Google AdWords On Currency Conversion: Sorry That's Classified Information


I'm not sure why the folks on Google want to spread the belief that everything is a "black box" and that "we shouldn't pay any attention to the man behind the curtian" for every question. Case and point over on WMW a member inquires about the conversion rate when using adwords. After doing some checking here is the Google response

It looks like #3 is still going to be the correct answer. For competitive reasons, our AdWords product team does not want to release the source of our currency conversion calculations.

Huh? Aren't currency conversion rates published daily and financial institutions charge a percentage or flat fee to the customer, or am I missing something?


You can get the current

You can get the current rates refreshed every couple of mimutes at

Google wouldn't tell

Google wouldn't tell the truthiness these days even if China censored it for them.

Quote of the week

I think I'm voting scoreboard for QOW with:
"Google wouldn't tell the truthiness these days even if China censored it for them"

It wouldn't have been so funny if it wasn't so true.

Damn near fell of my chair.

I second that as QOW

v funny scoreboard.

the currency market is

the currency market is completely decentralized and so different banks can deal at different rates so there is no "official" x-rate, only approximations and averages. presumably G can get a better deal than most as the volume they trade is undoubtedly a nice amount. although i dont think that really justifies the secrecy google wants. i think "competitive reasons" is the corporate version of "national security" (i.e. your cover to do whatever you want).

Their public rates that they

Their public rates that they publish come from Citibank. Information on the in-house rates has never been available. It may be frustrating and unfair but I wouldn't consider it that unusual. Most financial transactions/providers online skew rates (heavily) in their favour when they can.

It's always been an issue

I asked them about it a while back. I had the same problem.

it's a profit center

Adam has a point.

It's all in the spread and can be a significant amount of money.

Consider a 1.5% spread on a retail conversion, and that almost 100% of their transactions are related to adwords/adsense. This of course only applies to foreign currency transactions.

Consider also that there is a spread on both the payment(adsense) and charging(adwords) sides and you get a total of 3% spread when both the advertiser and publisher are not dealing in dollars.

And don't forget the float, that is, the interest earned in the period between charging for adwords and paying the publisher.

I'd be surprised if it's

I'd be surprised if it's only 3%. They can take what they please and it;s very hard to tell.


I've got no problem with the boys at google making a profit. However when they treat everything like it's a mystery black box, it's very easy to assume the worst and suspect they are up to no good.

One company who leaps to mind is Enron. People in the industry knew stuff was 'funny' long before everybody else. By the time it made it's way out it was too late and the house of cards had collapsed. Could Google be using some sophisticated software to predict currency fluctuations, it's hard to say when they keep things secret that don't need to be.


Take Enronomics, add some Internet Goo (that oils 'em pipes) and then hire 1500 PHDs to do nothing but figure out how to make Goo look like it's Growing profits in as many sundry ways as possible (fraud, PPC, PPA, 'float' interest, xchange rate shavings, holding fraudulent AdSensers' revenue); hire a 100 MBAs to make the Growing Goo look Good to the investors; hire a 100 lobbiests to make the Good Growing Goo Gleam. Finally, stir altogether, simmer, and constantly keep every recipe secret (trade, that is) until tempers worldwide are boiling.

What do you have? Rising GOOG!
Just don't let it cool! No one likes sticky goo :O

googles biggest

challenge is not making too much money, at some point no one is fooled. They need to make the operation look tame.

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