Google Online Marketing Challenge Funding Issues: UPDATED

Google Online Marketing Challenge Funding Issues: UPDATED

Once again, I’m serving as an adjunct lecturer at West Liberty University teaching an online marketing course to upperclassmen.  They get an overview of major internet components, including paid search, SEO, local SEO, social media marketing, blogging, email marketing, conversion optimization, and analytics.

Some of these areas get a deeper dive.  One of my favorite aspects has been that the course each time I’ve taught it coincides with the Google Online Marketing Challenge.  It’s a neat program where Google gives student teams $200 to spend on a real world company over three weeks.  The students get to learn about marketing a company and how to manage paid search through the Google AdWords platform.

This year we’ve had some issues getting funding into some of the students’ accounts and finally have an answer as to why.  [Note: See both updates below.] The following email was sent out yesterday to some teams:

From: Google Online Marketing Challenge
Date: Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 2:02 PM
Subject: Google Online Marketing Challenge: Account credits

Dear participants of the Google Online Marketing Challenge,

We would like to update you on the activation of your AdWords accounts. Many of your accounts have been credited, but for a number of campaigns they are not able to run at the moment. This is due to a Google security procedure. We are looking into this issue and working hard to get the affected accounts running as soon as possible.

Thank you for your patience and understanding!

In the meantime, we recommend you learn about AdWords in our free online training site to help you achieve success with AdWords in the AdWords Online Classroom: http://www.google.com/adwords/onlineclassroom/

Best regards,

The Google Online Marketing Challenge Team

I’ve posted the information here in case other professors or student teams are having similar issues and wondering what is going on.  Note: my wife and I often say “What is going on?” in a high pitched voice, quoting some movie that must be at least 5 years old, if not fifteen. I wanted to embed a clip here, but am blanking on the film. Can anyone help? This is crucial for my sanity.

While I don’t like complaining about a free service that benefits the students, I certainly hopes this will resolve soon.  It’s affected the course outline and is going to end up going to cause some students to work on the project over spring break (account management must occur over 21 consecutive days) and / or double up with an extremely  heavy workload while managing two separate projects at once.  The problem has been going on close to a month now.

Update: The problem has been fixed and all students – at least in my class – have received funding.  In a follow up email with Google, they indicated that they have “identified the reason behind this [security problem]  and have taken proper steps to stop this from happening again in the future.”  Great news all around.

Update 2 (April 20, 2011): Apparently not all professors were so lucky and I’ve even had a couple reach out to me because of this post.  I just received an email from the Google Online Marketing Challenge – the first mass one sent to me as a professor – saying that they just about have it figured out for everyone.  Never mind that there won’t be three weeks left in the semester for some of these students to run the accounts.  Anyway, here it is:

Dear professor,
We are very excited to have you on board.

Thank you for your patience with our account crediting process – we would like to apologize for any delays caused by our safety and security procedures.

If any of your student teams are experiencing this issue, please fill this form to send us the Customer IDs of the students that have not been credited yet. Allow us 48-96 hours before the credit is fully applied.

REMEMBER:

  • All students’ accounts MUST BE verified by professors. Please check your Spam folders regularly to make sure you verify your student groups.
  • Your students AdWords accounts MUST BE set up in US dollars ($ – USD) with no billing information.
  • Student MUST update the Student Dashboard with their Customer ID information.

We are doing our best to answer all your queries in the support email address, please use this form for any credit related queries.

Thanks for your understanding and happy challenging!

The Google Online Marketing Challenge Team

© 2011 Google Inc. All Rights Reserved. This is a mandatory email from the Google Online Marketing Challenge team.

Justin Seibert

About The Author

Justin Seibert is the President of Direct Online Marketing. Justin holds a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University. He contributes a wide range of online business-oriented topics, including the subject of exporting. His contributions can be found on publications such as the Pittsburgh Business Times, AdAge, SES Magazine, and La Voz del interior. Justin and his family enjoy learning about new cultures during their travels.

View Justin's full bio.
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