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Dear Microsoft. While I value a wider selection brought on by competition, ever since you launched adCenter, your back-end has been plagued with troubles. I find it alarming that even after all this time, some basic fundamental usability issues are still not addressed and getting things done within your system continues to be a burden. The complete frustration brought on by using your system significantly reduces the value of its existence, simply because I dread even using it!

There are too many issues that drive me completely up the wall to even write about – the thought of including every little problem overwhelms me to the point of wanting to just shut off my computer and forget about even writing this memo. I will however grin and bear it and share with you some of your faults that drive me bonkers.

  • Why is it when I log into your system, the first screen I see is so bare and limited. When I want to log in and quickly see total conversions, or data for a specific range, you make me click on a specific campaign. What if I want to see data for all campaigns on the same screen? These columns should be customizable, so I can see a full account snapshot, based on the date range of my choosing.
  • Why is there no functionality available to move an ad group from one campaign to another?
  • When I need to create a new ad for one of my AdGroups it would sure be nice if the existing ads remained in view. Google and Yahoo let me see existing ads, why must you hide them? Creating a variation of an existing ad is much easier if you can view the exiting ad at the same time.
  • Why is your dropdown calendar and date selection so terrible? I don’t even know where to start. First I am forced to use your calendar. There is no easy way to scroll between months, and I have to select the year before I select the month if I want something from the previous year. Take a look at Google’s drop down calendar, maybe it will give you some ideas.
  • Google has made it painfully easy to see ALL keywords, Ads, or whatever, from the entire account on one screen. It’s brilliant. It’s Easy. It’s non-existent with your system.
  • Why must I click on so many links to change the smallest thing within my account? The number of steps it takes to do anything at all amazes me and destroys my productivity.
  • Why do your servers take forever? I don’t have these slow load times with Google. Aren’t you a multi-billion dollar company? Maybe you could spring for a few faster data-centers.
  • Why do you give me so little traffic? Oh wait, you have a small market share. Sorry, I forgot that you are sensitive about that. I got a spam email on my Hotmail account that said there are pills for that, just so you know.
  • When I want to see the performance data for my campaigns why can I only select a 31 day date range? I should be able to select ANY date range I want from the start of the campaign till today. If I choose “custom” you limit me to 31 days, but in the drop-down menu I can select “entire time”, “last 6 months” etc. What if it has been 6 weeks since I started testing something and I want to see that total accumulated data? I have to run two reports and manually add up the numbers! That’s not cool.
  • When I make updates, sometimes I have to hit “save” multiple times to make it work. This is probably a FireFox compatibility issue however, but I don’t want to be forced to use IE to use your products. I don’t know the exact figures, but I am willing to bet that the majority of web marketers that use your product, probably also use Firefox – why not try to keep them happy?

I suppose that my biggest problem with Microsoft is really that it just isn’t very intuitive. Perhaps my thoughts are skewed by how simple most things are with Google AdWords – I imagine if I asked someone who spent most of his/her time in AdCenter, they may dislike AdWords as much as I dislike the Microsoft platform. While this article is all just my opinion, I imagine I share it with others – or at least one other person.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel though - if all goes according to plan, and this whole Microsoft Yahoo deal plays out as expected, adCenter may be a thing of the past as they turn to using the Yahoo platform. Time will tell for sure, but it looks like this is the direction of things to come.