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Shady Google Ads situation with a Saavy Web Developer, pro insights needed.

Active Member
Joel D Member Since: May 13, 2019
1 of 6

Hello fellow freelancers,

I have a setup with a google ads client of mine where my management fee is to be paid via commission + hourly from Upwork. I'm working with a pretty good web developer who setup google tag manager with like 2 dozen tags etc in like 30 min, we're using Iframes for russian doll links to track when I should get a commission. Well, this is literally one of my best tiny accounts ever. It's laser targeted, it's a single keyword ad group with $2day budget averaging two clicks a day, all excellent search terms. So 2 months have gone by and I've spent a good amount of time working on this guys campaign, keeping in touch, incentivised by the prospect of commission more than the hourly which is hard to justify without the recorded conversions....after the first month I was like ok well tell you what I'lll watch over this for a little while longer because of the commission incentive. My client is becoming non-responsive. He has done this before and I confronted him about it asking to at least spend a few minutes touching base with me if I message him with questions. Well I'm still waiting. I discovered that iframes do not work with conversion tracking. This guy is getting GOLDEN search terms off a highly targeted campaign, literally all 100% desired search terms, I'm finding it hard to believe he hasn't gotten any conversions. I have access to his GTM, Google Analytics, but this whole iframe thing and commission links, dynamic content, it's a zoo that confuses me.  I'm starting to think he actually is getting conversions and has decided he's okay with not knowing how things are working as long as they are, or he might have set this up to throw off the accuracy of conversions on purpose while allowing me to keep working on this, trying to justify charging more hourly by working for free. 

So one last thing I'll mention, I prepared 3 yes or no questions for him and a non-confrontational email explaining my discovery of iframe conversion errors with screenshots and links to the resources etc, then I notice he comes online for 15min then goes offline without responding to anything. 

My questions is, am I being exploited by a sneaky web developer and is there anything I can do about this, legally discover if he's lying somehow?

Should I pause his campaigns? Delete them? Delete the GTM tags? or just end the contract and leave him with a money generator he barely paid me for?


Community Guru
Kholleras I Member Since: Nov 24, 2015
2 of 6

Your description is very confusing. I can't tell whether you are the client or the freelancer or a middleman.

Active Member
Joel D Member Since: May 13, 2019
3 of 6

Sorry about that, I too am very confused at how to explain my situation. I have the information I was looking for, I needed to end this contract before it even started.

Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
4 of 6

Heaven is right, this is pretty confusing. It sounds like you accepted a contract with a low hourly rate and the promise of a results-based commission. (I'm assuming the commission was to be paid as a bonus, since to be paid off the platform would violate UW's terms of service and get you permanently suspended.) It turns out you have no way of tracking when/how much commission is due, and the client is ghosting you. 


Whatever amount of commission you were anticipating, you should now write off as tuition in the school of experience. Bonuses are imaginary until money actually changes hands, which doesn't seem likely at this point. (And if the commission was going to be paid off UW, the client knows full well you are in no position to squawk about getting stiffed.)


Don't close the contract, you'll wind up with no feedback which can be a drag on your JSS. If you choose to stop logging hours on it, the client may close it, in which case he'll be forced to leave feedback. Or he may just abandon it, which is fine. An idle contract that earned money won't hurt you.


I know diddly-squat about your business but the client is not legally obligated to pay you anything but the hourly rate you contracted. So if you mess with his campaign, you might stir up real and unnecessary trouble for yourself.

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
5 of 6

These don't seem like Upwork questions.


It sounds like the original poster needs to consult with someone who has topic-specific expertise.

Active Member
Joel D Member Since: May 13, 2019
6 of 6

Thank you very much.