords?  Is there no way to take certain keyword phrases off the auction block?

The $1.00  Keyword Bid

Here is what I am talking about; below is an example where the $1.00 bid that Google Grants automatically bids for the non-for-profit is too low to display the ad on the first page.  Everyone in the PPC world knows if an ad doesn’t display on the first page, it is virtually invisible to users and therefore irrelevant.  From an account manager’s perspective, the fact that certain keywords are too expensive to bid on means that many keywords found during the keyword research phase are irrelevant as well.  When I combine the two Google Grants accounts I help maintain, 398 keywords out of 2442 are over $1.00 making about 16% of the that work nothing but a waste of time.

below the first page bid

The terms above are somewhat generalized, so I can easily see many non-for-profits using them as keywords to trigger their ads.  Shouldn’t these keywords only be a dollar so charities and foundations that take part in your Google Grants Program can take advantage of them?  Why must you get $1.50 for an ad that displays when a user searches for “charity gifts?”  Isn’t that kind of a low-blow to society as a whole since you rake in billions and billions of dollars through this ad platform?  I’m just sayin…

More Below First Page Bids…

Some other examples are a little more egregious.  I have mentioned before in our DragonSearch blog that DragonSearch donates the time it takes to manage the ads for the Friends of the Cambodian Child’s Dream Organization and The Magic Foundation. The first is an organization that is dedicated to educating poor Cambodian children, improving their lifestyle, and providing clean water, (to name a few) while the second is a foundation that educates families affected by children’s growth disorders and diseases.  Both are good and worthy causes.  Why must the following keywords be off limits to these non-profits in your Google Grants Program?

Keywords that are too expensive to bid on if in google grants

Google Grants’ reach would be far greater if its participants could bid on all of the keywords they need to make a difference.  It doesn’t make sense or help Cambodians that this organization can’t bid on “help orphans in Cambodia.”  Further, I think that Google is in a far better position to lose $1.25/$1.75 than orphans in Cambodia.

The Keyword Lottery Concept

My suggestion is to make all keywords used in Google Grants accounts available to participants, and limit the bidding to $1.00.  Obviously there will be great demand for certain keywords as opposed to others.  For the more in-demand keywords I propose some sort of lottery where every charity has a chance to display, thereby spreading the wealth of first page ad displays.  I am no algorithm expert but including other factors may help in doling out the ad displays in cases where the keywords are too sought after like how long the charity has been in Google Grants, the quality of the site architecture, and/or the amount of keywords.  Either way, I hope something changes because Google Grants really does have the capability to make a difference, and during these tough times, charities and foundations need all the help they can get.  In the end, Google itself would even win with a bigger write off.