Google has just announced that its controversial "Best Practice Funding" scheme for European agencies (including those in the UK) will be scrapped at the end of 2008. The scheme effectively aims to remunerate agencies in a way that makes it especially hard for the kick-back to be passed back to the agency's clients. The system is quite complex and the kick-back is usually small or non-existent for most agencies. Bigger agencies, however, have been able to continue to offer an apparently cheaper management service and I - for one - will not be sad to see the back of it.
There have been a number of "rotten to the core" problems with the system. Paying too little for PPC management is an ILLUSION that you are getting value for money. The truth is that an agency can get away with doing less work managing PPC ads - but that doesn't mean that your advertising campaign is in any way working efficiently. Quite the reverse in fact. Whilst a simple (or even complex) campaign can be set up relatively quickly, transparency through to actions (or sales) on the website remains the key to proactively managing and optimizing a campaign. Sharing this data is something that many agencies (or clients) seem unhappy to do and that is a mistake. Receptional generally insists on this transparency as a requirement of doing business and I am quite sure that this has been instrumental in us retaining clients for as long as we do.
With the end of Google's kickback scheme in sight, a discussion is bound to arise as to the most appropriate ways to do business in the future. Next week I am running a workshop in the conference section of Ad-Tech (the bit you have to pay for... not that I get paid!) on the different PPC business models. You are welcome to come and pitch in your opinions.
In the meantime, I believe the way Receptional charge and run PPC campaign management is both fair and transparent.