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Google's Alphabet poses problems for a small business... called Alphabet

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Google Alphabet

A small signage business in the United States is thousands of dollars out of pocket following the incorporation of Google’s new parent company Alphabet.

Alphabet Signs, based just outside of Philadelphia, PA, contacted TrustedReviews alarmed over the dramatic fall in web traffic from Google searches since last week's huge news.

Visits from Google had dropped from 25 per cent to a big fat nothing, almost immediately, owner Dan Keane told us.

“A full 25% of our site traffic comes from people searching our brand, Alphabet Signs, and variations of our brand,” he said. “It's pretty obvious where our traffic went - that 25% went down to zero since Monday!

The Alphabet announcement has destroyed the traffic coming to Mr Keane’s business from organic Google search queries (see graph below), and even those visitors coming from other Google services ended up costing the company money.

Alphabet Signs 2

To add insult to injury the company was actually paying Google for web users seeking news on the Alphabet announcement, through the Adwords platform.

On a single day last week, the torrent of extra clicks from Google ads cost the company close to $600 (around £385) without a single converted sale.

“We run ads on Google Adwords. All of the sudden, we're getting tons of clicks from people searching for Google Alphabet,” said Mr Keane, who's company makes letter boards, marquee signs, traffic signs and pretty much everything in between.

“These people don't buy anything, they just immediately leave the site. In other words, we are literally paying Google for people searching for Google Alphabet.

Alphabet Signs 1

“In the above graph, the blue is clicks on our ads (each click costs us money!) and the orange is sales from clicks on ads. Since the announcement sales are way down way down because people are searching for Google Alphabet news, and getting our ads," he added.

Last Thursday, we spent $586.71 on people searching for news about Google Alphabet. And this is even after setting up filters in our Adwords account to try and block that traffic!”

Read more: What is Alphabet? Why Google's new parent firm is a big deal

Alphabet Signs of course isn’t the only company to be affected by Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s change in business model. Last week we brought news that BMW was considering legal action over the potential infringement on its trademarked Alphabet corporate vehicle service division.

While the German auto-maker’s bottom line probably won’t be affected too much, if at all, by Google’s name change, it’s a different story for a smaller business like Alphabet Signs.

"When you run a business with a very large amount of sales coming from online, you have to be vigilant," Mr Keane added. "There's a million things that can change at the drop of a hat, and affect your bottom line. It's a good thing we reacted quickly, so we could try and stem the flow before too much of our ad budget went out the window."

TrustedReviews has reached out to Google for a comment on this story and we will update this article if and when a response is forthcoming.

Johnny Walker

August 18, 2015, 10:00 pm

Sue Google, it's the USA way.

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