Major Microsoft adCenter Bug Costs Millions

I normally would not report bugs like these but the adCenter blog just posted an official confirmation of the bug I reported early this morning at the Search Engine Roundtable. The bug is that advertisers were being charged astronomical prices per click, even though they have set their bids lower.

One example is an advertiser set a bid price of 50 cents as was charged over $280. There are many other cases, even some of advertisers being charged over a thousand dollars for one click. I suspect, based on the volume of reports at the search marketing forums that this bug has cost advertisers millions of dollars, but I can be wrong on that figure. We do know, based on the adCenter blog post that (1) Microsoft has just fixed the issue and (2) now they are working up a plan to credit all advertisers who have been overcharged during this bug cycle.

Postscript: Microsoft Refunds adCenter Advertisers Over Weekend, so I think Microsoft handled this as well as they could of.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Microsoft: Bing Ads


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • Brian M

    Hi Barry,

    Yep – it hit me too, and the SSL Security Certificate on adCenter is invalid at the moment… MSN paused one campaign after it reached over $5,000 in one day.

    Thanks for letting us know about this…

  • Alan Rimm-Kaufman

    Yes, the bug hit some (but not all) of our clients as well.

    We saw several large volume keywords in different accounts with maxbids of around $1 being billed at around $300 per click.

    To their credit, MSN noticed this pretty quickly — their email to us came in at the same time our internal systems were alerting to the cost anomalies…

    Hopefully the untangling of the invoices and refunds won’t create too much a hassle to our engineers and accounting folks, but I suspect it will.


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