What Was Google Cash Detective?
Google Cash Detective, also known as GCD, was a Google Adwords spy tool that allowed you to spy on the Adwords campaigns of other advertisers. I also remember being a part of coaching program where they would have training calls that would show you how to effectively use the product.
The product’s creator/owner was Chris Carpenter who popularized the method know as direct linking where you place your affiliate link as the destination URL on PPC platforms. Direct linking enables you to send traffic directly from the search engines onto affiliate offer pages without having to send them to your website first.
What Does Google Cash Detective Offer?
As mentioned above, GCD allowed you to peer into other people’s Google Adwords campaigns. I’m not sure how it did it, but I’m assuming it either used a Google provided API to see what paid results appeared for certain searches or just queried Google directly and scraped the ads.
It’s been a while, so I’m having to dig deep into my brain cells, but I also remember there being training webinars where you could ask questions. I can’t remember if it was part of the membership or one of the upsells.
Negative Aspects of Google Cash Detective
Longevity – Obviously it’s no longer in existence. I couldn’t really find out the exact reason it shutdown. However, I did find some posts where people were complaining about prepaying for a year and then having GCD shutdown without receiving a refund. This is a good example about why you should be careful about prepaying in advance for subscription services in order to receive a discount.
Mentality – Since Chris is the originator of Google Cash method he likes to make it seem like direct linking is a quick and easy way to make money. Don’t get me wrong, it’s quick and easy to get started, but it’s harder to actually make sales and even harder to be profitable with direct linking.
Most business books out there will tell you that customer acquisition is one of the most expensive parts about doing business. With direct linking, you are doing the hard part of customer acquisition and making sales without being able to reap the rewards of being able to further market to that customer through email marketing. This means a lower lifetime value of the customer which means less money in the end for you.
False expectations – To go along with the above, Chris promoting direct linking as a quick and easy path to success, in my mind, is very detrimental to people’s long term success. It makes it seem like it will be easy to make a ton of money on the internet, but in reality it takes a lot of work.
Just look at Chris, he took the time to build a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform, to sell subscriptions, but then turns around and tells you how great direct linking is for starting out and making a lot of money. It makes you wonder where he’s making his money from: Direct linking or selling and promoting IM products and tools? I’d be willing to bet he’s making his money on the products, courses, and tools. Furthermore, I’d be willing to bet he makes more money through email marketing and owning products than he does through direct linking.
Just plain bad advice – On the training calls it was repeatedly said that it was a good idea to have two separate Google Adwords accounts: One for testing and one that was optimized.
Their reasoning was that Google had an algorithm that looked at the overall click through rate of your entire account and this contributed to your Adword’s account quality score which would directly affect how much you would pay for clicks. All things being equal, an account with a higher overall click through rate would have a higher quality score and thus lower cost per click for keywords.
They promoted the use of the “test” account to test your campaigns on and then once you had them optimized for high CTRs, then you would recreate in them in your optimized account.
What they didn’t tell you and what you didn’t know, unless you read the Google Adwords Terms of Service, was that it was against the ToS to have more than one Google Adwords account unless you had a special agency account designed for people and companies that managed the Adwords account of other companies.
In addition to this, it was against the ToS to bid on the same keyword from more than one AdWords account, which is really easy to do when you are recreating campaigns in your optimized account that you initially created in your test account. Forget to turn a campaign offin your test account and you’ve inadvertently run afoul of the ToS and you are setting yourself up for a potential life time ban. This is what I believe resulted in my lifetime Adwords ban.
Positive Aspects of Google Cash Detective
GCD was cloud-based, a fancy term for operating remotely on servers instead of on your own computer, which enabled you to access it from any device that you wanted to access it from.
If I remember correctly, it showed you how many days an ad had been running for. The implication here is that if you consistently saw the same person bidding on the same keyword for a long period of time, then the keyword must have been profitable otherwise that advertiser would just be losing money.
Looking back, I really did like the tool. It was a great tool to have even if it was a bit advanced for me at that oint. What I didn’t like was the mindset of direct linking being an easy way to make money online without a whole lot of work. I believe this contributed to me struggling for years against actually building a website and making content for it. I firmly believe now that having a website is essential for any long term success in internet marketing.