I heard a story last week about how someone has setup an AdWords campaign to advertise a charity website without the charities knowledge. The sole intention of the campaign is to gain a high CTR for non-competitive keywords in order to increase their own account’s overall quality score!
While this is quite a sneaky black hat technique it’s clear how it can be very effective. The charities landing page should have a high quality score anyway and if fairly non-competitive, brand name/relevant keywords are bid upon it’s possible that well-known brands will achieve a CTR in the region of 40%+ at a very low CPC. In the long-term the ad spend for this should easily be covered by the overall CPC savings.
This does sound unethical but at the same time the charities are benefiting from extra free traffic and this does seem to comply with Google’s link policy so is it actually that bad? Personally I think the charities should be made aware of this by the advertiser and if there are no complaints it shouldn’t be a problem.